Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said there was no need for Israel’s leadership or soldiers to show any restraint after the country’s military reportedly killed more than 50 Palestinian protesters and wounded more than 1,000 others on Monday.
The protests and killings erupted on the same day that the United States celebrated the implementation of President Donald Trump’s move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a deeply contentious decision. Recent protests in the region have also led to mass killings of Palestinians.
“The death toll is over 50 in Gaza,” a reporter asked Shah during the day’s briefing. “Is the U.S. calling on Israel to use restraint in dealing with these protests?”
“Well, we believe that, you know, Hamas is responsible for these tragic deaths, that their rather cynical exploitation of the situation is what’s leading to these events, and we want them to stop,” Shah said.
“So there’s no burden on Israel to do something to sort of rein it in?” the reporter replied.
Shah was clear that the White House thinks Israel has done nothing wrong: “No. We think we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Hamas is the one that frankly bears responsibility for the dire situation right now in Gaza.”
Watch the clip below:
NEW: White House Deputy Press Sec. Raj Shah on deadly Palestinian protests:
“We believe that Hamas is responsible for these tragic deaths, that their rather cynical exploitation of the situation is what’s leading to these deaths.” https://t.co/UPRoz8YSYh pic.twitter.com/OHjskBN3qc
— ABC News (@ABC) May 14, 2018
Correction: This story originally referred incorrectly to Shah’s job title. He is the principal deputy press secretary.
Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.