White House: Hamas, not Israel, is to blame for dozens of Palestinian deaths in Gaza

gaza palestinian protests jerusalem embassy israel
The brother of Palestinian Shaher al-Madhoon, who was killed during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border, reacts over his body at a hospital morgue in the northern Gaza Strip May 14, 2018.
REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

The White House on Monday placed sole responsibility on Hamas for the deaths of dozens of Palestinians who’ve been killed by Israeli forces amid demonstrations against the new US embassy in Jerusalem.

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters responsibility for the deaths in Gaza “rests squarely with Hamas,” adding that the Trump administration supports Israel’s “right to defend itself.”

When pressed further and asked whether any of the responsibility falls on Israeli forces, who have fired live rounds at Palestinian demonstrators, Shah blamed Hamas’s “cynical exploitation” of the situation.

“We believe Hamas bears the responsibility. This is a propaganda attempt,” Shah said.

By Monday afternoon, over 2,400 people had been wounded in the demonstrations in addition to the dozens of deaths, according to various reports. Israeli forces have used tear gas against the demonstrators and there have also been reports of sniper fire.

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

President Donald Trump announced his decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December. The move was widely condemned, including by key US alleys in Europe and the UN.

Many expressed concern that moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which would effectively recognize it as Israel’s capital, would spark violence. The White House continued to defend Trump’s decision and the move on Monday amid the violence.

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