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Friday, July 14, 2006


In the first few days of the offensive against Lebanon tens of millions of dollars worth of U.S. munitions have been used by Israel against a country friendly to the United States and a government fully supported by America.

A special high-level envoy of the President should be sent to the region to seek an end to the attacks on civilians by both Israel and Hezbollah. But the United States should not stop there; there are three issues between Israel and Lebanon, which must be solved if the same old pattern of tit-for-tat is to be ended once and for all. The absence of the United States from engaging in the region, especially in the past six months, has been the most remarkable reason for the breakdown of the ceasefires.

The fact that the most democratic Arab country is being attacked by Israel undercuts the claim often made by members of the current administration that democracies never go to war with each other. The president is correctly concerned, as he has stated that the Israeli retaliatory attacks on Lebanon should not undermine Prime Minister Siniora's government. It is of course ironic that the major civilian targets for Israel were the international airport and the bridges and highway named after Rafiq al-Hariri. We can only hope that Israel did not consult with the United States before striking these particular targets.

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