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Hizbullah attacks northern Israel


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Eight soldiers were killed and two kidnapped, following an attack of the Hizbullah terror organization on the border with Lebanon.


The kidnapped soldiers are: Ehud Goldwasser, 31, of Nahariya, and Eldad Regev, 26, of Kiryat Motzkin.


"Israel views the sovereign Lebanese Government as responsible for the action that originated on its soil and for the return of the abducted soldiers to Israel. Israel demands that the Lebanese Government implement UN Security Council Resolution #1559."


PM Olmert (July 12): "This morning's events were not a terrorist attack, but the action of a sovereign state that attacked Israel for no reason and without provocation. The Lebanese government, of which Hizbullah is a member, is trying to undermine regional stability. Lebanon is responsible and Lebanon will bear the consequences of its actions."


FM Livni: "Hizbullah is a terrorist organization, which is part of the Lebanese government. The international community, including the Security Council, has demanded, repeatedly, that the government of Lebanon dismantle Hizbullah. Lebanon has failed to act and today’s aggression is the result."


US President Bush (July 13): "Israel has a right to defend herself. Every nation must defend herself against terrorist attacks and the killing of innocent life. It's a necessary part of the 21st century."


Summary of Events


July 12: Hizbullah terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory and attacked two IDF armored jeeps patrolling the border with Lebanon, killing three soldiers and kidnapping two. Ground forces entered Lebanon in the area of the attack. A large explosive device was detonated underneath an Israeli tank, killing all four of the tank crew. An eighth soldier was killed when IDF troops entered Lebanon to try to retrieve the bodies of the tank crew.


Throughout the day, Hizbullah terror organization fired Katyusha rockets and mortar shells at Israel's northern borders' communities and IDF posts.


July 13: Monica Seidman (Lehrer), 40, of Nahariya was killed in her home by a Katyusha rocket Thursday morning. In the evening, Nitzan Roseban, 33, was killed in Safed by a direct rocket hit. Hizbullah continued to fire at towns and cities in northern Israel throughout the day, wounding more than 100. On Thursday evening Katyushas landed in Haifa.

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Guest Prime Minister Office - State of

Following are Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's remarks at his press conference today (Wednesday), 12 July 2006, with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi:


Prime Minister Olmert: This morning, actions were carried out against IDF soldiers in the north. At this time, the security forces are operating in Lebanese territory. The cabinet will convene this evening in order to approve the continuation of the activity.


I want to make it clear: This morning's events were not a terrorist attack, but the action of a sovereign state that attacked Israel for no reason and without provocation. The Lebanese government, of which Hizbullah is a member, is trying to undermine regional stability. Lebanon is responsible and Lebanon will bear the consequences of its actions.


The State of Israel and its citizens now stand in an hour of trial. We have withstood difficult tests in the past, even more difficult and complex than these. We, the State of Israel, the entire nation, will know how to now overcome those who are trying to hurt us.


Question: Is there cause to prepare the nation for war and will you call for an emergency government?


Prime Minister Olmert: One thing must be understood: This was an act of war without any provocation on the sovereign territory - about which there is no dispute - of the State of Israel. It is absolutely clear to the international community that Israel will respond and that it will respond in an unequivocal fashion that will cause those who started this act of war to bear a very painful and far-reaching responsibility for their actions. Moreover, since these events became known to us, except for a meeting with the Shalit family that was determined in advance, and which was held in my office this morning, with Aviva and Noam Shalit, and except for the meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that I decided not to cancel due to the special circumstances of our relationship and Japan's international importance and the special importance of Prime Minister Koizumi, who is a global leader, I have been in contact with Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, and other security officials; I have issued instructions to the security establishment; I have coordinated with Defense Minister Peretz; naturally, I have not dealt with political, parliamentary, and coalition matters. There will be a time and place for these but not now.


Question: Mr. Prime Minister, we are live on IDF Radio. You talk about a response in Lebanon and blame the Lebanese government. May we expect to see here a long-term IDF action on Lebanese soil, and perhaps an IDF presence for long months on Lebanese soil? Another question if you please; there has already been a preliminary Syrian response to this incident. A Syrian official said that today, the Arab nation's lost honor has been restored. He referred to the sonic boom over Assad's palace and said that this is our response. A final question, we are already hearing Hizbullah talking about a prisoner release deal. What can you tell us about this? Will you agree to some sort of negotiations on such a deal?


Prime Minister Olmert: I don't think that there is any reason to enter into either definitions or promises. The IDF is operating in Lebanon. The cabinet will convene this evening in order to approve additional IDF responses in Lebanon. I am certain that these responses will be felt in the right places and with the necessary strength following the murderous provocation that came to the State of Israel from Lebanese territory.


Regarding the Syrian response, throughout the recent period, Syria has proven that it is a terrorist government. It supports terrorism. It is a government that backs terrorism. It is a government that encourages the murderous actions both of terrorists located on its soil and those beyond it. Of course, there will have to be appropriate preparation in order to deal with the conduct of the Syrian government. We have made it clear throughout that we will not give in to extortion and that we will not negotiate with terrorists regarding the lives of Israeli soldiers. This was true yesterday and it is true today as well."

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Guest UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

The Secretary-General condemns the attacks by Hizbollah across the Blue Line, which resulted in Israeli deaths and injuries, and the capture of two Israeli soldiers. This violent act is a blatant breach of Security Council resolutions 425, 1559, 1655 and 1680.


The Secretary-General calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli captives. This incident, and subsequent developments, which endanger an already volatile region, demonstrates once again how urgent it is that the Lebanese Government extends its control over all Lebanese territory and prevents such attacks across the Blue Line.


It is essential that all concerned exercise maximum restraint at this time to avoid any further escalation. All should respect fully their obligations under international humanitarian law.


The Secretary-General appeals to leaders in the region and beyond to do their utmost to contain this conflict by obtaining the release of the soldiers and pressing for restraint.

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Guest The State of Israel

Summary of IDF activity in Lebanon early this morning, July 14, 2006 (8 a.m.)


The IDF targeted 18 sites in southern Lebanon early this morning, July 14, 2006 as Hizbullah launched more than 130 missiles into Israel over the course of 48 hours, killing two civilians and wounding more than 100.


The sites targeted are:


The security command in the Hizbullah HQ in the Shiite district of southern Beirut. The HQ is used by senior Hezbollah members, including Hassan Nasrallah for meetings and for storing weaponry. The IDF also targeted several bridges and access routes leading to the compound.

Three petrol stations located south of Sidon.

Several bridges and access routes part of the Beirut-Damascus highway.

One storage facility storing weaponry located east of Beirut.

Two Hizbullah outposts along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

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Guest Israel Defense Forces

During the night IDF forces struck 18 targets in Lebanon from the air, sea, and land.


An aerial attack was carried out against a structure at the Beirut headquarters of the Hezbollah terror organization. IDF also attacked bridges and access routes at the site. The structure, located in Beirut's Shiite quarter, had been in use as Hezbollah's headquarters for directing, instructing, and managing terror activity. The site functions as the permanent base of the senior ranks of Hezbollah terrorists including Hassan Nasralla, the organization's leader, and as such also as a weapons depot. Additionally, some of the buildings are used as housing for the Hezbollah organization's terrorist leaders.


IDF also conducted an airstrike against a Hezbollah weapons depot in the area of Baal-Bak, east of Beirut, also striking a main Beirut-Damascus road in the area of Dahar Al-Bidar in southern Lebanon and an additional road south of Sidon. The roads in Lebanon are used to transport terrorists and weapons to the terror organizations operating from Lebanese territory against civilians in Israel. IDF air and naval forces attacked three gasoline stations in southern Lebanon as part of the effort to damage the Lebanese infrastructure that works to support terror activity.


In addition to the above targets, IDF carried out deterrence airstrikes during the night to disrupt and prevent the launching of rockets across the border into Israel, and launched a ground-based attack on Hezbollah positions along the Israel-Lebanon border.


During the day yesterday IDF aerially attacked approximately 80 targets in Lebanon, including headquarters, bases, weapons depots, positions and outposts of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. Hezbollah routes, bridges and launch sites were also attacked. In the afternoon IDF carried out airstrikes against two military airfields in Kaliyat and Rayk in Lebanon, as well as Hezbollah headquarters.


Last night IDF also struck a central fuel depot used by the aircraft at Lebanon's international airport in Beirut, continuing the morning's strikes against the airport, which had been serving as a waystation for the transfer and shipping of weapons and infrastructure to the Hezbollah terrorist organization.


IDF naval forces struck a cell of terrorists north of Rosh HaNikrah who were in the act of firing Katyusha rockets into Israel. Further naval bombardment was carried out against a terrorist position in southern Lebanon and against access routes to the coastline. Altogether approximately 120 missiles were fired across the northern border into Israel. Two of the missiles struck Haifa. Two civilians were killed and about 100 injured.


IDF will continue to act decisively in order to defend Israel's civilians from terror attacks originating from Lebanese territory and in order to bring home safely the two kidnapped soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

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Guest Angelo Sodano

The population South of Beirut was hit hard in Isreali last night. Lebenon is divided practically in two and encircled from every side. Many tourist fled to Syria. One of the last episodes that seem to confirm the will of the Israelis to isolate the Lebanese completely. The Isreali Air force strafed the road that connects Beirut to Damascus.

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The population South of Beirut was hit hard in Isreali last night. Lebenon is divided practically in two and encircled from every side. Many tourist fled to Syria. One of the last episodes that seem to confirm the will of the Israelis to isolate the Lebanese completely. The Isreali Air force strafed the road that connects Beirut to Damascus.



According to the police and witnesses, there has been a raid on a large fuel storage tank at a power station.


Moreover, the impact of at least seven missiles was heard in the attack on south Beirut in the hours before dawn on Friday.


Anti-aircraft fire from the ground echoed in other suburbs of Beirut as the planes roared over the Lebanese capital.


In retaliation, Hezbollah has also hit Israeli towns with rocket attacks and Israeli sources said the group had fired on the northern port city of Haifa.



The fighting continues as Israel launches a fresh wave of attacks on Lebanese targets Friday, striking Beirut's International airport, the road from Lebanon to Damascus and a power plant. Since Wednesday, Hezbollah have fired over 300 rockets into towns in northern Israel according to Israeli website YnetNews.


The Israeli attacks focused on the southern suburb of Beirut where Israel says Hezbollah has a stronghold. Most roads and bridges leading to the southern suburb of Beirut have been shelled isolating the suburb from the rest of the country. The bombing came after Israeli planes dropped leaflets, on the evening of July 13, warning residents in the mainly Shiite south suburb of impending attacks to Hezbollah property.


"The targets chosen are connected either directly or indirectly with terrorism," Israeli Air Force General Ido Nehushtan, said. Israel says Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, is also a target. "Nasrallah has issued his own sentence." said Ronnie Bar-On, the Israeli interior minister.


The Israeli military later said that the rockets fired into Haifa on Thursday by Hezbollah were manufactured in Iran. The Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that it was puzzling for Hezbollah to perform the attacks unsupported.


States worldwide have called for the release of the prisoners and for Israel to exercise restraint, while Lebanon has urged the UN Security Council, which is having a emergency meeting on Friday, to pass a ceasefire resolution.


The tarmac on Beirut International Airport was patched up after being hit several times by the Israeli airforce on Thursday. Four or five airplanes belonging to Middle East Airlines then took off from the airport. However, the runways were hit again on Friday some time after the airplanes had taken off. A parking lot near the terminal building was also hit.


Other targets hit in Lebanon was a fuel tank at the power plant in Jiyyeh. Power shortages have been reported. The Hezbollah radio station al-Nour was targeted by an Israeli strike, but continued broadcasting. Also, a road between Haboush and Iqlion el Tufah was hit.


A total of 18 targets claimed by Israel to be Hezbollah sites has been hit by air and sea launched missiles.


Five civilians were killed and at least 50 have been wounded in Lebanon on Friday after Israeli attacks which were part of the Israeli mission called "Operation Just Reward". According to Lebanon, 73 people have been killed and 167 wounded in the country since the raids commenced on Wednesday.


In related news, Hezbollah fired several rockets in five separate attacks into northern Israel, Friday. Packs of Katyusha rockets hit Nahariya, Safed, Hatzor, Pqui'in and Kiryat Shmona and Yesod Hamaalah. There were reports of casualties.


Israel claimed it had hit the Hezbollah security headquarters in Jerusalem, but eyewitnesses said the airstrike had missed and hit a nearby appartment building instead.


This was the second day of violence after July 11 when Hezbollah attacked Israeli army patrols and captured two Israeli soldiers in a mission Hezbollah called "Truthful Promise". Israel said the soldiers were kidnapped. On July 12 Israel set up a blockade of Lebanon and attacked Beirut International Airport and other areas in Lebanon, while Hezbollah fired rockets at towns in northern Israel.


Israel is continuing its offensive in the Gaza strip against Hamas after a soldier named Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in a raid, June 2006.







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Guest human_*

Considering that Hezbollah has kidnapped two of Israel’s' Soldiers, Considering that the United States

Will do nothing but talk to Iran about its nuclear program, and considering that China, and Russia support

Iran, then the answer is clear.


Israel more than likely see's no other choice but to protect its own interests since no one else will be able to stop Iran.


There is light at the end of the tunnel, If Iran, and Syria wish to make peace with Israel, and then they should send their proposal to Israel.


(Israel would of course follow the same guide lines that Iran has established for examining the text, as

Iran has with the documents sent by the Europeans).

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Apparently the US is giving Israel a window of a week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah before weighing in behind international calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon, according to British, European and Israeli sources.



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Guest human_*

Let's just wait till this conflict plays out before any one starts making predictions as to when this will end.


It's mostly in Iran’s Corner as to when they will negotiate a comprehensive treaty on a wide range of issues that also extends to its destabilizing affect in trying to acquire nuclear tech.



Apparently the US is giving Israel a window of a week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah before weighing in behind international calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon, according to British, European and Israeli sources.



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The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, according to The New York Times.


The munitions are part of a sales package approved last year, the officials said. But some military officers said the request for expedited delivery was unusual and indicated that Israel has many targets it plans to hit in Lebanon.

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Guest Marc, Beirut Lebanon

As i read what everyone had written here i go into a state of shock... im a 17 year old guy that is living in lebanon. i enjoy life alot and not im scared ***brown trout*** of what is to happen.. we the people have not done anything to deserve this.. i live next to a power plant station and the isreals are most propably going to hit that first, meaning if the explotion is big i am going to die tonight. so please think before you write saying that the israels should kill all those **derogatory term used to refer to arab people**. please think about us, the people.. we are going to be suffering the most. please pray for us in our difficult time.

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I hope you do not die Marc. You should probably move out of the area. "There are serious obstacles to the achievement of a comprehensive ceasefire in Lebanon and northern Israel in the immediate future", Vijay Nambiar, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General, told the Security Council today.


Briefing on a senior-level mission to the region, comprised also of Terje Roed-Larsen and Alvaro de Soto, he said the mission saw two vital political goals for the international community. The first one was to secure, urgently, some form of cessation of hostilities. The second goal was to quickly develop elements of a political framework that would pave the way for a full and durable ceasefire. A political package to that end should include the end of the Hizbollah threat against Israel and the full respect by all Lebanese parties and all Lebanon’s neighbours of the Government of Lebanon’s sovereignty and control.


He said both Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora of and the Speaker of the Parliament, Nabih Berri, had expressed great pain and frustration over the scope of Israel’s military actions, and were almost incredulous that Israel had carried out actions that would, in their view, inevitably help Hizbollah in the long run. Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other interlocutors had stressed Hizbollah’s responsibility for initiating the conflict. They had made clear that Israel had decided that military operations would continue until Hizbollah was seriously weakened. After that, Israel would welcome a political framework that ensured no return to the status quo ante and would facilitate implementation of Council resolution 1559.


In responding to the mission’s ideas, Lebanon’s Prime Minister had stressed that, any process to reassert the sovereignty of the Government of Lebanon over the entire country, must address what he termed the “core issues”, such as the issue of Shebaa Farms. Israel’s Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had been adamant that the captured Israeli soldiers must be returned unconditionally. They would consider any proposal that would help guarantee that Israel would not be vulnerable to terrorist rocket attacks along its northern border, through the Government of Lebanon deploying in the south and the disarmament of Hizbollah and other militant groups.


Regarding his consultations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza, he said the President had expressed particular concern that the current crisis in Lebanon involved an attempt by non-Palestinian extremists to hijack leadership on the Palestinian issue. He felt it was important to de-link the crises, and for the Palestinian issue to be addressed on its merits.


Briefing the Council on the humanitarian situation, Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, also appealed for an immediate cessation of hostilities, as it was the only way humanitarian work could become effective. As a result of targeting of fuel facilities, Beirut had only days of fuel remaining. It was believed that there were sufficient food supplies, including wheat stocks, to cover national consumption for one to three months. The primary concern was the destruction to food supply chains. Hospitals were functioning, but were overwhelmed. With the number of people in shelters increasing, access to safe drinking water was also a concern.


He said he had called on all parties to live up to their obligations under humanitarian law and grant access to humanitarian workers. Yesterday, he had handed over to Israel’s Permanent Representative a formal request to the Government of Israel, which called for safe passage routes for humanitarian corridors in and out of Lebanon. He had also requested the parties to identify focal points in their Governments and forces to discuss modalities. A country team was currently in Beirut working to produce a flash appeal that would address the most pressing humanitarian concerns for a period of three months. He asked for immediate contributions to that appeal, which would be launched on Monday.


Opening today’s debate, in which nearly 50 speakers participated, the Permanent Observer of Palestine said the Council’s inaction last week regarding a “reasonable and balanced resolution” on the Palestinian question had further bolstered Israel’s perception that it was immune from the law and that it would not be held accountable for its illegal actions. “As the international community stands idly by, with the Security Council nearly paralyzed, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to kill, wound and maim defenceless Palestinian civilians,” he said.


He said it was the duty of the Council to act immediately. It must begin by condemning the most recent Israeli aggression and call for the immediate cessation of hostilities. The Council must also call for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces to their original positions before the aggression against the Gaza Strip began. Moreover, the Council must call on Israel to immediately release all democratically elected Palestinian officials being detained since 28 June.


The representative of Lebanon said that, once again, Israel was betting on its excessive military force to settle problems with its neighbours. Hiding behind the right to self-defence revealed Israel’s twisted understanding of international law. He reiterated his country’s call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire under the auspices of the United Nations, and the full responsibility of the Lebanese Government to preserve and provide safety to the country and its citizens, by extending its authority over all its territory, including in the area of the Shebaa Farms. He appealed to the international community, and to the Council, to protect the achievements of the Lebanese people, by supporting their Government in facing the aggression and continuing on the path of democracy.


Israel’s representative said that, during the last week, the world had learned of the enormous arsenal of missiles that Hizbollah had been amassing in Lebanon, and how deeply Hizbollah had penetrated Lebanese society. The Council had learned how right it had been in repeatedly demanding the disarming of that terrorist monster. Terrorism had occupied, ravaged and pillaged Lebanon. Terror was the true occupying power of Lebanon. Lebanon’s Government, for its own political reasons, had chosen conflict with Israel, instead of battling the cancer that occupied the body and soul of its country. That cancer must be excised, not partially removed and allowed to fester again.


Israel grieved for each civilian casualty, he said. The world had also heard how difficult it was to distinguish between Hizbollah and civilians. Before a cessation of hostilities could be contemplated, however, the cessation of terror must be insisted on. A temporary and artificial ceasefire would only result in an illusionary lull, which would allow that disease to kill again. The international community must finally address the terrorism that occupied Lebanon. The international community must also address the sponsors of terrorism, Syria and Iran, the axis of terror. He welcomed the declaration of the Group of Eight (G-8) leaders, whose 16 July statement provided a basis for progress towards a sustainable peace, he said.


The representative of the United States said his Government was studying several proposals on how best to secure implementation of resolution 1559, including the insertion of an international stabilization force. However, the key goal should be to disarm and “defang” Hizbollah. An immediate and unconditional ceasefire would only allow Hizbollah time to regroup and plan its next wave of kidnappings and attacks against Israel. As for a stabilization force, the questions were how to empower it to deal with Hizbollah, and how it would relate to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Another question was how such a force could contribute to fully implementing resolution 1559, which called for disarmament of militias and extending control by the Government of Lebanon of all of its territory.


There was no moral equivalence between acts of terrorism and Israel’s exercise of its legitimate right to self-defence, he said. The civilian deaths were a tragedy, and the United States had urged the Government of Israel to exercise the greatest possible care in its use of force. It was, however, a mistake to ascribe a moral equivalence to civilians who died as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts, the very purpose of which was to kill civilians, and the tragic and unfortunate consequence of civilian deaths, as a result of military action taken in self-defence.


France’s representative, speaking in his national capacity and echoing many speakers’ sentiments, condemned in the strongest possible terms the continued firing of rockets into Israel. He also condemned Israel’s disproportionate response, which was holding the Lebanese people hostage, killing large numbers of civilians and causing substantial material damage in Lebanon. While Israeli military operations were weakening Hizbollah’s military capabilities, they were also fuelling hate. By systematically destroying the country’s infrastructure, Israel was greatly weakening the Lebanese State. The Secretary-General’s proposals provided the basis for developing a coherent solution. The Council must face up to its responsibilities and begin, as soon as possible, finalizing a resolution that would offer the framework for a lasting settlement of the crisis.

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Six ambulance workers and their patients were wounded when Israeli missiles struck Red Cross ambulances on a rescue mission in south Lebanon. The attack took place near Qana when an ambulance from Tyre arrived intending to evacuate three patients from the border town of Tibnin. Two ambulances were completely destroyed as their roofs were pierced by missiles. According to one of the drivers, two guided missiles were fired at each ambulance. It is claimed that the ambulance headlamps were on, the blue light overhead was flashing, and another light illuminated the Red Cross flag at the time.


The patients, the Fawaz family, all had minor injuries before the missiles struck the ambulance. Now the son is losing his leg and the other is treated for shrapnel wounds.


The Lebanese Red Cross demanded that Israel guarantee their safety through the United Nations or the International Red Cross or they would cease all rescue missions. The

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Guest Judith

Things were just starting to look up for the city of Nazareth: Tourist buses crammed the streets and new restaurants and coffeehouses opened their doors to gladly receive the influx of visitors.


But when the Hezbollah-Israeli violence broke out in mid-July, the tourists packed their bags and made a hasty retreat to southern Israel, where they could avoid rocket attacks and life was still fairly normal.


At Nazareth's darkened, cavernous Basilica of the Annunciation July 25, two cleaning ladies rhythmically washed the floors while Eva Waisser, 60, and her family -- Jews from Mexico -- were the lone visitors.


"We are in Israel visiting friends and family and are visiting different sites. There are robberies and kidnappings all over the world," said Waisser, noting that Nazareth was as far north in Israel as they were willing to go.


In two weeks of violence between Israel and the militant Islamic group Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, two rockets fell on Nazareth, killing two children July 19. However, the Franciscan superior of the basilica, Father Ricardo Bustos, said he did not think it would happen again, and he had not taken any special precautions to protect the basilica.


"There is no need to alarm anyone," Father Bustos said. Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, "said there was a miscalculation. It was only that one time."


At the Franciscan-run Casa Nova pilgrim hostel next door to the Nazareth basilica, a man who identified himself only as Sami sat chatting with a friend at the front desk. Their voices echoed through the empty room.


"This month all the groups completely canceled. In August we usually have 90 percent occupancy, and now 70 percent of the groups have canceled and 30 percent have not confirmed. We hope it will be better in September," said Sami. "We only need peace. Without peace, we can't do anything. There is enough land for everybody."


The only traffic on Nazareth streets was local residents, and shop owners sat dejectedly in their darkened stores. By midafternoon, everyone closed up shop and went home.


"I don't even feel like shaving," said Shadi Boutrous, 42, as he watched news of more Katyusha rocket hits in Haifa, Israel. "This is a very difficult situation. People didn't think this would happen. There is no work, and people are starting to have problems with the banks."


Boutrous, who is Catholic, said his wife works in elderly care in Haifa, and they are constantly on the phone to one another. When she has time off, he said, he goes up to Haifa to be with her. For more than two weeks, Haifa was the main target of Hezbollah missiles, which "are very scary," Boutrous said.


"I am not religious, but I do believe that God gave us religion to love one another, not to kill each other," he said.


Launching Katyushas is not an exact science, and missiles have fallen in other nearby Arab villages as well, killing at least two people, including a 15-year-old Muslim girl who died July 25 when a Katyusha landed on her house next to a mosque in the village of Maghar.


Still, many Muslims in Israel find it difficult to openly criticize Hezbollah.


Amal Esa, 20, a Muslim, initially said both sides are to blame and differences should be settled through talks, but as the discussion progressed he commented: "Hezbollah are not terrorists. They are fighting for their religion. Lebanon doesn't do it, so Hezbollah has to."


Joseph Pavlo, 35, his friend and business partner in the new Casanova Restaurant they opened in May, gave him a sidelong glance. The two invested half a million dollars in the restaurant, and all 48 groups they were set to serve from July 22 to the end of the month had canceled.


"With this war they have pushed us back 10 years. You can't change history. This will be this way forever," Pavlo, a Greek Orthodox, said angrily. "If Nasrallah goes, there will be another person in his place."


Despite the Hezbollah-launched missiles and warning sirens, Christians in villages throughout the north have tried to continue with their regular lives since the July 12 start of the violence. As they attend Mass on Sundays, amid their prayers and the tolling of the church bells they hear the sound of Israeli artillery and Katyusha rockets in the distance.


"We pray to God to stop this war," said Wakim Abu Faris, 73, a Catholic. Katyushas landed on his property in the village of Gush Halav and killed six of his goats. Luckily, he said, he had taken his family to visit his wife's family in another village at the time.


"They have to solve the problem in another way. Not like this with all the people killed and property destroyed," said Abu Faris

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Guest Scott McLarty

Green Party leaders called on President Bush to demand that Israel immediately cease its invasion of Lebanon and its rain of destruction on civilian populations and infrastructure in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.


Greens urged President Bush to press for an immediate ceasefire. The Green Party has repeatedly called for negotiation, a halt to violence by both sides, and adherence to international law as the only means to achieve peace and security for all Israelis, Palestinians, and people in surrounding countries.


"The current U.S. reaction is a bipartisan disaster, with most Democrats and Republicans alike in Congress expressing unqualified support for Israel," said Rae Vogeler, Wisconsin Green candidate for the U.S. Senate <http://www.voterae.org>. "While President Bush is busy rattling sabers at Iran and Syria and refusing to demand a ceasefire, hundreds of innocent Lebanese and Palestinian civilians are dying."


Greens based their demand on the following:


Israel's attacks violate Fourth Geneva Convention prohibitions against "collective punishment," i.e., the retaliatory killing of civilians, "targeted" assassinations, and destruction of the infrastructure of an occupied territory. Israel's use of U.S.-made weapons violates U.S. laws against deploying such weapons for use against civilians.


The attacks cannot be justified as a response to the capture of an Israeli soldier who was in Gaza as part of the occupation force. (The current exchange of violence began with Israeli shelling that killed eight Palestinian civilians on a Gaza beach.) Israel itself is holding thousands of Palestinian civilians, including over 400 Palestinian children and 120 women, in inhumane conditions and has reportedly subjected some detainees to torture.


Israel and the U.S. have refused to recognize Hamas as the legitimate democratically elected government of the Palestinian territories; the current attacks are clearly meant to destroy Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and to punish Palestinian civilians for having elected Hamas.


The current escalation of hostilities is a result of Israel's illegal occupation (with U.S. support) of Palestinian lands and daily brutality and killing visited on Palestinians, land grabs and ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, cutoff of water and electricity, destruction of homes and businesses, economic strangulation, and conversion of the Palestinian territories into heavily guarded bantustans sealed off with a 'security' wall.


The Olmert government's current actions, especially deployment of troops into Lebanon, risk a greater regional conflict that will threaten global peace as other nations become involved in the conflict, and will also hinder efforts to effect U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. Aside from the U.S. and Israel itself, most of the world understands the attacks as illegal Israeli military aggression.


Greens have repeatedly called for Israel to end the occupation and fully recognize the human rights of Palestinians, in accord with international law and U.N. directives, as necessary first steps for peace in the Middle East.


In November, 2005, the Green Party endorsed a resolution calling for divestment and a general boycott of Israel until it complies with international law and realizes human rights for Palestinians, including those living within Israel's borders <http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2005_11_28.shtml>.


Greens have also endorsed the Palestinian Right of Return, consistent with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (nonbinding, passed December 11, 1948), which states that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date."


==> For Green campaign listings, news, photos, and web sites, visit the Green Party's candidate spotlight page <http://www.gp.org/2006elections> and the Green elections database <http://www.greens.org/elections>, which lists all 2006 candidates.


The Green Party will hold its 2006 national meeting, titled "El Futuro es Verde / The Future is Green," in Tucson, Arizona, from July 27 to 30 <http://www.gp.org/meeting2006>. For media credentialing, visit <http://www.gp.org/forms/media>.




Green Party of the United States


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Guest Shai Franklin

The World Jewish Congress today called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, to oppose the politicization of a U.N. treaty body, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which is about to demonize Israel.


Meeting in Geneva, CERD intends to suspend its normal procedures on Aug. 3 to accuse Israel of violating the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, in connection with the ongoing conflict in southern Lebanon. CERD, a panel of professional experts, is mandated to review member states' compliance with the Convention, not to address political or military situations.


In their letter to High Commissioner Arbour, WJC President Edgar M. Bronfman and WJC Policy Council Chairman Israel Singer wrote: "We expect you are using your good offices and public platform to dissuade this diversion from CERD's mandate."


"At a time when the seriousness of UN reform and mandate review is the subject of widespread skepticism and frustration, such a breach of CERD's mandate will smear the reputation of a previously non-politicized body and further undermine the UN's credibility and capabilities in advancing and protecting universal human rights."


A copy of the letter was also sent to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The full text of the letter is copied below.


The World Jewish Congress is the international federation of Jewish communities around the world. The WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments and international organizations worldwide.






Louise Arbour


United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


United Nations Office at Geneva


1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland


Dear Madam Commissioner:


We are writing with regard to the extraordinary meeting of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), scheduled for tomorrow, August 3, in Geneva.


It is our understanding that the topic of this meeting of a UN treaty body will be to air grievances against recent Israeli operations in southern Lebanon. Given your promotion of the professional role of CERD and similar expert panels within the United Nations human rights system, and your strong support for moving the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) from New York to Geneva, we expect you are using your good offices and public platform to dissuade this diversion from CERD's mandate.


The World Jewish Congress has actively supported the Secretary-General's campaign for restoring credibility and legitimacy to the UN's human rights institutions. At a time when the seriousness of UN reform and mandate review is the subject of widespread skepticism and frustration, such a breach of CERD's mandate will smear the reputation of a previously non-politicized body and further undermine the UN's credibility and capabilities in advancing and protecting universal human rights.




Edgar M. Bronfman




Israel Singer


Chairman of the Policy Council


cc: Secretary-General Kofi Annan

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In a statement issued by the Vatican Press Office




“The Holy Father is following with great concern the destinies of all the peoples involved and has proclaimed this Sunday, July 23, as a special day of prayer and penance, inviting the pastors and faithful of all the particular Churches, and all believers of the world, to implore from God the precious gift of peace.”


In answer to that call for prayer, we come together in this Basilica and around the altars throughout the Archdiocese of Washington to ask for God’s grace and peace.


This is not the first time that we have done this. There is an uncomfortable sense of repetition to our prayer for peace in the Middle East. The situation in that part of the world reflects a tension that goes back for so many decades, not to say centuries. Some writers and commentators today refer to this “historic” unrest in the Middle East.


Yet today there is a new dimension and an alarming aspect to what we face. The stakes increasingly become higher as the violence mounts in the Middle East, and particularly as it is focused now on Lebanon.


As the violence becomes more destructive and as the range of the violence grows, so too do the implications of wider involvement. Today we can all be justifiably alarmed that the violence so visible in Lebanon and Israel is qualitatively different from just a year ago because of the introduction of a new level of weaponry and the wider range of destruction and the frightening implications of widening involvement of other nations.


The Pope asked us to pray — to come together in supplication to God: “In particular, the Supreme Pontiff hopes that prayers will be raised to the Lord for an immediate cease-fire between the sides, for humanitarian corridors to be opened in order to bring help to the suffering peoples, and for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region."


What the Holy Father is asking us to pray for is also in the statement the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops put out on July 18, calling for all of these actions.


What can we accomplish? What do we bring to this moment?


Just last Tuesday, Cardinal Sfeir, Patriarch of the Maronite Church and the leader of the Christian faith community in Lebanon, was in Washington to pray for peace. We joined him at Our Lady of Lebanon Church to do the one thing that we as Catholics can do. We came together to show our support in solidarity — in communion — with those who suffer. We came together also to pray: to pray for our sisters and brothers in Lebanon, and to pray that God’s grace would touch the hearts of all of those who have the power to bring an end to the suffering, the violence, the division and the hatred.


We gather today to be united one with each other, but also to recognize that we are one because we are one with God. Deep down in the heart of each of us is the realization that we do not stand alone. Our prayers today are to bridge that gap between those in the Middle East who suffer and ourselves. We are one with them in aspirations for peace. With our Christian sisters and brothers, we are one in faith. With all, we are one in our humanity.


Never is the fact that we do not stand alone more keenly felt than when we face tragedy and violence seemingly beyond our control. Even when we do not have answers to so many of the questions surrounding violence, we know ultimately we must find our light, comprehension, strength, sustenance and wisdom from God.


In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that we are to pray. He offers his followers the example of stepping aside from all of the activities of life and simply praying, because he saw so many around him as sheep without a shepherd.


As the good shepherd, Jesus offers us a pathway through life that will bring us even through the “valley of darkness.” But first we must place our faith and trust in him. We must also place our hope in his way — which includes the power of God’s Spirit to change human hearts.


For two thousand years, the ultimate lesson of Jesus was, and remains, the cross as an example not only of self-giving love for others but the answer to the most profound human questions: How shall I live? What values should guide my steps and actions? Will God be with me in response to my prayers?


Yet two millennia later, his voice continues to exert the strongest force for good in the world. “Love one another as I have loved you.” “Have courage. I have overcome the world.” “If you would be my disciple, take up your cross and follow me.”


It is only in the shadow of the cross that we can begin to see Christ’s plan, the power of God’s spirit, the efficacy of God’s grace.


Who would have thought that the violence that brought Jesus to the cross would have ultimately yielded to the ineffable experience of God’s grace. This is where we enter the picture in the global scene of violence, of despair and of a breakdown in human solidarity.


Our part and why we are here today and why we have responded to the Pope’s summons to join in prayer is because we believe in the power of God’s grace and in the power of prayer to touch human hearts.


At the core of our identity is the experience of resurrection and, therefore, the belief that God’s power transcends anything this world experiences. We are called to new life, to a new creation, to a new way of being and thinking. We are also aware that the Holy Spirit has been poured out on all who believe in the power to change hearts and through prayer to bring about a new creation.


A second aspect of our contribution today is our witness to hope. We must never let ourselves, our vision of life, our understanding of the ultimate goodness of the human family, be overwhelmed by momentary violence, by sporadic hatred and by the encroachment of the power of darkness.


We must be firm in our resolve to stand by our principles, to live by our convictions and to follow Jesus’s teaching. We must never allow evil or hatred to overwhelm us. The Church holds up Jesus’s example of prayer: let goodness win out over evil; let truth overcome falsehood; let life triumph over death; let love be victorious over hatred.


His message continues to echo in our day. We are not powerless in the face of evil. We are not powerless in face of violence. We are not powerless in the face of all that divides us.


The quiet, persistent voice of God’s love for us speaks of our human solidarity and the possibility of building a world, a truly good and just society that rests on mutual respect and peace. This is the proclamation that has been repeated over and over and over again from the days of the Apostles down to those of us gathered here.


Let us renew our resolve — every member of this community — to do our part no matter how small it may seem or how insignificant it might appear to build a civilization of love so that we are never overwhelmed by a culture of violence, a culture of death. Can this be done?


Yes, we can win in the struggle to let God’s kingdom of truth, justice, understanding, compassion, kindness and love win out here and around the world. It begins with each one of us.


That is why the Pope asks us to come together in prayer. Our prayers can result in God’s grace, touching hearts. If we touch enough hearts, we can influence enough actions. If enough actions change, we can change the world in which we live.


Is what we are doing today truly significant? Is our prayer today going to make a difference? Can we be a part spiritually of the vast effort to lift up the need for dialogue? The need for reconciliation? The need for peaceful solutions to intractable problems?


Of course we can. That is why we are here to stand before God who will always stand with us and respond to our prayers.

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Guest human_*

I think also what the war in Lebanon is also building up too is for Israel in the FUTURE to have an excuse to bomb the ahemies out of Iran’s nuclear program.



And Remember People; Russia is still committed to building two more Nuclear Reactors for Iran.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is a portion of the Press Conference given by the President today.


Resolution 1701 authorizes an effective international force to deploy to Lebanon, which is essential to peace in the region and it's essential to the freedom of Lebanon. An effective international force will help ensure the cessation of hostilities hold in Lebanon once the Israeli troops withdraw. An effective international force will help the Lebanese army meet its responsibility to secure Lebanon's borders and stop them from acting as -- and stop Hezbollah from acting as a state within a state. An effective international force will help give displaced people in both Lebanon and Israel the confidence to return to their homes and begin rebuilding their lives without fear of renewed violence and terror.


An international force requires international commitment. Previous resolutions have failed in Lebanon because they were not implemented by the international community, and in this case, did not prevent Hezbollah and their sponsors from instigating violence. The new resolution authorizes a force of up to 15,000 troops. It gives this force an expanded mandate. The need is urgent. The international community must now designate the leadership of this new international force, give it robust rules of engagement, and deploy it as quickly as possible to secure the peace.


America will do our part. We will assist a new international force with logistic support, command and control, communications and intelligence. Lebanon, Israel and our allies agreed that this would be the most effective contribution we can make at this time. We will also work with the leadership in the international force, once it's identified, to ensure that the United States is doing all we can to make this mission a success.


Deployment of this new international force will also help speed delivery of humanitarian assistance. Our nation is wasting no time in helping the people of Lebanon. In other words, we're acting before the force gets in there. We've been on the ground in Beirut for weeks, and I've already distributed more than half of our $50 million pledge of disaster relief to the Lebanese people who have lost their homes in the current conflict. Secretary Rice has led the diplomatic efforts to establish humanitarian corridors so that relief convoys can get through, to reopen the Beirut airport to passenger and humanitarian aid flights, and to ensure a steady fuel supply for Lebanese power plants and automobiles. I directed 25,000 tons of wheat be delivered in Lebanon in the coming weeks.


But we'll do even more. Today, I'm announcing that America will send more aid to support humanitarian and reconstruction work in Lebanon, for a total of more than $230 million. These funds will help the Lebanese people rebuild their homes and return to their towns and communities. The funds will help the Lebanese people restore key bridges and roads. The funds will help the Lebanese people rehabilitate schools so the children can start their school year on time this fall.


I directed that an oil spill response team be sent to assist the Lebanese government in cleaning up an oil slick that is endangering coastal communities; proposing a $42 million package to help train and equip Lebanon's armed forces. I will soon be sending a presidential delegation of private sector leaders to Lebanon to identify ways that we can tap into the generosity of American businesses and non-profits to continue to help the people of Lebanon.


We take these steps -- and I'll also work closely with Congress to extend the availability of loan guarantees to help rebuild infrastructure in Israel, infrastructure damaged by Hezbollah's rockets.


America is making a long-term commitment to help the people of Lebanon because we believe every person deserves to live in a free, open society that respects the rights of all. We reject the killing of innocents to achieve a radical and violent agenda.


The terrorists and their state sponsors, Iran and Syria, have a much darker vision. They're working to thwart the efforts of the Lebanese people to break free from foreign domination and build their own democratic future. The terrorists and their sponsors are not going to succeed. The Lebanese people have made it clear they want to live in freedom. And now it's up to their friends and allies to help them do so.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Spiegal

Iran is Hezbollah´s main source of funding. Many Middle East experts believe that Tehran´s mullah-led regime is behind the current escalation, hoping to use the situation to deflect attention from its nuclear program

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Guest human_*

This article is kind of old, but it is still highly relevant.




U.S. to Help Train, Equip Lebanon Army

By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer


Thursday, August 3, 2006


The United States plans to help train and equip the Lebanese army so it can take control of all of the nation's territory when warfare between Israel and Hezbollah eases, the State Department said Thursday.


The program was approved by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to take effect "once we have conditions on the ground permitting," spokesman Sean McCormack said.

McCormack provided no details on what equipment the United States might provide, the training that would be conducted, how many U.S. personnel would be involved, or possible costs.


Last week, the State Department notified Congress it wanted to add $10 million to the $1.5 million it provides annually to the Lebanese military.


Other nations will help out, too, McCormack said, as American diplomats consulted with French and other officials on a U.N. resolution for a cease-fire in Lebanon.

"We feel pretty optimistic that there's going to be something" worked out on a resolution at the end of the week or early next week, White House spokesman Tony Snow said.


Gen. John Abizaid, who heads the U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday the Lebanese armed force "needs a significant upgrade of equipment and training capability that I believe the Western nations, particularly the United States, can assist with."


Before the war, command officials visited the Lebanese armed forces for an assessment, Abizaid said, and "we saw that they needed some significant spare parts" and other help.

On prospects for ending the fighting, he said "it will never work for Lebanon if, over time, Hezbollah has a greater military capacity than the Lebanese armed forces."


Rice, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and Assistant Secretary David Welch are working with other governments, mostly by telephone, to put together a resolution "that stands up," McCormack said.

This would include disarming Hezbollah, already ordered by the Security Council in 2004, and establishing an international peacekeeping force to move into southern Lebanon.

Nations that would contribute troops are expected to meet next week at the U.N. A meeting was postponed on Monday and again on Thursday.


Rice plans to spend the weekend at President Bush's ranch in Texas and will be "working the phones from Crawford," McCormack said.


"There's still some diplomacy that needs to be done," he said,

Bush has said he does not envision having American ground troops in a peacekeeping force, but the U.S. could contribute communications, logistics and other support.


The administration is striving for a resolution that would end the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, now in its fourth week, and also establish conditions for a lasting cease-fire. Many other countries favor an immediate cease-fire.


The military training would be designed to help the Lebanese armed forces "exercise control and sovereignty over all of Lebanese territory once we have an end to the fighting in such a way that is durable," McCormack said.

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