Israel-Gaza conflict: Barack Obama warns Benjamin Netanyahu against escalating civilian deaths in Gaza

The US President says that while he respects Israel's right to self defence, he is concerned about the growing number of civilian casualties

US President Barack Obama has said that he is deeply concerned about the number of civilian deaths in Palestine and has called on Israeli Prime Minister to ensure that the number of casualties does not escalate.

While Obama said that the US respected Israel’s “right to self-defence”, he stressed that he was “deeply concerned” about the civilian losses incurred and the threat of the conflict intensifying further.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Obama said: “No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders”, but said that Israel's military should conduct its operation “in a way that minimises civilian casualties.”

On Thursday night the Israel Defence Forces launched their first ground offensive, mobilising units of soldiers and tanks into the Gaza strip.

Since the offensive was launched, a reported 60 Palestinians have been killed.

Following the operation on Friday, Netanyahu announced that the IDF would be looking to “widen their invasion” of the Gaza strip saying that without ground offensives Israel could pay a “higher price”.

In reaction, Obama has put pressure on Netanyahu to rethink his decision and, instead, pursue, a more peaceful resolution to the current conflict.

Obama said: “The US and our friends and allies are deeply concerned about the risks of further escalation and the loss of more innocent life.”

Read More Stories: Israel's first ground offensive leads to the death toll reaching 260
 Baby killed by tank as IDF begins ground offensive
Beaten Palestinian-American teenager returns to Florida
Uefa bans Israel from hosting matches during conflict
Robert Fisk: Medical charity likens work to 'patching up torture victims in an open-air prison
Voices: Why I'm burning my Israeli passport

The news comes as world leaders attempt to find a diplomatic resolution to the conflict that has claimed the lives of over 300 hundred people.

On Friday, Pope Francis called Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to urgie both men to make a concerted effort to promote a truce and encourage reconciliation between both sides.

In a statement released by the Vatican, they said the pope told both leaders that the saying that the “growing hostility, hatred and suffering” both nations were experiencing needed to stop.

Today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is set to travel to the area to speak to leaders from both sides in a bid to agree on a ceasefire.

Following an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday, a spokesman for the UN said that the  UN chief was travelling to the region to meet with officials from both sides to secure a “lasting resolution”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee