JERUSALEM, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially responded Wednesday night to the international outrage over the raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, defending his country's position and vowing to continue the blockade on Gaza.
At the first news conference after his return from a visit to North America, Netanyahu admitted that Israel is currently under great pressure because of the deadly Monday showdown. But he blamed the international community for treating Israel unfairly, calling it "an international attack of hypocrisy."
The premier defended Israel's policy of imposing the Gaza siege, saying the Jewish state is preventing the Islamic resistance movement Hamas from rearming.
In regard to the violence, Netanyahu expressed, once again, his support for the operation of Israeli forces. He said while Israel regrets the loss of life, the soldiers had to protect their lives.
In closing his address, Netanyahu vowed to continue imposing the Gaza siege. "We'll continue to protect our citizens, will continue to allow our soldiers to protect their lives and the State of Israel will continue to safeguard its right to self defense," he said.
Israeli navy commandos early Monday morning raided the international aid flotilla and clashed with activists on one of the ships. Nine civilians were killed and dozens were injured in the incident.