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Acknowledging the role of Iran would not alter whether parts of Israel's response have been disproportionate and counterproductive, which they clearly have been. Many conservatives I have spoken to agree that Hague's analysis struck exactly the right note. Any serious approach to the middle east must acknowledge that Israel's actions over the past weeks have not brought the prospect of peace and security any closer.
As for David Cameron, should we not welcome the fact that he is allowing his foreign affairs spokesman to be exactly that, rather than turning his foreign secretary into a junior dogsbody as President Blair has done?

Editor

It's not a matter of "my friend right or wrong". The Netanyahu and Sharon led Likud governments and Kadima today are following policies that many friends of Isreal do not support. Hezbollah are a threat that must be removed or neutralised but the current Israeli action is about tactical weakening rather than long term gain. Hezbollah, Iran & Syria have been strengthened by Israel's dis-proportionate response to Hezbollah; is Iran more or less likely to be able to build an atomic weapon today than four weeks ago? is the Assad regime now weaker or stronger in its hold over Syria? is the Muslim Brotherhood more or less likely to gain power in Egypt? are the forces ranged against Israel more or less united?

The US adopted Israeli tactics against insurgents in Iraq, not at all successfully. Israel's enemies have funds, numbers and time - Israel must always win, they only need to win once to destroy it. I fear that if it continues to view all on its borders as foes and it weakens the voices of moderation in Palestine, Lebanon. Egypt & Jordan that day will come. The USA wasn't a friend of Israel in the 50's, who is to say that in another couple of decades they will have other more important issues to contend with than Israel?

Sometimes the best thing to tell your friend is that they are behaving badly. War has a cost in innocent lives but on balance the costs are sometimes outweighed by the benefits - the thousands on innocent French who died in allied bombing in Normandy were mourned but the liberation of Europe was viewed as a price worth paying. Will the death of a 3 month old baby be justified if the UN put an army in South Lebanon but Iran & Syria are stronger and in the Bekaa and South Beirut a new terrorist generation are initiated into the Shia Death squads all ready for another cycle of death and destruction?

Has David Cameron made any significant non-European foreign policy speeches since becoming leader?

We all know that he has failed to follow up on his grandstanding hand-wringing about Darfur during the leadership contest but I'm struggling to recall any non-European foreign policy speeches or announcements of note since December.

In recent days we've been privy to the thoughts of William Hague, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Michael Portillo, Lord Stanley Kalms, Uncle Tom Cobley et al on the Middle East but not a peep from the leader himself.

David Cameron and his team are putting together an impressive domestic platform, but his silence on foreign affairs is a cause for concern, particularly as it is the perceived strong point of Sir Menzies Campbell and therefore an area where the Liberal Democrats can command credibility amongst the electorate.

It's deplorable the world is watching while Israel engages in State Terrorism against another sovereign state which has nothing to do with the actions of a terrorist group. It's inexcusable that US and Britain support Israeli aggressions and violation of all international laws and Geneva Conventions. Suppose the terrorists in Northern Ireland were to kidnap two of British soldiers, of which the government had no knowledge, should Britian bomb the whole Northern Ireland in the name of self-defence? A sane person wouldn't ever call this SELF-DEFENSE!

I assume from the above that "Brett" is the official spokesman of Hezbollah?

Funny name for an Islamist 'Brett'. Do you think thats what they call him down the mosque? I would have thought that 'Yasser' or 'Nasser' would have been better pseudonyms. C'mon Brett get is sorted.

I can't believe the smug and prejudiced tone of these last two comments. While you may not agree with Brett's analysis, objecting to some of Israel's actions does not amount to being an islamist. "C'mon, David get it sorted"

Editor writes something nice about Michael Portillo - shock!

Please avoid personal attacks on each other and concentrate on debating substance.

The most charitable description of Brett's "comment" is that he is a paid-up member of the "talk is cheap" brigade. And to pick up on his Northern Ireland analogy, there is no evidence that Israel has bombed the whole of the Lebanon.....unless of course you take your news uncritically from the unholy alliance of the Guardian, the BBC, Robert Fisk and the spokesmen of Hezbollah.

I wanted to state that i agree 100% with everything William Hague has said. Why is it that Israel is beyond reproach what ever their actions? Of course Hezbollah are the main aggressors but Israel has reacted disproportionately and has fanned the flames in the middle east. We should not be afraid to say that their actions are wrong. I am proud that William Hague had the guts to say it.

Suppose the terrorists in Northern Ireland were to kidnap two of British soldiers, of which the government had no knowledge

The corporals killings is the name commonly given to the killing of two British Army personnel, corporals David Howes and Derek Wood, on March 19, 1988. The soldiers were abducted and beaten by Irish republicans, after they they drove into the funeral of IRA members killed in a loyalist attack. They were later shot and killed by the IRA.

Corporal Wood was shot six times, twice in the head and four times in the chest. He was also stabbed four times in the back of the neck and had multiple injuries to other parts of his body.


Northern Ireland was under the control of the British Government - at no time did any British Minister express support for these killers in marked contrast to the Prime Minister of Lebanon

Three weeks in, I am still waiting for a non-weasally explanation from the "dispropotionality" brigade of how Israel is expected to fight a war against an irregular, non-uniformed army which occupies Southern Lebanon, is part of the Lebanese Government and routinely locates its men and munitions in civilian areas. Willian Hague seems to be rather better at writing about leadership, for a large fee, than showing it.....

"It's deplorable the world is watching while Israel engages in State Terrorism against another sovereign state which has nothing to do with the actions of a terrorist group."

One might argue that as it is an affair between two sovereign states, what business is it of ours?

Regarding Cameron's silence, I wonder if he's waiting to see which way the public mood is swining (against Israel by the looks of things). I too wish he would come out and tell us what he thinks. He may not be Shadow Foreign Secretary but this is an important issue and one would presume he has an opinion on it.

Obviously Israel is caught in a bind, but it would be possible to respond with targeted military attacks without destroying civilian infrastructure like airports. It was also inevitable that large civilian casualties would be incurred, including women and children, which furthers the cause of anti-Israel propagandists in the middle east. Israel's only long term hope of security is to retain the moral high ground in the eyes of the international community. This war makes that impossible. Short term tactics have been allowed to override long term strategic interests and the overriding imperative to reach a lasting solution.

One thing about this whole war thing is beginning to bother me. Unpleasant though it is, haven't innocent people inevitably died in war? Didn't both ourselves and the Germans bomb cities with the hope of killing innocent civilians? At least the Israelis aren't deliberately targetting them.

http://hotzone.yahoo.com/b/hotzone/blogs7984

TomTom

I remember watching that awful scene on television and thinking I was witnessing evil in action. I still feel it is one of the worst things I have ever seen.

Ed,

Like the neo-cons whose international outlook you share, you seem lost to the possibility of nuance in world affairs. Everything has to be black and white, good and evil, dealing in absolutes all the time. Israel is deemed to be 'good' -therefore anything it does is excused or explained.

This has never been the tradition of British foreign policy, particularly when our power was exercised most successfully in the 19th century. Pam must be looking down in disgust at the naive blunderings of US foreign policy, endlessly supported by little Mr Echo-Blair.

Hague's article seemed to me to show a much more mature an understanding of this complex situation than Blair's embarrassing cant about 'values' the other night.

I read today that Cameron is on holiday.I think he's making quite a big mistake by not interrupting it to make a speech in support of William Hague (I'm assuming the two are in complete agreement).
Michael there are several things Israel could do.In the past they have sent in hit teams to kidnap senior terrorists and used them to exchange for prisoners.They can and have used precision guided missiles to kill specific individuals or they can seek to assasinate leading members of Hezbollah.Again they have done this before.
I'm with those who believe this action is entirely disproprtionate and has been a disaster not only for the innocent Lebanese that have been killed or made homeless but also for the Israelis who will in the future face a strengthened Hezbollah who will have the support of a much larger percentage of Arabs than they had before this conflict started.

Could a member of the "disproportionate" brigade please explain what they would consider "proportionate" in this case?

They can and have used precision guided missiles to kill specific individuals or they can seek to assasinate leading members of Hezbollah.Again they have done this before.

So if someone fires MLRS units at you repeatedly and is supplied by Fajir 3 and Fajir 5 medium-range rockets from a state developing a nuclear warhead..............and these are mobile launcers just like the SS20s and SS22 and SS23 units the Soviets placed across Europe....................we call for Tom Cruise to mount Mission Impossible and kill or kidnap the aunt of the driver of the Mercedes truck the rockets are mounted on ?

Well in 1941 we had Rudolph Hess hostage but it made little difference

Pam must be looking down in disgust at the naive blunderings of US foreign policy, endlessly supported by little Mr Echo-Blair.

Yes - I bet you have never heard of Don Pacifico............if only Blair weren't such a wallflower we could have Teddy Roosevelt style foreign policy as Palmerston embodied

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Pacifico

"Could a member of the "disproportionate" brigade please explain what they would consider "proportionate" in this case?"

A strategy not based on a Pattonesque plan to bomb Lebanon back into the Stone Ages would do for starters.

How incredibly well educated you are TomTom.How very interesting your thoughts.But how utterly,utterly irrelevant.
PS You are 'Rick' posting under another name aren't you?

Daniel, if Israel really was intent on "bombing Lebanon back to the stone age" (I think you mean Le May, not Patton), then there would be far more than 750 "civilian" casualties by now. If that is indeed their intention, they are going about it in a shockingly inefficient manner.

Not that I trust Hezbollah and the Lebanese government to be telling the truth about that figure in any case.

Gareth is as ever preoccupied with the possibility of nuance. In the past, this has underpinned his indulgence towards the one authentically fascist political party in the British Isles: Sinn Fein. Now we see this canard wheeled out to criticise the one embattled country in the Middle East which, warts and all, is a functioning democracy. Such cynicism and world-weariness in one so young. Now where did I put that mislay that piece of paper from the President of Iran promising peace for our time?

If Israel really want to eliminate terrorists why don't they send in their equivalent of the SAS, a more precise instrument than the sledgehammer that is being employed the crack the walnut at the moment.

Ok Andy, I admit I exaggerated a little (and you're right - it was Curtis LeMay, not George Patton), but I really don't see how the deliberate targetting of the Lebanese civil infrastructure will serve any purpose in the medium to long-term, other than ruining what had been an expanding post-war economy and provoking further anti-Israel sentiment amongst the Lebanese population.

ISRAEL SHOULD BE RE-LOCATED.

When the Zionist Congress made plans for a Jewish state, they wisely made back-up plans should they fail to get the land they wanted. They considered locations for the State of Israel in South America and East Africa, and even sent out represenatives to these regions to investigate. Perhaps its time to revive these plans? Yes, Israel has a right to exist - but not in the Middle East.

You may think this a crazy suggestion, but does anyone have a better idea to end this age old conflict?

Think about it.

Like the neo-cons whose international outlook you share, you seem lost to the possibility of nuance in world affairs. Everything has to be black and white, good and evil, dealing in absolutes all the time. Israel is deemed to be 'good' -therefore anything it does is excused or explained.

This has never been the tradition of British foreign policy, particularly when our power was exercised most successfully in the 19th century. Pam must be looking down in disgust at the naive blunderings of US foreign policy, endlessly supported by little Mr Echo-Blair.

Would that be the same Lord Palmerston who sent a fleet of ships to raid Athens in response to a British Citizen there having his shop burnt down? Or would it be the nuanced Lord Palmerston who practically cheered when an Austrian general visiting London got beaten up by a mob?

People who vociferously demand Britain follow her own Foreign Policy and not that of America never seem to actually anunciate on what it is. It doesn't seem to occur to them that perhaps our two nations policies are so intertwined because we both want the same things!

After all, in 1945 the US basically ditched its traditional foreign policy (isolationism and tariffs) and adopted the traditional policies of the British Empire (free trade and keeping Europe from being dominated by one power).

Andy Peterkin has hit on the problem here. Whatever your position on the wisdom or otherwise of Israeli tactics, adopting this buzzword of "proportionality" as the basis of our criticisms is a mistake.

Calling Israeli actions "disproportionate" necessarily implies that you hold some sense of a boundary between proportionate response and excess. So the question will naturally follow: where is that line?

The question that not a single government critic - not Hague, nor Letwin - has answered is the one Andy Peterkin poses. What is the proportionate response to attacks from a civilian base on civilian Israelis by a terrorist group explicitly commited to your entire state's annihilation, when the "international community" [whatever that is] has spent the last six years under a promise to disarm and expel that very group? I'm not sure they can answer that question.

We have picked the wrong political fight. Hague makes some important points - we need to feel free to be candid with Israel. If we think that actions they take are strategically ill-advised, likely to stir up Hizboll'ah support, then we should say so.

But this talk of "proportionality" remains senseless until someone can give us a scale on which the alternative could be based.

And Gildas, one doesn't have to be a neo-con at all to draw this distinction.

Israel is a capitalist democracy. Hezbollah is a terrorist militia committed to the annilihation of that democracy.

That doesn't mean Israel is always right - far from it - but it is quite ridiculous to suggest that a "nuanced" foreign policy shouldn't recognise that distinction for what it is.

"As this crisis continues what is urgently needed is a strong intervention from David Cameron....His absence from the public square during this time of international crisis is deeply unhelpful. He needs to lead his party on this subject"

The whole party should get one thing straight: This war is over 2500 miles away, between two small sovereign countries (who's trade with the UK is below 3% of our trade and therefore not even listed) and a paramility force. Britain is not involved.

There is no chance whatsoever of Israel being wiped off the map. Israel's IDF has 168,000 troops, Hizbollah has 16,000 ('International Institute for Strategic Studies' estimate).

Our citizens were evacuated weeks ago, now Britain has no involvement.

But for some reason we have wall to wall media coverage, protests and counter-protests in London, foreign ministers buzzing around like blue-arsed flies, Cabinet splits, Opposition party splits, claims of pandering to special interests, and hysterical demands for party leaders to take sides in this "crisis".

This insidious idea of intervening in every war that hits the papers must be got rid of. It is "Something must be done" or "LibDems demand action (insert irelevancy here)" writ large.

If the leader of an opposition party really has to make an anouncement on distant unimportant wars that haveno effect on Britain he should announce total uninvolvement.

Hezbollah are intent on Israel's destruction. They have never changed that position. Israel, for its part, has said it would be prepared to negotiate with terrorist groups PROVIDED they give up their aims of obliterating Israel. But the terrorists still refuse to give an inch.

There have been many parallels drawn by various posters with how Britain dealt with the IRA. But the key difference is that the IRA, for all their monstrous evil, were not committed to the wholesale detruction of Britain. In that respect, Hamas and Hezbollah are very, very different.

They are acting as a two-headed hydra for Iran and Syria to acheieve their Mid East goals: essentially the obliteration of the Jewish state. Lebanon is acting as a safe haven for these terrorists, and even has representatives of them serving in its Government! They are launching rockets into Northern Israel, killing (on purpose), innocent civilans in a town (Haifa) populated by both Jews and Arabs. What do we expect Israel to do, stand back and do nothing? How do you "negotiate" with thugs bent on your utter and complete destruction?

Hezbollah and Hamas deliberately target innocent civillians. Israel targets infrastructure and terrorists. They drop leaflets advising civillians to move away from these targets in order to save lives. Now please tell me who is being "disproportionate" in this equation.

As Conservatives, we stand up for freedom, democracy and strong defence. Israel has long been a bastion of all of these values.

I agree with Richard R's post above. A nice summary.

What is the Lebanese government's position on all this? I haven't seen anything from them denouncing Hezbollah's terrorist activities. Are they doing anything to help move the Lebanese people away from the border? Hezbollah seem to have free reign to hide wherever they want (often in civilian areas) and launch missiles indiscriminately against Israel.

And Gildas, one doesn't have to be a neo-con at all to draw this distinction.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. I am about as pro-Israel as they come. I was quoting someone who isn't though...

Perhaps you could link to the interview with Ehud Olmert in today's Times as part of this thread?

Dave may want to us to Hug a Hezbollah, but after reading that interview it changed my view (which was orginally strongly critical of Israel).

Is Cameron silent because he agrees with Blair and Bush? If so , good for him.

My mistake entirely, Gildas. Apologies for that - I was concurring with you! It was Gareth to whome my comments were supposed to be directed! Long day...!

I ask for no more 'nuance' than that shown out by Hague i.e. accepting Israel is entirely within its rights to attack Hezbollah but, equally, accepting that the response ought to be proportionate and that a disproportionate response is likely to be couter-productive, undermining their own war aims.

It is, of course, entirely pedictable that a call for a more sophisticated foreign policy than that offered by the Texan moron, should be met with suggestions that one is an apologist for terrorism.

And, Gildas, the diplomacy we need is of the very type Pam showed in, for example, keeping us out of the American Civil War, despite considerbale pressure for us to become embroiled.

Clive Adams posts:

ISRAEL SHOULD BE RE-LOCATED.

When the Zionist Congress made plans for a Jewish state, they wisely made back-up plans should they fail to get the land they wanted. They considered locations for the State of Israel in South America and East Africa, and even sent out represenatives to these regions to investigate. Perhaps its time to revive these plans? Yes, Israel has a right to exist - but not in the Middle East.

You may think this a crazy suggestion, but does anyone have a better idea to end this age old conflict?

Think about it.

Well, it ain't going to happen is it, but what a good idea. My take would be to give them France. This would solve many EU problems - the Israeli's would be very grateful to us for giving it to them, and hardly likely to side with Germany very often, and solve the middle Eastern problem.

Of course, where do we put the French? Well, who really cares!

Hague is right that we should be able, in a constructive and thoughtful way, to criticise our allies, be it Israel, the US or any of our European allies. However, the basic facts of this current crisis should not be overlooked. As Iain Duncan Smith rightly said, Israel is perhaps the most vulnerable nation on the planet. It was the "international community" which two years ago promised to disarm Hizbollah, but despite UN resolutions and the presence of a UNIFIL force, Hizbollah fighters crossed into Israel and attacked, killed and captured IDF troops.

Whatever military action Israel is now undertaking - whether you think it "proportionate" or "disproportionate" - is because it is has been goaded into a response by an Iranian and Syrian backed terrorist/militia organisation that is integrated into the highest levels of the Lebanese government.

Instead of attacking Israel - a democratic state - perhaps we should be defending its interests against despotic radicals who seek its destruction, and ours also.

It is often claimed that whilst conservatives won the political and economic battles of the 1980s and 1990s, we have lost the cultural war to the left. The vilification of Israel we are currently seeing is a perfect example of this. Until conservatives take the bold step of opposing this biased and left-slanted view it is always going to continue.

David Cameron has portrayed his leadership of the party as one of bold decision making, framing his actions as that of radically break with the political mainstream. I can think of no greater or more radical a position for a prime minister-in-waiting to take than to stand up to this lily-livered liberalism espoused by the Guardian-BBC cabal and stand up for Israel.

Gareth, I for one have not suggested that you are apologising for the terrorists - I apologise if I have at all given that impression.

I agree that Hague should - now and in four years' time as Foreign Secretary - feel absolutely able and ready to criticise Israel for any ill-advised actions it carries out. But if your latest post is to make any sense whatsoever in relation to the present conflict, you need to tell us what "proportionate" means - what *should* Israel have done?

'Dave may want us to hug a Hezbollah'-Chad.Pretty stupid comment huh Chad? Far beneath you.

"Gareth is as ever preoccupied with the possibility of nuance. In the past, this has underpinned his indulgence towards the one authentically fascist political party in the British Isles: Sinn Fein."

Mr McGowan, I suggest you either support that outrageous allegation or withdraw it.

"ISRAEL SHOULD BE RE-LOCATED."

Thinking of Madagascar are we?

Accusation of indulgence towards Sinn Fein is a pretty serious alleagtion to make. I can understand why Gareth is angry at it, if the accuser can not back it up.

How incredibly well educated you are TomTom.How very interesting your thoughts.But how utterly,utterly irrelevant.
PS You are 'Rick' posting under another name aren't you?

Posted by: malcolm | August 03, 2006 at 12:56

stop stalking malcolm......go pick someone else up

"I ask for no more 'nuance' than that shown out by Hague i.e. accepting Israel is entirely within its rights to attack Hezbollah but, equally, accepting that the response ought to be proportionate and that a disproportionate response is likely to be couter-productive, undermining their own war aims."

Gareth - what sort of response to the launching of c.1800 missiles (so far) into northern Israel with the express intention of killing and injuring Israeli citizens would you consider "proportionate"?

Gareth, you know very well that you and I had a pretty vigorous exchange on another thread some months ago where you used the "nuance" argument as justification for the present Government's dealings with Sinn Fein and Chris Patten's involvement in that process. It is hardly overstating the case to describe Tony Blair's approach to Sinn Fein as indulgent. Your "nuance" argument is a fashionable one and it certainly doesn't make you a Sinn Fein supporter or apologist. I just don't happen to think, judged by the consequences closer to home than the Middle East, it is a very good argument.

Here we have two nations envolved in bombing the sh*t out of one another, week after week meanwhile in response we have a British Labour lame duck PrimeMinister with policy on the issue that's about as effective as a chocolate fire guard simply because he's happily following his mate Bush like the good predictable poodle he has become and on the Tory side of things there's the almost deafening silence on the matter while it's leader has more important things to do like take a holiday with us the masses left to assume he clearly has no view or anything to say on the matter!, while still mindful that this man Cameron wishes to be the next future British PrimeMinister!! ..well all I can say is the mind boggles, if this the best British politics can stump up on such a serious foreign issue is it any wonder that todays BBC survey reveals people are deciding to quit Britain in droves for a life aboard ..maybe in the hope they can find a country were it's people are being properly represented by it's political masters

Cameron doesn’t seem to have an intelligent view on any matter, so it’s no surprise that he’s silent on Lebanon.
But as for a ‘proportionate response’?
Well, one can actually see the rockets being fired on Israel from the Israeli border.
To supplement the hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles lined up on the border, the Israelis have the latest fighter aircraft, helicopters, pilotless drones - you name it - overwhelming superiority.
One wonders why they don’t use all this weaponry to just go in and take out the few hundred Hezbollah terrorists rather than destroy the infrastructure of Lebanon creating millions of refugees at the same time denying them any source of international aid or relief.

Clive Adams @ 13.28 - You are apparently suggesting that Israel should be located to somewhere else - (yes there was SOME discussion many years ago). Even if this was possible AND feasible the only places left on THIS earth are very inhospitable - deserts or tundra. But maybe, also in the back of your mind is the thought that THAT wouldn't matter because the people of Israel have already once demonstrated how they can turn swamps into orange groves, and deserts into vegetable gardens, something the arabs had never bothered to do before the Israeli immigrants came to toil, so they could always do it again!!

But then of course given some of the arabs penchant for warmaking surely they would persue the Israelis wherever they were????

And by-the-way I only watch the national news once a day now if that, as I do not wish to be manipulated by other people!

The state of Israel itself came about because of terrorism -


The King David Hotel bombing (July 22, 1946) was a terrorist attack against the British government of Palestine by members of Irgun — a militant Zionist organization.

The Irgun, dressed as Arabs, exploded a bomb at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which had been the base for the British Secretariat, the military command and a branch of the Criminal Investigation Division (police). 91 people were killed, most of them civilians: 28 British, 41 Arab, 17 Jewish, and 5 other. Around 45 people were injured.

The attack was initially ordered by Menachem Begin, the head of the Irgun, who would later become Israeli Prime Minister.

What a tremendous disappointment to hear David Cameron's comments on the Israeli action against Hezbollah. It is ok for Cameron to support the overwhelmingly disproportionate attacks on and invasion of Iraq when we are only threatened with possible attack (and that possibility being fairly far fetched), but it is not ok for Israel to take aggressive and effective action against an organised, state-supported terrorist organisation which is actually bombing and killing Israelis on a daily basis (and has been doing so for many years right under the gaze of the UN), an organisation whose stated aim is to wipe Israel and all Jews where ever they live from the face of the world The Iraqis had no prior warning or opportunity to get out of the way of the carpet bombing and military actions in Iraq, but Israel does its best to limit civilian casualties, despite the deliberate placing of civilians in harm's way by the terrorists. I find David Cameron's comments offensive to both good sense and fairness, as well as being morally currupt with the sole purpose of garnering popular support - even if that comes from the uninformed and fashion following masses. Why does he not try and stand up for right and reality and try to inform the masses, instead of indulging in such hypocrisy for the sake of gaining popularity in comparison to Tony Blair over this situation. We no longer have a Tory Party leader with back bone - just moral equivalence.

So at last,Wm. Hague has got it right,Kalms has defended the indefensible.A mighty,strong state attacks a weaker state,it can roam at will across its neighbour,bombing,shelling,destroying a democratic state,those of us 70 plus can remember another state that did this.O Israel what have you done? what are you doing? In your hearts do you not think of what others have done to you? Yet you can wrought these terrible things on innocents because you wish to get at Terrorists? The proud flag of israel is sodden with the blood of the Innocents of Lebanon.And the once proud Army,the IDF is shown to be as
impotent as the U.S.army in Iraq.The Free world is aghast at the spineless Prime Minister who gets the crumbs from the table of the US of A,when it suits them and now scuttles off on a holiday to leave us in the capable hands of Mr. Prescott. What is our country coming to? Mr.Brown keeps quiet in the hope that he will garner support.Where are the men/women of stature who can take us by the scuff of our necks and make this country proud and independent? Give Cameron a chance at least he has the guts to choose a path that some conservatives may not like. But I would like to think that quite a few of us would support him if the right of the Party would leave Him alone!

Why does DC have to have an opinion? Britain currently seems to spend most of its time sorting out other peoples' mess. Lets sort our own first. What do Israel and Lebannon really mean to us? Do we have to get stuck in in every single upset around the world? We don't have the manpower or the resoucres to do so. We no longer run an Empire. We are not any sort of superpower. We need to get used to these facts. Do we have to stick our noses in when it is not wanted?

Im not a great one for organised religion, having been educated in an anglican convent boarding school, but old memory dies hard. I seem to remember that the old
testement was written well before 622AD, when the Koran was probably written, and was it not in Leviticus that the Lord spake unto Moses in Mount Sinai, to tell the children of Israel to keep a Sabbath day when you shall come into the land which I give you. Moses had already led them out of egypt, so they couldnt go back there. They must have been in a tented city at Sinai, but always on the move, and fighting their way from place to place. They ended up at Canaan - their inheritance, with some coastal borders. It does seem that this is where the Israelies are supposed to be!
Seems the middle east has always been a hot bed of fractious factions. Cabals, plotting, the Bible is certainly worth taking on holiday if you like a good thriller! Although allergorical, it probably did happen like that, so the Israelies have a pretty good case for staying put.

Why does DC have to have an opinion? Britain currently seems to spend most of its time sorting out other peoples' mess. Lets sort our own first. ..Timmy

I seem to recall the conservatives under Mr Cameron says that ' issues aboard directly effect us as we are global community' so on that point were is Mr Cameron then? .. well actually he's on holiday!, still never mind when the Middle East decends into the fires of hell which is were it's heading and things really do 'kick off' big time on a wider scale are we just going to sit back and say 'ah sod it anyway it's not our problem!' ...absolutely disgraceful attitiude!, Britain like any other would be responsible nation should be involved politically to bring this senseless fighting to a stop, but it's clear we have no political leadership from any side which makes the conservatives look just as weak than that of Blair's brainless attempt at dealing with the issue!

Portillo is right (I cannot believe that I have written that) in regards to the dilemma that Israel faces. This nuance is lost on Hague et al who want to try and fill the Blair viod in criticising Israel. What the Conservatives should have done, in my opinion, is immediately push for an international force in Southern Lebanon, highlight the dilemma Israel faces and then put the onus on Blair to move towards establishing a multinational peacekeeping force.

The isolatioist point that we should just ignore the whole thing has a reasonable amount going for it- the idea we should criticise the people trying to end a terrorist threat for doing so is foolish and false

as for this disturbing idea that the isrealis should be "moved" you might as well argue all the arabs near Isreal or in Isreal should be expeeled and then any future attacks met with overwhelming retaliaion- one is just as ethical as the other and the latter would benefit people who are basically pro-Britian rathe than viciously anti and leave us with one freindly state in the middle east, I'm not saying it's a good idea mind not at all , merely that it's better than expelling the Isrealis

As for the "disproportionate" point it simply misses the point Hezbollah has made it clear they won't accept Israeli existence not only have they repeatedly said this but - Israel has withdrawn for Lebanon and they launched operations into Israel. They've also been building up rockets to kill Israelis in the future.

Unless this threat is removed the conflict will go on, if Hezbollah is allowed to get stronger and stronger through a ceasefire then a lot more people will die when the crunch comes.

Thus a “proportionate” response is not one that kills as many Lebanon’s as Israelis but rather one that removes the military might of Hezbollah- thus if Israeli reaction has been disproportionate it has been by being not doing enough to eliminate Hezbollah and save lives over the long run,

This is not to say Israel actions have been perfect. The current government is very flawed and has made numerous mistakes (one of the parties was founded by people whose incompetence is indirectly responsible for the rocket shootings from Gaza and another was responsible for the pullout which is responsible for the current mess). In this crisis they a) foolishly believed world “opinion” would not turn b) partly because of worries about soldiers lives in elite units (many of the elite units soldiers are the children of the elite it’s a bit like an Oxbridge class) relied too much on air power c) were ridiculously overconfident in the use of airpower rather than ground forces to degrade Hezbollah and d) They foolishly believed Hezbollah’s would back down ignoring the extent to which it’s in their Iranian masters interests not to do this but this has resulted in them being too weak in their strategy not too strong

to look at it another way where we behaving disproportionately whe nwe killed more Germans in World War 2 than they killed us? were we behvaing disproportialy in the Falklands when we killed nearly as many ARgentinains as there were Falklanders?

it's also worth remembering the reason why there so many casulties is because Hezbollah is using civilians as human shields-if we let this mean that Hezbollah and otherw ill do this much more in future-and a lot more innocent people will get killed

were ridiculously overconfident in the use of airpower rather than ground forces to degrade Hezbollah

because the Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz is an Air Force General not an Army general

no doubt a reason two , as I understand it was though an army, air force dispute I think the reasons I gave help explain why the government sided with the air force

Welcome to the site tory2 but please do not post multiple comments. Thanks.

sorry didn't know that wasn't allowed-why isnt' it incidentally obviously you can make whatever rules you want-but what's the reason for that one?

It's just an issue of tidiness - cluttered threads are harder for people to read.

fair enough -won't again

I am one of the voters the Tories need to win over if they want to become the next goverment ( a floating voter).
Cameron has never impressed me and as for Hague he has always struck me as just a silly little boy playing at politics.
He was an old man at 18 years old and now I do not think he is in a second childhood, he just has not came out of the first.
What has distressed me though is this:
Cameron's apparent silence during this Israeli-Lebanese crisis. This silence speaks volumes about the man. This is no leadership.
Finally, to DVA. I still do not need my husbands permission to use his e-mail address and I still do not walk 3 paces behind him, this is incase the gent still feels the need to check up on me.

and I still do not walk 3 paces behind him

That's good but will cause apoplexy among some of the posters here who think itr shows a failure to integrate

"Finally, to DVA. I still do not need my husbands permission to use his e-mail address and I still do not walk 3 paces behind him, this is incase the gent still feels the need to check up on me."

I'm thrilled to hear that, although still bemused as to why you continue to imply that I'm a sexist, misogynist dinosaur.

Interesting reflection here of how debate moves fairly quickly from rights /wrongs of Islamic international political situation to extremely personal issues of personal interaction /Islam / sexist attitudes etc.

Also apologies for multiple posting in past, until reading above thread was unaware it was verboten.

In a written report to the Security Council 18 April 2006, Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Syria and Iran to stop interfering in Lebanon. The report, which was written by the secretary-general's special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, said that Hizballah, the Lebanese militant group, "maintains close ties, with frequent contacts and regular communication" with Syria and Iran.

Resolution 1680 (2006), adopted by the Security Council on 17 May 2006, welcomed the decision of the Lebanese national dialogue to disarm Palestinian militias outside refugee camps within six months, supports its implementation and calls for further efforts to disband and disarm all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias and to restore fully the Lebanese Government's control over all Lebanese territory.

On July 12, 2006 members of Hizballah infiltrated the Lebanese-Israeli border near Shtula, an Israeli farming village, and claimed responsibility for an ambush conducted on two Israeli Army Hummvees. The attack resulted in the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the deaths of three others. Five more Israeli soldiers were killed in the ensuing pursuit of Hizballah members into Lebanese territory. The combined capture of two soldiers and the deaths of 8 others; was considered the worst loss for Israeli military forces in more than four years The kidnapping of Israeli troops by Hizballah came in the wake of a similar incident less than a month before, on June 25th, 2006, when Palestinian militants forcibly captured an Israeli soldier to use as leverage for bargaining with the Israeli government. The last time Hizballah carried out a similar operation against Israel was in October of 2000, when 3 Israeli soldiers were abducted by the Lebanese militants. All three victims died either by execution or wounds sustained during their capture. Their bodies were returned to Israel in exchange for the release of several Arab prisoners.

Hizbollah forces are shown on television conducting military parades in Beirut, which often include tanks and armored personnel carriers that may have been captured from the Lebanese army or purchased from Palestinian guerrillas or other sources.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 (02 September 2004) called for the "disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias". The Government of Lebanon is responsible for the disbanding and disarming of the militias, including Hizballah, and preventing the flow of armaments and other military equipment to the militias, including Hizballah, from Syria, Iran, and other external sources. Lebanon basically rejected Resolution 1559, and by early 2005 this presented the risk of Israeli retaliation against vital Lebanese infrastructure to force action to disarm Hizballah

http://tinyurl.com/fmdud

DVA:
I have an exceedingly good memory, perhaps you cannot remember your comments when I got your double-barreled name wrong by calling you Vincent instead of Vince and the caustic remarks you made about me posting from my husband of 49 years address.
I have not got a convenient memory, just a very accurate one.

Mrs Stokes, I have no desire to let this thread descend into a personal 'he-said, she-said' spat, so I'll offer a few brief comments in response before requesting that we draw a line under this.

I do indeed recall the exchange you refer to, which followed your misinterpretation of my suggestion that Eric Forth's widow was in a better position to understand and defend her late husband's political beliefs and values than Chad Noble as an indication that I assume that women cannot think for themselves.

Confronted with that completely erroneous accusation, I made a light-hearted observation that the email address you use is in the name of Joseph Stokes - hardly caustic, wouldn't you agree?

If, by making the comments I made, I inadvertently allowed you to gain the deeply mistaken impression that I thought you had to seek permission from your husband to use his email address and walk three paces behind him, then I offer my apologies.

Must be style not content, DVA!

It's a good idea though DVA.I'm thinking of telling my wife she has to walk three paces behind me at all times and needs my permission to use the computer.However...I'm a bit scared to broach the subject.Any advice Daniel?!!!

Malcolm.
I would'nt go there if I were you. Don't even think about it, not this day and age.
Women as I have already stated have very accurate memories and when they bury the Hatchet they always mark the spot.

DVA , your a gentleman.

Surely Mr Cameron could have done a interview with Newsnight and expressed his views on the current crisis?

Thus far the only view he has uttered in public was in the House of Commons during a debate on the G8 when he agreed with the PM's position on the Middle East.

If the Tory leader is a 'liberal Conservative' as he claims then surely he must take a rather more pro-active approach to his foreign policy than just simply saying nothing, if he wishes to court centre left voters who take issues such as the Middle East rather seriously.

Hello! ddddcfd interesting ddddcfd site!

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