Tuesday, July 25, 2006

UN workers killed in Israeli strike

Tuesday in Lebanon ended with Israel hitting a UN compound in Khiam killing 4 UN workers. It puts into jeopardy any peacekeeping force that is to be discussed on Wednesday. The four dead were from Austria, Canada, China and Finland.
Having completed her tour of Lebanon and Israel, Condoleeza Rice is expected in Rome where discussions are to take place as to the implementation of a peacekeeping force. Two countries not invited are Iran and Syria. Iranian officials have already indicated their disapproval of being excluded from the ‘peace talks’. Another sticking point is the number of troops needed and which counties might supply them. The risk to them would undoubtedly be high. In 1983 a peacekeeping operation was hit by a terrorist attack in Beirut killing 241 US marines and 58 French paratroopers. Headlines in many papers in the UK lead with concerns as to where the conflict may be heading. And yesterday King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia expressed his concern of the threat of a wider conflict. "Saudi Arabia warns everybody that if the peace option fails because of Israeli arrogance, there will be no other option but war," state-owned media quoted the king as saying. "No one can predict what will happen if things get out of control," said the statement from the king. "The Arabs have declared peace as a strategic choice ... and put forward a clear and fair proposal of land for peace and have ignored [Arab] extremist calls opposing the peace proposal ... but patience cannot last forever." The king was referring to an Arab peace initiative, proposed by Saudi Arabia and adopted in a 2002 Arab summit, which offers Israel a comprehensive peace in return for land it seized in a 1967 Middle East war. Earlier this week Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal held London talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair ahead of a visit to Washington.
“I think we both agree that the real solution is to have Lebanon come back to its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said. “For that to happen there must be a first step, which is a ceasefire to stop the bombing that is happening.” But so far there has been “All Talk, No Action” as one Lebanese paper put it to its readers. The death toll rises meanwhile. So far more than 150 dead in Gaza, nearly 300 in Lebanon and nearly fifty dead in Israel. And after a day of continued statements of Israel’s resolve in continuing the fight, Hezbollah tonight broadcast a speech from the spiritual leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. In the speech he vowed to strike beyond Haifa, hinting at striking Israel’s capital Tel Aviv. Posted by Picasa

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