Saturday, July 29, 2006
Former House Speaker Gingrich blasts Europe, UN for stance on Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon
The Desert Sun July 27 2006
Former House Speaker and possible Republican presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich had caustic words for United Nations and European leaders calling for an immediate ceasefire in the crisis between Israel and the Hezbollah group in southern Lebanon.
"The Europeans have always been prepared to have Israelis get killed and not do anything. The U.N. has always been one-sided," Gingrich told The Desert Sun prior to speaking at a fundraiser for Rep. Mary Bono, R-Palm Springs, at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage today.
Israel's efforts to bring conditions for peace to the region by withdrawing from held Lebanese territories "simply became an excuse for Syria, Iran and Hezbollah to put 13,000 missiles into South Lebanon," Gingrich said.
"I think the goal of the civilized world needs to be to demilitarize Hezbollah, force the Iranians out of South Lebanon and eliminate the 13,000 missiles," he said. "Any ceasefire that does not have those three goals is just a pause between the wars. It just sets the stage for another, bigger war."
The U.N.'s presence in the region "is actually harmful in making it harder to protect innocent people from terrorists," Gingrich said.
"You have 2,000 U.N. soldiers sitting there since 1978; they watched Iranians bring in 13,000 missiles, they did nothing about it," he said.
Gingrich called for a NATO-led force in the region and a disarmed Hezbollah -- which may have to happen by force, as the group has vowed it will fight rather than disarm.
Gingrich said the conflict in South Lebanon is "part of the much larger conflict that is building from North Korea to Iran to Syria to the terrorists that were picked up in Canada a few weeks ago."
Gingrich stirred controversy in recent weeks when he referred to the global struggle as "World War III."