White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah displayed literally no empathy or compassion on Monday for the more than fifty Palestinians killed by Israeli troops along the Gaza border over the past 24 hours, saying that the only people to blame for their deaths were Hamas.
“The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,” Shah said. “As the secretary of state said, Israel has the right to defend itself.”
Shah continued to wholly back Israel’s assault on the Palestinian protesters as his press briefing continued. At one point, when presented with the French foreign minister’s request that Israeli soldiers exercise restraint, Shah repeated “we believe that Hamas is responsible for what’s going on.”
“So there’s no responsibility beyond that for the Israeli authorities?” NBC’s Peter Alexander pushed back. “Kill at will?”
“What I’m saying is that we believe that Hamas as an organization is engaged in cynical action that is leading to these steps,” Shah answered.
Shah later described the violence as “gruesome propaganda,” and referred to the deaths of more than 50 Palestinians (and zero Israelis) within Gaza itself as “Tragedies in southern Israel.”
Finally, when asked point blank about the overwhelmingly lopsided casualty numbers, Shah retreated back to his talking point.
“People were throwing rocks 50 meters from the wall and were faced with sniper attacks,” one reporter asked. “Is the White House in denial of the split-screen reality that’s occurring?”
“Again,” Shah answered, “we believe that Hamas is responsible.”