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A Bad Stretch between Britain and Israel: What’s Going on Across the Pond?

The Jewish Voice and Opinion January 2003

While relations between Israel and Britain had been bumpy for some time, things seemed to come to a nasty head last month. First, British Prime Minister Tony Blair made time to roll out the red carpet for Syrian President Bashar Assad, but had no time to meet Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Then the British placed an embargo on the sale to Israel of critical spare parts for Phantom fighter bomber jets. But when Israel refused, after a deadly suicide bomb attack, to allow a PA delegation to participate in a London conference, the British behaved as if they could not understand where Israeli hostility might be rooted.

When Mr. Assad touched down in London, the first Syrian head of state to visit Britian was met by hundreds of Jews who came out to protest the official visit of Syrian president who endorses Hamas and Islamic Jihad and keeps Hizbollah in business.

As the occupier of Lebanon since 1975, Syria, which is on the US list of terror-sponsoring states, is the Hizbollah terror organization’s protector. They armies train together in the same Bekka Valley in east Labanon, and Hizbollah’s chief supply route goes through Syria. On a regular basis, Iranian cargo aircraft land at Damascus International Airport, carrying weapons for Hizbollah.

Killed More Americans

An internation terrorist organization with global reach, Hizbollah is responsible for the murder of 241 US Marines in a Beirut suicide bombing in 1983 and numberous other Americans. Before 9-11, Hizbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group.

Recently, the group has been openly expressing its global ambitions. Its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, called for widespread suicide bombing campaigns. Speaking at a rally in Labanon’s Bekka Valley in November, he said, “Martyrdom operations, suicide bomings, should be exported outside Palestine. I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide. Don’t be shy about it.”

Last month, Canada finally declared Hizbollah a terrorist organization whose presence was no longer unwelcome. Britain, on the other hand, like most BU delegations, continues to maintain contact with Hizbollah.

There are already three documented incidents in which Hizbollah sent recruits holding European passports to conduct terrorist missions in Israel.

Syria itself fully supports Hizbollah’s efforts to wage war for further Israeli withdrawals, particularly from the Shebaa Farms area, which is technically part of Golan Heights. Although the UN has certified that Israel vacated all land belonging to Lebanon, Hizbollah does not accept the map.

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