The shelling of a U.N. facility in Gaza this week by the Israeli military is ''totally unacceptable and totally indefensible,'' a White House official says. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The shelling of a U.N. facility in Gaza this week by the Israeli military is "totally unacceptable and totally indefensible" and Israel needs to do more to protect innocent civilians, a White House spokesman said on Thursday (July 31). Israel talks frequently about the importance it places on sparing civilian lives but the United States believes its government and military are not doing enough to that end, spokesman Josh Earnest said at a news briefing. "The shelling of a U.N. facility that is housing innocent civilians who are fleeing violence is totally unacceptable and totally indefensible," Earnest said. Gaza health officials say more than 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the battered enclave. Israel says 56 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed by rockets fired by the Hamas militant group. "It is clear that we need our allies in Israel to do more to live up to the own standards that they have set for themselves," Earnest said. Earnest repeated U.S. calls for an immediate cease fire and urged Hamas to stop firing rockets at innocent Israeli civilians. The Pentagon also called on Israel on Thursday to do more to protect civilian life during its military operations in Gaza, saying the conflict was taking too high a toll on civilians.