MidEast

White House Backs Israel’s Response to Gaza Riots, Blames Violence on Hamas

The White House has blamed Hamas, the terrorist organization that exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, for the deadly clashes along the Israeli-Gaza border on Monday, The Times of Israel reported.

The Trump administration fully backed Israel’s response to the riots, describing the deaths of 52 Palestinian rioters as “tragic”, but said that, ultimately, the responsibility lies with Hamas. “We’re aware of the reports of continued violence in Gaza today. The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” said Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah.

“Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response and, as the secretary of state said, Israel has the right to defend itself,” he added.

Shah insisted the increased violence would not impact the White House’s peace plan. “The peace plan will be introduced at the appropriate time,” he said. “What today is about is following through on what the president promised and believes, and is also a recognition of reality,” he added.

Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s lead negotiator, wrote in an op-ed published in The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that “Hamas continues to exploit protests to foment violence against Israel.” He charged that “Hamas has managed to bring the people of Gaza, a people with a proud history and great potential, nearly back to the Stone Age.” He added: “What an embarrassment, what a desolation, what a failure.”

Greenblatt called on the international community to “get real about this – Hamas, and its enablers, such as Iran, are squarely to blame for the desperate situation in Gaza. Hamas has consistently put its own destructive priorities above those of Gaza’s weary and increasingly desperate population.”

However, on Monday, numerous countries, including France, characterized Israel’s reaction as disproportionate or called for restraint from all sides. “Israel has the right to defend itself and to guard the fence against a violent intrusion,” the German foreign ministry said, while calling for Israel to exercise “proportionality” in its response. Saudi Arabia also condemned Israel’s response to the border clashes, but without mentioning the inauguration of the U.S. embassy.

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