Obama to Netanyahu: It's Time for a Ceasefire
President says US supports Israel, but is concerned about death toll
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 27, 2014 4:08 PM CDT
In this Sept. 30, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – In a phone call today, President Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the United States is growing more concerned about the rising Palestinian death toll and the worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza. The White House said Obama reiterated that Israel has a right to defend itself and condemned Hamas rocket attacks that have killed Israelis, but pushed for an immediate ceasefire.

The 20-day war has killed more than 1,030 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to Palestinian health officials. Israel has lost more than 40 soldiers, while two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker in Israel were killed by rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza. The White House said Obama told Netanyahu that the United States is committed to Israel's security, but civilians must be protected and Gaza's humanitarian crisis must be addressed. Obama said a sustainable ceasefire must be negotiated to allow Palestinian civilians in Gaza to return to normal lives. On US talk shows today, Netanyahu said Hamas was already violating the latest attempt at a ceasefire.