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Monday, September 04, 2006

Canadians Blame Groups for Mid-East Turmoil

Many adults in Canada believe specific organizations and countries are responsible for the recent problems in the Middle East, according to a poll by Ipsos-Reid released by CanWest Global. 47 per cent of respondents blame the Palestinian and Hezbollah militias, as well as Iran and Syria, for the conflicts.

On Jun. 28, Israel launched a military operation in response to a joint raid carried out by Palestinian militants on a military post outside of the Gaza Strip, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed, and one more, Gilad Shalit, was captured.

On Jul. 12, Hezbollah militants based in Lebanon killed eight Israeli soldiers and captured two more in a cross-border attack. The Israeli armed forces launched air strikes inside Lebanese territory to fight Hezbollah, targeting the country’s infrastructure and its airport. Hezbollah retaliated by firing rockets into several Israeli towns.

A ceasefire brokered by the United Nations (UN) came into effect on Aug. 14. Security Council Resolution 1701 calls for "a full cessation of hostilities" from both sides and allows Lebanese government troops and a 15,000-member peacekeeping force to enter into southern Lebanon during the withdrawal of Israeli forces, but sets no timetable for the disarmament of Hezbollah or the return of the two abducted Israeli soldiers.

On Aug. 16, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper pledged $22.2 million U.S. for assistance in Lebanon, and reiterated that Canada would not participate in any peacekeeping operation in the Middle East.

Last month, Liberal party lawmaker Borys Wrzesnewskyj resigned from his position as associate foreign affairs critic. Wrzesnewskyj had been criticized for allegedly suggesting that Canada negotiate directly with Hezbollah.

Polling Data

Thinking about the current events that have transpired in the Middle East, who do you blame the most for the ongoing conflicts in the region?

Other groups and countries in the region
such as the Palestinian and Hezbollah
militias, and Iran and Syria


The government and state of Israel






Don’t know / Refused


Source: Ipsos-Reid / CanWest Global
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,002 Canadian adults, conducted from Aug. 22 to Aug. 24, 2006. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.
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