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(photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told President Shimon Peres on Tuesday morning that Israel had every right to defend itself against "cynical" rocket attacks from Gaza.
"There is no doubt that any nation, including Israel, cannot stand idly by while its territory and people are subjected to rocket attacks," she said.
Clinton also said the Obama administration would would work with "any government which represents the democratic will of the people."
"I want to emphasize the continuing strength of US-Israel relations and the unrelenting commitment to Israel's security," she said.
Clinton added that she and US President Barack Obama were committed to working toward a two-state solution.
Peres welcomed Clinton to Beit Hanassi, where they met for about 45 minutes, together with US envoy George Mitchell.
The president told Clinton he was convinced that the new government would honor previous agreements and uphold Israel's commitment to the peace process. He said the situation in the region was not as good as she might like it to be, "but not as bad as reported in the press."
After her meeting with Peres, Clinton visited Yad Vashem, where she was guided by its council chairman, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, and laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance.
On Tuesday night, Clinton had dinner and held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the prime minister's Jerusalem residence.
Olmert stressed that a two-state solution with the Palestinians was "the only solution... and it reflects absolutely Israel's supreme strategic interest as well as the interest of the Palestinian people."
He added: "Israel cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran, and I heard President Obama and the secretary of state say that they resolutely object to a nuclear Iran."
"I am certain that she will know how to utilize all the experience and knowledge she acquired through the years... to represent the United States' interests and those of the entire free world, and to advance stability and quiet in the region - because this is a goal we all share," Olmert added.