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World Reactions: Israel is Right, and Talk of World War III

The G-8 leaders, including Bush, Blair, and Putin, are showing no signs of pressuring Israel to go easy - yet. In the U.S., there's talk of World War Three.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 7/19/2006, 7:24 AM / Last Update: 7/18/2006, 3:30 PM

World leaders meeting in a suburb of the Russian city of St. Petersburg at the G-8 summit have come down squarely on Israel's side. They called for Hamas and Hizbullah to return the Israeli soldiers they are holding captive and for the cessation of rocket attacks on Israel - as conditions for Israel's cessation of its offensive on Lebanon.

The G-8 is a self-proclaimed Group of Eight industrialized nations, namely, the U.S.,
Russia, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan.

Canada took a surprisingly pro-Israel approach when Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters before the summit that Israel "has a right to defend itself," and that Israel's offensive in Lebanon was a "measured" manifestation of that right. He clearly blamed the current warfare on Hamas and Hizbullah.

In response to calls for a more "proportionate" Israeli response to Hizbullah and Hamas, an Israel Radio correspondent in Washington quoted observers who said that such a response would have to include indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians, just as both terrorist groups have done. Israel should therefore be commended for not acting "proportionately," the observers say.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has described the Israel-Lebanon-Hamas warfare as part of the beginning of World War III. The Republican Congressman from the southern state of Georgia, speaking on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, mentioned a series of locations in which the west and Muslim terrorists are clashing. Noting the "question of the survival of Israel," as well as bombs in India, the war in Afghanistan, the "Iran/Syria/Hamas/Hizbullah alliance," the "war in Iraq funded largely from Saudi Arabia and supplied largely from Syria and Iran," and Muslim terrorist threats in Britain and the United States, as well as the missiles from North Korea, Gingrich concluded, "I mean, we… are in the early stages of what I would describe as the third world war."

Sen. John McCain (R, Az.), appearing on CNN on Monday, was only a shade more conservative, saying, "We need to make our European allies understand that this is the most serious challenge we have faced in the Middle East in a long time." McCain added that the U.S. might have to take direct action itself.

"Frankly," Gingrich said, "the Israelis have every right to insist that every single missile leave south Lebanon, and the United States ought to be helping the Lebanese government have the strength to eliminate Hizbullah as a military force."

"The threat to the United States," Gingrich said, "is an ideological wing of Islam that is irreconcilable to modern civilization as we know it throughout most of the world. The United States and her allies face a long war with this irreconcilable wing of Islam."