They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Saturday, July 22, 2006

British minister: "Israel attacks entire Lebanese nation"


Kim Howells, the Foreign Office minister, has accused the Israelis of attacking the "entire Lebanese nation" by bombing civilian targets.

His comments amount to the most damning criticism of Israel by a British minister since the conflict erupted 11 days ago, and indicate a possible Anglo-US split in how to deal with the crisis.

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, has blamed Hizbollah, Iran and Syria for starting and sustaining the conflict.

Speaking at the start of a visit to the Middle East, Mr Howells called on the US to face up to the brutality of Israeli military tactics.

"I very much hope that the Americans understand what's happening to Lebanon," he told the BBC.

"The destruction of the infrastructure, the death of so many children and so many people. These have not been surgical strikes.

"And it's very very difficult I think to understand the kind of military tactics that have been used.

"You know, if they're chasing Hizbollah, then go for Hizbollah. You don't go for the entire Lebanese nation."

Earlier, Mr Howells had dismissed demands by Clare Short, the former international development secretary, to force Israel into an immediate end to hostilities, saying that a ceasefire would not resolve the problem unless it was coupled with the conditions for lasting peace. Read more

db: BBC Radio 4 reported a moment ago that "Downing Street backs Mr Howell's comments" - probably the bit about ceasefires. Mixed messages from "No 10" - no leadership - just a hotline to Washington. Besides, the machine has already been unleashed upon the Lebanese - and the world understands it was with Blair's approval - it will be tough to turn it around now - if that were the intention.