Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) is calling on White House official Philip Gordon to retract his recent comment that Israel is unlikely to find peace in the Middle East "if it's unwilling to delineate a border [and] end the occupation."
"The Obama administration should immediately repudiate Mr. Gordon's comments," Garrett said Thursday. "As Israel defends itself against countless rocket attacks from Hamas, it shouldn't also have to defend itself against those in the White House.
A picture taken on July 3, 2014 in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod shows an 'Iron Dome' battery, a short-range missile defence system designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells. Israel deployed extra forces to its border with Gaza after continued Palestinian rocket fire and heightened tensions following the suspected revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ
"While the Obama administration says it supports Israel, these comments obviously stand in stark contrast to that commitment and must be retracted."
Gordon is a special assistant to President Barack Obama and White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region.
On Wednesday, an Israeli news site criticized Gordon's comments, which were made on the same night that Hamas was firing rockets into southern Israel from Gaza.
Gordon said that while the U.S. will defend Israel, it also has questions:
"How will Israel remain democratic and Jewish if it attempts to govern the millions of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank? How will it have peace if it's unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupation and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security and dignity? How will we prevent other states from supporting Palestinian efforts in international bodies, if Israel is not seen as committed to peace?"
Israel has been under a heavy barrage of rocket fire from Gaza over the past week, which has prompted its government to consider a significant military mobilization in Gaza.