World

Kerry looking for a Mideast cease-fire, but acknowledges differences run deep

  • Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to reporters as he meets with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 21, 2014. Kerry has returned to the Middle East as the Obama administration attempts to bolster regional efforts to reach a cease fire and sharpens its criticism of Hamas in its conflict with Israel. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to reporters as he meets with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 21, 2014. Kerry has returned to the Middle East as the Obama administration attempts to bolster regional efforts to reach a cease fire and sharpens its criticism of Hamas in its conflict with Israel. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon make statements to reporters in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 21, 2014. Kerry has returned to the Middle East as the Obama administration attempts to bolster regional efforts to reach a cease fire and sharpens its criticism of Hamas in its conflict with Israel. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon make statements to reporters in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 21, 2014. Kerry has returned to the Middle East as the Obama administration attempts to bolster regional efforts to reach a cease fire and sharpens its criticism of Hamas in its conflict with Israel. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • President Barack Obama makes a statement on the situation in Ukraine and Gaza, at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 21, 2014.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    President Barack Obama makes a statement on the situation in Ukraine and Gaza, at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 21, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping to get international support for a Mideast cease-fire. But he acknowledges the differences between Israel and Hamas run very deep and must be addressed in any long-term solution.

The U.S. stepped up calls Monday for a global push to end fighting in the Gaza Strip as Kerry tried to help broker a new cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants — the third since 2009. But he said those underlying issues must be confronted.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, is trying a delicate balancing act on the Mideast conflict. Obama reaffirmed his belief that Israel has the right to defend itself against a barrage of more than 1,500 rockets launched by Hamas, while voicing fresh concern about civilian casualties.