Obama: Hamas Attacks 'Senseless Slaughter,' Won't Deter Peace Talks
Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama sternly condemned Tuesday's attacks in Hebron that killed four Israelis.
Calling the attacks by Hamas a "senseless slaughter" carried out by "terrorists that are purposely trying to undermine" upcoming peace talks between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to seeing those talks through.
"I want everybody to be very clear," he said. "The United States is going to be unwavering in support of Israel's security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities. And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer lasting peace with the people throughout the region."
The president spoke for roughly two minutes, wearing a dark suit and a lavender tie. He had notes placed on the lectern before him but did not appear to be reading heavily from them. To his left stood Netanyahu in a similarly dark suit with a red tie with blue stripes. The Israeli Prime Minister spoke after Obama and was slightly more graphic, calling the attacks "savagery and brutality."
"These people have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything they oppose," he said.
Prior to their statements, the two had been talking in the Oval Office as part of a set of bilateral meeting the president was having with key stakeholders in the region. Obama, who peered over Netanyahu's right shoulder throughout his remarks, took the microphone once again to address his upcoming meeting with Abbas.
"He condemned this outrageous attack as well," the president said of the Palestinian leader. "I have the utmost confidence in him and his belief in a two state solution in which the people of Israel and Palestinians are living side-by-side in peace and security. He has got a lot of work to do. There are going to be those who will do everything they can to undermine these talks."
As Obama spoke, a host of administration officials watched from behind the press including National Security Adviser General James Jones and the National Security Council's Denis McDonough.
(Note: The Huffington Post was the pool reporter at this event)