Western Mass. IAC Statement on Lebanon

STOP THE U.S.-ISRAELI WAR: Support the People of Lebanon & Palestine:
Western Mass. IAC Statement on Lebanon

Bolstered by an air and naval blockade, Israel?s massive offensive against Lebanon continues to kill or injure scores of civilians, while systematically destroying the country?s infrastructure, depriving its people of basic necessities (water, sanitation, medical care, fuel, electricity), and driving 750,000 of them from their homes. Repeated bombing of roads and bridges has made repairs impossible, forcing many of those displaced to flee on foot, compounding the humanitarian crisis.

The July 18 London Times reported: ?The Israeli military says that it was hunting down Lebanon?s Hezbollah guerrillas, but it is the civilian population that is bearing the brunt of the conflict. Survivors interviewed by The Times said that Israel was bombing homes, schools, centres of villages and towns and vehicles including ambulances. Even the Jabel Amel hospital was struck early on Sunday morning by a missile that demolished an entire wing and killed a family of nine.? Citing a ranking UN emergency relief official, the July 20 Irish Examiner provided this grim footnote: ?Nearly a third of the dead or wounded were children and the wounded could not be helped because roads and bridges had been cut by Israeli air strikes.”

Dan Gillerman, Israel?s ambassador to the UN, publicly affirmed the 25-member European Union?s assessment that Israel was using ?grossly disproportionate? force saying, ?You?re damn right we are? (New York Times, July 19).

The Bush administration is deeply complicit in Israel?s ongoing assault against a sovereign state — which violates numerous international laws, including Article 3 of the Geneva Convention — through its veto of a UN resolution opposing the Israeli attack and persistent obstruction of cease-fire efforts. Furthermore, as Israel?s chief supplier of military hardware, the U.S. has studiously ignored Section 4 of its own Arms Export Control Act which prohibits the use of purchased weaponry for the sort of military operations Israel is conducting. The Bush administration is now speeding up deliveries of missiles and other ordnance, enabling Israel to intensify its bombing campaign (New York Times, July 22).

Additional evidence of U.S.-Israeli collusion recently surfaced revealing that the current offensive — frequently depicted as a lightening reprisal — was the result of a long-range strategy involving detailed briefings of U.S. officials (?Israel set war plan more than a year ago,? San Francisco Chronicle, July 21). Moreover, the present conflict is unfolding in a manner that strongly corresponds to a much earlier set of geostrategic aims outlined in a document entitled ?A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,? prepared for the Israeli government by the neoconservative Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (see Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar?s analysis, ?The coup attempt that started a war: Israel?s invasion of Lebanon, its causes and consequences,? July 16, Al Bawaba Online).

Although Mr. Bush and others within his administration list Hezbullah, along with Syria and Iran, as the ?root causes? of this conflagration, they completely disregard far more significant and deeply rooted causes, including Israel?s illegal seizure and 38-year military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (where Israel constructed settlements) and its gross mistreatment of the indigenous inhabitants of these territories.

In backing Israel?s premeditated war against Lebanon, the Bush administration seeks to advance its larger geopolitical objectives in the Middle East: the destruction of governments or popular movements which present obstacles to U.S. efforts to re-colonize the region by appropriating the natural resources and labor of its people to further enrich U.S. corporate interests. When Condoleezza Rice suggested Israel dismiss calls for a cease-fire because the devastation of Lebanon was part of the ?birth pains of a new Middle East,? she expressed hopes firmly attached to U.S. imperial ambitions.

The Western Massachusetts Organizing Committee of the International Action Center:
1. Condemns Israel?s violation of Lebanon?s sovereignty along with the willful collective punishment of non-combatants through the destruction of civilian infrastructure in contravention of 1949 Treaty of the Geneva Conventions.
2. Demands an immediate end to Israel?s naval and aerial blockade, the withdrawal of all Israeli Defense Forces, with no further incursions on Lebanese territory.
3. Demands financial reparations to Lebanon from Israel and the U.S. for damages inflicted by Israeli Defense Forces.
4. Condemns U.S. complicity in the above-mentioned actions which have increased the potential for a wider conflict involving other states in the region, such as Syria and Iran.
5. Demands the immediate suspension of all U.S. financial and military aid to Israel.

[A draft of this statement was distributed at the July 24 protest in Springfield.]

* EXCERPTS FROM REMARKS BY WMass IAC’s SPOKESPERSON during the July 24 demonstration in defense of the people of Lebanon and Palestine held at the Federal Building in Springfield. These comments suggest an orientation for the anti-war struggle in response to the current crisis.

“At a time when the anti-war movement in the U.S. is somewhat disoriented and less visible on the national scene, today’s protest . . . asks people to take a firm stand on the side of those struggling against imperialism and racism. It doesn’t confuse or conflate the oppressed with their oppressors. It seeks to demonstrate that those suffering in Lebanon, Palestine and throughout the Middle East are not forgotten or friendless, and that we and others in this country emphatically support their right to self-determination. . .

“Our task requires us to stand in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and Palestine; to explain what is actually happening — and why — to people here at home; and to elevate the anti-war struggle in the U.S., moving it beyond mere calls for peace (too often laced with moral eqivalence) or expressions of humanitarian sentiment. More is required to achieve true peace and justice. And we can not allow Palestine to be treated as an extraneous issue, one to be placed in the back of the bus. . .” FOR MORE: access a rush transcript of these extemporaneous remarks (containing some minor typing errors) at http://wmass.indymedia.org/newswire/display/797

* FOR INFORMATION concerning the Saturday, August 12 national march on the White House in defense of the people of Lebanon and Palestine, email wmassiac@hotmail.com
PLEASE TYPE “AUG. 12 DC DEMO” in the subject line of your email.
Issued by the Western Mass. Organizing Committee of the