State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller grew frustrated with reporters who chose to focus on Palestinians rather than acknowledge the recent suffering of Israel, during a press briefing on Tuesday.
Israel began counter-offensive measures in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, an anti-Semitic terrorist group, killed 1,000 Israelis and at least 14 Americans starting on Saturday, and captured over 100 hostages, some of whom have been raped and tortured. Miller grew frustrated that a number of reporters seemed to disregard the brutal attacks Israel has suffered at the hands of Hamas.
“The president said that Hamas is motivated solely by the quest to kill Jews,” stated Said Arikat, a reporter at Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds. “Do you believe that… Hamas’ sole motivation is to go out and kill Jews? There’s no context?” Arikat asked.
“I have to say, Said, that’s a bit of a surprising question after what we saw Hamas carry out this weekend,” Miller responded. “When we saw Hamas go in and deliberately target Israeli citizens – and not just soldiers in the [Israeli Defense Force], but women, children… we all saw the images across our television screens of Hamas behaving in the most inhumane way possible.”
Another reporter, Max Blumenthal at The Grayzone News, challenged Miller about the potential fallout that Palestinian civilians could suffer during Israel’s counter-strike efforts in the Gaza Strip, given the strong language of Israeli leadership. Miller responded that Israel will abide by international law, and the U.S. may not agree with all statements made by Israeli leadership, but once again noted his surprise that he was continuing to field questions that seemed to disregard Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of a brutal terrorist organization.
“Number one, we expect, as we said, that Israel will conduct its operations in accordance with international law,” Miller began. “Number two, there are going to be a number of statements made over the course of this conflict, and when we have disagreements with them, we’ll make those known privately.”
“[But] some of the questions I’m getting do seem to ignore the fact that Israel just had hundreds of its citizens killed, people who were taken hostage, and pretend… that Israel should not be able to conduct operations to defend itself and hold accountable the terrorists who killed civilians.”
Blumenthal began shouting Miller down, asking him to realize that dozens of Palestinian children had been killed. Miller responded that it is not the policy of Israel to engage in conflict with civilians, unlike Hamas, which routinely kills innocent people – including Palestinian citizens – and captures others as a shield to protect itself.
“The Hamas terrorists who launched these operations – there is no one who has more disregard for Palestinian civilian life than those terrorists,” Miller said. “Those terrorists launched this activity, knowing there would be retaliation, knowing that Israel would have to defend itself, as any country [would do]. Knowing that it would lead to the unfortunate loss of civilian life, and they did anyway.”
Sam Husseini, a journalist who has made comments critical of Israel since the Hamas terrorist attacks, joined with Blumenthal and started yelling at Miller as he tried to call on other reporters.
“I would encourage you not to talk over your colleague,” Miller said to Blumenthal and Husseini.
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