The U.S. State Department spokesperson dodged a question on condemning the death of a Palestinian journalist who was killed by the Israeli army while he was covering protests in the Gaza Strip.
Speaking at a daily press briefing, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. needed further assessments to determine whether Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja had ties with the Hamas organization, which the U.S. considers as a terror group.
When a reporter asked what the U.S. policy was for condemning Israel's killing of a working journalist, who was vetted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for funding, Nauert insisted that she could not comment on it and the U.S. government needed an investigation into the death of Murtaja.
It was the second time the spokesperson declined to openly condemn the killing and said that the State Department was "looking into it."
At least 35 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since March 30 when the peaceful demonstrations began, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The rallies are part of a six-week demonstration that will culminate on May 15, marking the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment -- an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe."
Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees be granted the "right of return" to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
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