The conflict between Israel and Hamas has been a major topic of discussion in recent weeks, and tensions have only intensified in the wake of a recent airstrike in Lebanon that killed a senior terrorist leader. The White House has been put in the hot seat as reporters question whether President Biden’s recent strategic moves against Iran are broadening the conflict.
Enter John Kirby, the White House National Security Council spokesman tasked with defending the administration’s involvement in the Israel-Hamas conflict. In a fiery exchange with a reporter from Al-Jazeera, Kirby lost his cool as he was repeatedly questioned about whether the U.S. was provoking Iran by positioning warships in the Red Sea.
Kirby immediately pushed back against the reporter’s assertion, stating that Israel has a “right and responsibility” to go after Hamas leadership and that any actions taken would be in accordance with international law. However, the reporter was not satisfied and continued to press Kirby, asking why the U.S. was positioning warships in the Red Sea when Iran has a dominant presence in the region.
Kirby shot back, asking whether launching ballistic missiles and drones at commercial ships should be considered a provocation. He seemed incredulous at the reporter’s line of questioning, dismissing the idea that the U.S. was the one provoking Iran.
“Your question is presuming things I didn’t say,” Kirby starts, saying he did not confirm knowledge that Israel was responsible for a recent airstrike in Lebanon that killed a senior terrorist leader.
“Is that not being seen as a provocation?” she asked.
“That’s certainly turning things upside down, isn’t it?” he replied. “Wouldn’t you consider provocation launching ballistic missiles and drones at commercial…” Kirby continues before the reporter attempts to cut him off.
“Wait wait wait, let me finish!” he strongly stated. “Wouldn’t that be considered provocation?” Kirby asked. “Targeting innocent merchant ships, innocent merchant sailors. That’s a provocation.”
“I am totally disagreeing with the premise of your question,” he quipped.
The exchange highlights the delicate balance that the Biden administration must navigate as they support Israel in their fight against Hamas while also attempting to de-escalate tensions with Iran. The recent airstrikes in Lebanon, which have left thousands of Palestinian civilians dead, have sparked outrage among progressives who believe the U.S. should not be supporting Israel’s military actions.
🇾🇪🇺🇸🚨‼️ John Kirby snaps on Al Jazeera reporter when she asks about the American intervention in the Red Sea. pic.twitter.com/iAAZcCJKHL
— Lord Bebo (@MyLordBebo) January 3, 2024
However, Republicans have largely stood firm on their support for Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorist attacks. They have also criticized the Biden administration for their handling of the situation, with some arguing that the U.S. should provide more military aid to Israel.
During this tense situation, the U.S. is standing beside Israel, while also attempting to maintain diplomatic relations with Iran. The recent exchange between Kirby and the Al-Jazeera reporter highlights the challenges of navigating foreign policy in such a volatile region. Only time will tell how the Biden administration will handle this delicate situation and whether their approach will lead to a peaceful resolution or further escalation.