On the situation in Jerusalem and Gaza: The President has been briefed daily on developments in Jerusalem and Gaza. He just received another update before I came out here from the National Security Advisor. Since last week, he has directed his team to engage intensively with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, as well as leaders throughout the Middle East. His team is communicating a clear and consistent message in support of de-escalation, and that is our primary focus.
The President’s support for Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself, and its people is fundamental and will never waver. We condemn ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem. We also stand against extremism that has inflicted violence on both communities. Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith around the world, must be a place of coexistence. It is up to the officials, residents, and leaders to restore the city to a place of calm.
The President and his team will continue to pursue the conditions for diplomacy, dialogue, and de-escalation, and protection of civilians, even as we work together with our friends to deter acts of violence and terrorism.
We will also continue to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That is the only way to ensure the just and lasting peace that two peoples have struggled to achieve.
We believe Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, security, dignity, and prosperity. And U.S. officials, in recent weeks, have spoken candidly with Israeli officials about how evictions of Palestinian families who have lived for years, sometimes decades, in their homes and of demolitions of these homes work against our common interests in achieving a solution to the conflict.
In the coming days, as Muslims gather with family and friends to celebrate Eid and Jews join together to mark the beginning of Shabbat, let us affirm that all people of faith deserve to enjoy these important celebrations without fear of violence and work toward peace and calm for all.