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« Reply #855 on: August 28, 2006, 12:03:14 AM »

Hezbollah Head Says He Didn't Expect War

Aug 27, 9:40 PM (ET)

By ZEINA KARAM

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a TV interview aired Sunday that he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers if he had known it would lead to such a war.

Guerrillas from the Islamic militant group killed three Israeli soldiers and seized two more in a cross-border raid July 12, which sparked 34 days of fighting that ended with a cease-fire on Aug. 14.

"We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 ... that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not," he said in an interview with Lebanon's New TV station.

He also said Italy and the United Nations had made contacts to help mediate a prisoner swap with Israel, but did not specify whether they had contacted Hezbollah directly. He did not say in what capacity Italy had expressed interest - on its own or on Israel's behalf.

Nasrallah said Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri was in charge of the negotiations and the subject would be discussed during U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's visit to Beirut on Monday.

There had been "some contacts" to arrange a meeting between him and Annan, he said, but that was unlikely for security reasons.

"The Italians seem to be getting close and are trying to get into the subject. The United Nations is interested," Nasrallah said. "The Israelis have acknowledged that this (issue) is headed for negotiations and a (prisoners) exchange."

A senior Israeli government official declined to comment on such contacts, saying only that Israel "does not negotiate with terrorists" and continues to demand the unconditional release of the two soldiers. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

Earlier Sunday, Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said no negotiations were being held on a prisoner release.

"Right now no, but I expect that concerning the prisoners in the north, we shall have to wait until the Lebanese government will take charge completely over its land in accordance with the U.N. resolution," he said.

Israeli military officials said earlier this month that Israel is holding 13 Hezbollah prisoners and the bodies of dozens of guerrillas that it could swap for the two captive soldiers, but would not include any Palestinian prisoners in such a deal.

Also Sunday, 245 French soldiers arrived at Beirut's airport to help the Lebanese army rebuild bridges destroyed or damaged by Israeli air strikes.

The troops were separate from a French contribution of 2,000 soldiers to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, which was being expanded to 15,000 members under the U.N. Security Council resolution that ended the Israel-Hezbollah war.

"Our job is to work jointly with the Lebanese army in rebuilding bridges. The French troops will be here for about one and a half months at least," said Lt. Philip Toroller, an officer of the French military mission based at the French Embassy in Beirut. He said the troops would go first to Damour, a coastal town south of Beirut, where they would begin work before moving to other areas in south Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had received assurances from Annan that new peacekeepers would be on the ground in Lebanon within a week, the prime minister's office said in a statement.

The UNIFIL force is paid for out of the budget of the United Nations, which is made up of member states' annual contributions, and the new expansion of the force will come out of the same budget, said Timur Goksel, a former head of UNIFIL.

American civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson said he raised the issue of a prisoner swap in talks with President Bashar Assad during a visit, but he did not elaborate on the Syrian leader's response.

Jackson was in Damascus on the first leg of a tour that also included stops in Lebanon and Israel. He said he was there to gauge the "views" of Syrian, Lebanese and Israeli officials, and to appeal to them to stick to the U.N.-brokered cease-fire.

Nasrallah, whose whereabouts are unknown as he went into hiding on the first day of the war, also said he did not believe a second bout of fighting would break out with Israel, even though he said more than half his group's rocket arsenal was still left.

"The current Israeli situation, and the available information tells us that we are not heading to another round," he said.

However, he called any possible attacks on Israeli troops "legitimate" as long as even one Israeli soldier remained in Lebanon.

Lebanese officials have said continuing Israeli overflights violate the 2-week-old cease-fire, and Annan proclaimed an Israeli commando raid one week into the truce a violation. Hezbollah has not retaliated, but Nasrallah said the group would "choose the time and place" to strike back.

"If we have been patient until now, it does not mean we will be patient forever, but we are not obliged to reveal the limits of our patience," he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia urged the United Nations to let its soldiers join the peacekeeping force despite Israel's opposition to troops from predominantly Muslim nations without diplomatic ties to the Jewish state.

Malaysian troops "will not take sides and will do the job according to the U.N. mandate," Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said, according to the state Bernama news agency.

"Our record (in peacekeeping missions) is good," he said. "But, if the U.N. wants to heed to the wishes of Israel, what can we do?"

Hezbollah Head Says He Didn't Expect War
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« Reply #856 on: August 28, 2006, 03:26:12 AM »

Lebanon demands disarmament of Palestinians
JPost.com Staff, THE JERUSALEM POST    Aug. 28, 2006

The Lebanese government demanded from Palestinians in refugee camps in the Litani area to disarm in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1701, senior Fatah operative in Lebanon, Monir Al-Makdah, reported on Monday morning.

Reportedly, Lebanese Prime Minister Faud Saniora made the request to Fatah representative in Lebanon Abbas Za'aki.

Al-Makdah rejected the demand in an interview with Jordanian newspaper Al-Dostur, saying that the Security Council resolution was illegal since it did not include the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

Lebanon demands disarmament of Palestinians
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« Reply #857 on: August 28, 2006, 03:28:27 AM »

Quote
Lebanon demands disarmament of Palestinians

They need to look at their own country, and not worry about everyone else.  They should have disarmed the huzzies, and still need to.
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« Reply #858 on: August 28, 2006, 03:43:33 AM »

U.S. warns Syria to observe arms embargo

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer Thu Aug 24, 9:32 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The U.S. warned Syria on Thursday to abide by a United Nations arms embargo meant to stop Hezbollah from resupplying after its monthlong war with Israel. It dismissed Syrian objections to international peacekeepers as preposterous.

"All countries must obey the arms embargo" under the U.N. Security Council resolution that set a cease-fire this month, said State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos. "It is a singular duty for Syria, as the one country apart from Israel that borders Lebanon, to do so."

President Bush welcomed an announcement from France that it will send 2,000 soldiers for an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon and spoke by phone Thursday to Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi as the Italians prepare to lead the international force.

Syria is a Hezbollah benefactor that was largely left out of diplomacy during the 34-day war. On Wednesday, Syrian President Bashar Assad called any deployment of multinational troops along his border a "hostile" affront to Syria.

"First, this means creating hostile conditions between Syria and Lebanon," Assad told Dubai Television in an interview aired Wednesday. "Second, it is a hostile move toward Syria and naturally it will create problems."

The notion that the troops are a threat to Syria "is preposterous," the State Department's Gallegos said in Washington. "We call on the Syrian regime to fulfill its international obligations."

Hezbollah is an Islamic militia and political organization rooted in southern Lebanon, where its power eclipsed that of the central government in Beirut before the cross-border war. Hezbollah's political and organizational prowess is again on display as Lebanese begin to rebuild shattered towns, but its military capability and future is unclear.

Syria has also indicated it might impose a punitive blockade of Lebanon.

"They will close their borders for all traffic in the event that U.N. troops are deployed along the Lebanon-Syria border," Finland Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said after meeting his Syrian counterpart, Walid Moallem, in Helsinki. Finland holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

The Bush administration refused to talk to Syria directly during the negotiations to end the Israeli-Hezbollah fighting. In the complex diplomacy now under way to seal and strengthen the fragile U.N.-brokered cease-fire, the administration is wary of new Syrian efforts to assert control in Lebanon.

The United States pulled its ambassador out of Syria last year after the assassination of a Lebanese politician who had sought to steer his nation away from three decades of effective control by Syria.

"We are working with the United Nations and our partners to ensure the rapid deployment of this force to help Lebanon's legitimate armed forces restore the sovereignty of its democratic government throughout the country and stop Hezbollah from acting as a state within a state," Bush said Thursday.

France, along with the United States, helped draft the cease-fire deal allowing for expansion of an existing U.N. force from 2,000 troops to up to 15,000. France's commitment of troops to establish a buffer zone between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas has been closely watched in other countries.

U.S. warns Syria to observe arms embargo
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« Reply #859 on: August 28, 2006, 03:48:46 AM »

Syria is upset, but who cares? Grin

Syria doesn't want the United Nations to block shipments of arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Actually, that's a goal of the proposed U.N. force that was formed to enforce a cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel: Disarm Hezbollah and keep Syria in check.

Italy and other countries will provide guns. France will bring the wine, cheese and umbrellas.
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« Reply #860 on: August 28, 2006, 04:19:58 AM »

Syria is upset, but who cares? Grin

Syria doesn't want the United Nations to block shipments of arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Actually, that's a goal of the proposed U.N. force that was formed to enforce a cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel: Disarm Hezbollah and keep Syria in check.

Italy and other countries will provide guns. France will bring the wine, cheese and umbrellas.

 Grin   Grin   ROFL!

The U.N. really is a bad joke. Nothing they do makes any sense at all. And France - have a group hug with the terrorists and hope they leave you alone.

It seems that the world is having a hard time getting the message that the terrorists have been sending for many years. The terrorists have declared war on Jews and Christians many times, and their desires are global. They have no intention to leave anyone alone, regardless of what concessions are made. Engage them where they are or they will engage us at home. It's really just as simple as that. It is my opinion that the terrorists are already great hosts - we just don't know it yet. It's also my opinion that the terrorists will be tools of the devil in the end of this age of Grace.
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« Reply #861 on: August 28, 2006, 04:33:34 PM »

'Gaza caught in anarchy and thuggery'
Khaled Abu Toameh, THE JERUSALEM POST    Aug. 28, 2006

"When you walk in the streets of Gaza City, you cannot but close your eyes because of what you see there: unimaginable chaos, careless policemen, young men carrying guns and strutting with pride and families receiving condolences for their dead in the middle of the street."

This is how Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority government and a former newspaper editor, described the situation in the Gaza Strip in an article he published on Sunday on some Palestinian news Web sites.

The article, the first of its kind by a senior Hamas official, also questioned the effectiveness of the Kassam rocket attacks and noted that since Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip, the situation there has deteriorated on all levels. It holds the armed groups responsible for the crisis and calls on them to reconsider their tactics and to stop blaming Israel for their mistakes.

"Gaza is suffering under the yoke of anarchy and the swords of thugs," Hamad wrote. "I remember the day when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and closed the gates behind. Then, Palestinians across the political spectrum took to the streets to celebrate what many of us regarded as the Israeli defeat or retreat. We heard a lot about a promising future in the Gaza Strip and about turning the area into a trade and industrial zone."

Hamad said the "culture of life" that prevailed in the Strip has since been replaced with a nightmare. "Life became a nightmare and an intolerable burden," he said. "Today I ask myself a daring and frightening question: 'Why did the occupation return to Gaza?' The normal reply: 'The occupation is the reason.'"

Dismissing Israel's responsibility for the growing state of anarchy and lawlessness in the Gaza Strip, Hamad said it was time for the Palestinians to embark on a soul-searching process to see where they erred.

"We're always afraid to talk about our mistakes," he added. "We're used to blaming our mistakes on others. What is the relationship between the chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, indiscriminate murders, theft of land, family rivalries, transgression on public lands and unorganized traffic and the occupation? We are still trapped by the mentality of conspiracy theories - one that has limited our capability to think."

Hamad admitted that the Palestinians have failed in developing the Gaza Strip following the Israeli withdrawal and in imposing law and order. He said about 500 Palestinians have been killed and 3,000 wounded since the Israeli pullout, in addition to the destruction of much of the infrastructure in the area.

By comparison, he said, only three or four Israelis have been killed by the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the same period.

"Some will argue that it's not a matter of profit or loss, but that this has an accumulating effect" he said. "This may be true. But isn't there a possibility of decreasing the number of casualties and increasing our gains by using our brains and making the proper calculations away from demagogic statements?"

The Hamas official said that while his government was unable to change the situation, the opposition was sitting on the side and watching and PA President Mahmoud Abbas was as weak as ever.

"We have all been attacked by the bacteria of stupidity," he remarked. "We have lost our sense of direction and we don't know where we're headed."

Addressing the various armed groups in the Gaza Strip, Hamad concluded: "Please have mercy on Gaza. Have mercy on us from your demagogy, chaos, guns, thugs, infighting. Let Gaza breathe a bit. Let it live."

'Gaza caught in anarchy and thuggery'
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« Reply #862 on: August 28, 2006, 04:36:24 PM »

What are Hezbollah’s Long-Term Goals?
By Paul Strand
CBN News

CBNNews.com – WASHINGTON - For now, the Middle East cease-fire agreement brokered by the U.N. seems to be holding up.
   
But can Israel ever live in peace next to a group like Hezbollah? Because Hezbollah is nothing more than a terrorist group driven by one dark goal.

As all the rest of the world begins to push Israel towards a cease-fire with Hezbollah, it's a good time to consider if there can ever truly be peace with such a terrorist group.
   
Many people assume since Hezbollah has representatives in Lebanon's parliament, it must be more like a political party than the average bunch of terrorists.  But is it?
   
Cliff May is a former New York Times foreign correspondent who's been keeping a close eye on this current Israeli conflict with Hezbollah.
   
He says it’s important to study Hezbollah's long-term goals.

May said, "There's no puzzle about that. They have said it is to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Their long-term goals are nothing short of ethnic cleansing and genocide. That's very clear."

Many people assume that Hezbollah can be dealt with just like any other combatant in all the wars of the past it would prefer peace at almost any price to war.  May says, think again.

"Look, most people understand that in a militant Islamist society, Saudi Arabia among them, if a Muslim converts to another religion, that is a crime punishable by death,” May explained. “They hold the same view about land. Once a land is conquered by Muslims, it can never go back to being ruled by infidels.

They believe it is an endowment from Allah to the Muslims. They can either fight for it or not do their religious duty. That is why they believe that Israel, which was once conquered by Muslims, must once again be run by Muslims."

An important factor in future days will be how the major media portray this war and the thinking processes of those fighting it, as well as their willingness to cease fighting.
   
But can those reporters really understand the mindset of terrorists, especially ones who base their terror attacks on their extreme religious beliefs?

"I think they don't often understand how much Hamas and Hezbollah mean what they say,” May said. “The reporters do what you call 'mirror imaging.' They think, 'If I said that, I wouldn't mean it, so they say that, they can't mean it.'They think, 'This is a political group. That's maybe their negotiating posture, but surely they're willing to back off.'

He said, "They don't understand what we've just discussed. It's not a negotiating posture. It is a religious conviction. And because it's a religious conviction, it's very hard for them to back off from it."

What are Hezbollah’s Long-Term Goals?
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« Reply #863 on: August 28, 2006, 04:41:09 PM »

Prince Hassan: Arab leaders stole billions from their people

Jordanian Prince Hassan Bin Talal levels scathing criticism at Arab leaders during speech delivered in Kyoto conference: 'Arab leaders stole billions of dollars from the Arab people in order to spend them on weapons to fight Israel, which they can never defeat.' Prince warns against Iranian nuclear armament project

Roee Nahmias
Published:    08.28.06, 22:27

Jordanian Prince Hassan Bin Talal, who was the Jordanian heir apparent until Abdullah was crowned as king, launched a sharp verbal attack against the leaders of Arab countries during a Kyoto conference.

"The Arab leaders stole billions of dollars from the Arab people and spent it on weapons to fight Israel, which they will never defeat, instead of using the money for health and education purposes to aid their people," he stated.

Speaking at the world conference of the interfaith group "Religions for Peace", Prince Hassan also attacked the Iranian nuclear development program. Hassan spoke against nuclear armament, especially on Iran's part, and said that it needs to be made sure that the nuclear project in Iran does not reach the stage of nuclear weapons. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was present at the conference.

Prince Hassan, like Khatami, arrived together with more than 800 religious leaders to the Kyoto conference. One of the conference's aims this year is to formulate an ethical code that will be implemented in cases of violent conflicts across the globe. Representatives from countries like Israel, Iran, Iraq, Sudan and North Korea are taking part in the event.

One of the Israeli delegates in the conference, Rabbi David Rosen, had met with Khatami during the event. He said that "Former President Khatami was extremely polite, he shook my hand and did not mention Israel in his speech at all."

Several debates between Israeli rabbis and Palestinian clerics are set to take place in coming days in a bid to establish a mechanism that would enable cooperation between religious leaders. The Palestinian delegation is headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' representative and head of the sharia court, Tayer Tamimi, along with Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah.

Prince Hassan: Arab leaders stole billions from their people
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« Reply #864 on: August 28, 2006, 04:49:05 PM »

A litte jealous rivalry?  Al-Qaeda member: Hizbullah backed by evil

Website quotes al-Qaeda senior figure as saying: 'Hizbullah are infidels, it and Israel are enemies of Allah'

Yaakov Lappin
Published:    08.27.06, 22:22

A speech allegedly made by Sheikh Abu Abdul Rahman has surfaced on a jihadi pro al-Qaeda website in which Rahman is cited as condemning the "infidel Hizbullah" and "the most corrupted regimes of Syria and Iran."

The speech was posted on the Islamist Muntada internet forum, frequently used by British Muslim al-Qaeda sympathizers, and was described as being a "summary of an address by Sheikh Abu Abdul Rahman speaking from Lebanon."

It is unclear whether the speaker identified as Rahman on the forum is a reference to al-Qaeda's second in command in Iraq, Abu Abdul Rahman al-Iraqi, and whether the senior al-Qaeda figure actually delivered the message from Lebanon.

The statement does, however, represent the seething resentment of Sunni al-Qaeda, directed at what it sees as an attempted Shiite takeover of the jihad campaign in the Middle East.

In the speech, Rahman espoused anti-Semitic conspiracy theories inspired by the Russian forgery, the protocols of the elders of Zion: "We know very well from our history that the Jews target to occupy Lebanon, Syria and even the north of the Arabian peninsula even up to Iraq to the river of Furaat (Euphrates)."
 
However, he then turns his wrath to Hizbullah, Iran, and Syria, calling them "infidel entities," and arguing that they are preventing Sunni jihadis from attacking Israel.

'Hizbullah not fighting for Allah'

"We need to know the reality, and we already know how Hizbullah do not fight for the sake of Allah. They declare themselves that they fight for the sake of Lebanon, are backed by the most corrupted regimes – Syria and Iran – and backed by the most evil people," Abdul Rahman was cited as saying.

"We cannot be fools to die for nationalism and tribalism, if two entities of Kuffar (infidels) fight that does not bother us. What bothers us is if we side with any one of them," he added.

"Hizbullah has been the shield for the northern border of Israel, just like the eastern and southern shield is Jordan and the western shield is Egypt. These shields are all to prevent any Mujahideen (holy warriors) from entering Israel or to attack them," the message said.

Abdul Rahman claimed that Israel was actually focusing on "the Sunni and Palestinian Mujahideen in Lebanon rather than Hizbullah who will escape disarmament by joining the Lebanese army."

"We remember when al-Qaeda launched rockets from southern Lebanon, it was Hizbullah who rose to defend Israel and condemned it and threatened to cut the hand of those responsible if they caught them," the statement said.

Rahman also complained that Muslims were being led to disregard warfronts launched by Sunni jihadis around the world: "The mistake of many Muslims is that because of this one story, they have forgotten about Somalia while the enemy forces are preparing to enter Mogadishu, they forgot about Sudan and Darfur, they forgot about Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Kashmir."

"Lebanon is a battle between two kuffar (infidel) entities but those losing out are the innocent people caught in between who are not part of the conflict. The people should be patient, we do not fight for land or rock; we fight for the word of Allah to be the highest in that land, we fight in the Muslim lands to make the word of Allah the highest, not for the word of the kuffar regimes to be the highest. We need to believe decisively that all of Muslim land is our land: Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine and all others," the message said.

"We should let Israel and Hizbullah weaken each other so that the Muslims can benefit in the long run and will use the opportunity to prepare for the future. The Muslims need to invest this war for the long war to liberate the whole of Palestine and all Muslim lands, and not to let the kuffar choose our battlefield nor let the media set our agenda," the statement concluded.

Al-Qaeda member: Hizbullah backed by evil
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« Reply #865 on: August 29, 2006, 12:40:48 AM »

EU to commit biggest force in its history to keep the peace

French-led operation with 7,000 ground troops to begin deploying in days as UN anticipates full-strength mission

Ewen MacAskill and David Gow in Brussels
Saturday August 26, 2006
The Guardian

The European Union is to mount the biggest military operation in its history after agreeing yesterday to commit more than 7,000 ground troops for a United Nations mission policing the Israel-Lebanon ceasefire.

The EU, at a meeting of its foreign ministers in Brussels, also agreed to send a further 2,000 specialist forces, mainly providing naval and air support.

Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, in Brussels to cajole hesitant countries, expressed his delight and said that more than half of the proposed 15,000-strong peacekeeping force was now in place.

At a press conference, he said: "Europe is providing the backbone of the force." He added the force would be able to deploy "in days, not weeks".

Its willingness to commit troops demonstrates that the EU is capable of military deployments independent of the US. It also answers criticism from Washington that Europe is happy to engage in diplomacy but unwilling to put boots on the ground. As well as the 2,000 troops promised by the French president, Jacques Chirac, on Thursday, Italy committed 3,000, Spain up to 1,200, including a mechanised battalion, Belgium 400, Poland 500 and Finland 250.

Britain, Germany, Greece and Denmark offered to contribute to the 2,000 specialist forces. Britain, which was represented at the meeting by the Europe minister, Geoff Hoon, will provide six Jaguar aircraft, two AWACS reconnaissance planes and a frigate or destroyer, and offer the use of its air and naval base on Cyprus.

The Irish government said it could not help out with the initial deployment but could provide help later.

The plan confirmed in Brussels is to have 4,000 troops - mainly a mixture of French and Italians - deployed in Lebanon by next week, with the others to follow by November.

Following the Brussels meeting Mr Annan flew to the Middle East to discuss outstanding problems with the Lebanese and Israeli governments, as well as Iran and Syria, ahead of the full deployment.

Two potential flashpoints with Israel immediately arose when Mr Annan made it plain that the UN force, despite Iraeli demands, would not disarm Hizbullah, saying this was a matter for the Lebanese, and would only police the Lebanon border with Syria if asked by the Lebanese government, which he said had made no such request.

The UN security council agreed a ceasefire resolution a fortnight ago for a 15,000-strong detachment of the Lebanese army in the south of the country supported by a 15,000-strong UN force. Mr Annan said that 15,000 remained his goal, even though Mr Chirac had earlier suggested that the figure was "quite excessive".

Outside the EU, Turkey, China, Nepal, New Zealand and other countries are considering offering troops. Israel is opposed to troops pledged by Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, predominantly Muslim countries with which it has no diplomatic ties. The Israeli government argues their refusal to recognise its existence could mean troops would be biased against it, and would also make liaison impossible on issues such as sharing intelligence.

But Mr Annan said yesterday he had received "firm commitments" from these countries.

"It is vital that we deploy strong, credible and robust forces," Mr Annan said. "In today's world there is lots of competition for troops and there's no pool sitting in barracks. They can be deployed in a manner which does not produce tensions among the protogonists or which does not require contact with the Israelis."

The secretary-general joined forces with Javier Solana, the EU's head of foreign and security policy, in demanding that Israel lift its blockade of Lebanese ports and Beirut airport at once to enable the peacekeeping forces to fulfil their mission and to allow the reconstruction of the country to begin and humanitarian aid to flow.

The Europeans are taking a considerable risk, with the ever-present danger of a strike by Israel or confrontation with Hizbullah, and a renewal of fighting with their forces caught in the middle. The EU's previous biggest operation was taking over from Nato in Bosnia in 2004: there is a 6,500-strong EU force in place.

The US is unable to contribute, partly because it is overextended elsewhere but mainly because of an unwillingness to re-engage in a country in which it lost 241 servicemen in 1983, its biggest single military loss in a day since the Second World War.

France and Italy, the two biggest troop contributors, appear to have resolved who will command the force. The UN troops on the ground will continue to be led by a French commander until the end of February when an Italian will take over.

In what was hailed as a breakthrough, the chain of command has been shortened so the UN troops' leadership will be answerable to an Italian general based in a special "cell" at UN headquarters in New York.

EU to commit biggest force in its history to keep the peace
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« Reply #866 on: August 29, 2006, 02:51:15 AM »

Funny, he looked like a Jew............

by Daniel Pipes
August 28, 2006

Front Page Magazine title: "The Terrorist Murder of a Palestinian Apologist"

An Italian named Angelo Frammartino, 25, espoused the typical anti-Israel views of a far-leftist, as he expressed in a letter to a newspaper in 2006:

    We must face the fact that a situation of no violence is a luxury in many parts of the world, but we do not seek to avoid legitimate acts of defense. … I never dreamed of condemning resistance, the blood of the Vietnamese, the blood of the people who were under colonialist occupation or the blood of the young Palestinians from the first intifada.

   

Angelo Frammartino
   
Actively to forward his beliefs, Frammartino went to Israel in early August 2006 to serve as a volunteer with ARCI, a far-leftist NGO, working with Palestinian children at the Burj al-Luqluq community center in eastern Jerusalem.

But on August 10, he was stabbed in a terrorist assault at Sultan Suleiman Street, near Herod's Gate in Jerusalem, twice in the back and once in the neck. He died shortly after, only two days before his planned return to Italy. The killer, soon identified as Ashraf Hanaisha, 24, turned out to be a Palestinian affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A resident of the village of Qabatiya in the Jenin area, Hanaisha apparently planned to attack a Jewish Israeli but made a mistake.

Damage control soon followed. The Palestinian Authority's news agency, WAFA, carried a statement by the Burj al Luqluq community center condemning the murder in no uncertain terms: "Nothing could describe our emotions for what happened. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Angelo, they have our deepest sympathy." Several Palestinian NGOs then organized a vigil in Frammartino's memory. For her part, Hanaisha's mother launched an appeal, via the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, for the forgiveness of her son.

In response to this outpouring, Frammartino's parents did forgive Hanaisha. From the family home in Monterotondo, the father, Michelangelo, said that "he welcomes and appreciates, despite the undeletable sorrow, the plea for forgiveness made by the murderer's mother" and he expressed a hope that the parents' gesture "will bring to an end this extremely sad story." The father went further, telling the Corriere della Sera newspaper that he felt no hatred toward his son's murderer:

    Angelo was working to promote peace. The message he sought to convey is greater than anything else. … the circumstances confirm that Angelo was a victim of the war, of the injustice in the world. When we are talking about a situation of tension, absence of common sense dominates. I do not feel hatred because Angelo's thought, the principles that always motivated him, were definitely not of hatred or revenge.

Comments:

(1) These signals from Qabatiya to Monterotondo and back amounted to a curious and despicable pas de deux, with each side remorsefully implying things would be just fine if only Hanaisha had killed his intended victim: "Sorry, I thought he was a Jew," reads the headline in La Stampa. The Palestinians conveyed a message of "Excuse us, we did not mean to kill your son," while the family replied with a "Understood, we accept that you made a mistake."

(2) Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Barbara Sofer suggests an excellent way to honor the memory of Angelo Frammartino, by having his family join in solidarity with another high-profile victim of Palestinian violence. She notes that the Koby Mandell Foundation, named for another young man brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists, "provides therapeutic camping experiences for terror survivors or the families of those murdered by terrorists. … It's non-political, hosts Jews and non-Jews, and works on building character." Sofer suggests that those who want to honor Frammartino's memory "might want to support this camp that works to mitigate the evil brought by those who duped and killed their son."

(3) Even if he was a political extremist, all accounts portray Frammartino as a gentle soul. If so, that only confirms how much out of depth he was in Jerusalem. As Calev Ben-David points out, also in the Jerusalem Post, his death is a reminder "that outsiders who come to this region, even with the best of intentions, should first understand that they, no less than Israelis - or, for that matter, those in the Arab world who truly want peace - can just as easily fall victim to those here who have only the worst of intentions."

(4) Put more cruelly, given Frammartino's idiotic views ("I never dreamed of condemning resistance"), had he survived his knifing, perhaps surviving in a state of total bodily paralysis, would he have seen the attack on him as terrorism? Or would he have learned nothing and still considered it an act of legitimate self-defense?

Funny, he looked like a Jew.......
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« Reply #867 on: September 04, 2006, 08:26:08 PM »

IDF Officers May Face War Crime Charges in Europe
16:11 Sep 04, '06 / 11 Elul 5766
by Yechiel Spira

IDF officers receiving a classified Foreign Ministry memorandum are warned they may face arrest and charges of war crimes in Europe.

Israel has learned that certain European and international organizations have already begun working towards compiling cases against IDF officers and government officials, planning to file war crimes charges against them for Israel’s actions in Lebanon. Officers are being warned against visiting Europe as a result.

Foreign Ministry legal advisor Ehud Keinan, who distributed the memorandum, warns soldiers of the impending legal threat, one that may result in criminal charges against both senior and junior military officers alike.

Organizations based in Europe are working in earnest to compile evidence against political leaders and senior commanders, seeking to charge the latter with war crimes for complying with orders in the recent war in southern Lebanon.

Ministers cited include Eli Yishai of Shas, who is quoted as saying, “Entire villages must be wiped out,” in reference to IDF activities during the war. Also cited is Haim Ramon, the justice minister who stepped down in light of an ongoing police investigation against him in an unrelated matter. Ramon made similar remarks in statements referring to the village of Bint Jbeil.

Keinan warns officers and cabinet ministers alike to refrain from using terms such as “eradicate” and “crush,” since they provide those seeking to build cases against them with ammunition.

The Foreign Ministry and State Prosecutor’s Office have hired the services of criminal attorneys in Europe, adding that efforts are underway to find a common language with European leaders in the hope of avoiding situations that would prove difficult and embarrassing to Israel and nations like Britain. Government officials in Israel state that British leaders are troubled by the trend as well, but they explain that the law in Europe permits such actions, based on international law.

During the past year, there have been a number of cases in which senior IDF officers were instructed to cancel travel plans to England, and in one case, a senior officer was instructed to remain on board a plane that landed in the UK when embassy officials learned that he would have been placed under arrest upon entering the country. The officer, Doron Almog, returned to Israel on the next flight.

Israel offers protection to officers in such situations, pointing out that despite all efforts at home, European law permits filing charges of war crimes and reality dictates that Israel address the situation with the seriousness it demands.

IDF Officers May Face War Crime Charges in Europe
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wow, this is major. I think the EU is totally against Israel. It is still hard to tell if the US is going to be on Israel's side or try to be neutral. I hope we are on Israel's side.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2006, 08:29:12 PM by DreamWeaver » Logged

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« Reply #868 on: September 04, 2006, 09:04:29 PM »

EU gives Iran two weeks to clarify stance

By Rex Merrifield and Ingrid Melander in Finland

September 02, 2006 09:06pm


EUROPEAN Union foreign ministers agreed today to take two more weeks to try to clarify Iran's stance on halting sensitive nuclear work after Tehran ignored a UN deadline to stop uranium enrichment.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will meet Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, in Europe early next week to clear up ambiguities in Tehran's 21-page reply to a major power offer of cooperation if it stops work that could help build a bomb.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel told Reuters after the 25 ministers discussed the issue at a meeting in Finland: "We give Solana two weeks for his clarification talks."

Mr Solana and other ministers insisted there was no deadline, but he said time was short and he would report to ministers at their next regular meeting on September 15.

He said he would be talking with Larijani also on behalf of the six powers which agreed on the package of economic, technological and political incentives - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

An EU official said there could be consultations among United Nations Security Council members before then but the Council would not formally take up the matter.

Iran defied an August 31 UN deadline to halt uranium enrichment and has given no sign it is prepared to meet the international community's key condition for opening negotiations on economic, technological and political co-operation.

Asked when he now expected Tehran to comply with the UN resolution, Mr Solana said: "Yesterday."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remained defiant today as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan visited Tehran for talks on Lebanon and the nuclear dispute.

"Our nation is a supporter of peace but it will not retreat an iota from its right to nuclear technology," the ISNA student news agency quoted him as saying.

EU diplomats said ministers wanted to take a bit more time not so much because they believed Tehran would have a change of heart but more to show public opinion and sceptical Security Council powers Russia and China they had explored every avenue.

"After what happened on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, we really have to convince people that we have gone the extra mile," one said.

Ministers declined to talk publicly about what sanctions they might apply if Tehran did not comply.
However, British Europe Minister Geoff Hoon said Iran had had plenty of time to respond to what he called the perfectly reasonable request and he had called for "robust action".

"Despite our intensive efforts of the last six months, there has up to today unfortunately been no signal of reciprocity from Iran," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters.

But he added: "We in the EU and Germany have no interest in an escalation in the coming days and weeks due to deliberations in the Security Council."

French Europe Minister Catherine Colonna said it was important to continue the dialogue with Tehran while reminding Iran of the international community's conditions.

Asked how long Iran had to comply with the Security Council's demands on its nuclear program, she said: "Rendezvous in a few days."

EU gives Iran two weeks to clarify stance
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« Reply #869 on: September 04, 2006, 09:06:13 PM »

Germany wants to bind Russia to EU
01.09.2006 - 09:41 CET | By Honor Mahony
Germany is considering a revamp of the bloc's policy towards the east with Berlin looking at how Russia can be "irreversibly" bound to the EU.

It wants to push the new policy when it takes over the presidency of the EU in January - the six-month stint at the helm of the bloc allows the country to promote particular themes.


"The goal must be to make the political, economic and cultural ties between the EU and Russia – its anchor in a wider Europe – irreversible", says a foreign ministry paper seen by German daily Handelsblatt.

The ministry paper also refers to the "window of opportunity" brought about by having a Finnish presidency followed by a German presidency as both countries want to foster contacts with Moscow.

"A complete European peace regime and the resolution of important security and political problems from the Balkans to the Middle East can only be attained with Russia and not without it," the paper says.

Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set to raise this idea when he meets his counterparts in Finland today for informal discussions.

But Mr Steinmeier already alluded to Berlin's thinking on a eastern Europe policy during a speech before the Heinz Schwarzkopf foundation on Wednesday.

"In the EU we need attractive and credible offers for our neighbours," he said.

He said Romania and Bulgaria - due to join the bloc in January - will certainly not be the last countries to join the EU but that the way for other countries interested in joining the bloc would be "sometimes longer and sometimes stonier."

At the moment the EU has signed a series of neighbourhood agreements with the countries that surround it. A carrot and stick approach, these agreements offer a range of trade-related incentives in return for progress on democracy reform.

The bloc's relations with Russia itself are more complex with Moscow seeing Brussels as interfering in its sphere of influence over former Soviet bloc countries such as Georgia and Ukraine.

In 2003, both sides agreed to set up in the long-term an EU-Russia common space covering the economy, justice and home affairs, external security and research.

However relations are often clouded by geopolitical issues - including energy - which have seen harsh rhetoric traded between Brussels and Moscow in the past year.

Germany wants to bind Russia to EU
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