Obama Calls Prime Minister Netanyahu, Demands Israel Agree to Ceasefire
President Barack Obama phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Sunday, demanding that he agree to an immediate ceasefire “that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities, based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.”
Israel has, however, unilaterally agreed to over five ceasefires so far, all of which Hamas has either outright rejected or violated in early stages. It remains unclear how Israel is supposed to comply with Obama’s demands when, to no fault of the Jewish state, Hamas has ignored its previous ceasefire efforts on multiple occasions.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said, “With all due respect to President Obama, if Hamas doesn’t halt its fire, Israel won’t be able to.”
In his phone call with Netanyahu, Obama called for the complete “disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza,” which has been interpreted as a huge victory for Israel’s moral authority.
Likud Knesset (Parliament) member Danny Danon, who was recently fired as deputy defense minister, said sarcastically of Obama’s demands, “We need a ceasefire from Obama and the American Administration. Just like the U.S. is fighting the Taliban with determination, we must continue fighting Hamas and destroying its tunnel infrastructure.”
The Israeli security cabinet agreed to a 24-hour extension of the self-declared one-sided ceasefire in Gaza. Hamas had also agreed to a humanitarian ceasefire, but then violated the truce Saturday night. Hamas also rejected an extension of the truce, even as Israel said it would continue to hold up its end of the bargain. A Hamas official said of the truce extension proposal, “Any Humanitarian ceasefire that does not include the pullout of [IDF Troops] from the Gaza Strip and does not allow Gaza residents to return to their homes and to care for their wounded is not acceptable.”
As of Sunday, the IDF had lost forty-three soldiers in battle during Operation Protective Edge, which entered day 21 on Monday.