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White House: Bush won't press Israel to halt military operation
The White House said Friday that United States President George W. Bush would not press Israel to halt its military operation in Lebanon.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said, when asked whether Bush had agreed to a request from Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora that he rein in the Israelis, "No. The president is not going to make military decisions for Israel."
Snow told reporters that Bush had spoken by telephone to Lebanon's prime minister among other Middle East leaders.
He said Bush believed the Israelis have the right to protect themselves, but should limit "so-called collateral damage not only to facilities but also to human lives".
Snow said Siniora had suggested a cease-fire, which Washington favored, but thought would be hard to pull off.
"It is unlikely that either or both parties are going to agree to that at this juncture," Snow said.
A leading Senate Republican on Friday urged U.S. restraint in supporting Israel's military campaign against Hezbollah, citing the problems it may cause in the war in Iraq and efforts to disarm Iran.
Senator John W. Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, issued a written statement Friday calling on the Bush administration to "think through very carefully how Israel's extraordinary reaction could affect our operations in Iraq and our joint diplomatic efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.