Deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah took questions Monday about the deadly clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli Defense Forces on the Gaza border.
The press corps wanted to know who the White House thought were to blame for the violence.
Shah had a concise, one word answer: Hamas. (RELATED: Violent Clashes Leave Dozens Dead As Gaza Protests Escalate With The Opening Of The US Embassy Opens In Jerusalem)
Palestinians were rioting on the Gaza border as the US officially moved its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem Monday. The clashes on the border became violent as the thousands of protesters rushed the border held by the Israeli Defense Forces. Dozens of Palestinians have died in the clashes.
A reporter asked at the White House press briefing Monday, “In the south of Israel, along the border with Gaza, there was a lot of violence that resulted in more than 41 people losing their lives. Is the president concerned about the demonstrations and Israel’s response of people trying to climb over the fence?”
Shah responded, “The responsibility of the tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas.” He continued, “Hamas is intentionally provoking this response. As the secretary of State said, Israel has the right to defend itself.”
Shah went on to say the Hamas protests are a “propaganda attempt” and that the “Israeli government spent weeks trying to handle this without violence.”
“Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking the response,” Shah said bluntly.
Hamas is a Palestinian terrorist group that is the governing authority of the Gaza Strip. The group has been criticized by human rights groups for using child combatants, human shields and paying the families of terrorists.