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Armitage Laments Lebanon Invasion

Armitage Laments Lebanon Invasion

Middle East News Service

[Middle East News Service comments: There are several people of the “of-course-Israel-should-be-criticised-it’s-just-that-nothing-worth-criticising-has-ever-come-up” crowd on a discussion group that I participate in. They take a particular pleasure in forwarding articles about Israel from my hometown broadsheet, the Age. For some reason they have not posted this item.

But this item is significant, The winds of change in the Middle East are blowing about. But these winds are blowing not so much in Baghdad, Jerusalem and Gaza but in Washington and London. Several commentators have pointed out that Israel seems oblivious to the blows that the US has suffered in Iraq and its impending tack in its entire Middle Eastern policy. A few weeks ago the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, praised the national aspiration of the Palestinian people and their right fro a State of their own. Now she is reported in Ynetnews as saying that “An elected Hamas government in the Palestinian territories may be preferable to the group operating outside the power structure and carrying out terrorist actions.”

While the UK’s policy has always been stronger in paying lip service to Palestinian rights it is worth listening to their Ambassador in Tel Aviv, Tom Phillips, as reported in Ma’ariv. The ambassador was speaking at a British-Israel Friendship Association function to commemorate the Balfour Declaration (“His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.) He said: “Ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the formation of two states for two people is the best way to implement the Balfour Declaration…. Had Balfour been alive today he would have thought that creating two states is the best way for the Jewish State to flourish.” (Re-translated from the Hebrew.)

There are many who will dismiss this analysis as pipedream. History may prove them right. But then again they ought to listen carefully to the words of former Secretary of State Baker’s committee which is looking for alternative solution to the Iraq quagmire. Armitage is no doubt aware of their publicly expressed thinking. As a person with a reputation of speaking his mind he is beginning to fill in the gaps for public consumption. If the US is to extricate itself from the Iraq mess it may need to make sacrifices somewhere else. The interest of Israel and the United States will not coincide forever – Sol Salbe.]

Armitage laments Lebanon invasion

Brendan Nicholson
November 7, 2006

AMERICAN support for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was a bad mistake that emboldened and strengthened Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

That was the view of former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage yesterday in a speech to the Menzies Research Centre in Canberra.

He said it was understandable that Israel wanted to retrieve kidnapped soldiers and to make Hezbollah pay a price, but "it's inexplicable that we would hold their coat for them and let them do it".

Mr Armitage said that not only did Hezbollah fight well, it also handed out goods and services to people that the Lebanese Government was either unwilling or unable to do.

No Arab government could have done as well, he said.

"So what we have is a non-government organisation taking the place of a government, electrifying the streets of the Middle East with their boldness and, temporarily, it meant that Israeli invincibility was shattered," he said.

"It is inexplicable why the US did this. Lebanon is much the worst off, Syria is in a much better position and Iran is in a fabulous position because of their backing for Hezbollah."




[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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