Former President Barack Obama spoke at the Obama Foundation’s Democracy Forum, addressing the Israel-Hamas conflict.
He called for a two-state solution and an end to the “occupation,” without specifying which occupation he meant.
Obama expressed the need for a durable peace based on genuine security for Israel, recognition of its right to exist, and self-determination for the Palestinian people. (Trending: CNN Poll Is Bad News For Biden)
“All of this is taking place against the backdrop of decades of failure to achieve a durable peace for both Israelis and Palestinians,” he said.
“One that is based on genuine security for Israel, a recognition of its right to exist, and a peace that is based on an end of the occupation and the creation of a viable state and self-determination for the Palestinian people.”
He acknowledged the difficulty of remaining dispassionate in the face of the ongoing violence and emphasized the moral reckoning it forces upon everyone.
Obama also mentioned the differing viewpoints within the Obama Foundation on the issue.
“Now, I will admit, it is impossible to be dispassionate in the face of this carnage,” Obama said Thursday. “It is hard to feel hopeful. The images of families mourning, of bodies being pulled from rubble, force a moral reckoning on all of us.”
“We’ve had to sort through our anguish, our outrage, our fears and our differences on the issues,” he said. “I had a conversation with a group of you around this issue, and you were passionate and pushed me around some of the public statements I’d made.”
“And the issue is not a wish for different outcomes – an end to the killing, peaceful coexistence between two sovereign and free peoples – but rather different assessments of the path that we need to take in order to get there.”
While the United States officially supports Israel’s right to self-defense, President Biden has expressed support for a humanitarian “pause” in the conflict.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes a pause, citing concerns about Hamas regrouping.