Speaking on the Pod Save America podcast about the conflict in the Middle East, the former president suggested the war was a ‘moral reckoning for all of us’.
‘If you want to solve the problem, then, you have to take in the whole truth’, the president said.
‘And you then have to admit nobody’s hands are clean, that all of us are complicit to some degree,’ the former president continued.
The current conflict between Israel and Hamas started after the terrorist group attacked Israel in the early hours of October 7, leaving more than 1,400 people dead.
Former President Obama said ‘nobody’s hands are clean’ amid the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas
Israel has now responded with a series of air strikes together with a ground offensive.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry say more than 9,200 Palestinians have been killed.
The former president made clear how he is able to see the conflict from both sides.
‘What Hamas did was horrific and there’s no justification for it. And what is also true is that the occupation and what’s happening to Palestinians is unbearable,’ Obama went on.
‘All of this is taking place against the backdrop of decades of failure to achieve a durable peace for both Israelis and Palestinians
‘I look at this and I think back, “What could I have done during my presidency, to move this forward?” as hard as I tried. I’ve got the scars to prove it.
On Friday, Obama also spoke during the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum in Chicago where he commented on the Israel-Hamas war
Civil defense teams and residents launch a search and rescue operation around the buildings that were destroyed after Israel’s attacks in Gaza (file photo)
An aerial view of bomb crater after an Israeli airstrike hitting a Palestinian family as search and rescue efforts for those under rubble continue in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 16
‘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.’
‘Now, I will admit, it is impossible to be dispassionate in the face of this carnage,’ Obama continued. ‘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 said like to see people ‘out there talking to people —including people who you disagree with. If you genuinely want to change this … you’ve got to figure out how to speak to somebody on the other side and listen to them and understand what they are talking about and not dismiss it.’
During his presidency, Obama often backed Israel’s right to self-defense at the start of conflicts with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza, but quickly called for Israeli restraint once Palestinian casualties mounted from airstrikes.
During his presidency, Obama often backed Israel’s right to self-defense at the start of conflicts with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza, but quickly called for Israeli restraint once Palestinian casualties mounted from airstrikes. Pictured, Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office at the White House in 2010
The Obama administration sought, but ultimately failed to broker, a peace deal in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Obama and Netanyahu are pictured in March 2012 in DC
Gaza, a 25-mile long strip of land that is home to 2.3 million people, has been ruled politically since 2007 by Hamas, an Iran-backed Islamist group, but faces a blockade from Israel.
The Obama administration sought, but ultimately failed to broker, a peace deal in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Since taking office in early 2021, Biden has not tried to resume long-stalled talks, saying that leaders on both sides were too intransigent and the climate was not right.
Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a testy relationship when Obama was in office, including when Obama’s administration was negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.
Biden, as Obama’s vice president, often acted as a mediator between the two men. The pair are pictures in March 2010
Biden, as Obama’s vice president, often acted as a mediator between the two men.
President Biden has strongly supported Israel in the war against Hamas and provided a significant amount of military assistance.
But the administration recently called for a humanitarian pauses and has warned several times against inflicting outsized harm on Palestinian civilians.
Former President Donald Trump, meanwhile, ran an administration closely aligned with Israel.
Trump initially criticized Netanyahu in the wake of Hamas’ attack, saying he was ‘not prepared’ and even went as far as praising Hezbollah, a regional militant group across the border in Lebanon, as ‘very smart.’ Trump retracted the comments later.