Washington: The shelling of a UN facility in Gaza this week by the Israeli military is “totally unacceptable and indefensible”, the United States has said while appealing to the Israeli military to better its efforts to protect innocent civilians in the Gaza conflict.

“We have continued to urge Israeli military officials to live up to their high standards that they have set for the protection of innocent civilians. There is clearly more that can and should be done to ensure the safety of innocent civilians,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

Referring to the killing of civilians in an Israeli attack at a UN facility in Gaza, the White House official said the Israeli government has acknowledged that its forces were responding to Hamas’ firing in the area.

“We have steadfastly defended the right of the Israeli government and Israeli military leaders to take the actions that they feel are necessary to protect their people and to defend their country.

“The steps that they have taken have also been taken with the standards that they put in place to protect the lives of innocent civilians,” Earnest said.

“But the shelling of a UN facility that is housing innocent civilians who are fleeing violence is totally unacceptable and totally indefensible. It is clear that we need our allies in Israel to do more to live up to the high standards that they have set for themselves,” he insisted.

“What we have said is that Israel clearly – based on published reports about the significant, tragic loss of life experienced by innocent Palestinian civilians – is that the Israeli military can and should do more to protect the lives of those innocent civilians,” he further said.

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