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Hezbollah's Responsiblity

Fighting continues between Israel and the Lebanese radical group Hezbollah. The conflict erupted after a raid by Hezbollah terrorists into Israel in which eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two were kidnapped.

White House spokesman Tony Snow says any attempt to stop the violence must take into account Hezbollah's role in starting it:

"It's the responsibility of Hezbollah, which not only began this by crossing over into Israeli soil and kidnapping soldiers and also firing rockets into Israel – Israel does have a right to defend itself – but, furthermore, using the people of south Lebanon. . . .as human shields, putting rockets in their houses and radars on their barns, saying, in effect, if you're going to fight against us, you're going to have to go after civilians. And we are deeply, deeply concerned about the loss of civilian life. . . .We'd love to have a cease-fire. But Hezbollah has to be part of it. And, at this point, there's no indication that Hezbollah intends to lay down arms."

Mr. Snow says the United States has been working actively "with parties throughout the region and also around the world" to restore peace "at the earliest possible date":

"Trying to get everybody to exercise what leverage they may [have], especially on Hezbollah and its sponsors, Syria and Iran, to make sure that there can be a peaceful resolution that also preserves the government of Lebanon and creates the conditions in the long run to make sure that the Lebanese people have a prosperous and democratic way forward."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says that the key to ending the crisis is "something that changes the strategic picture in that part of the region." Says Mr. McCormack, "You don't want to hand the keys back to Hezbollah so that they control the situation where, when they decide, they can throw the region into a state of instability and violence, and innocent life is lost."

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