Gaza Conflict Strains US-Israeli Relations

By: From CBS News
By: From CBS News

WASHINGTON (CBS News) -- The relationship between the U.S. and Israel has been strained as the death toll has mounted in Gaza.

The Obama administration said it was "appalled" by Sunday's Israeli attack near the U.N. school in Gaza, calling it "horrifying" and "disgraceful."

"That suspicion - that Hamas fighters are operating in the vicinity of innocent civilians - does not justify taking strikes that put the lives of those innocent civilians at risk," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

That's unusual criticism for an ally, one that receives more than three billion dollars in U.S. military aid each year.

"They do not know the facts, it was a rush to judgement," said Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., in an interview with CBS News. He dismissed calls for Israel to show more restraint.

Asked if America's military aid gave it more room for criticism of Israel, Dermer said: "We listen very carefully to what the president of the United States and what the secretary of the state has to say, believe me."

"We're in alignment 99 percent of the time, and when we don't agree on something that one percent of the time, we work it out as allies work it out," Dermer added.

Even still, there is growing U.S. discomfort about how the weapons it provides are being used. There has also been simmering tension between the two countries since the U.S. blamed Israel for the collapse of peace talks in April.

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