January 22nd, 2009
03:00 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama says U.S. will actively seek peace between Israel, Palestinians

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama weighed in Thursday on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, urging Israel to open Gaza border crossings and telling the Islamic fundamentalist organization to stop rocket fire into the Jewish state.

He urged Israel to allow the flow of aid and commerce into the Palestinian territory. "Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food, clean water and basic medical care," he said.

The crossings should be opened with an "appropriate monitoring," he said. Obama also said Hamas leaders, for their part, must put an end to rocket attacks.

The president said he will send former Sen. George Mitchell, who was appointed Thursday as special envoy for Middle East peace, to the region as soon as possible.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. walleye

    I wish you GOOD LUCK Mr President. This is a tough road considering these people have been fighting for 2000 years. I truly hope you succeed where others have failed.

    January 22, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Meka


    January 22, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Obama Victim

    no one else has been able to do this,,,,,,,,,the chance that this empty suit will accomplish anything?? anyone interested in a bridge??

    January 22, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. jeff frm jersey

    This fight has gone on for centuries before Israel was even named a "country".The hatred goes back even further than Christ.Everyone should just step aside,let them take the gloves off and knock the snot out of each other.Problem is,no one will step aside for more than 3 seconds.

    President Obama won't have any better luck with this than anyone else has because some fruitcakes on both sides will keep firing rockets until they start fighting again.

    January 22, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. No Money

    To Vi: Gitmo is a symbol of shame abroad for the US and a big tool for terrorists group to enroll more people for their cause creating more problem in protecting the homeland.
    Closing Gitmo and puting all these suspects into fair trail will send a big signal to our allies that the America they know is back and consequently it means more trouble for the terrorist.
    Stop watching FOX they've been brain washing you all and feeding the republicans with nonsenses.

    January 22, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Shari, NY

    This is an extremely tall order. Anyone who can get these two warring factions to cease and desist should be knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Seriously, if he can manage to pull this off he will go down in history as the greatest peacemaker of all times.

    January 22, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. Rob

    Matt January 22nd, 2009 4:38 pm ET – Your complete ignorance is amazing. What if instead of Palestin (Hamas) it was say, the KKK. And instead of Israel it was say, the south side of Chicago. Would you be demanding that the south side 100% cease their actions against the KKK? Yet the KKK and Hamas have the same goals: Hamas wants to eliminate all Jews and the KKK want to eliminate all blacks.

    Yet in typical lib modus operandi, your definition of fairness and what's right only applies to what you want.

    Hypocrites! All of you.

    January 22, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. EC

    THANK YOU Mr. President for using the best "diplomacy" possible. Americans know this is NOT an easy feat, but we understand that this battle began with MEN and can end with MEN, if they just realize they are fighting for naught.

    The Gaza border is nothing but a piece of land... a LAND that will be there when all these men "fighting" about it are gone.....

    How many lives will die over this senseless fight?

    MEN STARTED THIS FIGHT, MEN CAN END IT. GOD never fought over this land, and I'm sure he is NOT happy about all the BLOOD lost in the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children on BOTH sides.

    I pray that peace is reach so NO ONE else will die in vain.

    January 22, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Christian

    Is he a Christian, and does he know anything about the history of the Jewish people?

    January 22, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Matt

    I'm going to laugh myself into a seizure at all the naysayers if he finds a way to help bring peace to the region.

    January 22, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Matt

    @ Obama Victim

    I heard Palin was still looking for a bridge now that she lost the election.

    January 22, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. j

    finally the pics of gaza children and women got to the biggest heart in the world THE OBAMA HEART , now do what your heart and conscious want you to do god bliss you and be with you for the next 8 years and many more afterwards

    January 22, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Charles Atlanta

    Keeping peace in mind is a good thing. And reminding everybody, no peace is forever. At leaset if they can let both sides sit down and negotiate that will be a big step forward.

    January 22, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Jon in CA

    It's been reported Obama's initial call as President was to Palestinian Leaders. I guess he needed to know what the Palestinians are demanding so he can start pressuring those bad, horrible, Israeli
    people who simply want to live in peace.

    Has Obama's prayer rug been set-up in the White House yet???

    January 22, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. wow

    Steele Curtain, you are an ignorant individual and i pity those that would look up to you as a father, mother or whatever it is that you are. CNN, you better post this

    January 22, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Lyndon

    Telling Israel to open border crossings really takes guts since Washington DC is really Jerusalem West.

    January 22, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. JillBo

    Until Hamas renounces its goal of the total destruction of Isreal, peace will not happen. How do you negotiate with someone whose goal is your destruction? WAKE UP.

    The reason the palestian women and children are suffering is because they hide their bombers in the population. How long would you tolerate rockets that target you and your neighbors? I am amazed at the restraint Isreal has practiced.

    January 22, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Lyndon

    Telling Israel to open border crossings really takes guts, since Washington DC is really Jerusalem West.

    January 22, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. bsmith171

    that's what every prezzie has said.
    nothing will happen.

    January 22, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. foxnews

    So is Obama going to rest on the 7th day or get around to the problems facing America?

    January 22, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Louie

    Congratulations Mr. President for bringing in a known quantity with a great track record. This will not be easy but you have someone who can be even-handed and fair to both sides. That is the only way to bring about peace, you can't be leaning to one side or another and act as an arbitrator.

    January 22, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Matt

    @ Jon in CA

    If Israel "just wanted to live in peace" they wouldn't be occupying Palestinian land with settlements and calling it theirs. They also wouldn't be subjecting the Palestinian people to some of the harshest apartheid the world has ever ignored. You reep what you sow.

    January 22, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. Steele Curtain

    Congratulations Mr. President. Israel suffered terrorist attacks for months and now Israel is to blame.

    How long will America have to suffer before you blame her?

    January 22, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. Matt

    Fact: More Israelis have died from friendly fire incidents than from Palestinian rocket attacks.

    January 22, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Barry

    we need to save $$$ due to current economic mess. The MidEast problem sucks money out of every human being's pocket in one way or another. Obama is not only looking at it as a human suffering issue (both sides), but as a long-term economic issue as well.

    January 22, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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