Following attack inside Syria, Bush says Israel has right for self-defense
U.S. President George W. Bush avoided criticizing Israel on Monday over its attack inside Syria and said it must not feel constrained in its self-defense.
Referring to a conversation with Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday after the Israeli strike at an alleged training base, Bush said, "I expressed our nation's condolences at the needless murder of innocent people, by the latest suicider. That murder came on a weekend of a high holy holiday."
"I made it very clear to the prime minister like I have consistently done, that Israel's got a right to defend herself, that Israel must not feel constrained in terms of defending the homeland."
"However, I said that it's very important that any action Israel take(s) should avoid escalation and creating higher tensions," he added.
In Damascus, deputy regional secretary of the ruling Al-Baath Party, Suleiman Kaddah described Israeli allegations that there are training camps for Palestinian factions in Syria as "false and desperate," saying that the latest Israeli attack reflected its "stumbling policy and its racist nature."
Addressing a speech rally on the 30th anniversary of the 1973 War, Kaddah said the Israeli strike "mirrors failure to provide security and stability" to it citizens.
He called on the international community to reject and condemn this aggression and hold Israel responsible for the deterioration in the region and to stop beating the drums of war.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)