'Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself and its people'

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks to Israeli counterpart, condemns rocket attacks against Israel.

Elad Benari ,

Gilad Erdan, Jake Sullivan and Meir Ben-Shabbat
Gilad Erdan, Jake Sullivan and Meir Ben-Shabbat
Israeli Embassy in Washington

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke on Tuesday with Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat.

According to a statement from the White House, Sullivan “condemned the ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He conveyed the President’s unwavering support for Israel’s security and for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians.”

Sullivan “also conveyed the United States’ encouragement of steps toward restoring a sustainable calm. They agreed to continue to stay in close touch,” the statement added.

The White House further noted that Sullivan also spoke on Tuesday with the Government of Egypt on the situation in Gaza and Jerusalem. They discussed steps to restore calm over the coming days and agreed to stay in close touch.

The conversation came hours after US State Department spokesman Ned Price made a statement in which he asserted that Israel and the Palestinian Arabs have an equivalent right to self-defense, as Hamas launches hundreds of rockets on Israel's southern and central regions and Israel retaliates by targeting terrorists.

“Israel has the right to defend itself and to respond to rocket attacks,” he said. “The Palestinian people also have the right to safety and security just as Israelis do.”

“We call on all sides to exercise restraint and calm,” Price added, lamenting the loss of life on both sides and the hundreds of Arab rioters who were injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem prior to the rocket attacks.

Also on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden wrote a letter to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas asking him to end the current escalation with Israel.