by Sam Kornell

Santa Barbara Congresswoman Lois Capps joined three other
members of the House of Representatives last week in calling for
President George W. Bush to pressure Israel to accept an extended
ceasefire while negotiations between Israel and Hizbullah proceed.
Capps — who has long supported a two-state solution to the
Israel-Palestine conflict — said in a telephone conversation that
Israel’s continued aerial bombardment of southern Lebanon, as well
as its deepening military presence on the ground, is
counterproductive to Israeli and American security interests and is
causing unjustifiable suffering and destruction in the small,
embattled nation that fronts Israel’s northern border.

“The original policy of the United States was to hang back and
allow Israel to retaliate in the way that Israel chose to,” Capps
said. “I was not excited about that from the beginning. … After so
many civilian deaths — Israeli as well as Lebanese — and so much
destruction of the infrastructure of that small, democratic
country, and particularly after Saturday’s attack on Qana [in which
56 civilians, including dozens of children, were killed], there is
no question that a ceasefire needs to be established immediately.”
Capps rejected arguments that a continuing root and branch attack
on Hizbullah is necessary to achieve peace in the region. “History
shows that Israeli air wars don’t [accomplish such goals]. We do
need a long-term settlement, but there’s no way that negotiations
are going to start in the midst of such terrible fighting,” she
said. “Peace will not come about because of war; it will come about
because of negotiation.”


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