The Obama administration voiced concern Monday about an Israeli commando attack on ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists on a mission to bring aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.
White House spokesman Bill Burton, speaking on the eve of a meeting that President Barack Obama had scheduled at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the United States "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained" in the incident.
Burton also said that administration officials are "currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy." The United States, among others, has been trying to restart direct peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but progress toward this achievement has lagged severely in recent months. At least 10 people were killed and dozens wounded in the incident Monday.
Obama, who has been pushing for a reinvigoration of the peace process, also has a meeting scheduled here June 9 with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
In a statement last week, the White House said that Obama and Abbas planned to discuss the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks and ways the U.S. can work with both parties to move into direct talks. They also will discuss U.S. efforts to support the establishment of a Palestinian state.