Obama: Israel Has Right to Fire Back at Gaza

As Netanyahu warns of possible 'expansion' in Gaza assault

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 18, 2012 6:45 AM CST | Updated Nov 18, 2012 7:44 AM CST

(Newser) – President Obama, who started a three-day Asia tour today, took time at a news conference in Bangkok today to address the Israel-Gaza conflict, the AP reports. "No country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down" on its people, he said, and Israel does have the right to defend itself from militants in the Gaza Strip doing just that. Any resolution must begin with "no missiles being fired into Israel's territory," he said. Also today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned at a cabinet meeting that the country's defense forces "are prepared for a significant expansion of the operation," NBC News reports. Violence continued for the fifth day today, as Israel deployed warplanes and naval vessels in its assault and Gaza militants aimed at least one rocket at Tel Aviv, the New York Times reports.

Two children were killed in an early strike on Gaza today, according to Palestinian news agencies. Israel has already started attacking non-military targets, including government buildings and media offices. The Palestinian death toll is now at 53, while 3 civilians have died in Israel. Rupert Murdoch weighed in on the conflict in a controversial way, wondering on Twitter, "Why Is Jewish owned press so consistently anti- Israel in every crisis?," the Huffington Post reports. Meanwhile, Israel also shot at Syrian fighters last night, after Syrian gunfire spilled over the border, the AP reports. Click for the latest Israel news.

Palestinians walk through the debris after an Israeli air strike on building in Gaza City, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.   (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on after delivering a statement to the media at Hakirya a military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
US President Barack Obama signs the guest book at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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