Rice Supports International Probe of Israel Flotilla Incident

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said Sunday she thinks it would be in Israel's interest to allow international participation in an investigation of its raid on a Turkish ship trying to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Rice told "Fox News Sunday" that the U.S. believes Israel can conduct a "credible and impartial" investigation, but that an "international component" would make it more credible in the eyes of the international community.

"We think that an international component would strengthen the investigation and certainly buttress its credibility in the eyes of the international community, and we've had discussions with Israel as to how and whether they might go about doing that," Rice said.

But she added it's "obviously ultimately the Israelis' choice" whether to participate in such a group evaluation.

"Our view is that Israel, as a democracy, as a country with a tradition of strong military justice, can conduct an investigation of this sort however it chooses to constitute it," she said, adding, "We are not pressuring Israel to participate in anything that it chooses not to participate in."

Rice spoke as Israel continues to face fallout from the May 31 incident in which a Turkish-flagged vessel refused to allow an inspection of goods headed toward the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Hamas is a terrorist organization, according to the United States and Israel, and the blockade is intended to prevent dual-use items that could be turned into weapons from reaching Hamas hands.

"The principle guiding our policy is clear — to prevent the entry of war materiel from entering Gaza and to allow the entry of humanitarian aid and non-contraband goods into the Gaza Strip," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.

Egypt and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have both said they support the blockade, which requires Egypt's cooperation to be enforceable. President Obama has called it unsustainable in its current form.

However, many Arab nations have demanded the blockade be dropped. That position was highlighted Sunday with the arrival of the Arab League's top diplomat in Gaza, suggesting a willingness to work with the Islamic militant group.

"The siege must be lifted," Arab League chief Amr Moussa told reporters. "All the world is now standing with the people of Palestine and the people of Gaza."

Moussa also met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh at his home.

"The acrimony between Gaza and the Arab nation ended today and forever," said Bassem Naim, a Hamas Cabinet minister who greeted Moussa.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.