Monday, July 17, 2006

Israel/Lebanon War Updates

Updated throughout the day.

- Efforts to get Canadians out of Lebanon will not begin until mid-week, despite the fact that other countries are already evacuating their citizens. PM Harper refused to criticize Israel for the deaths of 7 Canadians in Lebanon over the weekend. Reuters details the political fallout from Harper's stance that Israel's response has been 'measured self-defence' and reports that Harper waited 24 hours to call the families of the slain Canadians, according to a BQ MP.

- 'Bush Curses Hezbollah During G8 Luncheon':

It wasn't meant to be overheard. Private luncheon conversations among world leaders, picked up by a microphone, provided a rare window into both banter and substance _ including President Bush cursing Hezbollah's attacks against Israel.

Bush expressed his frustration with the United Nations and his disgust with the militant Islamic group and its backers in Syria as he talked to British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the closing lunch at the Group of Eight summit.

"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over," Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll.

So, it's that simple? Get Syria to stop Hezbollah? Understanding complexity was never one of Bush's strong points. Crooks and liars has video.

- Al-Jazeera is demanding that Israel release its Jerusalem bureau chief who was detained on Sunday.

- Iran supports a ceasefire and prisoner swap.

- The US is sending Condi Rice to the Middle East.

- While browsing through my previous blog posts, I found a link to this news story from May 28, 2006 describing a battle between Hezbollah and the IDF:

LUCI, Lebanon (Reuters) - Israeli jets attacked Syrian-backed Palestinian and Lebanese guerrillas in Lebanon on Sunday, hours after rockets fired deep into northern Israel wounded an Israeli soldier.
One Palestinian militant and a Hizbollah fighter were killed and two Lebanese civilians and another Israeli soldier were wounded in the fighting.

A ceasefire was brokered by the UN at the time. I'm reposting this to note that those who insist the current tensions began with the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers have perhaps ignored the very recent history in the area.

- For a further look back into the history of the region, please read this article which explores the developments throughout the 20th century that led to the current state of affairs and exposes the lack of will in the international community to truly find a workable peace process. Too many have suffered as a result.

- Israeli rockets kill 6 family members in Lebanon amid growing despair on a day that saw a reported 42 Lebanese deaths. Reuters reports that of the 204 Lebanese casualties, all but 14 were civilians.

The six civilians, all from one family, were killed during an air strike that hit a house shortly after midnight in a Lebanese border village.
"We are working with our bare hands and so far we have recovered six bodies. More are still under the rubble," Salim Mourad, head of Aytaroun's village municipality, told Hizbollah's al-Manar television.

- The French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, was in Beirut on Monday calling for an "immediate truce" for humanitarian reasons.

- The US is making stranded Americans pay for their evacuation out of Lebanon.

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