Israel's Ambassador to the US Michael Oren has not ruled out the possibility that Israel will ask for US aid to continue Operation Pillar of Cloud, reports "The Washington Post".
"Right now we have the military means at our disposal that we need to meet this threat, and we are not asking for anything beyond that,” Oren told reporters. “But we are in constant consultation and communication with our American counterparts about the situation on the ground."
"The Washington Post" adds, "In the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Israel waited several days to request US-made cluster munitions. The State Department later found that Israel had probably violated US ground rules for the use of the controversial munitions in civilian areas."
Speaking to reporters on board Air Force 1, during President Barack Obama's trip in Asia yesterday, US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said that he was unaware of any Israeli request for additional military aid. "The Israelis are going to make decisions about their own military tactics and operations,” he said. “There’s a broad preference for de-escalation if it can be achieved in a way that ends that threat to Israeli citizens."
Asked about Israel’s targeting of government buildings, including the prime minister’s headquarters, Rhodes sadi, “We wouldn’t comment on specific targeting choices by the Israelis other than to say that we of course always underscore the importance of avoiding civilian casualties. But the Israelis again will make judgments about their military operations."
Rhodes reiterated statements by Obama and other top administration officials that Hamas was responsible for the flare-up in Gaza, saying that the precipitating factor for the conflict was the rocket fire coming out of Gaza, dismissing those who blame an Israeli airstrike that killed Hamas's military commander Ahmed Jaabari. “We believe Israel has a right to defend itself, and they’ll make their own decisions about the tactics that they use in that regard," he said. “Just to be clear on the precipitating factor: These rockets had been fired into Israeli civilian areas and territory for some time now. So Israelis have endured far too much of a threat from these rocket for far too long, and that is what led the Israelis to take the action that they did in Gaza."
Rhodes said that Obama has spoken daily with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the outbreak of the fighting and discussed ways of de-escalating the conflict. He said that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and once with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to urge them to use their influence with Hamas. "They have ability to play a constructive role in engaging Hamas and encouraging a process of de-escalation," he said.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 18, 2012
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