Obama hosts annual Ramadan Iftar at the White House
During the Iftar gathering, which is the time when Muslims worldwide break their fast after sunset, Obama discussed Middle Eastern matters including the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and the turmoil in Iraq.
“Even as we celebrate all that we have in common, we know in that in too many corners of the world, we see violence and terror, and those who would destroy rather than build,” he said.
“Now I will say very clearly, no country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens. And so we’ve been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself about what I consider inexcusable attacks from Hamas,” Obama said, referring to the militant Palestinian group based in the Gaza Strip.
Obama also said that the final aim of the U.S. was peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.
“The death and injury of Palestinians civilians is a tragedy, which is why we’ve emphasized the need to protect civilians regardless of who they are and where they live,” he said.
Speaking about Iraq, Obama said: “We continue to call for a new government that can unite Iraqis and show all communities in Iraq that they can advance their aspirations through the political process.”
The Iftar, which has become an annual tradition at the White House, gathered diplomats from the Arab and Muslim world.
It is the sixth Iftar to be hosted by Obama since he came to power in 2008.