Sunday, July 23, 2006

Labor MKs have questions...

Labor MKs: The time has come to question Lebanon incursion

By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondent

[all emphasis is mine]

Ministers and MKs began to express reservations in recent days over an expanded ground operation in Lebanon. Among those willing to publicly express their opinion were Ministers Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) and Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor), who stressed that the operation had been planned based on the fact that there was no need for a ground incursion. Additional ministers expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that a diplomatic initiative had not yet been presented.

"It is important that alongside a military operation, diplomatic efforts are pursued, and the fact that the world is letting us continue military operations should not lead us to believe that there is no need for dialogue and a diplomatic plan," Pines-Paz told Haaretz on Saturday.

Statements were also made by Labor and Meretz MKs, who criticized the abandonment of a diplomatic track and expressed concern over a possible massive ground operation in Lebanon.

According to MK Danny Yatom (Labor), now that it is clear that ground troops are operating in Lebanon, one must ask about the scope of the operation. Yatom, a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, plans to raise the issue at a committee meeting Monday.

"I want a clear, rather than vague, report on what the ground troops are doing in Lebanon, the number of troops, and whether there are plans to expand the operation. I vehemently oppose a large number of ground troops entering Lebanon. This has not yet been discussed, and if it happens, I want to know. We must be alert," Yatom said.

"Up until now, we've been supportive. We all support the military operation, but the time has come to ask decision-makers some questions," a Labor MK said.

Meretz leaders held a meeting Thursday on the fighting in the north, at the end of which they called on the government to try to reach a cease-fire and start negotiations.

Meretz faction whip MK Zehava Gal-On was adamant in stating that Israel should operate according to Israeli, not American, interests and should not let Israel Defense Forces troops become U.S. President George W. Bush's cannon fodder.

Hear, Hear...


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