"I strongly condemn the operation waged by the Lebanese Hezbollah movement during which Israeli soldiers were killed and abducted. In the wake of recent events in the Gaza Strip, the operation was clearly intended to aggravate an already very tense situation and give it a regional dimension. The Israeli soldiers who were taken prisoner must be released immediately," Minister De Gucht said.
"Israel is entitled to defend itself but its reaction in this case is out of all proportion. I condemn the blockade that Israel has imposed on Lebanon and the massive use of violence which has already claimed a large number of innocent victims, including many children.
"All parties, including Israel's neighbours, must now behave in a wholly responsible way and ensure there is no new escalation of violence," the Minister concluded.