President Obama has told both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian President Morsi that he supports Israel’s right to defend itself against the missile attacks launched by Hamas and other militias from Gaza.
Obama and Netanyahu agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow tensions to ease, the White House said. The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days. Earlier Wednesday Netanyahu also spoke to Vice President Joe Biden on the events in Gaza.
White House spokesman Jay Carney issued a statement strongly condemning the Hamas rocket assault.
…Carney says there is “no justification” for the violence perpetrated by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. And he called on those responsible to immediately stop the “cowardly acts.”
Carney says that while Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, the violence it continues to engage in is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause.
It’s also worth noting that the Obama administration has provided Israel with $275 million in aid for its “Iron Dome” missile defense system. While far from foolproof, Iron Dome has prevented dozens of missiles from striking populated areas in Israel in recent days.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Israel military said Iron Dome had intercepted 90 of an estimated 250 rockets fired by militant groups in the Palestinian territory in the previous 24 hours.
That ratio may not look particularly impressive, but the system is smart enough to ignore missiles that it detects are heading for open land or farmland. During previous but less intense barrages, the Israelis have claimed Iron Dome has brought down 85 per cent of the rockets it has targeted.
Successful hits by Iron Dome’s interceptor missiles could be seen in palls of smoke high above southern Israel throughout the day.
“It’s unbelievable, we are very pleased with how Iron Dome has been operating,” said a spokesman for the Israeli Defence Force. “Even if the situation is very difficult for residents of southern Israel, we can only imagine what it would have been like without these defences.”
Surely this must come as a shock to those of our commenters (and others) who assured us that Obama was holding his hostility toward Israel in check until after the presidential election, when he planned to throw Israel under the bus.