“Israel has a right to defend itself, but….” Supporters of Israel have grown accustomed to hearing some formulation of the preceding sentence whenever Israel takes security actions, with the “but” typically being followed by criticism of Israeli actions that in actuality question its right to self-defense.
When new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, visiting Jordan, was asked if the U.S. viewed Israeli actions in response to violence along its southern border as excessive, his response stood in stark contrast. He simply said: “We do believe Israelis have the right to defend themselves and we’re fully supportive of that.” End of statement. No “buts” about it.
Pompeo was not alone. Officials throughout the Trump administration echoed support for Israel and laid blame on Hamas as the media and the international community rushed to condemn the Jewish state.
“The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Sjah said. “Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response. And as the Secretary of State said, Israel has the right to defend itself.”