White House: Israel Can Use Ground Forces
The White House on Thursday condoned Israel's military response to the rockets launched against it by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes allowed that Israel was acting in self-defense. When asked if Israel should use ground forces for an assault on Gaza, Rhodes asserted:
Our view is that the Israelis have the right of self-defense when their citizens are faced with the threat of indiscriminate rocket fire from within Gaza … ultimately, it's up to the Israeli government to make determinations about how they're going to carry out their military objectives.
Rhodes acknowledged that American officials have been consulting with Israeli officials "to have an understanding of their plans going forward." Meanwhile, the Obama administration has been speaking with Turkey, Egypt and some European countries in order to have them urge Hamas to stop its rocket assaults.
At the United Nations, where this is being discussed, we've sought to keep the focus where it should be—which is on Hamas's rocket fire as the precipitating cause here. What we've also said is that the best course of action would be for there to be a general de-escalation of the violence, but that the onus is on Hamas—and those with influence over Hamas—to help bring about that de-escalation, so that we don't see a widening conflict. So we certainly want to see a de-escalation, we certainly want to see a broader conflict avoided.
Both Republican and Democrat lawmakers released a joint statement that expressed "solidarity" with Israel and warned that "escalation will only lead to further suffering on both sides."