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Reiterating Israel’s right to defend itself, Blinken criticizes ‘false equivalence’ being made between Israel, Hamas

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, April 5, 2021. (Al Drago/Pool via AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, April 5, 2021. (Al Drago/Pool via AP)

In an interview with Norway’s TV2, US Secretary Antony Blinken says there’s a “false equivalence” being drawn between Hamas, a terrorist group indiscriminately attacking Israeli civilians, and Israel, a state defending itself.

He reiterates the US position that, “we believe strongly that Israel has a right to defend itself,” and then continues: “And this false equivalence between a terrorist group – Hamas – that is indiscriminately launching rockets at civilians and Israel, which is responding to those attacks, I think we have to be very, very wary of. That’s – it’s a false equivalence.

“And again, I’ll give you another concrete example. Israel has, I think by last count, launched about 2,000 attacks on terrorist targets in Gaza. There were more than 3,000 rockets launched by Hamas from Gaza into Israel.

“Having said that, I think Israel has an extra burden as a democracy to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, especially to look out for children, and of course to make sure that journalists, medical personnel, are not harmed. And so that’s vital,” he clarifies.

“And we also want to see this de-escalate. We want to see the violence stop. And we want to see the possibility of focusing on improving lives and improving Palestinian lives in a material way. People have to have hope for a better future, and we all need to work on that.”

Asked about efforts being made to help Palestinians, Blinken says the US is working to ensure that as well. “It is very, very difficult if you see no positive prospects. And I think we all have an obligation, a responsibility to do that.”

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