Barack Obama warned the Israeli government against taking steps that could “exacerbate a growing humanitarian crisis” for the civilian population in Gaza.
The former president said he “fully supported” Joe Biden's call for support for America's “longtime ally” in dismantling Hamas, but warned against actions that could “erode global support for Israel” and “undermine the long-term efforts to achieve peace and stability. in the area.”
It comes after more than 5,100 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli bombings and airstrikes in retaliation for Hamas attacks that have left more than 1,500 Israelis dead.
Echoing the words of his former vice president, Mr Obama recalled the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and how the US had “failed to listen to the advice of even our allies”.
“The world is watching closely as events in the region unfold, and any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human cost could ultimately fail,” he wrote in an online blog.
“Already, thousands of Palestinians have been killed in the bombing of Gaza, many of them children. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes.
“The Israeli government's decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population threatens not only to exacerbate a growing humanitarian crisis. it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel's enemies, and undermine long-term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.”
Mr Obama added that Israel's recent decision to allow aid trucks into Gaza was “an encouraging step” but that further steps must be taken to minimize civilian casualties while “weakening Hamas”.
On Monday, Hamas announced the release of two elderly Israeli hostages, 85-year-old Yocheved Lifsitz and 79-year-old Nurit Cooper. After the release of two American-Israeli dual nationals last week.
The former president also urged those on both sides to understand each other, rejecting “anti-Semitism … anti-Muslim, anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian sentiment.”
“We should choose not to always assume the worst in those with whom we disagree,” he wrote.
“In an age of constant rancor, trolling and misinformation on social media, in an age when so many politicians and attention-seekers see an advantage in throwing heat instead of light, it may be unrealistic to expect respectful dialogue about any subject – much less one with such high stakes and after so much blood has been spilled.
“But if we are interested in keeping open the possibility of peace, security and dignity for future generations of the children of Israel and Palestine—as well as our own children—then it is up to all of us to at least make the effort to shape the model, our own words and actions, the kind of world we want them to inherit.”