British PM urges Israel to 'respond constructively' to criticism

1st June 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron urged his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to "respond constructively to legitimate criticism" of its storming of an aid ship bound for Gaza.

Cameron told Netanyahu in a telephone conversation that Britain "deplored the heavy loss of life" after at least nine people died when Israeli commandos raided the ship.

"He reiterated the UK's strong commitment to Israel's security, but urged Israel to respond constructively to legitimate criticism of its actions, and to do everything possible to avoid a repeat of this unacceptable situation," a spokesman for Cameron said.

"The PM also stressed the importance of urgently lifting the blockade of Gaza, and allowing full access for humanitarian aid."

Earlier Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague called for a "full, and impartial and independent investigation or inquiry" into Monday's events off the coast of Gaza.

Hague called the restrictions on aid entering the Palestinian territories "unacceptable and counter-productive".

One Briton was injured in the Israeli military action against the flotilla of vessels carrying thousands of tonnes of aid to Gaza.

Israel has faced international outrage over the storming of the ship, but Netanyahu justified the action.

Speaking in Ottawa before cancelling a planned visit to Washington to return to Israel, he expressed "regret" over the loss of life but said Israeli troops had acted to "defend their lives."

© 2010 AFP

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