White House: Israel Has the Right to Defend Itself

White House reaffirms Washington’s support for Israel's right to defend itself after Israel retaliates for rocket attack on Ashkelon.

Elad Benari ,

White House spokesman Josh Earnest
White House spokesman Josh Earnest

The White House on Sunday reaffirmed Washington’s support for Israel's right to defend itself, Reuters reports.

The comments by White House spokesman Josh Earnest came after Israeli aircraft struck a terrorist infrastructure in Gaza in retaliation for a rocket attack on Ashkelon.

"Clearly the U.S. stands with the people of Israel as they defend their people and their nation against these kind of attacks," Earnest, accompanying President Barack Obama at a G7 summit in Germany, was quoted by Reuters as having told reporters.

One rocket fired from Gaza struck an open area outside Ashkelon on Saturday night, after sirens sounded in the Ashkelon area, the Lachish region and the Hof Ashkelon area.

Several explosions were also heard in the area. No injuries or damage were reported.

Saturday evening’s rocket attack is the latest in several attacks from Gaza in recent days. On Wednesday evening, two rockets from Gaza exploded in the Sdot Negev region. There were no physical injuries or damages.

Wednesday’s attack came just one week after terrorists from Gaza fired a Grad rocket towards southern Israel. The rocket exploded near the community of Gan Yavneh, near Ashdod. There were no injuries.

Due to the numerous rocket attacks, the IDF deployed Iron Dome batteries to the Ashkelon, Ashdod and Netivot areas on Friday. 

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the international silence on the resumption of rocket fire from Gaza.

"Israel holds Hamas responsible for all fire from Gaza into our territory," Netanyahu said, referring to the fact that Hamas has shifted blame for recent rocket fire on Salafist groups.

''I did not hear anyone in the international community condemn the rocket fire and the UN did not speak," he added. "I wonder if the silence continues even when we use our full power to exert our right to defend ourselves."

"Let it be clear - this hypocrisy which pervades the world will not tie our hands for defending the citizens of Israel," he warned. "So we have acted before and continue to act."