Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) on Thursday issued one of the strongest defenses yet of Israel in the wake of a deadly attack on a fleet of six ships headed for Gaza.
“We should be very clear about who is responsible for the unfortunate loss of life in the attempt to break the blockade in Gaza,” Lieberman said in a statement. “Hamas and its allies are the responsible parties for the recent violence and the continued difficulties for the people of Gaza. Israel exercised her legitimate right of self defense.”
Lieberman, who is Jewish and a strong supporter to Israel, called the flotilla “a clear provocation and [not] an effort to improve the lives of the people of Gaza but rather an attempt to score political propaganda points.” He also said the flotilla was intended to help the terrorist group Hamas rather than the Palestinian people.
“The Palestinian people have legitimate rights to a state that is a peaceful neighbor of Israel, but those who assist Hamas only undermine that goal and a peaceful resolution,” Lieberman said.
With international fervor over the attack and increased criticism of Israel’s action, Lieberman’s statement Thursday is the strongest yet in favor of the nation. Members on Capitol Hill have largely stayed mum on the issue, while the White House has so far provided tepid support for Israel while also condemning its actions. However, Vice President Joseph Biden said Wednesday that any perception of damaged ties between the United States and Israel are “vastly exaggerated.”
“I appreciate the way in which the Obama Administration has refused to join the international herd that has rushed to convict Israel before the facts were known and has apparently forgotten that Israel is a democratic nation and Hamas is a terrorist group,” Lieberman said. “At difficult moments like this, it is more important than ever for the U.S. to stand steadfastly with our democratic ally, Israel.”