National security adviser H.R. McMaster listens during the daily press briefing at the White House, Monday, July 31, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
TEL AVIV — In a speech following Israel’s defensive 2014 war against the Hamas terrorist group, embattled White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster sidestepped a question about whether the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted itself in an ethical manner, instead providing what McMaster admitted was a “non-answer.” The IDF is known to go to extreme lengths to operate ethically and protect civilians when fighting Palestinian jihadists who use civilians as human shields, launch rocket attacks from civilian zones and house their terrorist infrastructures in densely populated civilian areas. Audio of the speech can be heard here. (McMaster’s Israel comments start at the 56 minute mark). At a December 4, 2014 speech to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, an audience member asked McMaster a direct question about the ethics of the IDF’s conduct in that year’s war against Hamas and in other wars. McMaster was asked: “Firstly, would you consider the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] conduct of the recent war and prior wars as a template for the ethical conduct of war?” Here is a transcript of McMaster’s reply, which he admitted was a “non-answer”: Okay. So quickly on that, in terms of the IDF actions and how to evaluate them,

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