When Obama Killed Civilians

The American president responsible for the deaths of some 10,000 civilians in a single Iraqi city is now lecturing Israel to be more careful about accidentally killing civilians in Gaza. Should Israel take his advice seriously?



Former President Barack Obama did not immediately respond to the Hamas massacre of over 1,200 Israelis on October 7. Although the slaughter was headline news around the world on that Shabbos, Sunday and Monday, it was not until Monday evening that Obama finally issued a comment.
Posted on X (formerly Twitter), the 44th president’s statement was just 73 words long. Obama said he was “horrified and outraged” by “the slaughter of innocent civilians,” adding the US should “stand squarely alongside our ally, Israel, as it dismantles Hamas.”
But Obama’s final sentence hedged. “As we support Israel’s right to defend itself against terror,” he wrote, “we must keep striving for a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
In the past, Obama has said that his concept of a “just and lasting peace” requires the creation of an independent state of Palestine along Israel’s old nine-mile-wide borders, including Israeli concessions on Jerusalem.


It did not take long for Obama to begin backing down from even that less-than-unequivocal position.
On October 23, before Israel’s ground forces had entered Gaza, Obama issued a new statement strongly criticizing the Israelis. By contrast with his 73-word condemnation on October 9, Obama’s new statement berating Israel was 1,158 words long.
“Already, thousands of Palestinians have been killed in the bombing of Gaza, many of them children,” Obama wrote. Actually, all statistics on the number of Gazan fatalities come from Hamas, and none have been independently verified. Apparently, the former president accepted the terror group’s numbers at face value.
Obama’s statement then accused the Israelis of taking steps that would “worsen a growing humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, “undermine long-term efforts to achieve peace,” and “further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations.” His implication was that it will be Israel’s fault if Gazans continue to support Hamas in the years to come.
The ex-president acknowledged Israel’s right to strike at terrorists, but in defining what he thinks Israel should set as its goal, he chose to use the phrase “incapacitate Hamas” rather than “destroy Hamas.” He seemed to be implying that Israel should merely undermine Hamas’s capabilities rather than completely eliminate it. That approach would make it possible for Hamas to regroup and rebuild after the dust has settled, as it has in the past.
In his statement, Obama also renewed his pressure for the creation of a Palestinian state. He demanded that Israel “begin articulating a viable pathway for Palestinians to achieve their legitimate aspirations for self-determination.” Evidently, Obama does not regard Hamas’ control of 100% of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority’s control of the areas where 96% of the other Palestinian Arabs reside as constituting “self-determination” for them.

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