Cheney blames Iran, Syria for Gaza chaos


Iran and Syria are trying to wreck Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking efforts, Dick Cheney said.

The U.S. vice president, wrapping up a visit to Israel and the West Bank, said tensions over the Hamas-run Gaza Strip are largely due to outside forces.

“It is clearly a difficult situation, in part because I think it’s true that there is evidence that Hamas is supported by Iran and Syria, and they are doing everything they can to torpedo the peace process,” Cheney told reporters.

After talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Sunday, Cheney said that cross-border rocket attacks from Gaza, which Israel has answered with military raids, “do not merely kill innocent civilians. They also kill the legitimate hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Cheney’s three days of meetings also focused on Iran’s nuclear program and growing influence in Lebanon.

A senior official in the vice president’s entourage said Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, has since received a “significant inventory” of weapons from Iran and Syria, including missiles.

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