World War III?

In the following Democracy Now! clip, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak with Palestinian professor Naseer Aruri and Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery about the escalating violence between Israel and Lebanon -- the worst in nearly a quarter of a century.

The blows thus far include a Lebanese incursion into Israel which left 8 Israeli soldiers dead (and two captured), the bombing of a Hezbollah TV station and Lebanese airport (killing women and children), and the firing of Lebanese rockets into Israel leaving one woman dead.

Israel views the capture of its soldiers as "an act of war."

(This is not to be confused with the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit by Palestinians and subsequent Israeli attacks on the Palestinian Foreign Ministry building and other sites in Gaza which have killed two dozen Palestinian civilians. For more about that, read the companion article HERE.)

Aruri notes that the Lebanon incursion (like the situation in Gaza) is partly the result of Israel's desire to foreclose any diplomatic two-state solution. He noted that Hamas has intimated that they're ready for a two-state solution.

Avnery meanwhile is appalled that his government refuses to consider any kind of prisoner exchange. Israel currently holds women and children in its jails.

Juan Cole, who "roundly condemn[s] Hizbullah's criminal and stupid attack on Israel, wrote, earlier today:

I continue to worry that this outbreak of war in the Levant will exacerbate tensions in Iraq and get more US troops killed. Iraqi Sunnis generally sympathize with the Palestinians. And hard line Shiites like the Sadr Movement and the Mahdi Army are close to Hizbullah. Israel's wars could tip Iraq over into an unstoppable downward spiral.
And what is Bush doing while the Middle East burns? "Not much," according to the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin, who writes: "Bush sounded more like a bystander on the world stage than the leader of its only superpower."

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