‘No quick fix’ in the Lebanon says Downing Street


YESTERDAY saw US landing craft from a US aircraft carrier taking off US citizens and others, who had to wade through the sea to board the craft, so urgent is the task of rescuing them from the Israeli bombing.

As well as the US effort, there were at least six British ships taking British citizens from Cyprus, where even the British embassy’s £290 fee for air transport home was being waived to get the job done as quickly as possible.

Behind the new found urgency of the evacuation is that the Israeli military is keen to get as many of its allies’ citizens out of the way so that the Israeli airforce can really get to work destroying the Lebanese infrastructure.

They insist that they need a couple of weeks of massive bombing to collectively punish the Lebanese people by destroying their economy, allegedly because of Hezbollah’s act of solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza, one hundred of whom have died since Palestinian fighters took an Israeli soldier, Corporal Shalit, prisoner of war.

Hezbollah raided Israeli forces in the disputed border area of the Shaba farms and captured two Israeli soldiers.

In nine days of air assaults 400 Lebanese, many of them children, have been killed and 300,000 have fled into Syria as refugees.

In the next week or so up to 1,000 Lebanese could be murdered by Israeli air attacks and up to 500,000 more be forced to flee into Syria.

This carnage would not be taking place if it were not for the fact that President Bush and Premier Blair had given the Israelis their full support for continuing with the bombing of the Lebanon.

10 Downing Street emphased this yesterday with its statement that it was opposed to a ‘Quick Fix’ in the Lebanon, making it clear that the Prime Minister is opposed to a ceasefire and is for the Israeli military continuing to slaughter Lebanese civilians.

In fact, these two leaders of ‘world democracy’ have an even bigger responsibility for the current crisis, since they began it.

This was when they decided that they were not going to accept the democratic vote of the Palestinian people in a general election after they voted for Hamas. Instead they boycotted the government, cut off aid to the Palestinian people and got the banks to refuse to make transactions with the Palestinians, acting directly to collectively punish the Palestinians for voting Hamas.

The Israelis did not need any encouragement to attack Hamas and Gaza, and the Palestinian response was the capture of an Israeli POW. Now 100 Gazans are dead, many Hamas government officials are in jail awaiting trial, and Gaza is starving and being overrun by Israeli tanks.

Hezbollah acted to capture two Israeli soldiers to bring relief to the Palestinians who were under attack by Bush, Blair and Olmert.

The Israelis then began their collective punishment of the Lebanese people and Bush and Blair are insisting that they must be allowed to finish it.

The truth is that Israel is not interested in a compromise settlement over Palestine. It intends to annex the settled areas of the West Bank, and the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem to make up a Greater Israel.

It has not the slightest intention of sharing Jerusalem with the Palestinians, leaving the West Bank settlements or allowing the right of Palestinian refugees to return. It wants a Palestinian Bantustan as the perfect cheap labour appendage to a Greater Israel.

The Hamas victory showed that the Palestinian people will never accept this. Now Israel intends to impose it, after it has destroyed the Lebanese economy and weakened Hezbollah to the maximum possible.

This is what it will attempt to do in the next week, by kind permission of Blair and Bush who have got buckets of blood on their hands.

British workers must take action. They must force the trade unions to take strike action in support of the Lebanese and Palestinian people, to bring the Blair government down and bring in a workers’ government. This will recognise the Hamas government, and offer the Lebanese government, economic. political and military support.