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

  • Kerrry US Israel Palestinians-1.jpg

    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)

  • Kerrry US Israel Palestinians-2.jpg

    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)

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    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)

  • Mideast Israel Palestinians-4.jpg

    Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 20, 2014. A Gaza City neighborhood came under heavy tank fire Sunday as Israel widened its ground offensive against Hamas, causing hundreds of panicked residents to flee. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) (The Associated Press)

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    Palestinians launch fireworks during celebrations in the West bank city of Ramallah, late Sunday, July 20, 2014. The Hamas' armed wing said it has captured an Israeli soldier during fighting in the Gaza Strip. Speaking on a Hamas television station, spokesman Abu Ubaida said "we have captured a Zionist soldier and the occupation has not admitted that." The claim could not immediately be verified and the Israeli military said it was investigating the report. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) (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.