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Monday, August 21, 2006

Major Headlines

9:30 PM: It is being reported that the Lebanese government has just received an offer from the Italians to send 2,000 troops to the UNIFIL force. Earlier today, Italy said that they would only supply forces if more European countries joined the coalition. It is not clear whether this means that more European countries have agreed to join.

8:37 PM: In response to Avi Dichter's statements earlier today, DM Peretz stated that negiotiating with Syria is definitely a future possibility.

The Committee formed to investigate the war has frozen its work. The reason given to Maariv was that they are waiting to hear back from the Government Judicial Advisor regarding the parameters of immunity granted to certain wittnesses they would be calling.

8:01 PM: Just a short time ago, IDF forces still operating within Lebanon exchanged fire with Hezbollah forces. No further information. *Update: At least 3 Hezbollah terrorists have been wounded. No word yet on any IDF injuries.

In another outspoken moment, Interior Security Minister Avi Dichter said that if Syria was willing to stop supporting terrorism and to live in a "true lasting peace" with Israel, she would be willing to give up the Golan Heights. Numerous senior members in Dichter's Kadima party have come out and stated that his comments were irresponsible and wreckless. Members of other parties have also come out against his statement. Dichter is also the same person who, days after Cpl Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and Olmert stated that Israel would not exchange prisoners, said that Israel was ready to negotiate and would exchange prisoners for the soldier.

Earlier today, many members of Reservist units protesting the government's handling of the war gathered today near Jerusalem as they protested the war. Along with this, they have also gathered petitions and signed letters to send to the government.

UN Secretary General Anan is meeting with the Security Council today to strengthen the definition of the UNIFIL's mandate of force within Resolution 1701 in an effort to encourage more European and Western countries to donate troops to the force. France has already drastically reduced the number of troops from what they previously promised, Italy has decided also to renig on their promise to send force, same with Australia, and all other European countries that promised to send troops as they pushed for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah.
Related to this, today, President Bush said that the US will give logistical help in order to speed up the deployment of troops, and he also urged more European countries to offer troop assistance.

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