Israel Blames U.S., France for Arming Lebanon

(Ha'aretz) Barak Ravid and Shlomo Shamir - "Countries are providing the Lebanese army with advanced weaponry for it to fight Hizbullah, and instead the Lebanese army is using the weapons to fire on IDF soldiers," a senior Israeli official said Tuesday, referring to the U.S. and France. The U.S. has given Lebanon nearly $500 million since 2006 to purchase arms, despite Israel's objections. France has also sent a great deal of weaponry to Lebanon, including advanced anti-tank missiles. White House Middle East adviser Dan Shapiro phoned Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, asking him to inform Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the administration expects him to act with restraint. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner telephoned Defense Minister Ehud Barak, asking that Israel show restraint. Barak called the incident a "planned provocation." Israel's UN envoy Gabriela Shalev informed the UN secretary general and the president of the Security Council that Israel had coordinated its work near the border fence with UNIFIL and that the Lebanese army opened fire first, in a flagrant violation of Security Council Resolution 1701. Senior officials in Israel were angry the Security Council had not found Lebanon responsible for the incident.

2010-08-04 08:16:17

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