Beckett: Lebanon "a tragedy" - dismisses ceasefire calls
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has dismissed new pressure to demand an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East - despite a poll showing widespread public criticism of Israel's actions.
The majority of voters think Israel's military operations in Lebanon have been disproportionate, according to an ICM survey in The Guardian.
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Prince Saud Al Faisal also called for an immediate ceasefire after talks with Tony Blair in Downing Street on Tuesday morning.
But Mrs Beckett resisted calls in the Commons to take a firmer line as Israeli forces kept up their offensive in Lebanon.
She acknowledged events there were "a tragedy" for ordinary Lebanese people but said Hezbollah was "deliberately siting missiles in the heart of civilian populations".
She added: "It is bound to cause difficulty when those missiles are continually raining down on Israel and clearly there is a pressure on Israel to attempt to take out those missile sites.
"This is a very strong contributory factor to the terrible events which are indeed taking place in Lebanon."
The Foreign Secretary flatly rejected a Tory accusation that the Prime Minister was "colluding" with US President George Bush in giving Israel the go-ahead to wage "unlimited war".
She warned that a new international stabilisation force would "take time" to establish, although work to that end "continues intensively".
Her comments came as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. Link