LETTER : Assault on Lebanon: this is no way to end the cycle of `terror ism'

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Sir: The accidental shelling of the UN base housing refugees in southern Lebanon is indeed a tragedy, adding to a long history of bloodshed in the region. However, Hizbollah is ultimately to blame for unleashing its deadly rockets just 300 metres from the base.

The rationale behind Hizbollah launching missiles from such close proximity to a civilian population is conceivable for one of two reasons: to turn these defenceless people into shields to deter retaliation, or to induce a terrible carnage in an attempt to defame Israel and derail the Middle East peace process. As abhorrent and ludicrous as this rationale may seem, it comes to no surprise considering Hizbollah's - and its brother organisation, Hamas' - past willingness to exploit its people as "martyrs" by strapping bombs to their bodies, which detonate in heavily populated areas.

The key to halting violence in the Israel-Lebanon border region is to stop or diminish Hizbollah's economic, military aid from Iran. Only then can the Middle East peace process progress.

Peter M Agulnick

Huntington, New York, USA

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