WASHINGTON - The Obama administration walked a fine line Tuesday in response to Israel's lethal raid on a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza, calling on Israeli leaders to let more aid into the beleaguered territory but refusing to criticize the US ally for the use of deadly force.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton supported a UN Security Council statement that condemned the "acts" that cost the lives of nine pro-Palestinian activists off the Gaza coast. But US officials refused to say whether they held Israel or the activists responsible for the bloodshed.
Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the raid has complicated US efforts to reassure Israel about its security concerns while pushing for a comprehensive Middle East peace deal.
"It's hard to imagine any set of actions which would have played more into the hands of Israel's enemies," he said in a telephone interview.