WH Wants Israel to ‘Do More’ to Avoid Civilian Deaths

by Andrew Johnson

One of President Obama’s top aides urged Israel to “take greater care” than it already does to spare Palestinian lives in its targeted strikes.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that the administration agrees that Hamas initiated the conflict and that Israel has a right to defend itself.

“At the same time though, we do believe Israel can do more to avoid the types of civilian causalities that we’ve seen in recent days,” Rhodes said. “We’ve been heartbroken at the loss of Palestinian life, the loss of children, so we do believe that Israel has to take greater care to avoid those types of civilian causalities.”

Israel currently goes to great lengths to warn Palestinian civilians of oncoming strikes, providing warnings in the form of text messages and fliers, amid allegations that Hamas uses civilians as human shields and stores weapons in schools and hospitals.

“Again, Israel has a right to defend itself, but as it does, it needs to take care to avoid the types of tragic civilians casualties that we’ve seen,” Rhodes said. He added that the administration has been “troubled” by the loss of Israeli lives as well.