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Guess Who's Visiting Lebanon?

By Barry Shaw (Comment)

The political heads of Lebanon received a very special guest Monday evening. The Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, made an official visit to the Lebanese capital and was met by the Lebanese foreign minister at the airport. Tuesday, he'll be received by Lebanon's president. He'll also visit the so-called pragmatic Prime Minister Sinora and without doubt he'll meet and hug the Iranian pin-up boy in Lebanon. Sheikh Nasrallah. He won't have to go far to meet him. Intelligence places Nasrallah as being safely protected inside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. No doubt that one important discussion will focus on future supplies of Iranian military hardware to Lebanon.

Olmert: No Ceasefire Anytime Soon

By, VOA News & Ha'aretz

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said clearly on Monday night, "There is no ceasefire, and there will be no ceasefire in the coming days." In a nationally-televised address to local government officials in Tel Aviv, the prime minister said there would be no peace until Hizbullah returned the IDF soldiers kidnapped by the terrorists on July 12th and its rocket attacks on Israel were halted.

"We will stop the war when the threat is removed… our captured soldiers return home safely and you are able to live in safety and security," he told the mayors of Israel's besieged northern communities.

Olmert said bluntly that military operations would not end until Hizbullah had been pushed back from the northern border and its ability to harm Israel's citizens neutralized. "We will operate in the air, on land and sea to eradicate the terror threat from Lebanon," he said, but warned that Israel faced "no small number of days of fighting," and that the country "should be ready for pain, tears and blood. Missiles will still land in Israel in the coming days."

In remarks apparently aimed at the international community, Olmert said Israel had no longer been able to hold off dealing with the threat on its northern border. "We could not let the terror organization on our border get stronger, let them acquire more missiles. If we had held off, the day would have soon arrived when they would have caused unprecedented damage," he explained.

The prime minister said that IDF operations have seriously damaged Hizbullah's many command centers and long-range missiles. "Hizbullah has suffered a heavy blow and will take a long time to recover, if at all."

Olmert also took the opportunity to address the Lebanese people in his speech. "Lebanon is not our enemy," he said, emphasizing that the common enemy is terror. "We have no quarrel with the Lebanese people," he said. "They are not our enemy. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is the enemy," and added that Nasrallah is carrying out Syria and Iran's policies. "We have no quarrel with you," he reiterated, adding, "We look forward to a time when we will live together in quiet and cooperation… and hopefully in peace."

The prime minister apologized for the loss of innocent lives, as well as for the destruction to civilians in southern Lebanon, but was adamant in saying "we will not apologize" for Israel's yearning to exist, to live in peace. He expressed "pain and sorrow" over the loss of lives in Kafr Kana, but added that the IDF would nevertheless continue fighting until Israel's objectives are achieved,

He named the three IDF captives who had been kidnapped by terrorists – Gilad Shalit, taken hostage on June 25th by Hamas terrorists in an attack on an army post near the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza and Egypt in the south – and Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, abducted at the northern border by Hizbullah operatives as a simultaneous rocket attack on northern Israeli communities began the war – and said there would be no ceasefire until they were returned home safely.

There was not one country in the world that would tolerate the attacks Hizbullah had carried out against the Jewish nation, he noted. Taking an expression from the Torah, he said, "The nation of Israel is a stiff-necked people, and we will not stop fighting until there is peace in our land."

Israeli warplanes hit suspected Hizbullah targets in southern Lebanon, despite Israel's promise to suspend air strikes for a 48-hour period. The jets struck parts of southern Lebanon, and an unmanned drone aircraft fired a missile at what Lebanese security sources said was a truck carrying aid from Syria. In another incident, Israel apologized for killing a Lebanese soldier in a strike against a car. Israel said it thought the vehicle was carrying a senior Hizbullah militant.

Near Lebanon's southern border there were continued clashes reported with Hizbullah fighters. Israel said it would suspend air strikes for 48 hours after a missile attack Sunday hit a residential building in the village of Qana, killing at least 56 people, mostly women and children. That attack caused an international outcry and increased pressure for an immediate truce.

The prime minister brushed off international criticism about the fighting in Lebanon, saying that no other country would accept similar attacks against it. Hizbullah has fired more than 1,600 rockets into northern Israel since the conflict erupted.

At least 300,000 of the one million residents of the north have been driven from their homes. Others have been holed up in bomb shelters. But, there was a lull in the fighting and Lebanese civilians took advantage of it to flee villages in the south, where many had been trapped with little food and water during the more than two weeks of fighting.

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger released a ruling on Monday night that IDF soldiers involved in the fighting against Hizbullah may not fast on Wednesday night and Thursday, Tisha B'Av. The chief rabbi did not state that they are not compelled to fast, but worded his statement that it is forbidden for them to fast. The ruling does not apply to soldiers and officers assigned to administrative tasks.

Glaring Omission in Rice's Plan: IDF Hostages

By Hana Levi Julian (News Analysis)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that she believes it is possible to hammer out an "urgent ceasefire and a lasting settlement" between Israel and Lebanon this week.

Israel is not at war with Lebanon, however, and Rice did not talk about a ceasefire between the Jewish state and the entity with which Israel is at war: the terrorist organization Hizbullah. The text of Rice's remarks referred solely to an agreement between Israel, Lebanon and the international community. "We will call for the United Nations Security Council action this week on a comprehensive settlement that includes three parts," she said, a ceasefire, the political principles that provide for a long-term settlement and the authorization of an international force to support the Lebanese in keeping the peace."

There was no direct reference to the terrorist organization which touched off the war by kidnapping two IDF soldiers while simultaneously attacking northern Israeli communities with Katyusha rockets on July 12th.

Rice made three oblique references to Hizbullah. The first was that "armed groups must be prohibited in the areas where the international force is deployed," which has not been the case for years. A UNIFIL post located right next to a Hizbullah stronghold was accidentally hit by a stray IDF shell during an attack on the village from which terrorists were firing rockets at northern Israeli communities. Four UNIFIL military observers were killed in the incident, which touched off a major diplomatic crisis.

The second reference contained the assertion that "no foreign forces will be allowed unless specifically authorized by the government of Lebanon." However, the Iranian-backed Hizbullah terror group is officially represented in the Lebanese parliament.

President George Bush commented in a speech in Miami on Monday that "Iran must end its financial support and supply of weapons to terrorist groups like Hizbullah. Syria must end its support for terror and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon."

The third statement was that "Lebanon should, as assisted by the international community, disarm armed groups," a requirement mandated by the Security Council's Resolution 1559 in 2004 which has never been implemented.

The other glaring omission in Rice's remarks was more ominous: she made no mention whatsoever of the two IDF soldiers who were kidnapped by Hizbullah. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has repeatedly said he will not agree to any ceasefire until the soldiers are returned to Israel and the terrorist group is disarmed and dismantled.

The parents of one of the hostages, Ehud Goldwasser, met on Monday with Olmert to urge him not to forget the soldiers who were taken captive. In an interview with Army Radio, Goldwasser's father said Olmert was evasive about plans to rescue the soldiers.

"The Prime Minister did not give us a straight answer about this, but he left us with the impression that he would do everything he could to bring our children home," he said.

In an address to the nation Monday evening, however, the Prime Minister emphasized that there would be no ceasefire until IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev – kidnapped by Hizbullah terrorists on July 12th, and Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas terrorists in the south on June 25th, were returned to Israel safely.

E-mail to Barry Shaw in Israeli from a Lebanese Christian in Beirut Israel Faxx News Service

It is a common practice for Muslims to play on emotions and highlight little incidents and mistakes. They learned about the power of the press and they are playing it very well.

The area that was hit in Beirut was the one that Hizbullah was nesting in and used it as the center for its operations. Their actions called for this destruction. People in Lebanon know where Israel might hit and where it will not hit. They predicted most of the targets before it happened.

Israel announces and warns people to leave the areas and then it hits. Israel's objective was to hit Lebanon infrastructure hard so that Lebanon will feel the pain and learn not to harvest terror groups and give them the freedom to run as an army within Lebanon. I think the Lebanese heard the message and I'm starting to hear messages of condemnation directed towards Hizbullah instead of Israel. I hope and pray that a long lasting peace will happen between Lebanon and Israel and a strong Lebanese Army will come in and disarm all militias including Hizbullah and take control of the country.

I feel very sad and sorry for the loss of civilians on both sides and I pray for the Lebanese and Israeli families daily.

Fable: St. George and the Dragon

By David Verveer (Commentary in YnetNews)

Once upon a time, in a country far far away, lived an evil dragon that terrorized the habitants of a quiet village. The trouble began when they decided to fight back.

As the fable goes, St. George journeyed for many months by land and by sea, until he came to a nice small town, on the slopes of a mountain range. Here he met a journalist who told him that everyone in the town was in great distress, for a dragon, named Hizbullah had long ravaged the town.

Every day, said the journalist, the dragon demands a sacrifice of Israelis. And when the brave fathers of the town finally refused to supply additional sacrifices, the dragon started firing rockets on the town.

Actually in this fable, our hero, St. George Bush, did not visit the town himself, but sent his first lieutenant, the fair lady Condoleezza Rice. But why confuse the reader with dry and boring facts, when we are talking about fables?

The people of the town, which we call "Israelis," decided to kill the dragon, or at least to remove him from the mountain, above the town, and started to send by air and land the brave Israeli Dragon-slaying Forces (let us call them IDF).

Now, the world got exited. Trying to kill an innocent dragon, whose only fault is his hunger for terror, being one of the last species of his kind (other known dragons are al-Qaeda operating worldwide, and Hamas, a small but very mean dragon living in Palestine), was not acceptable.

The world environmentalists started shouting that this dragon has the right to defend his natural environment, and it is his holy duty to fight Israelis, how dare those people to go against the environment!

But, this is not all, as we forgot to mention the innocent bystanders, of poor Lebanese inhabitants, living with the dragon. The dragon hides in the Lebanon villages, and spears fired by the IDF fall also on the Lebanese. True, the Israelis requested the Lebanese to flee north, but the Lebanese ignored this request and were hurt.

Killing dragons might be somehow acceptable, but killing these nice little innocent, peace loving Lebanese, was too much for the world. This massacre has to end, claimed most world leaders (many of them, with blood on their hands from fighting and killing elsewhere).

The only ones remaining with the Israelis were St. George Bush and St. Tony Blair, both insisting on giving the Israelis sufficient time in order to kill the dragon.

In the original fable, our hero, St. George, killed the dragon, married the princess (we have no princess here), and lived happily ever after, but after checking the origin of the fable, we discovered that the original hero, St. George, was beheaded, after failing to die from a bucket of poison that he was forced to drink. This happened in the same region, but 1,700 years ago. Poor George!

In the new and not yet to be finished fable, George Bush finishes high and dry his term, Condoleezza continues to spread her charm for still a long time, the Israelis fight their no ending war against the dragons, with verbal and material help from some allies, but non the less, continue daily to sacrifice the hungry dragon.

Generally fables try to convey a message to the readers, telling them that in fable land, the good eventually win from the bad. In our fable, I am not too sure, that we can reach the same conclusions.

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