The White House on Monday sought to distinguish between Russia and Israel after Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal decried a “double standard” in the U.S. response to Moscow’s war in Ukraine as opposed to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Jayapal told NBC’s “Meet The Press” that while the White House sharply criticized Russia over its attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, the country is failing to condemn Israel over its siege of Gaza.
Following the Oct. 7 unprecedented Hamas attack on southern Israel, the country responded by cutting water, electricity and fuel supplies to the territory. Israelis have only allowed limited amounts of humanitarian aid to enter Gaza as the U.N. has continued to voice concerns about the desperate conditions on the ground.
“We have to recognize that our credibility and our authority on the moral stage is greatly diminished if we do not also call out this siege that Israel is launching on Gaza as violations of international law,” Jayapal added.
But John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, noted a key difference in Moscow and Tel Aviv’s objectives in their respective wars.
“Israel is not deliberately trying to kill civilians,” Kirby told “CNN This Morning” Monday. “They are going after Hamas. We want to make sure they do it in a cautious, careful, deliberate way, but it is not a war aim of Israel to kill innocent civilians the way it is a war aim of Vladimir Putin to do that to Ukraine.”
Kirby noted that the Biden administration is by no means discounting the deaths and suffering of civilians in the Hamas-run territory and said the U.S. is working to get humanitarian aid to those in need.
Over 8,500 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting began, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said his country won’t agree to a cease-fire.
According to The New York Times, he said, “Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism.”