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‘Heartbroken’ at ‘horrifying’ killing of boys, State Dep’t says Israel must do more to prevent civilian deaths

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A day after the State Department’s Jen Psaki put the blame on Hamas for Israel’s killing of four boys on a Gaza beach– and NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin mocked her for doing so–during yesterday’s State Department briefing, she shifted her tone re the same slaughter. At 18:00 in the video above, AP’s Matt Lee bears down.

Matt Lee: — yesterday you didn’t have a lot to say about the incident on the beach in Gaza. I’m wondering if you have more to say about it today now that things are a little bit more clear about what happened, but also in general whether you think – well, what you think of the restraint or lack of restraint being shown by either side in this.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Well, as the violence continues, and it’s continued overnight, there were reports – that we don’t have confirmed – of additional children, I think, since then, unfortunately. But we are increasingly concerned about the safety and security of civilians on both sides. We continue to urge all parties to do all they can to protect civilians, and we have been heartbroken by the high civilian death toll in Gaza, including the death of four innocent Palestinian children as they were playing on a beach in Gaza just yesterday.

It was – the reports were horrifying, the photos were horrifying, the video was horrifying. The tragic event makes clear that Israel must take every possible step to meet its standards for protecting civilians from being killed. We will continue to underscore that point to Israel; the Secretary has made that point directly as well…

QUESTION: does that mean that you don’t believe that Israel is doing – is practicing what it preaches in this, that they have not shown the restraint that you have called for?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, you have seen – you may have seen, but I can flag for you – that they have – the Israelis have expressed their sorrow and regret in these cases. What we’re asking for is a redoubling of efforts moving forward to prevent civilian casualties, given the events of the last couple of days.

QUESTION: So you do not believe they have done enough to prevent civilian casualties – or you do?

MS. PSAKI: We believe that certainly there’s more that can be done.

QUESTION: And you said that the Secretary has made this point to Prime Minister Netanyahu and —

MS. PSAKI: Yes.

QUESTION: Was that today? Have they spoken?

MS. PSAKI: Over the last 24 hours. I think they spoke yesterday.

The Washington Post says that with this “pointed warning,” the U.S. State Department is pivoting on the character of the Israeli onslaught. Note that later in the briefing, Psaki cites a Shimon Peres statement about the killings of Palestinian civilians. Not a denunciation, just a handwringing. Psaki’s comments would also seem to be in the category of handwringing.

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24 Responses

  1. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on July 18, 2014, 12:04 pm

    I’ve just said in reply to Citizen that nothing much changes. Here we have a little mousy squeak of distress in the face of a terrible, disproportionate slaughter. Perhaps even that would not have happened last time round but the changes and developments we see are so slight, so transient.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on July 18, 2014, 12:22 pm

      @ MHuges976
      US Senate has just rubber-stamped Israel’s conduct 100%. This includes all the claimed US senators who are said to be Progressives.

    • jenin
      jenin on July 18, 2014, 12:39 pm

      that’s what I was thinking as I read this. this is the best they could come up with in the face of a massacre? “there’s more to be done?” Pathetic how our politicians are bought and paid for by Israel, and even in the face of this horror they are afraid to make more than this tiny little squeak, as you say

    • Krauss
      Krauss on July 18, 2014, 12:57 pm

      I’ve just said in reply to Citizen that nothing much changes.

      You’re a useless defeatist, a ton has happened, especially in the discourse over the past 5 years.

      ‘Heartbroken’ at ‘horrifying’ killing of boys, State Dep’t says Israel must do more to prevent civilian deaths

      The same Psaki who yesterday blamed Palestinians for their own deaths. That trash of a human being has no credibility.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on July 18, 2014, 5:05 pm

        Perhaps I’m a bit of a defeatist, Krauss, but I don’t give up. Well, not a complete defeatist. They will not conquer for ever, but everything will take a long time.

    • Inanna
      Inanna on July 19, 2014, 2:09 am

      What has changed is that just a few years back, this sort of questioning would not be happening. Now it’s a daily occurrence, not just by Matt Lee but a host of reporters at the State Dept briefing, It’s great to see some reporters who are not prepared to just be stenographers. That will have an effect. I personally think it’s part of why Ayman Mohyeldin was returned to Gaza. The climate is changing.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on July 19, 2014, 2:51 am

        I have a lot of respect for Matt Lee. His questions are based on facts and issues. Is he pro Palestine or pro Israel? It’s actually hard to tell as he doesn’t throw in a lot of commentary. He forces Psaki (or whomever) to clearly address facts/issues.

  2. Kay24
    Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 12:13 pm

    Obama just wrapping up a news conference, and unless I missed it, I did not hear a single question from the zionist media, regarding the civilian casualties caused by Israel’s wrath and defending itself. It was all about the plane crash, even through Obama made a few token statements of the war.

  3. DaBakr
    DaBakr on July 18, 2014, 12:16 pm

    in this age of mass media hyper-coverage I am sure it wasn’t lost on those who tally death tolls and so-called ‘proportionality’ to a concept of fairness that in the course of a few seconds yesterday more people were brutally blown to bits at 33,000ft then have been killed in the campaign to force Hamas to stop firing its missiles at Israel. It appears that advanced Russian arms were used either by mistake or not but I doubt there will be any worldwide outrage on the streets for the almost 300 innocent victims.

    However-a strong case could be made to blame Zionism for being the root cause of the problems leading to the atrocity .

    Oh I know, I know, I’m a ‘hasbarist’ engaging in ‘whataboutism’ and have no feelings at all for the 100s of dead and injured as its impossible for a Zionist to feel anything remotely human.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius on July 18, 2014, 1:30 pm

      You’re comparing the loss of an airplane to an advanced army pounding hospitals, beaches and homes?

      You’re not that bright, are you?

      • jenin
        jenin on July 18, 2014, 2:57 pm

        no, he’s not. I guess hasbara central is getting desperate. on the other hand, hard to sound intelligent when you have no good arguments.

    • annie
      annie on July 18, 2014, 2:21 pm

      Oh I know, I know, I’m a ‘hasbarist’ engaging in ‘whataboutism’

      yes, you are. deflect deflect deflect.

    • eljay
      eljay on July 18, 2014, 2:25 pm

      >> Oh I know, I know, I’m a ‘hasbarist’ engaging in ‘whataboutism’ and have no feelings at all for the 100s of dead and injured as its impossible for a Zionist to feel anything remotely human.

      The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Well done.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on July 19, 2014, 4:52 am

        eljay says:
        July 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm

        Why should safety and security only exist “under the shadow of Islam”?
        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/understanding-hamas.html/comment-page-1#comment-685854

        The charta claims that history would serve as evidence.

        The charter is – or, at the very least, reads far too much like – a primitive, religiously-driven, conspiracy-filled diatriabe against “the Jews” and a call for Islamic supremacism.

        It was created by a sole nutcase.

    • Shingo
      Shingo on July 18, 2014, 8:19 pm

      in this age of mass media hyper-coverage I am sure it wasn’t lost on those who tally death tolls and so-called ‘proportionality’ to a concept of fairness that in the course of a few seconds yesterday more people were brutally blown to bits at 33,000ft then have been killed in the campaign to force Hamas to stop firing its missiles at Israel.

      That was hardly missed DaBakr. After all, it is clear that the Netenayhu government used this mass media hyper-coverage as cover for the invasion of Gaza.

      And FYI, the Israeli government has admitted on a number of occasions that the campaign was never about forcing Hamas to stop firing its missiles at Israel.

      It appears that advanced Russian arms were used either by mistake or not but I doubt there will be any worldwide outrage on the streets for the almost 300 innocent victims.

      What are you talking about? The world is in shock over this. So much so that the ongoing Gaza massacre has disappeared from the headlines, which you must be delighted about.

      • Kris
        Kris on July 18, 2014, 8:38 pm

        @Shingo, NPR is saying the missile that hit the plane was Russian made. I can’t help thinking about a certain organization whose motto is rumored to be “By deception thou shalt wage war,” a group that has access to every possible kind of weapons made anywhere.

        I have no evidence at all that Mossad shot down that plane. It’s funny how the human mind leaps to conclusions that seem to make sense based on past experience. For example, if you saw lemon slices on a plate on the kitchen table, and a knife in the sink, your first thought would be that the knife had been used to cut up the lemon. But that might not be the case at all.

  4. seafoid
    seafoid on July 18, 2014, 12:20 pm

    “Israel must do more to prevent civilian deaths”

    Also in the series

    “Paedos must do more to protect children”.

    Israel has been slaughtering Palestinian and Lebanese civilians since Day 1. Deir Yassin, Qibya, Sabra and Shatila, Qana, etc
    The bots are sure that if they kill enough vermin the Arabs will do as they are told. They have to get a Zionist lesson. And for the audacity of asking the siege of Gaza to be lifted, Israel has to kill at least 300 people. Otherwise Israel loses its deterrence.

    Asking Israel to go easy on the butchery is nonsense.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 12:34 pm

      Well said seafoid , when Israel is on the warpath and throws a tantrum, saying it MUST kill a few Arabs, and it has got the opportunity to do so, the US and the Western world pats it’s arrogant head, and says go on, we will justify it for you.
      Nothing changes. Maybe it is because Israel feels adequate sometimes, and must show how tough they can be.

  5. amigo
    amigo on July 18, 2014, 12:24 pm

    “MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, you have seen – you may have seen, but I can flag for you – that they have – the Israelis have expressed their sorrow and regret in these cases. What we’re asking for is a redoubling of efforts moving forward to prevent civilian casualties, given the events of the last couple of days.”

    Q. Are you saying Israel is only applying half the efforts required to avoid killing civilians.

    R. Duh aaah, hmmm,well aaah hmmm blah blah blah.

  6. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius on July 18, 2014, 1:00 pm

    I actually get a bit of schadenfreude watching how this State Dept drone’s body language shows clearly that she is horribly uncomfortable at having to…… make even the teeniest tinyist criticism of Israel. She seems far more upset about having to ‘criticise’ Israel than she is about the murder of the 4 boys.

    Future generations will see how the world’s most powerful nation cowered in front of a minor Levantine garrison state, and wonder how it could ever have happened, and for so long.

  7. upsidedownism
    upsidedownism on July 18, 2014, 2:16 pm

    Headlines around the world today abound with the shock and outrage at the slaughter of innocent children.

    Like this one at the London Evening Standard (http://www.standard.co.uk/)

    Of course, it is not the death of Palestinian children which has evoked this reaction. The mainstream media never seems to be outraged when Palestinian children die.

  8. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield on July 18, 2014, 2:17 pm

    Is it ‘criticizing Israel’ that upsets her or the risk that by saying something ‘wrong,’ perhaps inadvertently, she may lose her job and suffer other unpleasant things?

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye on July 18, 2014, 4:21 pm

      It’s probably fear of all those possible post-State lucrative appointments going up in a puff of smoke.

  9. asda
    asda on July 18, 2014, 9:04 pm

    Let’s see how this sounds when we replace the subjects with a context we know very well, let X be a jewish neighbourhood in nazi germany, or a concentration camp.

    Matt Lee: – yesterday you didn’t have a lot to say about the incident at X. I’m wondering if you have more to say about it today now that things are a little bit more clear about what happened, but also in general whether you think – well, what you think of the restraint or lack of restraint being shown by either side in this.

    MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Well, as the violence continues, and it’s continued overnight, there were reports – that we don’t have confirmed – of additional children, I think, since then, unfortunately. But we are increasingly concerned about the safety and security of civilians on both sides. We continue to urge all parties to do all they can to protect civilians, and we have been heartbroken by the high civilian death toll in X, including the death of four innocent Jewish children as they were playing in X just yesterday.

    It was – the reports were horrifying, the photos were horrifying, the video was horrifying. The tragic event makes clear that the Nazi Party must take every possible step to meet its standards for protecting civilians from being killed. We will continue to underscore that point to Germany; the Secretary has made that point directly as well…

    QUESTION: does that mean that you don’t believe that Germany is doing – is practicing what it preaches in this, that they have not shown the restraint that you have called for?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, you have seen – you may have seen, but I can flag for you – that they have – the German government have expressed their sorrow and regret in these cases. What we’re asking for is a redoubling of efforts moving forward to prevent civilian casualties, given the events of the last couple of days.

    QUESTION: So you do not believe they have done enough to prevent civilian casualties – or you do?

    MS. PSAKI: We believe that certainly there’s more that can be done.

    QUESTION: And you said that the Secretary has made this point to Prime Minister Hitler and –

    MS. PSAKI: Yes.

    QUESTION: Was that today? Have they spoken?

    MS. PSAKI: Over the last 24 hours. I think they spoke yesterday.

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