Obama criticizes Israel for cutting off water and food supplies from Gaza and sparking a ‘humanitarian crisis’ newsbhunt

By Geoff Earle, Deputy U.S. Political Editor For Dailymail.com

00:03 24 Oct 2023, updated 00:20 24 Oct 2023

  • The former president expressed support for Biden’s backing of Israel
  • But he called out Israel’s decision to cut off food, fuel, and water 
  • He said it could ‘harden Palestinian attitudes for generations’ 

Former President Barack Obama issued a call for a strategy to ‘incapacitate Hamas’ even while guarding to protect civilians – with a stern warning that Israel’s strategy to cut off water and power from Gaza could backfire for ‘generations.’

Obama wrote in a post on Medium that he fully supports Biden’s call to support Israel as it goes after Hamas following what he called the ‘horrific attack against Israel’ that resulted in the deaths of 1,400 including ‘defenseless women, children and the elderly.’

But then the former president goes further than the current one in condemning some of Israel’s actions, on moral and strategic grounds. 

Biden has called for Israel to follow the rules of war, and said last week that he ‘cautioned the government of Israel not to be blinded by rage’ in its response to the attacks. There have also been reports that the administration has been urging Israel to think through a potential ground invasion of Gaza. 

Obama explicitly criticizes Israel’s decision to cut off water and energy from Gaza, a policy that drew a rebuke from UN agencies this weekend. The government has declared a ‘siege’ and the Israeli energy minister has said it won’t open the tap until Hamas frees the hostages Hamas fighters took to Gaza following the brazen October 7 attack.

Former President Barack Obama penned an essay with his ‘thoughts on Israel and Gaza’

‘Already, thousands of Palestinians have been killed in the bombing of Gaza, many of them children. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes,’ Obama writes.

‘The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis; it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region,’ said the former president.

He then calls for a strategy that ‘can incapacitate Hamas while minimizing further civilian casualties.’

Israel has yet to launch a potential ground invasion of Gaza 17 days after the attack, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his unity government called for the destruction of Hamas following the attacks.

Obama criticized Israel for cutting off water and other resources to Gaza, while decrying the horrific attack inside Israel

Obama praised Israel’s decision, to allow relief trucks into Gaza, calling it a ‘shift’ that was ‘prompted in part’ by Biden’s behind the scenes diplomacy. Biden phoned the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi while returning from Israel. 

But he called for ‘accelerating’ relief, while also calling to engage with Palestinian leaders in the peace process.

Obama called for opposing anti-semitism ‘in all its forms, everywhere’, following worldwide reports of incidents, although he also called for rejecting ‘anti-Muslim, anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian sentiment,’ and refusing to ‘lump all Palestinians with Hamas or other terrorist groups.’

Obama, who struck the controversial Iran nuclear deal while in office but saw no real progress on Israel-Palestinian peace process, said Israel has ‘every right to exist,’ while calling out ‘dehumanizing language’ towards the people of Gaza.  

He said Palestinians ‘have also lived in disputed territories for generations; that many of them were not only displaced when Israel was formed but continue to be forcibly displaced by a settler movement that too often has received tacit or explicit support from the Israeli government; that Palestinian leaders who’ve been willing to make concessions for a two-state solution have too often had little to show for their efforts.’

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