WASHINGTON, DC - President Barack Obama says long-term stability in Israel and the Gaza Strip will come slowly and require leaders in the region to take political risks for the sake of peace and prosperity.
The president told reporters Wednesday that the short-term U.S. goal for Gaza is for a temporary cease-fire to continue without being violated before it expires on Friday.
He maintained that Israel has the right to defend itself from rocket attacks and terrorist tunnels into its territory by the militant group Hamas that controls Gaza.
Obama also expressed sympathy for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose efforts to negotiate peace with Israel has so far failed.
Obama said Palestinians in the West Bank may have lost hope on how to move forward and improve their lives.