Jerusalem, Israel (AHN) - Iran has reportedly singled out Italy as the third party it would like to see negotiate with Hezbollah over the return of two abducted Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers.
Italian Senator Sergio De Gregorio told Reuters Monday that Iranian national security adviser Ali Larijani told him Tehran would instruct Hezbollah to deal only Italy on the matter. Hezbollah and its sponsors in Iran and Syria want Israel to release hundreds of jailed terrorists in return for its two soldiers.
The abduction of IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and the killing of eight of their comrades in a July 12 Hezbollah assault on northern Israel sparked a 34-day war that ended last week with a UN-imposed ceasefire.
In the first indication in more than a month of how Regev and Goldwasser are fairing in captivity, Gregorio said that "they are alive," but that their condition is "not great."
In a related development, UN peacekeepers stationed in Lebanon told the AP Monday that Israel had handed over to them five Hezbollah guerillas captured during an August 1 IDF commando raid on the terror group's stronghold in Baalbek.
(IsraelNN.com) A group of reserve soldiers, who were recently discharged and are setting up a forum, have called upon Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and Foreign Minister Tsipi Livni to resign. Tonight the soldiers will be holding a demonstration at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv at 7p.m.
The demonstration is expected to be the first of several, under the banner, “You failed – resign!”
In a petition publicized by the forum, the public is asked to sign the following: “We are very worried about the fate of the country. From all ends of the political spectrum, we are calling upon the government, headed by the prime minister, to take personal responsibility for its failure and resign. We believe that we have the power as individuals rallying together, to declare, ‘Never again!’”
Despite some concerns over the extent of Israel's bombing campaign in Lebanon, the American public remains sympathetic with Israel's position both in this conflict and more generally. In fact, the proportion favoring Israel's side in the long-running conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has increased since before the current conflict started. Currently, 52% say they sympathize more with Israel's position in that conflict, up from 44% a month ago.Gene adds:
By a margin of 40% to 8%, more Americans say the U.S. should publicly support, not publicly criticize, Israel over its response to the current situation in southern Lebanon virtually unchanged from a CBS/New York Times survey taken in the early stages of the conflict. Fully 44% believe that Israel's response to Hezbollah militants has been appropriate, and another 15% say that Israel has not gone far enough. There is a 23% minority, however, who believe that Israel has gone too far.
At any rate it's a relief that Hezbollah's seemingly skillful PR operation during the war did nothing to sway American opinion.