This is Beirut

This is Beirut is designed to give voice to the millions of Lebanese who are suffering while the world sits silently. We are not interested in propagating hatred. We want the world to witness through the eyes of Lebanese citizens the destruction and the suffering that has been brought on in the name of defense. If you have a story, poem or letter to share, please email We will work together to end this violence.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tell the President

42 leading figures in British politics, diplomacy, academia and the media in a declaration urging Mr. Blair to tell the President that Britain "can no longer support the American position on the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in the Middle-East".

Note also that after meeting Bush Blair will meet Rupert Murdoch, the staunchly pro-Zionist and pro-Bush owner of 1/3 of the media in the
world, including Fox TV.

PM urged: Stand up to Bush and call for ceasefire
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
Published: 28 July 2006

Tony Blair will face fresh pressure over the Middle East crisis today
when he arrives in Washington to meet President George Bush. Senior
Downing Street aides said the two leaders intended to show the world
they were seeking an urgent end to the hostilities in Lebanon,
despite the failure of the much vaunted Rome summit on Wednesday to
deliver a unified call for a truce.

Israel's Justice Minister, Haim Ramon, added to the pressure
yesterday, when he interpreted that indecision as a green light to
continue the bloody assault on Lebanon.

"We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the
world... to continue the operation," he told reporters.

The Prime Minister's visit takes place as 42 leading figures in
politics, diplomacy, academia and the media put their names to a
declaration urging Mr Blair to tell the President that Britain "can
no longer support the American position on the unfolding humanitarian
catastrophe in the Middle-East". Their declaration, printed on the
front page of today's Independent, calls on the Prime Minister to
"make urgent representations to Israel to end its disproportionate
and counter-productive response to Hizbollah's aggression".

After his stop-over in Washington, Mr Blair will fly on to California
tonight to attend a conference with the media magnate Rupert Murdoch.
An ally of Mr Murdoch, Irwin Stelzer, insisted Mr Blair was not Mr
Bush's "poodle", but his "guide dog", particularly over the Middle East.

Downing Street officials said Mr Blair intended to respond to world
criticism by showing urgency in seeking an end to the hostilities
between Israel and Hizbollah. The Prime Minister and the President
are planning to commit their governments to a lasting ceasefire by
restoring the authority of the elected government against the
unilateral action by Hizbollah.

Their joint appearance at the White House is likely to be met with
scepticism. The Bush administration said this week it was seeking a
"new Middle East", raising fears that the crisis in Lebanon was a
proxy war between the US and Iran, Hizbollah's backers.

Senior officials in Downing Street said the Prime Minister supported
the US strategy on the Middle East, which was agreed at the Sea
Island G8 summit in 2004. Mr Blair is credited with persuading the
President to pursue a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine
problem. Mr Blair and Mr Bush will emphasise they are working behind
the scenes to push for an urgent end to the violence on both sides in
the Lebanon.

"Don't in any way underestimate the intensive nature of the
diplomacy," said one senior aide to the Prime Minister. "There is a
lot going on behind the scenes. We want to show that we are stepping
up the search for a process that allows both sides to end the
hostilities and there is urgency about that."

Mr Blair's influence on the US President, as part of the "special
relationship" with America, was ridiculed after Mr Bush was heard
saying "Yo, Blair" to him at the G8 summit in St Petersburg. In the
recorded conversation, Mr Bush refused to allow Mr Blair to mount a
diplomatic mission to the Middle East, preferring instead to send his
Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

Both leaders know that their time in office is running out, and
officials said they saw eye to eye on four out of five of the key
items on the agenda at today's meeting - the "war against terror",
the need to spread democracy in the Middle East, restoring stability
to Iraq, and the need to curb the nuclear ambitions of Iran. They are
far apart on the collapse of the world trade talks, which is also on
the agenda, but other tricky issues such as the controversy over the
use of British airports for US arms shipments to Israel will be put
to one side. "That is matter for Mrs Beckett [the Foreign
Secretary]," said one No 10 source.

Downing Street has insisted that Mr Blair has privately used
influence on the Bush administration over the war in Lebanon, rather
than calling publicly for a ceasefire that could not be enforced. The
Prime Minister's official spokesman said Mr Blair decided to "roll
his sleeves up" and work behind the scenes, rather than act as a
commentator on the sidelines.

Sir Stephen Wall, one of the Prime Minister's most trusted former
advisers, said Mr Blair's approach was wrong. "There have been times
on trade issues when the PM should have told Bush to get his tanks
off our lawn," Sir Stephen wrote in the New Statesman. "There are
still times when, as well as working quietly with Congress on climate
change, we should speak up about the irresponsibility of the White

"There are times, such as the past two weeks, when a British prime
minister should have been thinking less about private influence and
more about public advocacy."

Day 16

* 600 may have died in Lebanon, says its Health Minister. Israeli
planes attack trucks carrying medical and food supplies.

* Israel calls up 30,000 reservists, but cabinet decides not to
expand its incursion into Lebanon.

* Hizbollah fires 48 rockets into northern Israel, wounding four people.

* Hamas rejects comment from Palestinian President that release of
Israeli hostage is "imminent".

* Iran's President says Israel has pushed a self-destruct button.

* Security Council expresses shock and distress at Israel's bombing
of a UN post but no condemnation.

* Al-Qa'ida's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri calls on Muslims to
repel attacks on their countries.


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