Socialist Worker

Another 'catastrophe' in the Middle East

Issue No. 2010

The campaign of terror that Israel is waging against the Palestinians in Gaza and against the Lebanese is frighteningly similar to the terror that was used to create the Israeli state in 1948. The Palestinians call the creation of Israel the Nakba - the catastrophe.

The Zionists who created Israel used terror against individual villages or areas to create a wider climate of fear and panic. On 9 April 1948 a Zionist militia led by Menachem Begin - who went on to become prime minister of Israel - entered the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. Villagers were given 15 minutes to leave their homes and then more than 200 Palestinians were murdered.

Within the next few months Zionist militias drove out over 750,000 Palestinians.

Dropping leaflets on Lebanese towns warning them of the consequences of associating with Hizbollah is reminiscent of the propaganda used alongside direct violence to instill fear in the Palestinians during the Nakba.

Israel was founded on the expulsion of Palestinians. There will be no peace in the Middle East until there is justice for the Palestinians and the other victims of Israel’s terror.

Western powers

Standing with Israel

Tony Blair and United Nations (UN) secretary general Koffi Annan’s calls for an international “stabilisation” force to go to Lebanon sounds even handed. But in truth they want the destruction of Hizbollah.

Despite Israel ignoring UN resolutions for decades, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert now wants the implementation of resolution 1559. This resolution demands the disarmament of all militias in Lebanon and for the Beirut government to take control of the border region from Hizbollah.

Having effectively neutered the Lebanese government, this is a demand for Israeli dominance in the south of the country.

Israel would be happy for a UN force to enter the region - after it has been given a couple of weeks to destroy Hizbollah and create a depopulated buffer zone.

UN observers have been in Lebanon since Israel’s creation in 1948, with 2,000 in southern Lebanon since 1978. In 1982, 1993, 1996 and today, Israeli forces have invaded Lebanon with no interference from this international force.

The UN will do nothing to block Israel’s permanent policy of conquest.

Cedar revolution

A kind of democracy?

So much for last year’s much heralded Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, which the US rushed to support in order to end Syria’s military presence.

A dream among the US neo-cons was that democratic revolution would sweep the Middle East, removing its enemies in Syria and Iran - but not its friends in Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

But then 23 Hizbollah MPs were elected allowing it two cabinet seats. Free elections then returned a Hamas government in the Palestinian territories. That could not be allowed.

Israel and the US’s interests now converge. Both want the destruction of Hamas and Hizbollah, both have Syria and Iran in their sights. That takes precedence over the survival of a democratically elected government in Beirut and over any pretensions that Palestinians have any control over their lives.

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What We Think
Sat 22 Jul 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2010
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