Israel gives mixed reviews to Rome Conference

Leaders fail to condemn Hizbullah for rocket attacks.

While the Rome Conference statement failed to mention Hizbullah or Katyusha rocket fire on Israel, the conference was not a "complete disaster" because it did not call for an immediate cease-fire, Israeli diplomatic officials said Wednesday evening. "The up-side from the conference is that the international community is not declaring a cease-fire," one official said. "This is a good sign that attests to the American influence, and shows that a cease-fire is seen only within the framework of a more comprehensive bundle of steps." The down-side, the official continued, was that the statement the conference issued made no mention of Hizbullah, of attacks on Israeli civilians, or of the abduction of the IDF soldiers. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Israel joined the international community in its demand, as expressed in Rome, "to bring about the full and immediate implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and the G-8 statement of July 16," which calls for the disarmament of Hizbullah and for the Lebanese government to extend its sovereignty throughout the country. "Israel expects that pursuant to the Rome statement and the responsibility placed on the Government of Lebanon, the international community will act immediately to strengthen the Lebanese Army and turn it into a force capable of implementing these obligations," read the carefully worded statement.