WASHINGTON - International criticism over the deadly takeover of the Gaza-bound flotilla continues, as does the cold breeze from Washington. White House spokesman Bill Burton on Wednesday addressed the Israel Defense Forces' raid on a ship containing activists headed for the Strip's shores, and said the it is most important to President Obama that such incidents do not occur in the future.
At a press briefing on the presidential airplane, Burton emphasized that his country is in constant contact with Israel and that it is committed to the Jewish state's security. However, he stressed that Washington is determined to transfer aid to the civilians in Gaza.
When asked about the talks President Obama held with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the incident, Burton said Obama was confident that the discussion was a productive one.
The clashes on the ship led Netanyahu to cancel his meeting with Obama, which was scheduled for Tuesday.
Burton's remarks are in line with State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley's statement from Tuesday, in which he called on Israel to conduct a "credible" investigation into the incident.
Crowley said, "We are working to ascertain the facts, and expect that the Israeli government will conduct a full and credible investigation."
The spokesman added that the United States was "deeply concerned by the suffering of civilians in Gaza."
He said, "We will continue to work closely with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, along with international NGOs and the UN, to provide adequate access for humanitarian goods, including reconstruction materials, through the border crossings, while bearing in mind the Government of Israel's legitimate security concerns."