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US defends Gaza blockade by Israel

world Updated: Jan 23, 2008 09:41 IST

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The US has said Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip was an act of self-defence and indicated that it was against any UN resolution on the situation, saying the "overall situation" including rocket attacks by Hamas should be examined by the Security Council.

"When 150 rockets a day are landed on your territory and injuring or potentially injuring your citizens, you have a right to defend yourself," White House Press secretary Dana Perino said on Tuesday just before the UNSC began talks in efforts to prepare a draft urging Israel to end its siege on Gaza.

At the State Department, assistant Spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said the Security Council should look at the "overall situation" while deliberating on the issue.

"Important for us...The council examine the overall situation, including Hamas's responsibility for the continuing rocket attacks against Israel that led to the current circumstances and today's restoration of the flow of diesel fuel and medical supplies into Gaza," the official said.

With fears of a looming humanitarian crisis, Israel eased its blockade on Tuesday by allowing limited amounts of fuel to enter Gaza for the first time since last Thursday.

"What the Palestinians and the Israelis need to do at the leadership level is to continue to push forward, to try to reach a peace agreement as they have pledged to do, to try to define what a Palestinian state would look like by the end of 2008.

"And then the Palestinians and those currently living under Hamas rule in Gaza will see that they have a choice to make. They can either live in a state that is democratic and secure, that can sustain and defend itself, or they could live in this near chaos that they're living in in Gaza. And that's the contrast, that's the decision that they're going to have to make," Perino said.