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FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2006
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EDITORIAL

U.S. seeking long-term solution to Israeli conflict

The White House is taking the right approach to the current fighting at the Israel-Lebanon border after Hezbollah guerrillas crossed into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers and killed three others two weeks ago.

Most of the global community has characterized Israel's response as disproportionate and called for an immediate cease-fire — a short-term solution.

The United States, however, stands virtually alone in its support of Israel's right to protect its borders from future incursions. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with world leaders Wednesday in Rome and reiterated the U.S. opposition to an immediate cease-fire and its support for immediate humanitarian aid to Lebanon.

A senior Hezbollah official said Tuesday that his group did not expect Israel to react so strongly to its incursion.

"The truth is — let me say this clearly — we didn't even expect (this) response. ... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hezbollah's political arm, told The Associated Press. He said Israel had responded to similar incursions in the past by sending commandos into Lebanon to seize Hezbollah officials, and that subsequent negotiations had resulted in prisoner exchanges.

This time, however, Hezbollah is getting a much deserved thrashing. Israel said its goal is to establish and maintain a security zone 1.2 miles into Lebanon to prevent future Hezbollah incursions.

Israel is reminding the terrorists that the Israeli mindset is they can't lose many battles and survive as a nation.

And Israel means to survive.

Lebanon, which has allowed Hezbollah to prosper in its South, is taking the brunt of the Israeli wrath. Instead of demon-izing Israel, Beirut should turn its attention to restraining Hezbollah, the source of the escalating conflict, within its own borders.

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