Thursday, June 3, 2010

Biden: Israel was within its rights


NEW YORK - Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday supported Israel's right to board the Free Gaza flotilla that attempted to break the Israeli maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

"You can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not ... but the truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know — they're at war with Hamas — has a right to know whether or not arms are being smuggled in," Biden said in an interview with Charlie Rose.

Maritime blockades of enemy territory are permitted under international law, and those imposing the blockade are permitted to search vessels trying to break into enemy territory even in international waters.

Israel has argued this point, but even the so-called "legal experts" at the UN continue to insist that Israel's actions against the flotilla constitute a crime.

The support of the U.S. vice president is certain to help Israel's case, though Biden didn't miss the opportunity to appease those of Israel's enemies that Washington is trying to make nice with by criticizing the Israeli embargo against Gaza.

While Biden was understanding about preventing weapons from entering Gaza, he said the Obama Administration is pressuring Israel to allow building materials to enter the territory.

Israel has severely limited the entry of building materials precisely because Hamas had been using items such as metal pipe and tubing to build rockets. Much of the cement entering Gaza prior to Israel's 2009 armed intervention had been used by Hamas to build bunkers to hide and store those rockets.

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