- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2014

President Obama called on Hamas to release a hostage Israeli soldier who was captured by militants in Gaza as a cease-fire collapsed Friday.

“I want to make sure they are listening,” Mr. Obama said at the White House. “If they are serious about trying to resolve this situation, that soldier needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible.”

The president said it will be “very difficult” to put together another truce when Israelis and the international community “feel that Hamas can’t follow through.”

The cease-fire was to last 72 hours but collapsed within two hours as Hamas renewed fighting and Israel responded.

Mr. Obama also said “innocent civilians caught in the crossfire have to weigh on our conscience.”

“I want to see everything possible done to make sure that Palestinian civilians are not being killed,” he said. “It is heartbreaking to see what’s happening there.”