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Date posted: July 18, 2006
By MIFTAH

The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH) is deeply concerned with the escalating violence in Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip. In the past six days, close to 200 Lebanese civilians have been killed by Israeli military operations in southern Lebanon and the capital, Beirut in response to the capturing of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah guerrillas last week.

The Israeli army has initiated a full-scale aggression targeting Lebanese civilian populations, particularly in the southern areas of the country and the infrastructure. The Beirut airport, bridges, highways, power plants and television stations have been systematically destroyed by Israeli attacks and hundreds of innocent civilians killed and wounded. In retaliation, Hezbollah has fired dozens of Katiusha rockets into northern Israel, killing nine Israelis.

The escalating Israeli aggression in Lebanon comes in tandem with Israel's "Operation Summer Rain" in the Gaza Strip, in which close to 80 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more wounded in the past three weeks. Gaza's power plant was also struck by Israeli air raids and bridges and government buildings including the Palestinian Ministry of Interior have been bombed. Israel has so far failed to regain one Israeli soldier abducted in a Palestinian operation in late June.

MIFTAH calls on the Israeli government to immediately halt its military aggression in both Lebanon and the Gaza Strip and resort to diplomacy in order to solve the escalating crisis. It also calls on the international community to immediately step in to halt this attack on the Lebanese and Palestinian people and pressure Israel to adhere to international law regarding the protection of civilians during times of war.

MIFTAH is deeply concerned with the growing number of civilian deaths in both Lebanon and the Palestinian territories and urges the international community to immediately intervene to halt this crisis and to ensure that tangible measures to realize a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region are being taken.

-End

The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH, is a non-governmental, non-partisan Jerusalem-based institution dedicated to fostering democracy and good governance within Palestinian society through promoting public accountability, transparency, the free flow of information and ideas and the challenging of stereotyping at home and abroad.

For further information, please contact:
Media and Information Programme, MIFTAH
Tel: +972 2 585 1842
Fax: +972 2 583 5184
E-mail: mip@miftah.org
Website: www.miftah.org

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