President Barack Obama told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he wants an “immediate, unconditional humanitarian” cease-fire in the war with Gaza as “a strategic imperative,” in a phone call between the two leaders Sunday. Obama referred to the cease-fire proposed by Secretary of State John Kerry which was rejected unanimously on Friday by Israel’s security Cabinet. Israel believes Kerry’s proposal would lead to rewarding an illegitimate group of terrorists. Additionally, Israel wants any cease-fire to allow Israeli troops to continue tracking and destroying tunnels from the Gaza Strip into Israel, which Israel says were in place to facilitate massive terrorist attacks on Israeli communities.
Obama in his statement addressed some of the Israeli concerns, which were not made explicit in drafts of Kerry’s proposal – for instance, that any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and demilitarization of Gaza.