Blair backs Israel’s blitz on Lebanon

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PRIME Minister Blair made clear yesterday that the Labour government is not calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s war on the Lebanon.

Instead, Blair is backing Israel’s demands for the release of its two captured soldiers as a pre-condition for calling a halt to its warplanes bombing residential districts of Beirut, airports, bridges and roads, and its naval blockade.

At Prime Minister’s Question Time, Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell asked if Blair was not calling for an immediate ceasefire because he understood the United States’ policy was to allow more time before Israel was asked to stop its military action.

Blair replied that the crisis had been started by Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers and that what had begun the crisis, the capture of the soldiers and rockets being fired, had to be stopped for the crisis to end.

Again, when Labour MP Michael Meacher called on the Prime Minister to get the US to put pressure on Israel to stop its onslaught on the people of Gaza, the Labour leader replied that the Palestinians had to give in to Israel’s demand for ‘security’.

Blair spoke as a further 40 people were killed by Israeli bombing raids in Lebanon yesterday, taking the death toll to 270. Thousands of foreign citizens in the country are fleeing from the war.

In Gaza, Israeli tank forces slaughtered six Palestinians in the Mughazi refugee camp and three more were killed in the West Bank town of Nablus. This takes the death toll during the Zionists’ recent attacks to almost 100.

Blair revealed in his response to MPs’ questions that his government is backing Bush’s policy in the Middle East, that is to give uncritical support to the Zionists’ war on the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

This ignores calls from United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and European foreign ministers for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

Bush and Blair reject this. As one European official said: ‘It’s clear the Americans have given the Israelis the green light. They (Israeli attacks) will be allowed to go on longer, perhaps for another week.’

Bush endorses Israeli warplanes killing hundreds of people to teach the Lebanese resistance a lesson. On Tuesday night he said: ‘The root cause of the problem is Hezbollah and that problem needs to be addressed.’

In the House of Commons yesterday it was clear that the Prime Minister was reading from the same script.

But Blair is passionately opposed by the vast majority of working-class and middle-class people in this country. They abhor and are angry about the carnage wreaked on Palestinian and Lebanese peoples by Israel’s war machine, deploying its US-supplied warplanes and huge tank forces.

They admire the indefatigable endurance and determination of the Arab peoples of Palestine and Lebanon, whose resistance movements, Hamas and Hezbollah, continue their daring operations, despite their meagre weaponry.

That is why it is long overdue for the British workers’ movement, organised in powerful trade unions, to come to the urgent assistance of the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon. It is the official policy of most trade unions to oppose imperialist wars and support the Palestinians.

Trade unionists must demand their leaders call strike action now to implement these policies. Those leaders, who have refused to do this for so long, must be replaced by a new leadership to organise this struggle.

The trade union movement has the power to put an end to Blair’s regime and deliver a direct blow to the Zionists’ murderous massacres.

By mobilising the full industrial and political strength of the working class, through organising strikes and mass demonstrations culminating in a general strike if necessary, this crisis-ridden Blair government must be brought down.

This will deliver a major blow to Bush-Blair-Olmert war alliance and prepare the way for a workers’ government.

The Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists will be taking part in the demonstration in London on Saturday (see page 1) to carry this fight forward. Make sure you’re there too!