WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) -- Eighty-seven members of the U.S. Senate urged President Barack Obama Wednesday to oppose a U.N. resolution criticizing Israel's handling of an aid flotilla.
The senators -- including Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. -- signed a letter to Obama defending Israel's actions in a May 31 confrontation during which nine people aboard a flotilla carrying aid to Gaza were killed, The Hill reported.
The letter expresses support for Israel's right to defend itself and asserts Israel was acting in self defense when its troops boarded ships in the flotilla.
"In response to thousands of rocket attacks on Israel from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Israel took steps to prevent items which could be used to support these attacks from reaching Gaza," the letter said. "Israel's naval blockade, which is legal under international law, allows Israel to keep dangerous goods from entering Gaza by sea. The intent of the measures is to protect Israel, while allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza."
The letter said the senators "regret the loss of life that resulted" from the raid.
The Israeli military said this week it will intercept this weekend's Gaza-bound Lebanese flotilla with the same commandos used against a previous Turkish convoy.
The United Nations said last week it would ensure humanitarian aid Israel seized during its raid of Turkish ships gets to its intended recipients in the Gaza Strip.