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House Passes Resolution Backing Israel

Reps. Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., discuss the resolution overwhelmingly passed in the House Thursday supporting Israel in the Middle East conflict while condemning Syria and Iran for providing Hezbollah with weapons and money.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF, NewsHour Special Correspondent:

    While Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants continued to trade fire across the Lebanon border today and the death toll mounted on both sides, there were more appeals around the globe for an immediate cessation of the hostilities.

    Today, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan pressed for at least a temporary stop in the fighting.

  • KOFI ANNAN, U.N. Secretary General:

    What is most urgently needed is an immediate cessation of hostilities for three vital reasons: first, to prevent further loss of innocent life and the infliction of further suffering; second, to allow full humanitarian access to those in need; and third, to give diplomacy a chance to work out a practical package of actions that would provide a lasting solution to the current crisis.


    Within minutes, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, upheld his administration's resistance to calls for a cease-fire.

    JOHN BOLTON, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: As we've said repeatedly, what we seek is a long-term cessation of hostilities that's part of a comprehensive change in the region and part of a real foundation for peace. But still, no one has explained how you conduct a cease-fire with a group of terrorists.


    And at the White House, spokesman Tony Snow said it wasn't clear that Hezbollah would even agree to cooperate.

  • TONY SNOW, White House Press Secretary:

    We'd love to have a cease-fire, but Hezbollah has to be part of it. And at this point, there's no indication that Hezbollah intends to lay down arms.


    At the State Department, spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. was not going to pressure Israel for a cease-fire.

  • SEAN MCCORMACK, State Department Spokesman:

    We are not in the business of laying out timelines for sovereign countries that are in the midst of defending themselves. Certainly, we would like to see the violence end, but the first steps for violence ending need to be taken by those who provoked this violence. That is Hezbollah. Stop the rocket attacks. Return those prisoners.


    McCormack repeated that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would head to the region, quote, "when she believes it's helpful and useful."

    And on Capitol Hill, lawmakers again threw their overwhelming support behind Israel. By a 410-8 vote, the House passed a non-binding resolution backing Israel's right to defend itself. The resolution condemned enemies of the Jewish state and specifically criticized Syria and Iran for their support of Hezbollah. The Senate passed a similar measure Tuesday night.