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White House: Hamas is responsible for Gaza protester deaths

Raj Shah
Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah taking questions from reporters. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Monday that responsibility for the dozens of Palestinian protestors killed in Gaza "rests squarely with Hamas" and that "Israel has the right to defend itself."

The big picture: The White House said it still hopes to help foster a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian territories and believes that the protests — sparked by the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem — and deaths don't change that.