During an interview with PBS NewsHour which aired on Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded to polling showing increasing American criticism of Israel’s military response to the October 7 attack by saying that while he understands why people are heartbroken by the loss of life in Gaza, “I’m not hearing anyone say that” Hamas has a responsibility to do things that would protect Palestinian civilians.
Blinken responded, “This is incredibly gut-wrenching and it’s heartbreaking. But we also have to ask ourselves, what would we do and what would any country do when faced with this terrorist organization that had slaughtered its people and then said, very clearly, that it intended to do it again and again and again, if given the ability to do that, the capacity and the ability to do that? And that’s the problem that Israel has to deal with. It’s a problem that any of us have to deal with.”
He continued, “The other thing is, I don’t hear the hue and cry for Hamas to respect international humanitarian law, for Hamas to maybe get out of the buildings, to get out of the hospitals, to get out of the schools so that civilians aren’t in danger, for Hamas to surrender. That would protect Palestinian civilians immediately. I’m not hearing anyone say that. The dilemma for any country in this situation is what to do to make sure that not only can you — are you defending your people, but you’re trying to make sure that this can’t happen again.”