Secretary of State John Blinken said today that Washington has asked Israel to provide more “details” and “justification” for the Israeli military’s bombing last week of a building in the Gaza region that housed the offices of international news media.
AFP reports that Antony Blinken also said he had not seen any information from Israeli authorities and therefore had no intention of commenting on the legality of the air strike.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the Danish foreign minister in Copenhagen, Blinken said, “Israel has a special responsibility to protect civilians in self-defense, and that certainly includes journalists.”
Blinken said Israel has the right to defend its country, but he was troubled by the threats to journalists and medical personnel. The Israeli military airstrike on Gaza on the 15th destroyed a local building that contained international media outlets such as the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Blinken today urged all parties involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to protect civilians and said the United States will “intensify” its efforts to bring the violent conflict to an end.
“We are working tirelessly through diplomatic channels to try to bring this conflict to an end.”
The violent Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in its 2nd week, with Israel locking down bombing in the Gaza area and Palestinian militant groups firing rockets at Israeli cities.
Health officials in the Gaza region said the death toll so far from the outbreak of the conflict has reached 198, including 58 children and 34 women. Israel has suffered 10 deaths, two of them children.
The United States remains gravely concerned about the escalating violence,” Blinken said. Hundreds of people have been killed or injured, including children pulled from the rubble.”
“If both sides seek a cease-fire, we are willing to lend our assistance.”