Israel continues to smash the infrastructure of Lebanon and destroy the economic viability of Beirut. At the same time, it issues demands for the return of kidnapped IDF soldiers, the total disarming of Hizbullah, it threatens Syria and Iran for supplying weapons to Hizbullah, but it says it is also ready to negotiate while railing against giving in to terror. But most importantly of all, Israel says it intends to continue its vicious bombing of Lebanon "for weeks".
This swirl of information sandwiched between piles of disinformation and spin is supposed to create confusion and mask the true intentions of Israel : to punish the Lebanese for daring to elect members of Hizbullah during their democratic electi0ns, just as Palestinians are now being hammered for daring to elect members of Hamas to government.
But so shocking has Israel's brutality been that all of its PR hacks and flacks and the power of its mammothic publicity machine can barely hold back a number of world leaders, and huge sections of the world media, from calling Israel a terrorist state.
More than 260 Lebanese civilians have been slaughtered in the past six day, with some 1000 more injured. Israel has taken two dozen dead and a few hundred more with mostly minor injuries.
The world has lost its taste for war, and the branding of the 'War On Terror' continues to be degraded by acts of horrific violence against civilians that are impossible not to be viewed as a form of terrorism. That this terrorism is performed by a major western ally makes the bombing campaigns, with more than 1000 targets hit inside Lebanon, no less terrorising than if the attacks were launched by suicidal Islamists.
From the Washington Times (President Bush's "favourite newspaper") :
Israeli officials said today that their offensive in Lebanon could last several more weeks and involve large numbers of ground forces, casting doubt on diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire.Israel's PM Olmert has already rejected the idea of an "international force".
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a visiting U.N. delegation that "Israel will continue to combat Hezbollah and will continue to strike targets of the group" until captured Israeli soldiers are released and Israeli citizens are safe from attacks.
In Belgium, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said any international stabilization force must be "considerably" larger and better armed than the U.N.'s current force in Lebanon, which numbers about 2,000 troops and long has been viewed by all sides in the Middle East as ineffectual and lacking a strong mandate.
Israel wants to keep bombing for weeks and, incredibly, the US has basically said, "Okay, you've got at least a week more before we have to tell you to reign it in."
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.Israel's current strategy in the Middle East, with the full backing of the United States, was clearly outlined in a document called 'A Clean Break : Securing The Realm' written in the late 1990s by neocons who went on to hold key positions of influence within the White House and State Department.
The Bush administration, backed by Britain, has blocked efforts for an immediate halt to the fighting initiated at the UN security council, the G8 summit in St Petersburg and the European foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.
"It's clear the Americans have given the Israelis the green light. They [the Israeli attacks] will be allowed to go on longer, perhaps for another week," a senior European official said yesterday. Diplomatic sources said there was a clear time limit, partly dictated by fears that a prolonged conflict could spin out of control.
US strategy in allowing Israel this freedom for a limited period has several objectives, one of which is delivering a slap to Iran and Syria, who Washington claims are directing Hizbullah and Hamas militants from behind the scenes.
George Bush last night said that he suspected Syria was trying to reassert its influence in Lebanon. Speaking in Washington, he said: "It's in our interest for Syria to stay out of Lebanon and for this government in Lebanon to succeed and survive. The root cause of the problem is Hizbullah and that problem needs to be addressed."
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