US to consider new approach in ties with Israel following Gaza attack

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Washington, June 3 (ANI): The Obama administration considers Israel's blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for a new approach to ensure Israel's security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area.

The New York Post quoted senior American officials as saying on Wednesday that Israel's deadly attack on a flotilla presented a new opportunity to push for increased engagement with the Palestinian Authority and a less harsh policy toward Gaza.

"There is no question that we need a new approach to Gaza," said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy shift is still in the early stages.

He was reflecting a broadly held view in the upper reaches of the administration.

Israel would insist that any approach take into account three factors: Israel's security; the need to prevent any benefit to Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza; and the four-year-old captivity of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Israeli television on Wednesday evening that "Israel will continue to maintain its right to defend itself."

But the American officials said they believed that even Mr. Netanyahu understood that a new approach was needed.

Netanyahu has resisted American pressure in the past. The Obama administration initially demanded a complete freeze on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but had to accept a 10-month partial freeze. Pressure on Israel also carries domestic political risks for Obama, given the passion of its supporters in the United States. (ANI)

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