Israel’s action ‘understandable’, says PM

Israel’s attack on Gaza is understandable given the rocket attacks the country suffers on a daily basis, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende told a tv programme on Sunday night.

The prime minister said Israel can not leave the Hamas attacks unanswered and that there is therefore no point in condemning Israel’s actions, NOS tv reported the prime minister as saying. And international pressure to stop the fighting should be applied to both Hamas and Israel, Balkenende said.
Efforts by Socialist Party MP Harry van Bommel to have parliament recalled to discuss the Israeli action failed to gather enough support.
Van Bommel has also denied claims that he had called on the inhabitants of Gaza to use violence against the Israelis during a rally on Saturday. Intifada is not by definition a violent protest, Van Bommel said. ‘It can also be about civil disobedience and peaceful protest,’ he said.

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