Former President Barack Obama called the Israel-Hamas conflict a “moral reckoning for all of us” at an event hosted by his foundation Friday.
Obama spoke at the Obama Foundation’s Democracy Forum on Thursday, where he called for a two-state solution and an end to the “occupation,” while not clarifying what occupation he meant.
“All of this is taking place against the backdrop of decades of failure to achieve a durable peace for both Israelis and Palestinians,” the former president told the forum audience.
He continued, “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.”
Palestinian governing authority Hamas launched a terrorist attack against Israel on October 7 that killed over 1,400 Israeli citizens. Since then, more than 9,000 people have been killed in Gaza as Israeli Defense Forces continue their ground incursion of the region, the Gaza Health Ministry claims.
The death toll is expected to rise once buildings are cleared and rubble is taken away. “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.” Obama admitted that the war has exposed differences inside the Obama Foundation.
“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,” the former president continued.