U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday called on Hamas to unconditionally release Second Lieutenant (Platoon Leader) Hadar Goldin, who is feared kidnapped in Gaza.
Releasing Goldin, Obama said in a statement, would show that Hamas is serious about a ceasefire.
“I think it’s important to note that we have and I have unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third minutes after a ceasefire was announced,” he said, according to the Guardian.
“I want to make sure they are listening... That soldier needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible,” he added.
"I think it's going to be very hard to put a ceasefire back together again if Israelis and the international community can't feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a ceasefire commitment," Obama said.
The President said Israel has a right to defend itself and that the threats from rockets and tunnels is intolerable.
“At the same time we must be clear that innocent civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire have to weigh on our conscience and we have to do more to protect them... a ceasefire was one way,” he said.
“Israel committed to that 72-hour ceasefire, and it was violated. And putting that back together will be difficult,” noted Obama.
"The Israelis of course are reporting this morning that that ceasefire was broken," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told CNN. "And that apparently Hamas individuals used the cover of a humanitarian ceasefire to attack Israeli soldiers and even to take one hostage. That would be a rather barbaric violation of the ceasefire."
(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.)