President Obama spoke directly Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he agreed to a cease-fire with Hamas, reassuring him of the U.S. commitment to Israel's security.
The Egyptian-proposed cease-fire, brokered with the help of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ends rocket attacks from the Hamas-control Gaza region of the country and more than a week of Israeli airstrikes in response. Nearly 100 civilians reportedly have been killed in the fighting.
The White House said Obama made clear that no country should be expected to tolerate rocket attacks against civilians and that he expressed his appreciation to Netanyahu for working with the new Egyptian government to achieve a “sustainable cease-fire and a more durable solution to this problem.”
Obama said the United States would use the cease-fire to increase efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza. And he is committed to seeking additional funding for U.S.-Israel missile defense programs.
The prime minister’s office confirmed that Netanyahu talked to Obama and said he accepted the president’s recommendation to give a chance to the Egyptian offer of cease-fire.