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(photo credit: AP [file])
The United States resisted calls for an early cease-fire in last summer's Israel-Lebanon war in order to give Israel time to defeat Hizbullah, the former US ambassador to the United Nations said.
The demand for an immediate cease-fire, backed by much of the international community but ignored for weeks by the United States and Britain, had been "dangerous and misguided," John Bolton said in a British Broadcasting Corp. interview aired Thursday.
Bolton agreed with the assertion that the US had given Israel free reign in its fight against Lebanon's Hizbullah guerrillas.
"What was wrong with that?" Bolton said. "They had been attacked, they were responding. The fact was that Israel was subject to a military threat from Hizbullah on a continuous basis.
"Hizbullah had committed an act of aggression and Israel was reacting in its own self-defense. And if reacting in its own self defense meant the defeat of the enemy, that was perfectly legitimate, under international law and frankly under good politics."
Bolton, who stepped down from his UN post in December, said he was "damned proud of what we did."
Bolton was interviewed for a BBC radio documentary on the war to be broadcast in full next month.
The former ambassador, who has a reputation as a blunt-spoken hawk, is writing a book about his days at the UN titled "Surrender is Not an Option."
British Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells said Bolton's remarks came as a surprise.
"I certainly didn't get the sense that there was some sort of formal collusion between the Americans and the Israelis," he told the BBC.