Israel and U.S., Partners in Lebanon Offensive
Interview with Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, conducted by Scott Harris
As Israel's military offensive against Lebanon entered its third week, nearly 400 Lebanese have been killed, most of them civilians -- with more than 1,500 wounded and an estimated 800,000 Lebanese displaced. Forty-one Israelis have been killed in the conflict thus far, with more than 300 civilians wounded. Many of the Israeli casualties have resulted from missiles fired into northern Israel by the Hezbollah militia.
Jan Egeland U.N. Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief condemned the devastation caused by Israeli air strikes in Beirut, saying Israel's "disproportionate response" was a "violation of international humanitarian law." Both the U.S. and Israel have rejected a cease-fire in an apparent effort to give the Israeli army more time to degrade Hezbollah's offensive capability. Rejection of a cease-fire angered many in the Arab world, especially after it was learned that the Bush administration had rushed a shipment of precision bombs to Israel in the early days of the offensive.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice received an angry reception when she made a brief visit to Beirut on July 24, where she heard demands from Lebanese officials for an immediate cease-fire. Discussions about establishing an international force as a buffer between Hezbollah and Israeli forces in southern Lebanon have recently begun. Between the Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, who examines the chronology of events -- beyond the July 12 capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah -- that led to the current conflict in Lebanon.
Phyllis Bennis' latest book is titled, "Challenging Empire: How People, Governments and the U.N. Defy U.S. Power." Contact IPS by calling (202) 234-9382 or visit their website at www.ips-dc.org
* United for Peace and Justice at www.unitedforpeace.org * U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation at www.endtheoccupation.org
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