Boehner urges US solidarity with Israel

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Boehner urges US solidarity with Israel
UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: Israeli President Shimon Peres, center, is presented the Congressional Gold Medal by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, during a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., look on, June 26, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: From left, Vice President Joe Biden, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Israeli President Shimon Peres, attend a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the Capitol rotunda at which Peres was presented the award, June 26, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
US Vice President Joe Biden (L), Speaker of the House John Boehner (C), and Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) stand during the Presentation of the Colors by the US Armed Forces Color Guard during ceremonies presenting with the Congressional Gold Medal to Peres on June 26, 2014 inside the Rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Israeli President Shimon Peres (R), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (C), U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden (L) listen to speakers during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, June 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Peres was pressented with the Congressional Gold Medal which recognizes those who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JULY 22: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) meets with Secretary-General of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby (L) to discuss the ceasefire issue in Gaza, on July 22, 2014 at the headquarters of the Arab League, in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JULY 22: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) to discuss the ceasefire issue in Gaza, on july 22, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Hassan Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JULY 22: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) meets with Secretary-General of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby (L) to discuss the ceasefire issue in Gaza, on July 22, 2014 at the headquarters of the Arab League, in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JULY 22: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (front C) meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (not seen) to discuss the ceasefire issue in Gaza, on july 22, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Hassan Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JULY 22: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) to discuss the ceasefire issue in Gaza, on july 22, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Hassan Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Palestinian man walks through a destroyed mosque hit during an overnight Israeli military strike, on July 22, 2014 in Rafah the southern Gaza Strip. UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry are in Cairo in a bid to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas after two weeks of fighting which has left over 570 Palestinians dead. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
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By DONNA CASSATA

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that support for Israel must be the United States' main focus and not peace mediation in a subtle jab at the Obama administration.

"At times like this, people try to isolate Israel - but we are here to stand with Israel," Boehner said in remarks at the National Press Club. "Not just as a broker or observer - but as a strong partner and a trusted ally."

Boehner defined that support: "Well, it doesn't mean issuing vague, on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand statements. No, it means backing up our words, and showing solidarity with our friend."

The comments from the Ohio Republican came as Secretary of State John Kerry has tried to negotiate a humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas after weeks of fighting, with little success.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday warned his country that it faces a prolonged campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Boehner said the U.S. House will always support Israel's right to defend itself.

"We will not equate professional militaries with terrorist organizations that use human shields and seek to maximize civilian casualties," Boehner said. "And we insist that the demilitarization of Gaza be not just a House goal but a shared, uncompromising U.S. and international objective."

Boehner addressed the National Leadership Assembly for Israel, which was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

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