U.S. to Israel: Strengthen the Lebanese Government, Withdraw from Border Village

[Ha'aretz] Barak Ravid - Senior U.S. State Department officials sent concerned messages to Israel in recent months regarding the negative effects an Israel-Syria peace deal could have on Lebanese sovereignty. The diplomatic messages stated: "Israel must not sacrifice Lebanon for the sake of peace with Syria." A senior Foreign Ministry official said the U.S. even asked Israel for "guarantees" on the matter. Political sources in Jerusalem said the Americans' concerns stemmed from a number of recent statements made by Israeli officials to the effect that only Syria is capable of restraining Hizbullah in Lebanon. Political sources in Jerusalem said the U.S. is placing significant pressure on Israel to withdraw from the border village of Ghajar before the 2009 Lebanese elections in order to strengthen the government of Fouad Siniora. Such sentiments were expressed by David Hale, the State Department's envoy on Lebanon and a former U.S. ambassador to Jordan, during a visit to Israel several days ago.

2008-12-24 06:00:00

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