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State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday stopped responding to questions on the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.
While proclaiming a regret of loss of life, she effectively justified the killing: “Israel has a right to defend itself. When people are being sent to the border, they are bringing weapons, they are threatening to cross through the fence, they are throwing Molotov cocktails – Israel has a right to defend itself.”
When asked “But in so many flashpoints that are sensitive around the world, regularly the U.S. Government calls for restraint on all sides. It’s such a common, simple thing to say. Why in this case is it so difficult? What would be wrong with calling for restraint on the part of Israel?” Nauert responded: “I think this is a complex region. We’re looking at exactly why protests are taking place, why Hamas is encouraging people to go out and protest, why Hamas is encouraging people to go out right up to the border fence, why they’re encouraging people to try to knock down that fence and go into Israel, why they’re sending kites with Molotov cocktails to try to burn down the fields. Michelle, this is not as innocent as it may seem to many people. Hamas is trying to encourage people to do that, and by doing that, they are putting Palestinian lives at risk. … Let’s move on. I don’t have anything more for you on this, okay?”
I tried to get questions in a several points and she manged to avoid me through the news conference until the very end, which I attempted to pursue a line of questioning starting with examining the notion that Israel was justified. I wish I came up with more creative way to approach this, but her non response and justification for massive killing is notable.
(36:35) HUSSEINI: How is it not justification for killing – for Israel killing when you say Israel has the right to defend itself?
MS NAUERT: Okay, we’re – we’re done with this.
HUSSEINI: Israel has a right to defend itself —
MS NAUERT: We’ve already been there.
HUSSEINI: — and there are no Israeli casualties —
MS NAUERT: Okay.
HUSSEINI: — and there are literally tens of – there’s over ten thousand —
MS NAUERT: I think – I think we’ve covered this extensively already.
HUSSEINI: — Palestinian casualties in the – and a hundred dead.
MS NAUERT: Okay. Go on, one last question?
MS NAUERT: Do you have something else?
HUSSEINI: Excuse me.
QUESTION: Yes. On the Lebanese.
HUSSEINI: Excuse me. No, no, no. That requires a response. And furthermore, I mean, the U.S. isn’t, you know, mowing down people along the U.S.-Mexican border.
MS NAUERT: We are —
HUSSEINI: Isn’t that accurate?
MS NAUERT: We are done with this issue. We’ve covered it extensively already. I’ve taken many questions on this, and we’ve —
HUSSEINI: So, Israel is off the hook again. Israel is off the hook again.
MS NAUERT: Sir, thank you – thank you for your question. I think we’ve covered this already, okay? I’m sorry; I’ll get back to you another time, okay?
QUESTION: That’s okay.
MS NAUERT: Thank you.
See my last questioning at a State Department briefing on March 23, which similarly ended with me asking: “So Israel’s off the hook?”