From one end of the world to the other protests against the Israeli attack on Lebanon are pouring in. In many cities, including in Tel Aviv, large demonstrations took place last weekend against the aggression and the mindless destruction and killing that is a consequence of the savage Israeli bombing. Hundreds have been killed, jostly civilians. The demand is to "Stop the War" and for an immediate ceasefire.
A large demonstration of between twenty and thirty thousand took place in Sydney with smaller rallies and marches in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
So far the UN Security Council has failed to act, being paralysed by the outright support of the United States and Britain for the Israeli aggression. To save face the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan criticised both sides, limiting his remarks about the Israeli aggression by saying that the Israelis were using "excessive force".
The US is reported to be "rushing an order" for bunker buster bombs for use by the Israeli army which has so far failed to achieve its stated objectives with its air strikes and ground invasions.
Successive US administrations have fully supported the Israeli oppression of Palestinians and the Israeli wars against its Arab neighbours. Every attempt to achieve a just and negotiated settlement has been frustrated by US and Israeli policies. The so-called "Roadmap to Peace" was a mere sham to create the impression that the US and Israel have an interest in achieving peace. Its real intent is for the complete capitulation of the Palestinians and other Middle East Arab countries to the demands of the US and Israel.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in connection with the present Israeli aggression, said that "it is premature to hold discussions about sending a force to keep peace or to aid in rebuilding Lebanon". In other words, let the war continue!
Sidelining the UN
In yet another attempt to side-line the United Nations, there is talk of sending in a NATO force. The statement that the Australian Government would consider sending a military force to Lebanon if requested would see such an Australian contingent become part of a NATO occupation. It has nothing to do with ending the conflict. Its objective is not a just peace but to carry out the destruction of Hezbollah and to help prepare the ground for future aggression against Syria and Iran. Its aim is to help Israel achieve its objectives while pretending to bring about a ceasefire.
As part of this war’s objectives the US is attempting to pressure the weak and compliant governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to split the Arab front and become part of an anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian crusade.
On the other hand, the Russian Foreign Minister has called for an immediate ceasefire and for a comprehensive settlement. He said that the aim of securing the release of Israeli prisoners has gone far beyond the framework of a so-called "anti-terrorist" operation. He said, "The time has come and it has become objectively necessary more than at any time in the past for a comprehensive discussion of all sides without exception on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions".
One of the UN resolutions that has been systematically ignored by Israel and the Western powers is the demand that Israel return to its borders before Israeli’s 1967 invasion and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss harshly criticised some Arab leaders asking, "What do they think they’re doing standing by and watching?" He warned that the goal of the aggression is to drag the country into sectarian strife like the sectarian strife in Iraq that has been manufactured by the US occupation.
In a hard-hitting statement the Lebanese Communist Party stated, "This is a fanatic and open Israeli war against Lebanon. And it has nothing to do with the matter of two Israeli prisoners."
"This is a previously prepared war that was waiting for the timing to be launched. It is a war which had to be launched by Israel against Lebanon after its liberation in the year 2000, and after the events of 11 September 2001, and after what happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine.
"It is an Israeli-American war, par excellence. Their joint project has faltered and both of them are trying to make up as much as possible for that faltering, or we might even say for the real, serious difficulties facing the implementation of their plans for the region.
"The theory of war against terror and the use of the weapons of violence and US-style democracy have failed in practice in Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Iran, and even in Lebanon where it has been impossible to carry out the UN Resolution 1559."
(Resolution 1559, passed in September 2004, reaffirmed the sovereignty of Lebanon and its government, its political independence and called for the departure of all foreign forces [meaning Syrian] and the disbanding and disarming of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militia.)
"The theory of protecting Israel and its security and its strategic program also faltered because of Israel’s defeat in Lebanon in 2000, the victory of Hamas, the failure of all the road maps that have been plotted out for Palestine and Lebanon.
"It failed also because of the situation of Hezbollah and its weapons in south Lebanon, its link to Iran and nuclear weapons, and Syria with its standpoint and resistance even after its withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005. All these factors continually obstructed their program for the region.
"This is, therefore, an open war according to the new international and regional balance of forces. It is a summary of all these developments and events, their ups and their downs, at their various levels and with their various weights", the Lebanese CP said.
"Lebanon, once again, and now for nine days, has been the target of this systematic, comprehensive aggression, the aim of which is not only to uproot Hezbollah or Hezbollah’s armed resistance as the Americans, Europeans, some Arabs (particularly Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan), and the forces in the Lebanese Cedar Revolution all allege.
"Its real aim is to crush resistance and steadfastness, to tie Lebanon to the Israeli-American strategy, and then to turn the tables against the elements that have obstructed the program that Bush and his administration have been pushing, striking multiple targets in order to go through Lebanon to get to Palestine, Syria, and Iran.
"In spite of the power of this brutal aggression, the extent of human and material losses and the enormous tide of refugees whose numbers have exceeded half a million, and in spite of America’s intentional absence coupled with heavy pressure on international humanitarian bodies, and in spite of the government’s tardiness in implementing an immediate and rapid emergency relief plan, Lebanon by its national steadfastness and heroic resistance has shown once again that the will to resist is stronger and the resolve of the national resistance effort is greater.
"Those are the natural responses to the Israeli aggression and its aims, to all the statements coming from those in the Arab world and Lebanon that are today preoccupied either with finding the best way to offer their services to the Americans or with serving their narrow group interests that have nothing whatsoever to do with an Arab national or Lebanese patriotic stance."
The LCP statement concluded: "What we need today from everyone is that they take one side or one position in this battle of destiny. What we need is support for the decision to resist, the reinforcement of national steadfastness and the provision of all the requirements and prerequisites for this steadfastness so that the hellish Zionist-American program can be defeated."