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US Buys Israel Time in Lebanon
CAIRO — The US and Israel have reached a common understanding to buy Israel more time to pursue its blistering strikes against Lebanon before Washington eventually steps in to help impose a buffer zone in southern Lebanon, a leading American daily reported on Wednesday, July19 .
"Some people are uncomfortable with the American position, and we’re very careful how we talk about it," a senior American official told the New York Times on condition of anonymity.
The daily said Israel had told the Bush administration it needed more time before US Secretary of State should interfere in the conflict.
"The Bush administration has, for the time being, gone along with an Israeli request for more latitude," it added.
The delayed intervention is meant to give the Israeli military juggernaut ample chance to emasculate Hizbullah.
American and Israeli officials are also contemplating a12 -mile buffer zone in southern Lebanon to keep Hizbullah way from the Israeli border.
News of the -Israeli consensus came after whole seven days during which Israeli warplanes pounded most Lebanese institutions and homes to rubble, forcing thousands of Lebanese to flee their country.
Millions of Lebanese are suffering on the dunes of Beirut and the muck of southern Lebanon under the unrelenting and shambolic strikes that have claimed the lives of more than 300 people, the sweeping majority of whom are civilians, and wounded hundreds others.
The onslaught has also left Lebanon virtually cut off from the outside world with an Israeli air and sea blockade.
Rice and her Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Abul Gheit publicly disagreed during a brief press conference Tuesday on the timing of a proposed ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah.
"It is imperative. We have to bring it to an end as soon as possible," the Egyptian guest told reporters when asked about a possible ceasefire.
Rice immediately made the administration's position clear.
She said a ceasefire was only advisable once the root cause of the fighting – Hizbullah, in the US view, was addressed.
Rice stressed that diplomacy aimed at ending the crisis should be targeted at action "that is going to be of lasting value."
"The Middle East has been through too many spasms of violence, and we have to deal with underlying conditions so that we can create sustainable conditions for political progress there."
Rice declined to set a date for her proposed mission to the Middle East.
"When it is appropriate and when it is necessary and will be helpful to the situation, I am more than pleased to go to the region."
Rice told Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, head of the Maronite Catholic church in Lebanon, Tuesday that Americans were praying for Lebanese civilians amid their conflict with Israel.
"We are, of course, working very hard to minimize the impact of the current conflict on the Lebanese people," she said.
"And I want you to know that we're not only working very hard, but we're also praying for the people of Lebanon."
Arab and American Muslims have slammed the Bush administration for sufficing to look on the bloodshed in Lebanon by Israel's military arsenal and pursuing an unbalanced foreign policy.
Joined by peace activists and anti-Zionism Jews, thousands of Americans of Lebanese background took to the streets of several major US cities to protest the Israeli onslaught and the administration's apathy.