dilemma抖音【Mideast Dilemma】

发布时间:2020-03-26 来源: 短文摘抄 点击:

  VICTIM OF CONFLICT: An Israeli man in the coastal town of Nahariya stands by a house hit by a rocket fired by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon on July 21
  
  As the fighting between Israel and the militant Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah became fiercer last month, the international community strengthened its efforts to find a solution. But can it succeed? And could the conflict spread to other parts of the region?
  The conflict, which began July 12, was triggered by Hezbollah’s incursion into Israel and kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. Israel retaliated by bombing Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, while the militants continued to fire missiles into northern Israel, including Haifa, the country’s third largest city.
  As the fighting escalated, Lebanon’s infrastructure suffered serious damage, thousands of people were forced from their homes and as of July 25, 469 people, mostly civilians, had died on both sides, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. Israel’s military action killed 427 Lebanese.
  The UN Security Council held discussions on the Middle East situation on July 21, during which Liu Zhenmin, China’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, called on all parties involved in the conflict to cease hostilities, exercise maximum restraint and prevent a further deterioration of the situation.
  “The international community should step up its good offices to create the conditions for a ceasefire,” he stressed. He said he appreciated the secretary general’s efforts to defuse the crisis and called on the council to act as soon as possible.
  
  Eyes on America
  
  The world’s attention has been focused on the United States, Israel’s major supporter, since the conflict started. However, America remained diffident.
  At an international conference in Rome called to try to find a resolution to the latest crisis, diplomats from the United States, Europe and some Arab nations issued a statement on July 26 that stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire, reflecting opposition to such a move by the United States, The New York Times reported. Instead, the group agreed to “work immediately to bring about a ceasefire,” rather than “work to bring an immediate ceasefire.”
  “Objectively, the United States still plays a leading role in the Middle East peace process. We admit that Europe and Russia also play important roles in the region, but their roles are limited,” said Li Guofu, Director of the Division of South Asian, Middle Eastern and African Studies at the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).
  On July 23, the 12th day after the conflict broke out, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began a trip to the Middle East, the first time that the U.S. Government had dispatched officials to the region to try to end the latest crisis.
  “The United States’ action came too late. Actually, it does not want to interfere in the crisis at an early date. On the one hand, it cannot spare efforts on the conflict because of the Iraq lair. On the other hand, it wants to crack down on Hezbollah, and its supporters behind it, by the hand of Israel,” Chen Shuangqing, Deputy Researcher with the Middle East Studies Division of the Asian and African Studies Institute of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told Beijing Review, noting that Hezbollah was listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.
  
  HEAVY SMOKE: An oil storage tank at the Beirut airport is attacked on July 14
  
  Rice visited a number of countries in the region, paying a surprise visit to Beirut on July 24 to hold separate meetings with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
  During the meetings, Rice insisted that Washington would only work toward a “sustainable” truce although a ceasefire was urgent.
  Later that day, she flew to Israel and held talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni later that day and Olmert the next day.
  On July 25, she also talked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah after wrapping up her visits to Lebanon and Israel. At a brief joint news conference with Abbas after a nearly two-hour meeting, Rice stated that the Bush administration supports a lasting ceasefire in the Middle East, but not an urgent one.
  She urged all parties concerned to find a suitable way to produce a ceasefire to end the security deterioration in the region, but she underscored that the ceasefire must be reached in a way that secures the sovereignty of Lebanon and the implementation of UN Resolution 1559, a 2004 resolution calling for the withdrawal of Syria from Lebanon, the disarming of militias and the restoration of Lebanon’s full territorial integrity.
  After that, she flew to Rome to attend the ministerial conference.
  However, Chen said he does not think Rice’s Middle East trip produced any outstanding achievements in promoting peace in the region. Rice’s call for a ceasefire at her stop in Beirut was rejected by Berri, a supporter of Hezbollah. During her talks with Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister focused his discussion on battling the militants. “I do not think the conference held in Rome will have substantial significance for the peace process between Israel and Hezbollah,” he noted.
  
  No regional war likely
  
  MY LOVE: At Athens International Airport, a man excitedly hugs his granddaughter who came from Lebanon
  As time passed by, the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah showed no signs of easing, but continued to escalate. The conflict not only killed and injured civilians of both sides, but also engaged in UN officials there.
  On July 25, an Israeli air strike killed four United Nations military observers at their base in southern Lebanon, including a Chinese man, Du Zhaoyu, dramatically deteriorating the security situation and the efforts of resolving the conflict by the international community.
  Chinese President Hu Jintao on July 26 expressed his “deep condolences” over the death of a Chinese UN observer, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
  President Hu “demanded the Chinese departments concerned properly handle the aftermath of the incident and take every measure necessary to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals in Lebanon,” said the statement.
  Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun called in Israeli Ambassador Yehoyada Haim on that day and made solemn remarks.
  
  “China strongly condemns the activity to raid the UN peacekeeping post and urges Israel to carry out a thorough investigation and apologize to China and the victim’s families, and coordinate with China to deal with the aftermath,” Zhao told the ambassador.
  Wang Guangya, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations noted that China condemns the Israeli attack on UN observer position, in Lebanon that killed four UN observers and demands an end to all actions that might harm the UN positions.
  “We think any attack on UN positions and personnel is inexcusable and unacceptable,” the ambassador told reporters.
  While attending the international conference in Rome, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said he wanted a joint investigation with Israel into the killing of four UN peacekeepers, adding that the attack was “apparently deliberate.”
  AGAINST WHOM? An Israeli mobile cannon fires toward Lebanese targets from the eastern areas of Israel’s northern border on July 24
  “This coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long established and clearly marked UN post at Khiyam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by (Israeli) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that UN positions would be spared Israeli fire,” UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a statement.
  “Israel sincerely regrets the tragic death of the UN personnel in south Lebanon,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. The Israeli Government said it would investigate the incident.
  With the fighting becoming fiercer and no effective solution made in various international mediations, the international community grew increasingly concerned that it could lead to a large-scale regional conflict involving more nations.
  However, Li of the CIIS told Beijing Review, “viewed from the current situation, the possibility of a regional war breaking out is very slim.” He added, however, that the conflict “will not stop soon and will last for a long period of time.”
  Though the United States and Israel accuse Syria and Iran of supporting Hezbollah’s raid, they will not take direct measures against the two countries, the researcher said. Israel’s major goal in this action is to disarm Hezbollah. Meanwhile, Iran and Syria also face various levels of international pressure and will not actively engage in the conflict, they added.
  Chen also rejected the possibility of the conflict triggering a large-scale war in the Middle East. According to him, the United States is now deeply involved in Iraq and does not want another war in the Middle East. Any possible war in the region will influence U.S. interests there. “When the conflict reaches a certain degree, both parties will actively stop, especially the Israeli side, which holds the initiative of the conflict,” noted Chen.
  
  Muted reaction
  
  CHINESE MARTYR: Du Zhaoyu from China is among the four UN observers killed in an Israeli air force strike on July 26
  
  Although Israel has launched fierce bombing raids in Lebanon, the international community, and notably the Arab world, have had a comparatively restrained reaction. Israel’s military action clearly has had the support of the Bush administration, but European and many Arab countries, while condemning the fighting, have also attributed the crisis to Hezbollah’s actions.
  
  The favorable international environment is rare for Israel, and it also sets a high strategic goal for the military action.
  Olmert clearly stated that Israel aimed to achieve three goals through its military action, namely, pressing Hezbollah to release the two captured Israeli soldiers, driving Hezbollah out of the southern part of Lebanon and letting the Lebanese Army control the area, and disarming the militant group.
  Of these goals, disarming Hezbollah is the one Israel wants to achieve most. For a long time it has regarded Hezbollah as a security threat, and annihilating the organization or at least dealing with it in a heavy blow is Israel’s long-term hope.
  However, Li said it is very difficult for Israel to disarm Hezbollah. Under the situation that Israel still occupies the disputed Shebaa Farms area, the Lebanese Government will not disarm the Hezbollah guerrillas by force. And without the cooperation of the Lebanese Government, neither Israel nor the international community can disarm Hezbollah.
  
  Political power re alignment
  
  According to Li, the conflict also indicates that great changes have taken place in the Middle East in terms of political power. The political structure is experiencing an adjustment and the conflict will exert a great influence on the future development of the Israeli-Palestinian and regional political situations.
  According to Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the raid on Israel was to express support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is also under attack by Israel. Previously, Hezbollah provided various forms of support to Hamas, including military training. However, this is the first time that Hezbollah has openly joined forces with Hamas by actively fighting against Israel.
  During the conflict, Hezbollah has fired missiles at cities and towns in northern Israel, including Haifa, which has not only caused casualties but also poses a psychological threat to Israel.
  “In the Middle East, an anti-U.S. alliance consisting of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas has been formed,” asserted Li. After the United States toppled the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, it set its sights on Iran and Syria. Meanwhile, the United States for a long time has regarded Hezbollah and Hamas as “terrorist organizations,” and this also makes them support each other closely. “The United States cannot spare much effort from Iraq and this also reduces its influence over the Middle East. This alliance has now been developed into a force not to be trifled with,” Li added.
  
  According to a report in Time magazine on July 26, Washington has put forward a four-point plan to resolve the crisis that includes Israel’s halting its bombing of Lebanon, inviting NATO troops onto Lebanese territory along the border with Israel, Hezbollah’s releasing the two captured Israeli soldiers and Lebanese Government forces controlling the southern part of the country, but experts say implementation of such a plan will not be easy.
  
  A Timeline of the Conflict
  
  July 12 Hezbollah attacked Israeli forces and kidnapped two soldiers.
  July 13 Israel prepared to retaliate against Hezbollah.
  July 14 Israel’s third largest city, Haifa, was hit by missiles for the first time.
  July 15 Israeli forces bombed the headquarters building of Hezbollah.
  July 16 Italy conveyed Israel’s ceasefire conditions to Lebanon.
  The Israeli Army deployed a missile interceptor system.
  July 17 Parts of northern Israel were put under a state of emergency.
  July 18 Israel bombed Hezbollah missile bases.
  July 19 Israel decided to continue its military action in Lebanon indefinitely.
  Israeli ground forces attacked Hezbollah outposts.
  July 20 Israel asked Germany to mediate in rescuing the two Israeli soldiers.
  July 21 UN Security Council discussed the Middle East situation. Deputy Ambassador of the Chinese mission Liu Zhenmin called on all parties involved in the conflict to cease hostilities, exercise maximum restraint and prevent a further deterioration of the situation.
  July 22 Israel bombed telecommunications facilities in Lebanon.
  July 23 Israel continued to launch missiles on targets in Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon.
  July 24 U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Lebanon and Israel to try to mediate the crisis.
  July 25 Rice spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Four UN military observers were killed by an Israeli airstrike.
  July 26 An international ministerial conference was held in Rome to discuss the crisis.

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