Netanyahu says Gaza assault has ‘very strong’ international support

The Israeli premier said that the ongoing Gaza military operation has won Washington’s support

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel won “international legitimacy” for its ongoing military assault on Gaza, which has claimed the lives of more than 430 Palestinians over the past 13 days.

Netanyahu said Israel's right to self-defense in the face of militant rocket fire from Gaza has “very strong” international support.

“We are carrying out a complex, deep, intensive activity inside the Gaza Strip and there is world support for this ... very strong support within the international community for the activity that the IDF is doing,” he said at a press conference in the defense ministry in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu said the ongoing Gaza military operation gained “international legitimacy” after it accepted an Egyptian truce proposal on July 15 which was shunned by Hamas.

“As a democratic state, Israel is using the legitimate tools of self-defense to try and harm those who are firing rockets at us. I think this distinction is clear to most world leaders,” he said.

He also said the operation has won Washington’s support, although President Barack Obama has raised concerns about the rising number of civilian deaths in Gaza.

A statement released by the White House said Obama also told Netanyahu in a telephone call that U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry would soon travel to Cairo to seek an immediate cessation of hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.

Earlier on Sunday, Kerry blamed Hamas for perpetuating the bloody conflict in Gaza by “stubbornly” refusing all ceasefire efforts.

By its behavior, Hamas had “invited further actions” by Israel, he said, demanding the Islamist movement take responsibility for the consequences of its actions.

Netanyahu rejects Turkish PM remark

Netanyahu on Sunday also criticized Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's comparison of Israel's offensive in Gaza to the Nazis, saying Erdogan’s remark was “anti-Semitic in tone”

“I heard the things the prime minister of Turkey said, words of the utmost gravity,” Netanyahu said in a briefing to reporters.

“I told (U.S. Secretary of State) John Kerry, (these are) anti-Semitic statements, they have an anti-Semitic tone.”

Erdogan also accused the United States of defending Israel's “disproportionate” tactics, and bemoaned the failure of the Muslim world to take a stronger stance.

A once-strong partnership between Israel and Turkey, both allies of Washington, has frayed in recent years over Ankara's anger at the Jewish state's Gaza policies.

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