US condemns Hamas rockets as "unacceptable escalation" and says Israel has "legitimate right" to defend itself despite Israeli air strikes killing 20 people in Gaza and its forces wounding hundreds in Al Aqsa Mosque complex.

Palestinians run for cover as a stun grenade fired by Israeli forces explodes near Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem on May 10, 2021.
Palestinians run for cover as a stun grenade fired by Israeli forces explodes near Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem on May 10, 2021. (Reuters)

The United States has defended the Israeli military's aggressive abuse of force both in besieged Gaza, where Israeli air strikes killed 20 people, and against mostly unarmed Palestinian protesters in Al Aqsa Mosque compound.

In contrast to widespread condemnation of Israeli forces, the US on Monday rationalised Israel's violent attacks on blockaded Gaza and in occupied East Jerusalem where hundreds of Palestinians were wounded for opposing Israeli forces' raid on Al Aqsa Mosque – third holiest site of Muslims. 

Israel launched deadly air strikes on Gaza after a barrage of rockets fired by Hamas in response to its storming of Al Aqsa. Those air strikes killed 20 Palestinians, including nine children and wounded 65 others. 

But US issued an expected statement in defence of its ally, Israel.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price called the rocket attacks by Hamas as an "unacceptable escalation" while renewing calls for calm in occupied Jerusalem.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the barrage of rocket attacks fired into Israel in recent hours," he told reporters on Monday. 

"We also recognise Israel's legitimate right to defend itself and to defend its people and its territory."

"We welcome the steps the Israeli government has taken in recent days aimed at avoiding provocations," Price said.

There was no word on Israeli air strikes on Gaza or Israeli aggression elsewhere. 

Monday's remarks echoed a timid statement by US State Department on Friday that called on both Israeli and Palestinian officials to "deescalate tensions", as if they were equal parties to the violence.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel should stop "immediately," and he urged all sides to take steps to de-escalate the situation.

"I am deeply concerned about the rocket attacks," Blinken said in brief remarks ahead of his meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi at the State Department. 

Blinken also avoided mentioning the Israeli air strikes and subsequent deaths in Gaza. 

READ MORE: Sheikh Jarrah: Western media outlets are whitewashing Israeli colonialism

Correct your headlines

Western media platforms have also come under criticism for biased reportage in favour of Israel, while referring to the brutal attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood as "clashes."

Israel security forces are heavily armed with legal, political, and military control over Palestinians who are fighting for their basic human rights.

"Some of the highest circulated global news outlets have stubbornly repeated Orientalist tropes, implicitly providing justifications for Israel’s position and rationalising human rights violations," writer and scholar, Denijal Jegic said.

"Western media outlets obscure the Israeli origins of violence while implying a false parity of power with the Palestinians."

"In reality, one side is a nuclear-armed heavily militarised apartheid regime that has legal, political, and military control over the other side which is struggling for basic rights and sometimes mere survival," he argued.

READ MORE: Israel kills several Palestinians in Gaza, wounds hundreds in Al Aqsa raid

UK skips Gaza killings in remarks

Also on Monday, UK's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned the firing of rockets at occupied Jerusalem and locations within Israel.

"The ongoing violence in Jerusalem and Gaza must stop. We need an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and end to targeting of civilian populations", Raab said on Twitter.

Raab didn't mention killings in Gaza and Israeli violence at Al Aqsa in his remarks. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies