Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that Israel had a right to defend itself and that Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza on the Jewish state could not go unanswered.
Clinton spoke as a fragile ceasefire ruptured between Israel and Hamas-ruled Gaza on the same day as President Barack Obama‘s special envoy George Mitchell arrived in the region to try and shore up the truce.
“We support Israel’s right to self-defense. The (Palestinian) rocket barrages which are getting closer and closer to populated areas (in Israel) cannot go unanswered,” Clinton said in her first news conference at the State Department.
The top U.S. diplomat, whose comments may be seen by some as giving Israel a green light to once again pound Gaza, accused Hamas of “offensive” action against the Israeli Defense Forces on the border.
“It is regrettable that the Hamas leadership apparently believes that it is in their interest to provoke the right of self-defense instead of building a better future for the people of Gaza,” said Clinton.
She’s sounding tougher than Condoleezza Rice, in fact, who through the years often called for “Israeli restraint”, and when the latest hostilities erupted, called for an immediate ceasefire. When the Ceasefire Resolution was brought to a vote at the UN Security Council, she abstained, explaining that, “Washington agreed with the text and goals of the resolution but added: “The United States thought it important to see the outcomes of the Egyptian mediation efforts in order to see what this resolution might have been supporting.”
Hat tip: Lucianne