WASHINGTON: Israeli aggression in Gaza and spying by the National Security Agency dominated the conversation between US President Barack Obama and American Muslim leaders on Monday at the White House Iftar dinner.
The event went ahead despite calls by some Arab activists for a boycott over US support for Israel and alleged domestic surveillance of Muslims.
At the dinner, Obama said, “I will say very clearly, no country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at civilians. We have been very clear – Israel has a right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas.”
“At the same time ... the death and injury of Palestinian civilians is a tragedy, which is why we have emphasised the need to protect civilians regardless of who they are or where they live.”
Obama also used the Iftar dinner to bemoan the “particularly difficult” times in the Middle East, including the “brutality” of President Bashar al Assad’s regime in Syria and reiterated the need for a new government that can unite Iraqis to face the challenge from extremists.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2014.
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