Rights and Accountability 17 July 2014
The US State Department absolved Israel of responsibility for the murder of four Palestinian children in Gaza on Wednesday, placing the blame squarely on Hamas.
The four children were killed and three others badly wounded by Israeli fire as they played on a beach in Gaza on Wednesday afternoon. Dozens of international journalists stationed at the nearby Al-Deira Hotel watched in horror as after an initial strike, Israeli fire chased after the terrified children as they ran for their lives screaming for help, firing at them a second time.
Forty-six children have been killed and hundreds more injured during Israel’s relentless bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip, now in its tenth day. But this latest slaughter happened in the presence of journalists from major media outlets accross the globe, garnering more attention for the killings than they would have otherwise received.
During Wednesday’s US State Department press briefing, a reporter asked, “How is an Israeli airstrike on what can only be described as a civilian target in full view of international journalists be [sic] acceptable to the US government?”
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki replied that the loss of life in Gaza is “absolutely tragic,” but she blamed Hamas for the deaths, specifically citing Hamas’ rejection of a unilateral ceasefire proposal by Egypt and Israel, which Hamas was never consulted on.
“I would remind you that yesterday there was a ceasefire proposed that was abided to by the Israelis for a couple of hours that Hamas did not abide to,” said Psaki, adding, “they’re putting their own people at risk by continuing to escalate the situation on the ground.”
Reporters continued to raise questions about the rising civilian death toll caused by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and each time Psaki blamed Palestinian rocket fire on Israel, saying, “Hamas is putting their own people in Gaza at risk by continuing their actions.”
The lengthy back-and-forth is distilled in the following exchange:
QUESTION: So the people who have been killed, including these children – it’s – frankly, it doesn’t seem to – it doesn’t faze you?
MS. PSAKI: That’s not at all what I said. I think I’ve stated multiple times that the deaths of civilians, the loss of lives for children and individuals in Gaza is horrific and is a tragedy. And that’s why we’re so focused on bringing an end to the violence, and I think that’s far more important than a speculation about —
QUESTION: Right, but it’s – but it’s horrific and it’s a tragedy, but you’re saying that it’s the fault of Hamas for not stopping the rocket fire.
MS. PSAKI: They certainly are at fault in part here, yes.
Earlier in the briefing, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee inquired about a newly-released Human Rights Watch report condemning Israel for unlawfully targeting civilians in Gaza. The report also calls for an end to Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.
Asked if the State Department agrees with the report’s demand that Israel stop bombing civilians in Gaza, Psaki responded that the administration does not believe Israel is violating international law. As for Human Rights Watch’s call for an end to Palestinian rocket fire, Psaki responded, “Certainly, we would agree.”
Psaki went on to reaffirm US support for Israel’s “right to self-defense,” a privilege the US refuses to grant Palestinians as Israel occupies, colonizes and kills them en masse.
- Jennifer Psaki
- US State Department
- Palestinian children
- war crimes
- Matt Lee
- Human Rights Watch
Everyone knows that what is
Permalink Syed Thameen replied on
Everyone knows that what is Isreal does and their intention. Why the world is so silent on this massacre? Where is international police DOG? Can't they hear the scream of these kids and women? So cowardous and inhumanity act. It should condemn by every country. Today if we are silent, not so far ut may happend to any oyher country. Are we in 21st century? Or else we are in time of stonage .what the world is waiting for??
Permalink mr butt replied on
Israel have murdered so many children so many women what is the value of our muslim children women. what is so sad that the u.s.a condone what is israel have done but 3 hours later they are given israell weapons and artillery shells so israel can continue there slaughter. how can mr obama do this is this not double standards. does mr obama have heart.
mr obama should be ashamed of himself. in mr obama's eyes there is no value of this massacre in gaza those who have died mean nothing to the u.s.a these kids women are just a number. what have they done did they desereve to die did they not have the right to live.
Israel are murderers the have violated so many u.n. mandates israel are above the law just like the u.s.a. u.s.a are as much to blame for the massacre its your weapons mr Obama that Israel is using to commit these massacres.
in my years of watching this conflict i have never seen anything like this.
an Israeli soldier has today admitted to killing 13 Palestinian children he is a sniper.
but that's OK.
where are all the leaders from the Muslim countries watching the massacre these leaders have all sold out to Israel and the u.s.a and Europe.
what we see today is only what we need to know or to be shown.
some media outlets are bias and dont show sometimes the true conflict.
sometimes its all one sided.
behind all this there are arab countries who support israel to finish hamas and as much of the population as they can.
i never thought i would see the day that nobody has spoken up about what israel has done and is doing why are the uk not boycotting israel why is mr cameron not doing anything for my liking mr cameron is too quiet.
some of the supermarkets in the uk need to realise we will not shop or buy goods from you all the products you buy from israel for us is from occupied palestinian land for us that is unacceptable and will not buy these products to fill the pockets and fulfil there war on gaza.
who doesnt want peace israel need to give back
US State Department blames Hamas for Israel’s murder of Gaza chi
Permalink Master Adrian replied on
It is utterly shocking to see the US Administration make the statement that it is alright for Israel to murder innocent children!
The statement becomes even more shocking after reading that the Israeli military in front of reporters deliberately and purposely aimed at the running for their existence children, and continued firing at the children, were the deepest shock comes when realizing that the US-Administration is defending the atrocity!
On the other hand, considering the fact that US-Administrations in the past have defended military actions wereby village were burned down while the occupants still were in the buildings (Vietnam), that actions that were violations of the most simple human rights have been defended and supported (killings of civilians by US-military in Iraq and Afghanistan), the fact that US-military having raped children while stationed at Okinawa and other Asian military bases is not punished nor put on trial, not even handed to the local authorities, one in all honesty would expect the US-Administration to be defending the public murder of children!
An administration that imprisons people indefinitely without accusations and or trials (Quantanmo Bay) can not be expected to condemn or even denounce the deliberate killing of playing children, for such an administration it is "normal practice", or "collateral damage"....
Nevertheless it remains utterly shocking and very disturbing!
Permalink D E replied on
Shameful that American representatives blame Palestinians for the death of their civilians! We look the other way while a small group of people proceed to wipe out an entire race of people out of existence to steal land. We as a nation is complicit in these crimes and continue to send tax money to a government that thinks of nothing of murdering not only Palestinians but Americans too (remember Rachel Corrie??). We should hold our government accountable for the $8 million dollars a day spent to fund terrorism in the name of a jewish homeland state. America, and the world, should hold Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity.
Permalink wasiela replied on
So true they have hatred towards palestenians obama is to be blamed and that rat face why isn't hamas allowed to defend it self bc its a one sided war killing the future shame on all that s with israel
This is appalling.
Permalink Ejran replied on
This is appalling.
Meanwhile in the UK:
THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY BELONGS ONLY TO ISRAEL: US AGREES.
Permalink Peter Loeb replied on
It is hardly "shocking". Since its origin the mission of Zionism has been
the exclusive Jewish occupation of Palestine. It never ever intended to
share Palestine with any indigenous groups of any kind. Of course that
might result in Israel/Palestine on coequal bases in all functions of
government, the cabinet, the educational system, the armed forces etc.
The goal of Zionism has always been to rid Palestine of all Palestinians and
for many decades US policy has given Israel full support in finances,
weaponry, loans, funding settlements and Jewish-only roads and in protecting
Israel from all scrutiny of international agencies. This policy has
continued with the Obama administration but has also been the policy of
previous US governments. Israeli's consider its extermination policies its
inherited and religious right. : all other inhabitants of the land of milk and honey
must leave and/or die. Palestinians have no right to anything at all according
Peter Loeb, Boston, MA USA
Permalink do replied on
The spokesperson of the US State Department, does not knwo sh*t about international law.
There is NO international law that allows killing children, under ANY CONDITION.
Permalink D replied on
Amen to what you said. No international law allows the killing of children. Israel should be held accountable for murder, starvation, and other crimes, not to mention the murder of Rachel Corrie.
The descent into evil continues
Permalink Charles Pigott replied on
Morally depraved, indeed evil, as is the view expressed by the state department spokesperson, it is not surprising.
The statement, as with others the U.S. government (and nearly all of the mainstream media in the U.S.) have made in support of Israel's actions makes perfect sense given its unstated premise: that Palestinians are a lower order of being who have no rights, even to live, versus their 'betters', the Israelis. The context or immediate reasons driving the lower orders to react to their oppression is irrelevant under this premise-- lower orders have no valid feelings, suffering, or rights, at least none that their betters are obligated to have any regard for.
That this premise is widely accepted in America is not surprising given the past history vis a vis the indigenous population and African Americans.
For their part, the main lesson many Israelis seem to draw from the evils done to them by oppressors in Europe is -- to emulate those oppressors.
Occupier is not the victim
Permalink JayGoldenBeach replied on
An occupier does not defend against an occupied population. An occupier is dominant in every single regard. Therefore, an occupier is not a victim.
I do wish Israeli or Palestinian writers would include more often the Israeli legal definition for 'human shield' since that term is invoked frequently. Incurious, uninformed Americans infer it literally, but if I recall correctly, the govt defines the term as 'anyone remaining behind after being warned to leave'. It must be the precursor to the U.S. calling any civilians hit by a drone missile to be 'militants' based on proximity to the suspected-unknown-possible militant targeted.
Blame is elusive in this prolonged conflict
Permalink Jeffrey G Johnson replied on
Clearly there is an ugly disregard for life in stating that Palestinians are responsible for bombs Israel is dumping on them. Not ignoring the fact that Hamas missiles are tactically ineffective and strategically idiotic, but placing that aside, we can go back to Israel's exploitation of the deaths of three young Israeli boys, the deliberate withholding of information, the public announcements of an irresponsible Prime Minister obviously designed to whip up hatred and create a pretext for hundreds of arrests. We can then easily say Israel is to blame for Hamas' breaking of the 2012 cease fire, which completely defeats Israel's disgustingly smug self-defense argument.
Whichever way we unravel the tangled web of blame in this conflict going back a hundred years, there is enough blame to go around on both sides. Neither side is innocent, and it's time they both stopped pretending they are. Two tribes want full control of the same land, and that can not work. So extremists on both sides who are committed to fight are effectively dedicated to the complete humiliation and destruction of all that is precious to the other side, whether they will admit it or not.
We need more people who are on both sides, who are on the side of the human right for all people to live in peace and prosperity. We need to encourage the moderates on both sides who are willing to sacrifice something to attain real peace. Pride is useless compared to the value of being able to live and raise children in health and safety, and neither side requires all of Palestine to accomplish this.
Middle East conflict
Permalink David replied on
Oh well said JGJ Boy do we need more sensible folk like you in the US. Please God that you can
drum up enough support amongst honest, genuine Americans to bring your political barbarians in Washington to heel.
Your appalled UK friend,