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Last Updated: Friday, 14 July 2006, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
Online debate: Israeli and Lebanese
Israel has intensified its attacks on Lebanon and the leader of the militant group Hezbollah has declared open war on Israel.

A Lebanese man in Beirut and an Israeli living in the border town of Shlomi debate the crisis in an online debate hosted by the BBC. They will be responding to each other further as the situation develops.

SALEEM KHOURY, BEIRUT, LEBANON

Saleem Khoury
I do not believe that Israel ever had the intention of fighting Hezbollah. From the first day of their attack, they only wanted to destroy our civilian infrastructure.

The fighters of Hezbollah are in the south and Israel hasn't sent a single tank there. Instead they destroy the civilian airport, bridges and power plants. How can they justify that?

Lebanon has lost many civilians - children, old people, all trying to escape. In Beirut, we haven't been able to go to work. Life has stopped.

Maybe Israel has a special obscure and twisted logic that nobody else understands
I do not know how such actions will free their two soldiers.

Furthermore, Hezbollah took the military route. They infiltrated Israel and kidnapped soldiers. They did not kidnap civilians. Israel should not respond with disproportionate force.

And Israel is not willing to negotiate. Any logical solution starts from the release of political prisoners. Not the criminals, but those people taken while Israel was occupying Lebanon.

Maybe Israel has a special obscure and twisted logic that nobody else understands. We all know that they have a strong army and the most advanced weapons that America can buy, but that will not give them peace, unless they allow other people in the region the right to live and prosper.

Their divine right to survive will never materialise until they allow others to live in dignity and honour.

So Beirut will be destroyed by them, as in 1982, but we built it back then and can do so again. But Israel should remember, Lebanon was a graveyard to their soldiers once and could be so again.

GORDON ORR, SHLOMI, ISRAEL

I live in Shlomi on the border with Lebanon. I can see a Hezbollah lookout post from my balcony.

Shlomi was among the settlements shelled on Wednesday morning. This shelling brought Israeli soldiers to the border area where they were ambushed: seven were killed and two were kidnapped.

What option did Israel have? Should we have said: 'Well done Mr Nasrallah, got us this time, we'll do whatever you want'
And for what purpose?

This was Nasrallah [Hezbollah's chief] trying to improve his standing in the Arab world.

It is difficult to believe that the interest of the Lebanese people was in his mind when he gave the order for this.

What option did Israel have? Should we have said: "Well done Mr Nasrallah, got us this time, we'll do whatever you want"?

What others call negotiating is really a call to give in blindly to his demands, and that puts my life and the life of every other Israeli at risk.

I am not a strong supporter of Israeli policies, and I believe no less than any Palestinian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Jordanian or Syrian in the need for peace.

But to blindly claim that our refusal to negotiate after such a blatant, provocative, aggressive and bloody act means that we have an "obscure and twisted logic" is purely a statement based on demagogy and a refusal to accept facts.

Israel has no need or interest in attacking the Lebanese infrastructure - the opposite is true. A strong wealthy Lebanon can only add to the good of the region.

And all commentary on the situation between Israel and Lebanon conveniently ignores the terrible civil war that raged for years, in which thousands of Christians, Muslims and Druze, all Lebanese, were killed by other Lebanese.

As I write these words, I can hear a news broadcast telling of 70 people being hospitalised after another day of shelling in the north of Israel and the day hasn't finished yet!

Someone, somehow, must put pressure on Hezbollah. The Lebanese government is absolving itself of any involvement, so Israel must pressure Nasrallah.






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