January 22nd, 2009
03:00 PM ET
9 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. Mike

    Here is a thought...stop the flow of arms into Gaza that are harming the people of Israel before expecting them to aid the very people that are raining bombs on them.

    January 22, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. John

    This is a very difficult issue at hand. First of all, I wish the new president good luck regarding this issue. These people have been fighting for over 2000 years and there seems to be little to no advancement with a permanent peace treaty. Secondly, if there is a peace treaty, how will it be maintained? Both sides are not willing to compromise on the Gaza issue. I wish George Mitchell good luck with his future meetings.

    January 22, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Ben

    These people have not been fighting for 2000 years, more like 100 since the start of Zionism and more intensely for 60 years since the founding of Israel.

    January 22, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. Steve (the real one)

    JillBo January 22nd, 2009 5:25 pm ET
    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
    I fully agree! Peace between Jews and Arabs will literally take an act of God! Until Hamas, and Iran, and folks like them recognizes Israel's right to exist NOTHING will change! Not even American policy! Israel will not be and cannot be allowed to be wiped out, simple as that!
    Crude Gazan rockets started this mess! This is exactly what happens when you bring rocks to the gunfight you started! The tragedy is the loss of innocent life, which is the fault of Hamas!

    January 22, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Scott Tucson

    LOL! Fat chance of that ever happening in our life time or say the next 1,000 plus yrs.

    January 22, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. Michael in San Diego

    I love reading all the comments from the nay-sayers! I guess it's just better to give up on this issue because it's too hard right? Idiotic! I don't have an answer for this violence but I believe it serves the "US" interests if we at least show that we care about ending these wars. We do contribute $11B to Israel and their military might so we aren't neutral in this fight. If we ever hope to have any semblance of peace with the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world we'd better find a way to show we're a centrist nation and not blindly aligned with the 7 Million Israelis. The people crammed into Gaza have humanitarian needs as well and we need to support their rights and not punish them simply because they do have some terrorists in their midst.

    January 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. Marc

    JillBo – So it's alright for a cop, while pursuing someone who's shooting back at him, starts shooting at this man even if he doesn't have a 'clear shot'? Even if they are have this private shooting in the middle of a mall full of people? Blame the children for their suffering is too low even for a die-hard Israel supporter, and I know a few of them.
    Hamas has to dealt with. They are terrorist, no doubt about it, and happen to live in one of the most crowded places of that area.
    So it's not alright to Israel, in order to kill one of them, kills twenty or thirty people along with their inended target.

    January 22, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Rick

    HE has spoken...now we will have peace in the Middle East.

    January 22, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. Mohamed

    There is a way to achieve peace and it's by giving justice to the Palestinians. You can do it, Obama!

    January 22, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. Ian

    I think we should train some militants and prop up another government. Look how well that worked for us before with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Or keep selling weapons to the extremists like we always do.

    January 22, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. lucy2

    Certainly not an easy task, but any effort for peace is good and I admire them for getting right down to work and at least trying. For the sake of all the innocent people suffering on both sides of this conflict, I hope at least some progress is made.

    January 22, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Jim

    Bev January 22nd, 2009 4:50 pm ET

    We're looking more like France every day….Scary
    Have you ever been to france, or you just running your mouth? Whats wrong with France?

    January 22, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. Conservative James, Phoenix AZ

    How about sending over former President Carter?

    Do the words "Camp David Peace Accord" sound familiar?

    January 22, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  14. Pat J

    JC January 22nd, 2009 4:23 pm ET
    I figured Oprah would go to the Middle East; the Jews and Muslims would all sing and hold hands, and problem resolved.
    Actually, JC - why doesn't Oprah just give all of them a car? She can afford it - and Ellen can boogie with them - problem solved !!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. Dorothy

    President Obama will succeed where others have failed because for the first time, America is recognizing that there are real victims here – the civilian Palistinians. George Mitchell will succeed once again because he has the heart to stay neutral and see the greater cause. Here in Egypt we are praying for you President Obama and I believe you are already opening the fists of the opressed who have nothing to defend themselves with except clenched fists against rockets and tanks. Jutice always prevails, it just needs patience and faith.

    January 22, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  16. Pat J

    Matt January 22nd, 2009 5:08 pm ET
    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.
    Matt - being the "superbly superior" American that you are - just bring Hamas to your house. We would all applaud you !!!!!!!!

    (Try not to have a seizure - seizures are NOT fun!)

    January 22, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. T. Mckinley

    Until Iran and it's proxies (Hamas and Hezbollah) accept Israel's right to exist, any attempt to negociate peace between Israel and the Palestinians will be a complete and utter waste of time.

    January 22, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. Jay

    Obama has made a skillful choice with George Mitchell. He is a man with proven negotiating abilities, high credibility both in the United States and abroad, and impartiality. With this appointment Obama is signaling to all leaders in the Middle East his desire to play fair in mediating this conflict.

    It remains to be seen if Obama will be able to counter the considerable pressure that pro Israel groups in the United States will bring to bear on the President. George Bush sure cave in very quickly!

    January 22, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Amber

    Ways to bring peace to the Middle East:

    – Secure water rights for the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank
    – Make Jerusalem into a holy city that NO ONE has claim over. NO ONE.
    – Prosecute the Israelis who sent phosphorus weapons into Gaza a week ago with war crimes at the Hague
    – Create the West Bank as the Palestinian State
    – Fund free secular schools for the Palestinian children
    – Arrest, try, and convict Hamas and PLO members who practice violence against Israel
    – Set up renewable energy infrastructure for both the Israelis and the Palestinians

    January 22, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Chris in Va.

    Let's see.....what is the reason the United States blindly supports Israel.........Well it could be Israel exports to us....no that can't be it....or perhaps their leadership in.......no, not that either........it must be how peace loving the Israelis.....hmmmm, still doesn't fit.

    Genocide is genocide regardless of who pulls the trigger.

    January 22, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Jim D. in Costa Mesa

    This war has not been going on for over 2000 years. It began in 1948 when the Israelis performed their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Since then they have gotten away with genocide and murder. We should quit being Israel's enabler and unquestioning supporter. This is why we were attacked on 9/11.
    This will end ONLY when an American president has the balls to tell Israel to give the Palestinians the West Bank and Gaza or we'll pull their funding and put THEM on list of terrorist countries, which is where they belong!

    Don't blow it, Mr. President!

    January 22, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. believe

    God Bless Israel.

    January 22, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. yellow dog democrat

    I am proud of this President as I haven't been any many years....I like to see a new way of thinking and responding to the world situation....the old ways are not working its time to try something bold and new

    I pray he makes progress.....for so many innocents sakes.

    January 22, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. tennisguypitt

    Jon in California,

    Shut up.

    On this blog. I like the approach that Obama is taking, reaching to BOTH sides of the conflict. However, I remain skeptical about peace. These idiots only want to destroy Israel and I don't think it's going to end anytime soon.

    I do wish President Obama and his staff the best of luck.

    January 22, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Hussein Mberwa, NY

    Finally a president who thinks of all people as being equal despite their ethnicity, background or religious beliefs....
    President Obama have a very caring heart.. He cares for everyone.. may God be with him, as he works hard to make the world a safer environment for all humans...

    January 22, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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