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Group of Eight Statement

Israel has bombed sites used by the Syrian and Iranian backed Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon. The attacks are in response to Hezbollah killing several Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two others, and sending rockets into Israel as far south as Haifa. President George W. Bush commented on the situation:

"We have to clarify a root of instability in the Middle East and that's Hezbollah and Hezbollah's relationship with Syria, and Hezbollah's relationship to Iran and Syria's relationship with Iran."

At the Group of Eight summit, President Bush and the leaders of the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia issued a statement expressing their "deepening concern about the situation in the Middle East." The G-8 statement says, "The immediate crisis results from efforts by extremist forces to destabilize the region and to frustrate the aspirations of the Palestinian, Israeli and Lebanese people for democracy and peace."

The statement points out, "In Gaza, elements of Hamas launched rocket attacks against Israeli territory and abducted an Israeli soldier. In Lebanon, Hezbollah. . . .attacked Israel from Lebanese territory and killed and captured Israeli soldiers, reversing the positive trends that began with the Syrian withdrawal [from Lebanon] in 2005, and undermining the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora."

"These extremist elements and those that support them cannot be allowed to plunge the Middle East into chaos and provoke a wider conflict," says the G-8 statement. "It is also critical that Israel," say the G-8 leaders, "while exercising the right to defend itself, be mindful of the strategic and humanitarian consequences of its actions."

Among the goals, say the G-8 leaders: an end to terrorist attacks against Israel; and a resumption of efforts by President Mahmoud Abbas to ensure that the Palestinian Authority complies with the principles outlined by the U.S., Russia, the United Nations and the European Union, for Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace with Israel.

President Bush called the statement by the Group of Eight leaders on the situation in the Middle East "important." He says that it shows "nations willing to work together for the common good."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.