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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Nasrallah voices Israel respect
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah
Nasrallah is a staunch enemy of the Jewish state
The leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon has said he respects Israel for issuing such a damning report on last year's war against Hezbollah fighters.

Hassan Nasrallah's comments come as Israeli PM Ehud Olmert comes under increasing pressure to resign.

By contrast, Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora criticised the Israeli report for failing to draw the right lessons.

He condemned the report for failing to mention the destruction wrought on Lebanon by heavy Israeli shelling.

The Winograd commission issued its interim report on Monday. This accused Mr Olmert of "serious failure in exercising judgement, responsibility and prudence".

Israel is committed and faithful to its own existence. Israel's existence is linked to its military might and terrorizing its neighbours, it cannot forgive an incapable leadership
Hassan Nasrallah

In a rare show of esteem, Sheikh Nasrallah offered "every respect to a commission appointed by Olmert that condemns Olmert".

He also praised Israel for being "'committed and faithful to its own existence", which, he said, "was linked to its military might".

The leader of Hezbollah said that the commission's report showed that it was "ready to sacrifice one hundred Olmerts for Israel's survival".

Sheikh Nasrallah said that Israelis "study their defeat in order to learn from it". He contrasted this to Arab states that "do not probe, do not ask, do not form inquiry commissions... as if nothing has happened".

Contrasting attitudes

On Wednesday, Mr Siniora criticised the Israeli report, and warned of "talk in Israel of the need to launch new military operations against Lebanon".

The contrasting reactions in Lebanon to the Israeli report underline sharp divisions in Lebanese politics.

Hezbollah has claimed "divine victory" and accused elements in the ruling coalition of covertly undermining it during the war. These are claims vehemently denied by the government.

Many pro-government politicians, on the other hand, have accused Hezbollah of dragging Lebanon into the conflict deliberately at the behest of Syria and Iran.

The war began on the 12 July 2006 after Hezbollah fighters abducted 2 Israeli soldiers in a cross border raid.

About 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis were killed in the fighting.




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