DECEMBER 9, 2022
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White House Justifies Israeli Strike in Rafah Amid Civilian Casualties

White House Justifies Israeli Strike in Rafah Amid Civilian Casualties

On Monday, the White House appeared to justify an Israeli strike on displaced Palestinians in Rafah, which hit a tent camp and resulted in the deaths of at least 45 people, including many women and children.

In a statement, a White House National Security spokesperson called the incident “heartbreaking” but supported Israel's "right" to target Hamas, aligning with Israeli claims that the strike also killed two Hamas fighters. “The devastating images following the IDF strike in Rafah last night that killed dozens of innocent Palestinians are heartbreaking,” the spokesperson said, according to CNN. “Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists who are responsible for attacks against Israeli civilians.”

Doctors Without Borders reported that the Israeli strike hit a camp in western Rafah, designated by the Israeli military as a “safe zone.” Gaza’s Health Ministry confirmed that the dead included at least 12 women, eight children, and three elderly people, with three bodies burned beyond recognition. Online footage showed large fires and severely burned corpses being pulled from the site, including the body of a headless child.

Axios noted that the US is assessing whether the massacre crossed President Biden’s “red line,” though it remains unclear if such a line was definitively set. Despite Biden's earlier warning against heavy bomb use in Rafah, the US ultimately supported the Israeli attack on the city.

After initially claiming the Rafah massacre was a targeted attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later called it a “tragic mistake” and promised an investigation. However, Israeli investigations into civilian casualties often lack follow-through, with the US seemingly content to remain uninformed about potential Israeli war crimes.

Earlier this month, the State Department released a report suggesting that Israel might be violating US and international law in Gaza with US-supplied weapons, but claimed insufficient evidence to confirm this, allowing the Biden administration to continue arms shipments to Israel.

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