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Peres praises 'brave' attack

Peres said the U.S. contacted Israel in advance of the attacks
Peres said the U.S. contacted Israel in advance of the attacks  


JERUSALEM -- Israel has offered its support to the U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan, praising President George W. Bush for a "brave decision."

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told CNN's Larry King: "We see in the United States the leader of this campaign, and we shall not do anything that may frustrate or endanger the campaign itself.

"We feel part and parcel of this campaign, and, if it should be asked, everything will be considered, seriously and positively."

Peres said he did not have "the slightest doubt the decision that was taken by the president of the United States is the right one, the just one, and you are going ... to win it.

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"(Osama bin Laden) offers nothing but killing and hate and murder. He cannot win. On the other hand, the United States and all the free world must win. There is no room for compromise."

Asked what Israel's response might be if the United States asked it to exercise restraint in response to attacks on Israel, as happened during the Gulf War, Peres said: "We see in the United States the leader of this campaign.

"We shall not do anything that may frustrate or endanger the campaign itself."

Peres also said Israel would be willing, if asked, to contribute weapons or troops to the anti-terrorism effort.

"We would go the farthest possible way to make the world safe," he said. "We feel part and parcel of this campaign, and if it should be asked, everything will be considered, seriously and positively."

Beirut challenges Bush

Lebanon said the U.S. strikes on Afghanistan showed the United States was forcing its definition of terrorism on the world.

"We have no doubt about America's capacity to destroy," Information Minister Ghazi al-Aridi told Reuters.

"What is after Afghanistan?...Is it for America to define terrorism and its targets...according to its policies and interests? This is a dangerous matter."

Beirut has condemned the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

But it says the "war on terrorism" should start by ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and that resistance to Israel by Lebanon's Hezbollah and Palestinian militant groups should not be considered terrorism.

Sunday's strikes were condemned by Hassan Youssef, a senior official of the militant Palestinian group Hamas. "What America has done is pure terrorism against an innocent people when there was no proof they were involved in the September 11 attacks," he said, quoted by Reuters.





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RELATED SITES:
• Palestine Red Crescent
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