POLITICS

Obama: U.S. 'Fully Supportive Of Israel's Right To Defend Itself'

11/18/2012 08:19 am 08:19:18 | Updated Nov 18, 2012

President Barack Obama on Sunday said that the U.S. is "fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself."

The comments were made during his visit to Thailand.

Obama also said that the U.S. is seeking an end to violence in the region, according to Reuters. He said that he will know within the next 2 days whether or not progress can be made in ending conflict between Israel and Gaza.

The AP reports that Obama said peace in the region must begin with "no missiles being fired into Israel's territory."

"No country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down," Obama said, according to the AP. "If [peace] can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that's preferable. It's not just preferable for the people of Gaza. It's also preferable for Israelis, because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they're much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded."

Sunday marked the 5th day of violence in the region. Israel had launched its offensive on Wednesday. Since then, 51 Palestinians, including 14 children, have been killed. In Israel, three civilians have been killed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that the country was ready for a "significant expansion" of its offensive.

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai reportedly has said that the goal of the offensive is to "send Gaza back to the middle ages."

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