Photo: GPO
Ayalon. There is time
Photo: GPO
Photo: Reuters
Rice. Not yet
Photo: Reuters

US to France: Too early for ceasefire

Washington, which declared its support of Israel's right to defend itself, provides 'diplomatic umbrella' for strikes in Lebanon, convincing France not to promote ceasefire at this stage. Ambassador Ayalon: We have time

WASHINGTON – France has sought to promote an initiative to reach a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah, but the United States managed to convince the French not to work to reach a ceasefire ahead of time, sources in Washington told Ynet.


The British Guardian newspaper and other western newspapers reported that the American government has given Israel a week to end the war, but in actual fact the US is blocking any attempt to "interrupt" the Israeli effort, out of an understanding that the Israel Defense Forces has to go "all the way."


Israeli Ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon told Ynet that the report in the Guardian, that there is an American schedule to stop the fighting, was "imaginary."


"I estimate the Americans will continue to offer full support, out of the understanding that this is a battle which is part of the global war on terror led by (US) President Bush," he added.


As part of her curbing efforts, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to move her diplomatic efforts to New York on Thursday, in a dinner with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. On Friday, she is scheduled to hold a working meeting with Annan and his delegates, who returned from a visit to the Middle East.


Rice is expected to arrive in the region next week in a bid to silence the diplomatic and political elements accusing Washington of abandoning the Middle East.


Backed by the decision of the eight industrialized nations (the G-8) and the Sunni Arab countries – Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia – Rice plans to maintain the momentum of international support against Hizbullah and search for ways to implement the Security Council's Resolution 1559 to disarm the organization.


The American government has yet to announce Rice's arrival to the Middle East, but she is scheduled to leave Washington on Sunday for a visit to Egypt on Monday and a visit to Israel on Tuesday. In Cairo, Rice is expected to meet with the Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and Jordanian foreign ministers.


Hizbullah made a mistake – and will pay


The feeling in the White House is that Hizbullah made a mistake in its estimation of its power and the situation, and now the Americans hope that the organization will pay for it.


Bush's spokesman Tony Snow said that Hizbullah thought they could kidnap soldiers and get some public relations, and instead they enraged not only Israel but the entire region.


"If you take a look at the extraordinary statement by the Arab League, where the Saudis and Jordanians – the Arab League, was condemning Hizbullah; and, furthermore, the G8 condemning Hezbollah and its sponsors… Now what you had, I think, was a guerilla incursion that has turned into just an absolute miscalculation on the part of Hizbullah because what it has done is it has forged, I think, a sense of determination on all parties opposed to the activities of Hizbullah not to let it stand, and also, not to return – revert to the status quo ante where Hizbullah was operating," Snow said.


As far as the US in concerned, not returning to the previous situation means implementing Resolution 1559 to disarm the armed militias in Lebanon – Hizbullah and the Palestinian organizations.


There are sources in American politics who believe President Bush should get into the thick of things, call Syrian President Bashar Assad and launch negotiations. Addressing this, Snow said that "the track recors stinks" and there is no reason to believe talks with the Syrians will bear any fruit."


"I don't know if you remember all the old pictures of diplomats in the Reagan years going – in the Carter, Reagan, and maybe even the early Bush years, the first Bush administration – who knows, Clinton may have done it, too – sitting around there drinking tea with Hafez al-Assad, the father, having to sit there for five, six, 10 hours, listening to polite but long discourses on greater Syria, and at the end of that, having gotten nothing," Snow said.


According to Snow, the American interest includes two things: That terror and terrorists don’t win and that a basis for stable peace is created.


"You just have to wait until the conditions are right for that… The Israelis are doing what they think is necessary to protect their borders," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 07.20.06, 07:26
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