14 July 2006
Re: Lebanon & Hizballah
Currently, the Israeli civilian population is facing indiscriminate missile attacks from Hizballah. Only in the last day, two Israelis have been killed and 100 injured whilst 220,000 are in bomb shelters and a total of 1 million remain under threat from these missiles. Israel regrets all Lebanese civilian casualties and is making every effort to minimise them. These have, however, occurred primarily around sites used to launch and store Kaytusha rockets.
Israel 's borders with Lebanon are in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 425. However, Hizballah has not disbanded nor put its weapons beyond use, and continues to attack Israel. It remains an armed terrorist organisation, whilst at the same time playing an active part in the Lebanese government. In 2004 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1559 which explicitly called for the Lebanese Government to disarm Hizballah and extend full sovereignty over the whole of Lebanon. The Lebanese government has never implemented this, choosing instead to co-opt Hizballah and allowing it to continue its presence and military build-up in Southern Lebanon as a separate militia, funded and coordinated by Iran, and backed by Syria.
Israel remains committed to peace, but in Hizballah, as with Hamas, Israel faces an implacable enemy, opposed to Israel's very right to exist. Neither terrorist group believes in compromise, and Israel's repeated efforts towards peace are met not with reciprocal steps but with continuous provocation and deliberate attacks on civilians.
Against such enemies, Israel has the right to defend itself and its people, and will do all it can to stop these attacks.
For further comment and analysis, see the following recent pieces from the British press:Editorial, The Daily TelegraphCon Coughlin, The Daily TelegraphJonathan Spyer, The GuardianEditorial, The Times