The White House has once again refused to condemn Saturday's killing of a Hamas leader by Israel.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Sunday Israel "needs to consider the consequences of the actions that it takes." But appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Rice added President Bush had repeatedly said that Israel is in a war against "terror," and needs to defend itself.
She conveyed Bush stated that position during last week's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
According to Rice, Israel does not give the US any advance notice that it is going to carry out such an attack.
Despite the renewed tensions, Rice voiced her hope that the Palestinians will see the "disengagement" plan being put forward by Sharon as a "tremendous opportunity."
Rice's comments came after Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said that Rantisi's assassination was a "direct result" of encouragement from the United States.
"The Palestinian cabinet considers this terrorist Israeli campaign is a direct result of American encouragement and the complete bias of the American administration towards the Israeli government," he said.
Meanwhile, reacting on the assassination, the Lebanon-based Hizbullah movement issued Sunday a statement in Beirut in which it considered that the US administration, which "provides cover and moral, political and financial support for the government of killers in Tel Aviv," is directly responsible for "this heinous crime."
It added that the "assassination crime, which was perpetrated by criminal Zionist Sharon and which is a practical continuation of the US president's recent stands on the Palestinian cause, constitutes a harsh blow to all Arab regimes and those disillusioned by the settlement that survives on the blood of the Palestinians and their dignity."
The statement called on Arab nations to stand by the Palestinian people and end "this genocide against the Palestinians on the hands of Zionists." (Albawaba.com)
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