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Foreign Affairs: International response

Canada joins USA, Germany in strongly defending Israel's right to defend itself.

Harper defends Israel air attack (Ottawa Citizen)

LONDON – Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended Israel's air attack and sea blockade on Lebanon today, dismissing some suggestions that it was a disproportionate response to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah terrorists.
"Israel has the right to defend itself," Harper said on board his government Airbus during a flight to London for meetings with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and an audience with Queen Elizabeth on Friday. [...]

"I think Israel's response under the circumstances has been reserved. I think it's tremendously disappointing that these attacks come in areas that Israel voluntarily evacuated," Harper said. Israel withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon in 2000 after 22 years.

Hezbollah, a terrorist group that calls for Israel's destruction, has moved in, and on Wednesday kidnapped two Israeli soldiers patrolling their northern border. That followed the June 25 abduction of an Israeli soldier by the Hamas terrorist group.

"So I think the onus to end this escalation is on the other side. And I would urge them to return the prisoners," Harper added. [...]

Russian Foreign Minister – Sharply criticizes Israel (Reuters News)

[...] "This is a disproportionate response to what has happened and if both sides are going to drive each other into a tight corner then I think that all this will develop in a very dramatic and tragic way," he told reporters on a flight from Paris to Moscow, Interfax news agency reported.

French Foreign Minister – Scathingly blasts Israel

France Thursday condemned Israeli army strikes on Lebanon as a "disproportionate act of war". "We obviously condemn this disproportionate act of war which also has two consequences," Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Europe 1 radio.

"The first is to force anyone wanting to now enter Lebanon to go either by sea or by Syria," he said. "The second consequence is to run the risk of plunging Lebanon back into the worst years of war with the departure of Lebanese who will want to flee while they were in the process of rebuilding their country," he said.

French Defense Minister - Suggests surrender / capitulation to terrorists (YNET)

French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, meanwhile, described the situation as "extremely worrying", adding it must not go on "for local reasons as for world reasons". "We must move towards a dialogue, recognizing each other and permitting the civilian population to live in peace," she said.

Alliot-Marie noted the region was the scene of local instability, but added: "That goes much further since what happens in the Middle East serves as a pretext for terrorism too."

And she added that the Israeli soldiers must be freed and that the violence stop. France's "position of balance" allowed it to talk with both sides, she added. "It's a considerable asset for peace. But we cannot be alone."

What the hell is this Woman yammering on about!?

Defense minister? Capitulate or else there may be more terrorism, a 'pretext' for terrorism is responding to it? Interesting link there to Israel, the USA & a causal effect on World terrorism. Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out which side Fwance is actually on, what with them 'talking out of both sides of their asses at the same time..' to paraphrase the minister.

Bush & Merkel in contrast 
Their dignified response at joint News conference in Europe (White House)

Merkel

[...] Well, as to the violence in the Middle East, particularly as regards Lebanon, I think that one needs to be very careful to make a clear distinction between the root causes and the consequences of something. So we started here from a case of kidnapping of a soldier, and one of the other root causes also is the activity of Hezbollah. And it's most important for the Israeli government to be strengthened, but it is also clearly shown that these incursions, such as the kidnapping of soldiers, is not acceptable.

And the parties to that conflict obviously have to use proportionate means, but I am not at all for sort of blurring the lines between the root causes and the consequences of an action. There has to be a good reaction now, not from the Israeli government, but from those who started these attacks in the first place.

Bush

My attitude is this: There are a group of terrorists who want to stop the advance of peace. And those of — who are peace-loving must work together to help the agents of peace — Israel, President Abbas, and others — to achieve their objective. You got to understand when peace advances, it's in the terrorists' interests in some cases to stop it. And that's what's happening.

We were headed toward the road map, things looked positive, and terrorists stepped up and kidnapped a soldier, fired rockets into Israel. Now we've got two more kidnappings up north. Hezbollah doesn't want there to be peace. The militant arm of Hamas doesn't want there to be peace. And those of us who do want peace will continue to work together to encourage peace.

Italy and the new left Prodi government, joined with Finland, Greece & other EU countries in criticizing 'disproportionate force' and calling on Israel to cease attacks.

Israel's Ambassador to the US speaks at length to National Press Club (C-SPAN Video realplayer).

Ayalon takes questions and lays out Israel's perspective on Gaza, Hamas, Peace, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Iran & Syria.

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