Israel has right to board Gaza-bound ships: Biden

US Vice President Joe Biden has said Israel has the right to protect its security by boarding ships heading for Gaza, but warned Washington would cajole its ally on the plight of Palestinians.

Updated: Jun 03, 2010, 23:39 PM IST

Washington: US Vice President Joe Biden has
said Israel has the right to protect its security by boarding
ships heading for Gaza, but warned Washington would cajole its
ally on the plight of Palestinians.

Despite a wave of global outrage over the Israeli
commando assault on a Gaza aid flotilla on Monday which killed
nine people, the White House has so far refused to explicitly
single out the Israeli government for blame.
"I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its
security interest," Biden said in an interview with the
"Charlie Rose" show broadcast by PBS television late
Wednesday.

"The truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know
-- they`re at war with Hamas... whether or not arms are being
smuggled in.

"It`s legitimate for Israel to say, "I don`t know what`s
on that ship. These guys are dropping eight -- 3,000 rockets
on my people."

But Biden also said Washington, which has branded the
situation in Gaza "untenable," would continue to press Israel
to improve living conditions for Palestinians under the Gaza
blockade.

"The one thing we have to do is not forget the plight of
these Palestinians there ... they`re in bad shape.
"So we have put as much pressure and as much cajoling on
Israel as we can to allow them to get building materials in."

On Thursday, US Middle East envoy George Mitchell warned
the Gaza flotilla tragedy should not be allowed to undermine
US efforts to revive the peace process between Israel and the
Palestinians.

PTI