Obama praises Netanyahu for agreeing Gaza ceasefire

US President Barack Obama praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday for agreeing to support an Egyptian plan for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, the White House said.

"The president commended the prime minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, which the president recommended the prime minister do, while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself," it said.

The White House statement said Obama had spoken with Netanyahu by telephone and assured him "that no country can be expected to tolerate rocket attacks against civilians."

Obama also welcomed Netanyahu's willingness to cooperate with Egypt's bid to arrange a truce in a conflict in which Palestinian militants have fired rockets into Israel and Israeli jets, ships and artillery have struck targets in Gaza.

"The president expressed his appreciation for the prime minister's efforts to work with the new Egyptian government to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and a more durable solution to this problem," the statement said.

"The president said that the United States would use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.

"The president said that he was committed to seeking additional funding for Iron Dome and other US-Israel missile defense programs," it added, referring to an Israeli anti-missile shield that has intercepted some incoming Palestinian rockets.

by Burak AKINCI © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Nov 21, 2012