George Bush has given Israel the green light to tear Lebanon asunder and to destroy the resistance forces of Hizbollah. By Tuesday, Israeli forces had killed some 400 people, the vast majority civilians, and driven up to one million Lebanese from their homes.
Israel has used cluster bombs and phosphorous bombs, deliberately attacked ambulances and reduced large parts of the Lebanese capital Beirut to rubble.
Bush and Tony Blair have backed that assault all the way. Bush’s envoy to the region told the Lebanese government there could be no ceasefire until Hizbollah was disarmed and an international force took control of southern Lebanon, with a mandate from the United Nations to use military force against Hizbollah fighters entering this “buffer zone”.
As the US went through the facade of conducting peace negotiations in the Middle East, an Israeli commentator wrote on Monday in the newspaper Yediot Ahronoth, “US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice is not coming to pressure Israel to cease the fire. On the contrary, she’s coming to check for herself that we are not missing out on this war, that we are not missing a chance to be the long arm of the US.”
Rice blocked a ceasefire allowing Israel further time to carry out its operation. And beyond Lebanon looms a wider conflict.
The US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, talks of “taking advantage of the action Israel has taken against Hizbollah”.
He adds that, “in the case of Lebanon, we’ve got a chance to set the Syrians and the Iranians back.”
If Israel and its allies succeed in destroying Hizbollah they will set their sights on Iran. A war in Lebanon would be followed by a far greater war, just as the 2001 attack on Afghanistan was followed two years later by the invasion of Iraq.
Resistance to such imperial assaults is essential.
John Bolton argues there is a distinction between civilians killed by Israel and those killed by Hizbollah, claiming, “It would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts.”
Ten times more Lebanese civilians, a third children, have died so far than Israelis.
Israel has one of the most powerful military forces on the planet. The US is rushing more missiles and jet fuel to Israel to ensure the bombing continues.
There is indeed no “equivalence” between Israel and the resistance in Lebanon. One is a terror state, in a permanent state of war, the other is the expression of those who have suffered its invasions and occupations.
The resistance Israel is meeting in Lebanon is a barrier to further wars and further destruction. It is being supported by a growing wave of solidarity across the Arab world.
It deserves our support. Join the protests and demonstrations planned across the country from Downing Street this Friday to the Labour Party conference on 23 September. Turn up the heat on Blair for his slavish support for Bush and Israel’s war of conquest.