(photo credit: REUTERS)
US Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to express frustration with Israel's operation in Gaza privately while publicly trumpeting the Jewish State's right to defend itself.
According to Politico, an open mic caught Kerry saying to an aide over the phone prior to an interview with Fox News Sunday, "It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation, it’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.”
Kerry appeared to be expressing frustration that the Israeli ground invasion was spiraling out of control in the conversation.
"We’ve got to get over there. Thank you John. I think John, we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around."
In the interview itself, Kerry called on Hamas to consider a cease-fire
. "It is important for Hamas to now step up and be reasonable and understand that (if) you accept the cease-fire, you save lives."
Kerry also said that the United States believes Israel has a right to defend itself from rockets fired from Gaza and from attacks launched from cross-border tunnels.
"You have a right to go in and take out those tunnels," Kerry told Fox News. "We completely support that. And we support Israel's right to defend itself against rockets that are continuing to come in."
Israel, which has accused Palestinian terror group Hamas of using civilians as human shields by launching rockets from residential areas, sent ground forces into the Gaza Strip on Thursday after 10 days of air, naval and artillery barrages failed to stop the salvos.
At least 62 Palestinians were killed on Sunday in Israeli shelling of one Gaza neighborhood. The IDF announced early Sunday morning that two Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza on Saturday, bringing the total number of Israeli military casualties to five since the start of the ground offensive.
In a separate interview on CNN, Kerry said President Barack Obama will ask him to go to the Middle East soon to aid in efforts to secure a cease-fire.