White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer isn’t ready to comment on whether or not Israel is following international law in its ongoing war against Hamas. When pressed on the issue on Sunday’s “Meet The Press,” Finer repeatedly deflected and told NBC’s Kristen Welker, “What I can say is it is not our position, certainly my position as a policymaker, to play real-time judge and jury on the question of any particular incident.”
Of the military raid on Al-Shifa, which left hundreds of patients, staff and civilians displaced, Finer told Welker, “We’ve been quite clear about our view of– of Shifa. Shifa is the largest hospital in Gaza. It is the most advanced hospital in Gaza. There are severely ill patients there. There are also a number of civilians who have gathered there to seek refuge during the course of the conflict, and those lives need to be protected.”
“But we’ve been equally clear that our intelligence, U.S. intelligence information, not just Israeli intelligence information, suggests that Hamas has used Al-Shifa in an unconscionable way as a command and control facility for the planning of terrorist attacks and the execution of terrorist attacks and continues to do so,” he added.
Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, has called Israel’s assault on the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza a “crime.” Israel entered the hospital after its leaders and military alleged that a Hamas command center was housed under the structure.
The IDF has thus far failed to produce proof of a large-scale headquarters housed at the hospital. On Wednesday, Newsweek fact-checked the claim that the Israeli military built a series of tunnels and bunkers under Al-Shifa in 1983 and rated it as true.
Finer added that the U.S. does not believe Israel should “conduct air strikes on the hospital or ground assaults on the hospital” but that ultimately the responsibility for what happened at the hospital lies with Hamas. He also said the militant organization “has put these people in severe jeopardy by the way in which it’s conducting this war.”
Unsatisfied with his answer, Welker asked again, “And are you confident Israel is following international law, Jon? Just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ there.”
Finer said, “We are confident that it is our position that it needs to. When we have seen issues that are raised based on incidents on the ground, we raised them privately and directly with the government–” before Welker interrupted. Finer continued, “… of Israel and said also that we are not going to in real time … play judge and jury on this question.”
Later, Welker posed the same question to 2024 GOP candidate Chris Christie, who visited Israel on Sunday. Christie, who claimed he was “600 feet from the Gaza border,” told Welker, “Yes, I absolutely do think Israel is following international law, Kristen.”
“And I will tell you, unlike a lot of other people who are expressing opinions about this, I was there and spoke to the leaders in Israel, spoke to the president of Israel, spoke to members of the Israeli Defense Forces,” he added.
Christie also said, “It is Hamas that’s doing this … what they did on October 7th was the greatest violation of international law and the greatest violation of humanity. And the worst part, Kristen, they did it with joy.”
Watch both interviews above.