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Published:July 25th, 2006 05:35 EST
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Bush committed to `lasting peace in the Middle East`

By Olga Belogolova

In a radio address on Saturday, July 22, 2006, President George W. Bush made clear that the United States will continue working toward peace and a solution to the crisis between Israel and Lebanon. On this road to peace, Bush said, is “establishing a viable democratic Palestinian state that will live in peace with Israel.

Bush explained that the Hizballah militants are the cause of the current crisis, saying that it was mainly “triggered by the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by the terrorist group Hizballah and the launch of rockets against Israeli cities.”

While making sure that Israel still continues “to exercise the greatest possible care to protect innocent lives," Bush made clear that “sovereign nations have the right to defend their people from terrorist attack, and to take the necessary action to prevent those attacks.”

In order to work to resolve the crisis, the United States will look to “by an international framework that is already in place,” Bush explained, referring to the Resolution 1559 made in 2004 by the United Nations Security Council, which asks all “foreign forces” to leave Lebanon and for all militias to be disbanded and disarmed. Bush remarked that unfortunately, “Hizballah defied the world's just demands by maintaining armed units in the southern region of Lebanon and attacking Israel in defiance of the democratically elected Lebanese government.”

In this peace effort, Bush said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to the Middle East in order to “make it clear that resolving the crisis demands confronting the terrorist group that launched the attacks and the nations that support it.” In terms of the nations that support Hizbollah, Bush mentioned both Syria and Iran, saying, “Their actions threaten the entire Middle East and stand in the way of resolving the current crisis and bringing lasting peace to this troubled region.” Syria has been a primary sponsor of Hizballah for many years, helping to provide as well as ship weapons that were made in Iran, where with disregard for the international community, they have been aiding terrorist groups.

Bush expressed deep concern for Lebanon’s young democracy, saying that "Hizballah's practice of hiding rockets in civilian neighborhoods, and its efforts to undermine the democratically elected government," has “jeopardized Lebanon's tremendous advances and betrayed the Lebanese people.”

Bush affirmed that the United States will join nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates in their assistance and humanitarian aid to Lebanon, while the American embassy officials and military will continue working to evacuate and ensure the safety of those in Lebanon.

As United States and other nations “seek a return to the road map for peace in the Middle East,” Bush explained that they will continue to support moderate leaders like Palestinian Authority President Abbas, while condemning and calling “on Hamas to end its acts of terror.” Bush explained that the Palestianians need leaders who will help to “provide a future for their children based on regional peace and security.”

Parting with the thought that “the establishment of free and just societies” in the Middle East is on the roadmap to peace, Bush emphasized America’s commitment “to lasting peace in the Middle East," saying it “will come only by defeating the terrorist
ideology of hatred and fear.”