The Lebanese people had just rebuilt their country after years of civil war and instability. A sense of national pride, religious tolerance, and democracy was reigniting the people’s dignity and claim to being “the Paris of the Middle East.” This was all shattered on the 12th July when the Israeli government unleashed some of the world’s most advanced and sophisticated missiles upon Lebanon, destroying its infrastructure and sending it back to the stone ages.
The Israeli government has justified this wanton destruction and disregard for human life and international law as a result of the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah; yet how can the abduction of two soldiers be the justification for the killings of over 700 Lebanese civilians and possibly hundreds more buried under rubble, blown up in their homes, or driving in their cars trying to flee the violence? It has even claimed the lives of forty Israeli civilians as a result of Hezbollah firing short range missiles into Israel. Is this a price worth paying for two Israeli soldiers who were evidently to be used as leverage to negotiate the release of three Lebanese prisoners?
Israeli terrorism unleashed upon Lebanon was greeted by a muted Western response; it has taken Western leaders and, more importantly, the Western media, weeks to find their voice of disapproval and still the weak murmurings are only of “disproportionality” with whispers of calls for a cease-fire only when Israel fulfills its military objectives. We have seen the images; we have seen the destruction; yet not once has the Western media identified Israel as the perpetrator of terrorism. We hear of Hezbollah’s Katyusha missiles landing in Haifa as acts of terrorism, but who in the Western media is brave enough to risk corporate sponsorship, their reputation, or even their job by referring to the dropping of missiles on Lebanese or Palestinian civilians by Israeli pilots flying F16’s as acts of terrorism? Images have surfaced of Israeli children writing messages of hate on missiles destined to destroy civilians in Lebanon; if these were Muslim children scrawling such messages on weapons of destruction destined for Jewish villagers, these images would make front page news and headlines all over the world. The protectors of Israel, however, are powerful and many.
The bias towards Israel by the West has never before been so apparent. The protection of Israel by the United States has been laid bare. Even the killings of four United Nations workers drew no condemnation, solely because of the United States’ refusal to allow any criticism of Israel’s military strategy. The very nation which supplies the weapons to Israel to fulfill this destruction is the very nation which then provides aid to the victims of such terrorism. The very nation which refused to call for an immediate cease-fire to enable Israel to continue to destroy an entire country will be the very nation which shall propose itself as the impartial and independent arbitrator of peace. The world and, in particular, the Muslim World, is fed up with this grotesque side-show and has demanded an impartial voice to mediate change and deliver justice.
Western powers, in all their arrogance, decided to host talks on the Middle East’s future but omitted invitations to key players in the catastrophe: Iran and Syria. Instead, they chose to invite their pro-Western friends in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
The United Nations have been marginalised by the US and totally humiliated by Israel’s refusal to heed any of its warnings. As an institution, it has been exposed as impotent and lacking any credibility, unable or unwilling to reprimand the rogue super-power or its minions. Little wonder the people of Lebanon, both Muslim and Christian, united by grief and anger, chose to destroy the United Nations building in Beirut. Just as the Berlin Wall and the felling of Saddam’s statue came to symbolise the demise of an era, perhaps in the destruction of the UN building lies the death knell of an institution beset by corruption and impotent when faced with standing up to rogue super-states which now threaten the stability of the world and the well-being of mankind.
The US, without any sense of its own hypocrisy, has called on Syria and Iran to stop providing assistance, training and weapons to Hezbollah. Could not Syria, Iran and the wider Middle East not ask the US to stop its assistance, training and arming of Israel? The irony seems to escape all media commentators who simply parrot the foreign policy objectives of the United States government.
In his determination to find a voice for Britain on the world stage no matter what the cost, Tony Blair has again shamed Britain by his unequivocal and unrelenting support for a tyrannical US administration. Because of Britain’s mediocre status within the EU, Blair gambled for a larger share of the pie by offering his “poodle-like” servility to the Bush Administration. He, and Britain as a consequence, may yet come to regret playing such high stakes, for the only thing which will perhaps save the world from the madness of King Bush is the consolidation of a robust, lucid and united European foreign policy, something Blair has done all in his power to undermine.
We are told that this debacle began when Hezbollah launched an unprovoked attack against Israel. But did the world honestly expect Hezbollah to sit passively by and watch the destruction and massacres of their brothers and sisters struggling in Gaza? Hezbollah’s actions can, in some sense, be directly connected to the failure of the United Nations to pass a resolution condemning Israeli actions in Gaza. This resolution failed simply because the United States vetoed it. Does the so-called “international community,” which is merely a euphemism for “white Western power,” mention the imprisonment of 10,000 Palestinians, many of them children, or the kidnapping of nine Palestinian members of parliament as perhaps a justification for Hezbollah’s actions? If the powers-that-be had arbitrated the release of these prisoners and those Lebanese left rotting in Israeli prisons, perhaps we would not be witnessing the events unfolding today. If the Middle East had an honest and independent broker for peace, instead of a partisan meglomaniac, two states would now be a reality and perhaps thousands of lives would have been spared.
The talk of the day is now the implementation of resolution 1559 as a precursor to ending Israeli attacks and the formation of an international peace-keeping force with a more robust mandate than UNIFIL. If such a peace-keeping force is agreed upon and is Western in composition, this force will only serve to further Western demands, values and aims without any consideration as to the desires of the Lebanese people or their neighbours; in essence, they will be pro-Israeli.
I agree, let the international community implement resolution 1559, but whilst they have the appetite to implement unfulfilled resolutions, let them also implement resolution 242, which calls for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. Resolution 242, along with 65 other resolutions, have been totally ignored by Israel; are there any Western voices demanding these be enforced?
Over the past months, we have seen Israeli bombs rip families apart on Palestinian beaches; we have seen missiles fired into the most densely populated civilian communities in the world. We have seen the incessant building of an illegal wall which seizes Palestinian lands and now we have witnessed the destruction of an entire country. How can any morally propelled, honest and just politician, journalist, or human being fail to condemn such atrocities? Is not Gaza a modern day concentration camp? Is not the destruction of Lebanon a modern day holocaust?
Whether the Western world wishes to acknowledge them or not, Hezbollah and Hamas are resistance movements, no different to that of the French resistance. Israel exists today not as the result of the fulfillment of some holy prophecy, but because of Europe’s guilt in being responsible for the Holocaust. Lest we forget, before Israel was created in the Middle East, Britain had offered Uganda in Africa as a possible home for the Zionist movement.
The Western world and the so-called “international community” claim to be fighting a so-called “War on Terror.” Yet they fail to recognise that it is precisely their colonial adventures in the Middle East and the wanton disregard and destruction of human life that has ignited the very terrorism they claim to be fighting.
Ishmahil Blagrove, Jr.
1st August 2006