Is Israel's so-called self-defense, in reality, done in defense of it's illegal subjugation and theft of land from Palestinians in the West Bank, and its policy in Gaza where, since 2006, it has used a blockade and regular air, ground and sniper attacks to strangle it into submission? Washington is pledged to never allow that question to be raised.
Jen Psaki, speaking for the State Department, is OK with Israel's indiscriminate killings in Gaza, but not with Gaza's firing rockets back. When questioned about the Palestinian's right to defend themselves she sputtered, dodging the comparison of two sides exchanging fire. Insisting that Israel is an established government and Gaza is a haven for terrorists, she indicated that the USA does not see two sides with rights, but only Israel has any rights and Palestinians who respond to Israeli killings of their people are terrorists, not a "side."
So, in this case there's only one side. But sometimes the Palestinians get to be a "side."When negotiations fail Washington says "both side are to blame," even when the Palestinian side represented by Abbas capitulates to nearly every demand by Netanyahu.
So if the US feels compelled to criticize Israel for anything, then the Palestinians get to be one of two sides so they can be chastised too. If Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza stand up to the normal, regular every-day conditions of occupation and murder with impunity by the IDF or settlers that's terrorism. If they submit and don't fight back against Israel's long standing violent policy of ethnic cleansing, then all is peaceful and Palestinians are being reasonable.
A corollary of the White House's stand on Israel/Palestine is that any incident involving violence is always started by terrorists among the Palestinians never by Israel.
The killings of the three teenaged Jewish settlers near Hebron is seen as the ground zero of violence. According to Israel and the US State department all was calm until then. Shortly before the settlers were killed two Palestinian teens attending a protest rally marking the anniversary of the destruction of Palestinian society 1n 1947 (the Nakba)were shot down and killed by IDF snipers in front of thousands of witnesses and news media video cameras. Any repercussions? Of course not! The IDF can kill Palestinians with impunity. This has been the ground rule for decades. Any connection between this event and the killing of the three settler youth? Misguided revenge, but at least we can see a motivation to avenge murdered Palestinians. Oh no! This is terrorism just to satisfy Palestinian blood lust.
The fact that five Palestinians were killed by the IDF during the search for the three abducted Jewish teenagers hasn't been newsworthy or merited comment by the White House. These weren't shoot outs, but killings of unarmed civilians. But this doesn't rise to the level of violence in the eyes of our State Department spokesperson. Just normal life in Greater Israel. (There is ample evidence the Israelis authorities knew they were already dead before they started the "search," which gave them an opportunity to conduct mass arrests and terrorize they populace of Palestinian cities)
The "who started it?" question always falls on the Palestinians, not the Israelis. Before, during and after any rockets were ever launched from Gaza, Israel has been bombing from the air, shelling from the land and sea and making ground incursions and sniper attacks across the Gaza-Israel border. Israel makes constant (unreported) war on Gaza. This is normal peaceful behavior. The normal "war is peace" is disturbed only when fire is returned from Gaza.
Reality is starting to push and strain against the false paradigm that has been created by Israel and the USA to explain what is happening in occupied Palestine. Can reality be suppressed forever? Hopefully not. But it's a big task to educate the public and disseminate truthful information: this is about a colonial Zionist settler state, enabled by the world's (current) super power, working to subjugate and expel an entire people to guarantee the continued future of a single-ethnic/religious state that is the dominant power in the Mideast. This is not a viable long-term project, but that reality isn't stopping the State of Israel from bending every effort to achieve that result.