Susan Rice: Gaza death toll ‘alarming’
By: Jonathan Topaz
July 28, 2014 01:46 PM EDT
National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Monday said the civilian death toll in Gaza is “alarming.”
Appearing on MSNBC, the top White House adviser first said that the Obama administration “fully supports” Israel’s right to defend itself against threats like those from Hamas.
“It’s the U.S. view, as well, that the death toll and the civilian toll in Gaza is rising in an alarming pace,” Rice continued. “It’s a concern that is grave and deepening on the part of the United States, the American people and the entire international community.”
Rice proceeded to call for “an immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire,” echoing what President Barack Obama and his top officials have said in recent days.
Her comments come amid reports of increased tensions between the administration and the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama spoke with Netanyahu on the phone Sunday to push for a cease-fire, but the prime minister has not signaled an immediate embrace of the idea, saying on the Sunday talk shows that Hamas has not been a willing partner in previous cease-fires and will only abide by them when it is in its strategic advantage. The Financial Times reported that the Israeli government was particularly upset with Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to set up a peace deal.
Rice insisted on Monday that the White House and Netanyahu were on the same page in calling for a cease-fire. “That is what Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly told the president he seeks. So we are together in trying to achieve that objective,” she told host Andrea Mitchell.
The lopsided death toll in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has come under increased scrutiny as the conflict has worn on. The Associated Press reported Saturday night that 1,047 Palestinians had died since the conflict began, with more than 6,000 wounded, compared with fewer than 50 Israelis. The United Nations estimated last week that 75 percent of those Palestinians who had been killed were civilians.