One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s advisers on Sunday slammed Israel for “killing innocent children” in Gaza, Politico reports.
"This is why the ceasefire is so important," said White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in an interview aired on CBS.
"It's a devastating situation. Israel absolutely has the right to defend itself, and we are Israel's staunchest ally. But you also can't condone the killing of all of these innocent children," she charged.
President Obama, she said, was concerned and frustrated by the ongoing violence despite efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
"I think everyone involved is frustrated," Jarrett said. "But you can't let your frustration get in the way of trying to be a constructive player here, and that's what [Obama's] determined to do."
Asked if Israel had gone too far, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the strikes on the same show, saying that "unfortunately, if Hamas hides among the innocent, the innocent are going to get killed" because Israel has no choice but to stop Hamas from firing rockets at its citizens.
"There's no simple answer to these kinds of things," Bloomberg said. "You can't walk in and say, 'The good guys are wearing white hats, and the bad guys are wearing black hats. You can't tell who you're fighting in this kind of war."
While Washington has mostly supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’s rocket attacks, it has also at times criticized the Jewish state.
Earlier Sunday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki criticized Israel over an attack on a UN-run school in Gaza, saying the United States was "appalled" by the attack on the school.
Last week it was reported that Obama had placed heavy pressure on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to concede to Hamas's unprecedented demands for a ceasefire. Both the White House and Israel denied the report.