Important to Remember Who Started This, Bush Says

July 7, 2008 - 8:23 PM

(CNSNews.com) - President Bush on Monday said it is important to remember that it was Hizballah's "unprovoked attacks" on Israel that started the current fighting, which has taken a heavy toll on civilians in Lebanon.

"Israel is exercising its right to defend itself," President Bush said in remarks in Miami.

Bush said he is watching the situation in the Middle East very closely, and he said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is "urgently" working for a "sustainable ceasefire - a ceasefire that will last."

President Bush said any U.N. resolution must end the violence -- and "lay the groundwork for lasting peace in the Middle East."

He said he mourns the loss of innocent life in both Lebanon and Israel. And he said the U.S. is determined to deliver humanitarian relief to civilians who are suffering.

Bush also made it clear what needs to happen for the fighting to stop:

"Lebanon's democratic government must be empowered to exercise sole authority over its territory. A multi-national force must be dispatched to Lebanon quickly so we can help speed the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people. Iran must end its financial support, its supply of weapons to terrorist groups like Hizballah. Syria must end its support for terror and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon."

Bush said the world wants Hizballah to end its attacks on Israel and return the Israeli soldiers it abducted. Bush also said the world wants Israel to suspend its operations in Lebanon and eventually withdraw.

"The current crisis is part of a larger struggle between the forces of freedom and the forces of terror in the Middle East," Bush said.

America opposes the forces of terror, he added, and is engaged in the long task of promoting democracy across the Middle East.

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