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Siren Interrupts Obama and Netanyahu's Telephone Call

Obama reaffirms support for Israel's right to self-defense, urges Israel to minimize civilian casualties.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 7/18/2014, 11:09 PM

Netanyahu and Obama (archive)
Netanyahu and Obama (archive)
Flash 90

U.S. President Barack Obama got to hear an incoming rocket siren during a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday.

As the two were speaking, a siren was heard in the background, indicating that rockets were being fired towards Tel Aviv. Netanyahu remarked to Obama that this is the reality in which Israelis have been living recently.

Speaking to reporters after the conversation, Obama said, “We discussed Israel's military operation in Gaza, including its efforts to stop the threat of terrorist infiltration through tunnels into Israel. I reaffirmed my strong support for Israel's right to defend itself. No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders or terrorists tunneling into its territory. In fact, while I was having the conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, sirens went off in Tel Aviv.”

Obama also said expressed concern about “the loss of more innocent life.”

“And that's why we've indicated although we support military efforts by the Israelis to make sure that rockets are not being fired into their territory, we also have said that our understanding is the current military ground operations are designed to deal with the tunnels,” he said.

“And we are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and that all of us are working hard to return to the ceasefire that was reached in November of 2012,” Obama told reporters.

He noted that Secretary of State John Kerry “is working to support Egypt's initiative to pursue that outcome. I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that John is prepared to travel to the region following additional consultations.”

On Thursday, the United States urged Israel to do more to protect civilians caught in the crossfire between the Israel and Hamas.

"We ask (Israel) to redouble their efforts to prevent civilian casualties. We believe there is more that can be done," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. "We believe that certainly there is more that can be done."

"The tragic event makes clear that Israel must take every possible step to meet its standards for protecting civilians from being killed," Psaki added.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)