Destroying the 'Bridges' of Negotiations
  Walid Choucair     Al-Hayat     - 15/07/06//    Israel has launched an 
all-out war on Lebanon that is as massive as the 1982 incursion. It goes 
without saying that such a wide-scale war must have had the US green light. 
However, no matter how much US officials try to justify this war by calling it 
a reaction, in accordance with Israeli logic, what is happening on the ground 
is much more than that. This is not the first time that the US administration 
has taken a step, regardless of the consequences, which further complicates the 
situation. This has happened in Iraq and Palestine; and this is what we will 
continue to see in the next stage.
  Accordingly, it is impossible to believe US President George Bush when he 
says, while giving Israel the right to defend itself, that its actions should 
not "weaken" the Lebanese government. Bush claims to be anxious not to weaken 
the government in an attempt to justify his contradictions. Whereas he has 
backed Lebanon's sovereignty and independence from Syria over the past few 
months, Bush supports Israel's bloody aggression that destroys this 
independence and sovereignty. The allegation has become more like a joke that 
only raises a dark irony. It is a cover for massacres committed against 
civilians. It further fuels Arab hatred against the America's double-standard 
policy in the region and in Lebanon.
  Israel has weakened the Lebanese government and Lebanon in general with its 
military operations over the past few hours. Also, the complete siege Lebanon 
is suffering has led to the unprecedented damage to the economy and 
infrastructure at a time when the government was expecting a booming tourist 
season this summer. This damage will halt Lebanon's development for years, even 
if the Israeli aggression were to end today. 
  What is the kind of independence that Bush supports in Lebanon, when he fully 
backs Israel's efforts to destroy its economy, the most important element of 
Lebanon's independence? This is not the first time Israel has targeted Lebanese 
economic facilities.
  Much is being said about the abduction of the two Israeli soldiers by 
Hezbollah, whether it is right or wrong, and about the timing of the operation. 
Regardless of what is said, the problem remains that Israel continues to take 
more Lebanese prisoners and consolidate its occupation of the Shebaa Farms. 
There is the same problem is in Palestine, where Israel continues to imprison 
more than 10,000 Palestinians. The Israeli government is pressing on with its 
policy of killing and starvation. It continues to deny the presence of a 
Palestinian peace partner for negotiations. The abduction of an Israeli soldier 
by the Palestinians and two others by Hezbollah, then, was a reaction.
  The blind US support for Israel will lead to the reverse impact. Israel is 
besieging Lebanon, perpetrating massacres and destroying its bridges in order 
to divide it to pressure Lebanon into negotiating other issues, not only the 
exchange of prisoners and the disarmament of Hezbollah. But this will only 
further complicate the situation beyond the expectations of Washington and Tel 
  Bombing bridges in Lebanon destroys the 'bridges' of negotiations with its 
government and leaders, negotiations which the US and Israel say are necessary 
- unless they mean to negotiate with Damascus and Tehran.

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