White House: Israel has right to defend itself

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Associated Press

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Updated Saturday, Nov 17 at 1:30 PM

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) — The White House says it believes Israel "has the right to defend itself" against attack and that the Israelis will make their own decisions about their "military tactics and operations."

A top aide to President Barack Obama tells reporters traveling with the president to Asia on Air Force One that the U.S. and Israel both want an end to the rocket fire that's coming from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes says Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agree that "de-escalation is preferred," provided that Hamas stops firing into Israel.

Obama has spoken with the leaders of Egypt and Turkey, too.

Rhodes says they "have the ability to play a constructive role in engaging Hamas" and encouraging a de-escalation of the attacks.

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