President Obama held emergency phone calls with both the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and the President of Egypt Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday night to discuss the military situation in Gaza. The White House has said that President Obama told both leader that America supports Israel’s right to defend its citizens from rocket attacks emanating from Gaza. There have been more than 200 rockets fired on southern Israel in the last 72 hours.
A statement from the White House bout the current situation in Israel said:
“The president urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate. The president also spoke with President Mursi given Egypt’s central role in preserving regional security. In their conversation, President Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense.”
Egypt is one of the two countries in the Middle East with diplomatic ties to Israel. In recent years, after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Mursi has been highly critical of the Jewish State and has hinted that the peace treaty between the two countries may be re-evaluated. Washington counts on Egypt to help ensure regional stability. Egypt has frequently brokered ceasefires between the Gaza Strip’s terrorist rulers Hamas and Israel.
Mursi needs American investment and debt forgiveness to rebuild and maintain Egypt’s already tattered economy, so he has shown to be a reluctant ally of Washington since becoming president.
Israeli President Shimon Peres also spoke to President Obama on Wednesday and explained the reasoning behind the assassination of Hamas’s military commander in Gaza.
The U.N. Security Counsel met last night to discuss the situation in Gaza but adjourned without any agreement on action.