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Chancellor Merkel joins with Bush in backing Israeli aggression
At a press conference in Germany Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel lined up behind US President George Bush in supporting Israel’s expanding war of attrition in the Middle East. On the same day that Israeli fighter planes bombed Lebanon’s main airport, Bush and Merkel stood shoulder to shoulder to declare their solidarity with Israel, which, according to Bush, “had every right to defend itself.” The press conference was held after a morning of talks between the two leaders.
Bush is visiting the eastern German region of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in a two-day stopover on his way to the G8 summit of world leaders being held in St. Petersburg this weekend. Bush had been invited to Germany some months ago by Merkel, who has made two trips to Washington since taking over as chancellor at the end of last year. Although Merkel was born in West Germany, she grew up in East Germany prior to reunification, and the region is her parliamentary constituency.
As with all of Bush’s trips abroad, a massive security force has been deployed in Heiliegendamm, a sleepy tourist resort on the Baltic coast. The immediate area surrounding his luxury hotel has been turned into a veritable fortress. The two-day visit by the US president has precipitated the largest police and military operation in the region’s post-war history. The area has been swelled over the past week by a total of 15,000 police and soldiers.
A 1.3-kilometer barbed wire fence has been erected around Bush’s hotel, and fighter jets will continuously patrol the Baltic skies until he leaves. No ships are allowed to sail within a 50-square-mile area of the Baltic Sea.