Socialist Worker

The 'peacemakers' who want more war

Issue No. 1795

The US government was trying to pose as a peacemaker in the Middle East last week. What a nerve. US Secretary of State and supposed 'peace envoy' Colin Powell said he wouldn't even consider cutting back on the $2.7 billion the US government gives in 'aid' to Israel every year.

It won't withhold a single weapon of the vast and sophisticated armoury it sells to Israel, which is used daily against the Palestinians. The US government doesn't give a damn about Israel unleashing military terror on Palestinian men, women and children. George Bush and Tony Blair only care about how quickly they can push ahead with their own slaughter in Iraq.

Their only concern is that anger in Arab countries over Israel's attacks on the Palestinians will boil over. So 'peacemaker' Powell stood back while Israel's slaughter continued. He deliberately delayed his arrival in Israel, travelling first to Morocco, then to Egypt.

Even the king of Morocco was provoked into publicly criticising Powell, saying, 'Don't you think it was more important to go to Jerusalem first?' Over one million people took to the streets in Morocco in a pro-Palestinian demonstration the day before Powell arrived. Israel's response to international condemnation was to step up its military attacks, to humiliate a European Union peace delegation, and to threaten to drive Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat into exile.

Sharon has invited some of the most right wing figures in the Israeli parliament to join his government coalition. One of them regards Arabs living in Israel as a 'cancer'. Five members of his National Religious Party are inside Sharon's government. They want to drive out every Palestinian.

That should raise even more howls of anger across the world against Israel and its US backers. But Tony Blair, as ever, is staying loyal to George Bush. He has returned from their joint summit more determined than ever to support military action and a 'regime change' in Iraq. George Bush praised Blair's utter disregard for democracy.

'The thing I admire about this prime minister is that he doesn't need a poll or a focus group to convince him,' Bush gushed after the summit. Gone is all the hollow talk of moral crusades that they used over Afghanistan. Instead Blair openly talks of US intervention as the way to protect US economic interests.

Turn up heat on Blair

Blair's reception from the back benches of his own party has not been as warm as the one from Bush. Around 140 MPs have signed a motion opposing military strikes against Iraq. They are furious that Israel is free to ignore all UN resolutions calling for its withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.

Yet at the same time Iraq is told that its faces military action regardless of whether it complies with the UN. The unease extends far beyond the usual critics of the government.

Even Labour's former chancellor, right winger Denis Healey, says attacking Iraq will only serve to kill many civilians and strengthen the regime of Saddam Hussein. Anger over Israel's butchery in Palestine is adding to the mood against more war and bloodshed in Iraq. Within days many hundreds of people joined demonstrations in cities across Britain in protest at Israel's killing.

Each protest locally, alongside the national protests in London, is a chance to build up greater opposition to the warmongers Blair and Bush.

Demonstrate for Palestine

Saturday 13 April Assemble 1pm, Hyde Park (Speaker's Corner), London

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Article information

What We Think
Sat 13 Apr 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1795
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