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Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly:

By Jack DeLowe

If the Hizbullah is such a charitable organization, how is it that they are in the deep tunnels and bunkers while their elderly, women and children are on the streets? Maybe if the elderly, women & children stayed in the bunkers (like in Israel), the civilian death toll would decrease. (Signed)Jack de Lowe, Raanana, Israel

Nasrallah Vows to Begin Launching Missiles Beyond Haifa The Daily Star (Lebanon)

Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah vowed Wednesday that his fighters would begin firing rockets deeper into Israel, beyond the northern port of Haifa, and said the Jewish state's two-week-long military offensive against Lebanon was linked to a U.S.-Israeli plan for "a new Middle East."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who just concluded the first American diplomatic foray in the region since the fighting began July 12, had said there was no place in "a new Middle East" for Hizbullah or other Islamist groups bent on Israel's destruction.

Nasrallah said his organization was ready to discuss an end to the fighting, but the dignity and national interest of Lebanon was what he termed a "red line," a reference to the heavy Israeli bombing and ground assaults on the country.

"There is no way that we can accept any humiliating conditions on us, our people or our country...especially after all these sacrifices. ... We are open to political discussions and solutions with flexibility, but the dignity and national interest is a red line."

Nasrallah, speaking on Hizbullah's al-Manar television, also said Israel would have attacked his forces in southern Lebanon by October but lost the element of surprise and were forced to move early after his guerrilla forces captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid two weeks ago. Eight Israeli soldiers died in the attack.

"In an American and Zionist assessment, there are obstacles to a new Middle East. In the new Middle East, the Palestinian cause should be liquidated," Nasrallah said in a televised speech aired also aired on Lebanese and Arab satellite channels early Wednesday.

"In the new Middle East, there is no place for any resistance movement. The resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon must be eliminated," Nasrallah added, referring to Hamas, fellow Islamic militants fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The bearded Shiite Muslim cleric also said Israel could not win a ground war against his fighters, who would continue firing rockets into Israel no matter how far north Israeli forces penetrated into Lebanon.

"The goal of the incursion to prevent the rocketing of the settlements will not be achieved," he said. "The rocketing will continue no matter what the incursion is. We are ready for a ground confrontation. We will have the upper hand in a ground confrontation. We will recover any land occupied by the enemy," Nasrallah said.

Israeli Warplanes Blast Beirut While Troops Battle Hizbullah

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Washington)

Israeli warplanes blasted Beirut Tuesday as troops from the Jewish state continued to battle Hizbullah terrorists in southern Lebanon two weeks into the conflict with no immediate end in sight. The fierce fighting has claimed the lives of hundreds of Lebanese, almost all civilians, and dozens of Israelis.

Massive explosions shook Beirut as plumes of smoke rose over Hizbullah strongholds in the southern part of the city, while clashes continued along Lebanon's southern border as Israeli tanks and troops fought Hizbullah in and around the town of Bint Jbail.

Lebanese officials said an Israeli missile strike on a house killed seven members of one family, including several children, near the coastal town of Tyre.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, President Bush said the United States wants a long-term solution to the conflict. "We want a sustainable cease-fire," said Bush. "We don't want something that is short-term in duration. We want to address the root causes of the violence in the area. Therefore, our mission and our goal is to have a lasting peace, not a temporary peace, but something that lasts."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continued her diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, saying that an end to hostilities must come with conditions that help resolve what Washington sees as the underlying causes of the conflict, a lack of democracy and Islamic extremism.

"The people of this region, Israeli, Lebanese and indeed Palestinian, have lived too long in fear and in terror and in violence," said Rice. "A durable solution will be one that strengthens the forces of peace and the forces of democracy in this region."

Rice spoke after meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who said his country would continue its offensive to disarm Hizbullah and free two Israeli soldiers captured by the militia earlier this month.

"Israel is determined to carry on the fight against Hizbullah," said Olmert. "We will reach out for them. We will stop them. We will not hesitate to take the most severe measures against those who are aiming thousands of rockets and missiles against innocent civilians for one purpose, to kill them."

Rice also held a brief meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah to discuss the fighting in Lebanon and continuing clashes between Israeli troops and militants in the Gaza Strip. Abbas called for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon to stop the suffering of civilians.

Abbas also said his government is trying to broker a truce in Gaza, where more than 100 people have died during an Israeli military operation to free a captured soldier and halt rocket attacks.

Rice said while much of the world's attention is on the fighting in Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be forgotten. "We must remain focused on what is happening here in the Palestinian territories, on our desire to get back on a course that will lead ultimately to President Bush's vision but indeed the vision of President Abbas of two states living side by side in peace," added Rice.

In another development, Saudi Arabia announced it would donate $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Lebanon to help support the country's economy and reconstruction. The Saudi donation came as Israel announced it would allow planes carrying humanitarian aid to land at Beirut airport.

Druze Girl, 15, Killed by Katyusha


A 15-year-old girl in the Druze town of Meghar was killed Tuesday afternoon, when Hizbullah stepped up its rocket attacks on northern Israel.

The teenager was killed when the Katyusha struck her family's apartment in a direct hit. Her 30-year-old brother was seriously wounded and her 12-year-old sister suffered light injuries. 20 other people in the town were treated for shock and light injuries. Police are checking reports that a mosque was also damaged in the attack.

One person was injured lightly in a barrage of at least seven rockets on the area of Kiryat Shemona in the Upper Galilee. Missiles fired at Tzfat in the afternoon landed in open fields, although two missiles landed in the city earlier in the day, sending one man into shock.

Ten Katyushas struck Ma'alot, south of Tzfat, wounding 11 people. Three people were injured in attacks on Carmiel. Tiberias and Acre also were hit with a number of rockets, but no injuries were reported. In addition, a Katyusha fell near the Israeli Arab city of Shfaram for the first time on Tuesday.

The stepped-up rocket attacks throughout northern Israel have also caused great property damage. In one case, a rocket scored a direct hit on a residence in Nahariya, and another missile damaged a building in a Haifa suburb. A number of areas in Nahariya have reported power outages, with Israel Electric Company teams working to restore power as of Tuesday afternoon. Nahariya has suffered at least eight Hizbullah rocket strikes during the day Tuesday, five of them in the mid-afternoon alone.

The Home Front Command ordered residents of all northern communities to remain in bomb shelters and protected rooms throughout the day.

UN: Four UN Observers Killed in Israeli Air Strike in Lebanon

By VOA News

The United Nations says four U.N. peacekeepers have been killed in an Israeli air strike on a U.N. post in southern Lebanon.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, speaking in Rome, called on Israel to investigate what he called the "apparently deliberate targeting" of the U.N. post. A spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, said the air strike was a direct hit on the U.N. post in the town of Khiam.

To the north, Israeli forces pounded Beirut for the first time in nearly two days. Smoke hovered over Hizbullah strongholds in the city's southern districts. Meanwhile, a senior Hizbullah official told the Associated Press that the group did not expect Israel to have responded so strongly to the recent capture of two Israeli soldiers. The official, Mahmoud Komati, said Hizbullah expected "the usual, limited" response from Israel.

Israel began its offensive against Hizbullah after terrorists captured two Israeli soldiers. The violence has claimed the lives of more than 370 Lebanese, almost all civilians, and 37 Israelis. About 20 Israeli troops have died in the fighting.

The Future: Freeze-Dried Blood Packs for Soldiers


An Israeli firm is developing a small product with big implications: personal packs of freeze-dried blood which soldiers can carry into battle for their own medical care on the field.

The packs will look like the freeze-dried coffee you find in the supermarket, according to Lt. Col. Amir Blumenfeld, head of the IDF Medical Corps' Trauma Unit. The little packs will be included in each soldier's mandatory personal kit, he said, according to the Ha'aretz news service.

"The idea is to take a soldier's blood, freeze it under laboratory conditions and remove the ice crystals, leaving only the blood components," explained Blumenfeld. A blood transfusion using the soldier's own reconstituted blood would eliminate compatibility problems and the dangers of infection.

At present, combat medics and doctors are forced to use a saline solution in transfusions on the battlefield until the injured soldier can be evacuated to a regular medical facility. Blood transfusions are also available in evacuation aircraft for critical injuries.

The Ness Tziona company which is working on the product for the IDF recently carried out an experiment that showed the blood powder would be able to carry 80 percent oxygen once it is reconstituted with water. IDF Chief Medical Officer Hezi Levy hailed the news. "This is an excellent achievement," he said.

The personal powdered blood packs have been under development for several years, said Levy. "We support the idea and the research and have been following it for three years. It's looking good. The United States Army is also very interested in this research. It looks very promising." Levy said it is hoped that the project would be completed in the next two years.

US Renews Warning to Iran over Uranium Enrichment

By Deborah Tate (VOA-Washington)

The United States reiterated its warning to Iran Tuesday to halt uranium enrichment and return to nuclear negotiations, saying world powers are prepared to seek punitive action against Tehran if does otherwise. The comments of a top State Department official came during a congressional hearing on Iran.

In testimony before the joint House-Senate Economic Committee, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for energy, sanctions and commodities, Paul Simons, urged Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program and return to talks with the European Union.

He warned Iran against doing otherwise. "If Iran chooses the other path and continues on its current course, it will face greater international isolation and strong U.N. Security Council action," he said.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany early last month offered Iran a package of incentives, including assistance for its civilian nuclear program, if it halts enrichment and returns to the talks. Iran said it would respond to the offer next month.

Despite denials from Tehran, the United States believes Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

While Simons held out the prospect of international sanctions if Iran does not respond positively to the offer, another witness argued that such action may not stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Jeffery Schott is a senior fellow at the Washington-based Institute for International Economics. "Leaders in Iran feel that nuclear weapons will bring them regional dominance and that just like India and Pakistan, the west will grudgingly accept their accession to the nuclear club without significant retribution," he said.

Still, Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says sanctions remain useful. "Targeted sanctions may not cripple the Iranian economy to the point where it is financially incapable of developing a nuclear weapon; however, coupled with concerted diplomatic efforts, the right mix of sanctions has the potential to convince Iran to abandon any nuclear weapons ambitions it may harbor."

Meanwhile, Congress is considering renewing decade-old U.S. sanctions against Iran that are aimed at deterring foreign companies from energy sector investments in that country.

The Iran Sanctions Extension Act of 2006, which has been endorsed by the Bush administration, would replace the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. With the warming of relations between Washington and Tripoli, any sanctions legislation would exclude Libya.

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