RESPONSIBILITY for the deaths of 62 Gazan protesters along the border this week “lies squarely with Hamas”, the White House announced.
It blamed the terror group that governs the Strip for stoking violent protests against Israel that have goaded Israeli security forces.
Responsibility does not lie with the Israel Defence Forces, the Trump administration said.
“We believe that Hamas is engaged in cynical action that is leading to these deaths,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters. “Israel has a right to defend itself and its borders.”
At the United Nations, American ambassador Nikki Haley said: “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.
“Make no mistake — Hamas is pleased with the results.”
Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Mark Regev, said Israel “did everything we could” to avoid the bloodshed on the border.
He insisted that Hamas aimed to “breach the border, to get inside Israel and to kill Israeli citizens”.
Regev added: “We use live fire only in a very measured way, in a very surgical way and only when there is no alternative.
“If we allow the Hamas terrorists to enter Israel, we will have dead Israelis. We must protect our border.”
Hamas admitted that 50 of the 62 killed were Hamas members while three were from ISIS.
Many countries have slammed Israel’s reaction as disproportionate. But the IDF said Gazans had to be stopped from infiltrating Israel.
The Hamas-run health ministry claimed that 2,400 Palestinians were wounded, many by tear gas.
Gazans have been protesting along the border for the past six weeks as part of what organisers have called the “Great March of Return”. But the mass protests on Monday were “unprecedented”, according to IDF spokesman Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis.
Forty thousand Palestinians took part in protests , throwing stones, explosive devices and Molotov cocktails at IDF troops, as well as burning tyres and launching burning objects with charcoal.