White House: Israel Has Right to Defend Itself

(AP) Jim Kuhnhenn - The White House on Saturday defended Israel's right to defend itself against attack and decide how to respond to rocket fire from Gaza, blaming the ruling Islamic militant Hamas group for starting the conflict. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are in agreement that a de-escalation of the violence is preferred, provided that Hamas stops sending rockets into Israel, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters during the president's flight on Air Force One to Asia. Rhodes said the U.S. believes "the precipitating factor for the conflict was the rocket fire coming out of Gaza. We believe Israel has a right to defend itself, and they'll make their own decisions about the tactics they use in that regard." "These rockets have been fired into Israeli civilian areas and territory for some time now. So Israelis have endured far too much of a threat from these rockets for far too long, and that is what led the Israelis to take the action that they did in Gaza."

2012-11-18 00:00:00

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