On June 25, the Palestinians responded to continued, unrelenting and unjustifiable
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) attacks against them by striking at an Israeli military
post near Kerem Shalom crossing, southeast of Rafah, killing two IDF soldiers,
injuring several others, and capturing (not "kidnapping) a third. It set
off a swift and deadly IDF response of daily killings and mass destruction in
the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)against defenseless Palestinians helpless
in the face of the relentless IDF onslaught.
Events since escalated into a mass conflagration when Hezbollah resistance
fighters captured (again, not "kidnapped") two IDF soldiers who apparently
illegally crossed the UN-monitored "blue line" into Lebanon as they've
routinely done almost daily after withdrawing from the country in May, 2000.
Again the IDF responded with overwhelming force by air and with a ground invasion
in the south causing vast destruction over a wide area throughout the country
including in Beirut, Tyre and Sidon (Lebanon's three largest cities) and now
extending to the north in Christian areas and up to the Syria-Lebanon border.
This scorched-earth blitzkrieg, primarily and willfully aimed at civilian targets
of all types devastated Lebanon's major ports, the Beirut International Airport,
much of the country's essential infrastructure including over 70 bridges, dozens
of key roads, all the nation's radars, electrical power plants, 20 or more gas
and fuel stations and the Jiyyeh power utility plant south of Beirut spilling
about 14,000 metric tons of heavy fuel oil (over one-third the size of the Exxon-Valdez
spill) along over 90 miles of Lebanon's and Syria's Mediterranean Sea coast
posing a serious threat to biodiversity as well as a heightened risk of cancer
because this type fuel oil contains benzene which is categorized as a Class
1 carcinogen. Israel also imposed a land, sea and air siege on the country resulting
in severe shortages of essential food, medical supplies, fuel and other necessities,
and the IDF has bombed factories (including for food), warehouses, dams, civil
defense centers, schools, radio and TV stations, mosques, churches, hospitals,
ambulances, humanitarian aid conveys, the al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp
at Sidon, an orphange and funeral on August 8, and thousands of civilian homes
- in total causing damage exceeding $2 billion and rising daily. The outrageous
stonewalling US-France proposed UN Security Council resolution on the conflict
is nothing more than a mandate to "give war a chance" and let Israel
finish the slaughter and mass destruction it's now inflicting in violation of
international laws as will be explained below.
It remains to be seen what final UN Security Council action will actually occur
as strong Lebanese government and Arab League opposition to the proposed resolution
now has made France decide to back down and support an alternate plan requiring
a full IDF withdrawal from south Lebanon. In reversing itself, France has now
split with the US which still supports the original and unacceptable joint proposal
supporting Israel's right to continue its assault.
That month-long assault also deliberately targeted and killed many hundreds
of innocent Lebanese civilians (likely at least double the officially reported
number that now exceeds 1,000), injured thousands more (many seriously), displaced
as many as one million others (about one-fourth of the country's total four
million population) including over 300,000 children fleeing north for their
lives and being targeted and attacked in their cars as they do, and created
a vast humanitarian crisis in the country as well as in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories (OPT) still under attack and occupation since June 25. Both assaults
are so ferocious, it's clear they're intended to destroy Lebanon as a nation
to prevent it from ever functioning again as it once did as well as forever
ending the Palestinians' dream of ever having a viable sovereign state of their
own. As will be discussed below, they also are intended to destroy the democratically
elected Hamas government in the OPT and legitimate Hezbollah resistance that
now has the overwhelming support of over 85% of the Lebanese people including
most Maronite and other Christians, the majority Sunni and Shia Muslims that
together comprise about two-thirds of the population, and Lebanon's once pro-Western
Prime Minister Fuad Sinora. They all are now united against their common enemies
- Israel and their complicit US ally.
The Assault on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) Now Under
While world attention focuses on Lebanon, the daily killings and destruction
go on unabated and now under the radar in the OPT. Since the unwarranted assault
began against the defenseless Palestinians on June 25, Israel, against two countries,
has deliberately and flagrantly violated international law stipulated in the
1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time
of War including article 33 under it that prohibits reprisals against protected
persons and property. Below is an account of what the IDF has done as of early
August in the OPT in an undisguised act of illegal collective punishment:
--The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports 200 Palestinians, mostly
civilians, including about 44 children and at least 10 women have been killed
through August 9. The Israeli human rights monitoring group B'Tselem reports
the number killed in July in Gaza alone to be 163, and the Palestinian Red
Crescent Society reports 210 Gaza and West Bank killings from July 1 through
August 7. At least 6 of those killed were executed extra-judicially.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on the ground in the OPT also reports:
--The IDF wounded nearly 800 Palestinian civilians (many seriously), including
218 children and 24 women through August 9.
--It fires hundreds of artillery shells and many dozens of air-to-surface
missiles into the OPT daily against civilian and so-called military targets
that are usually just ordinary buildings Israel without evidence claims are
occupied by "militants."
--It conducts mock air raids, and its aircraft (US made and supplied advanced
F-16 fighter jets) routinely break the sound barrier (often late at night)
at low altitudes deliberately inflicting eardrum shattering and terrifying
sonic booms against helpless people.
--It forced many families to leave or evacuate their homes in Rafah, Beit
Hanoun, Beit Lahia and elsewhere, some of them being warned in Gaza by phone
their homes would be attacked.
--It made dozens of incursions into OPT areas killing civilians, destroying
agricultural land, buildings, homes and infrastructure and expropriating land
Israel intends to keep.
-- It imposed a tightened seige throughout the OPT including curfews, greatly
restricting movement and the Palestinians' access to food, fuel, medical attention
and other essential goods and services and thus created a humanitarian disaster
that's becoming worse.
--It destroyed the electricity plant providing about 45% of the electricity
needs of the Gaza Strip and also repeatedly attacks electricity networks and
transmitters in Gaza.
--It destroyed the main pipe providing water for the Nusairat and al-Boreij
--It destroyed 6 important bridges linking Gaza City with central Gaza thus
preventing transportation from moving normally to provide essential goods
and other needs to the people.
--It destroyed a number of key roads in Gaza.
--It destroyed the buildings of the Palestinian Ministries of Justice, Foreign
Affairs, National economy and government compound in Nablus as well as the
office of the Palestinian Prime Minister.
--It uprooted many hundreds of donums of vital agricultural land and destroyed
many dozens of homes used only as residences.
--Israel continued building its annexation/separation wall throughout this
period and razed and expropriated Palestinian land in al-Sawhra as-Gharbiya
village, east of Jerusalem, to complete one section of it in that area. It
also razed other agricultural land in Jourat al-Shama village, south of Bethlehem,
to construct another section southeast of "Efrat" settlement.
--The IDF arrested hundreds of Palestinian civilians and is holding them
without charge. It also arrested eight government ministers, 26 members of
the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and now on August 6 besieged the
home of Dr. Aziz Dweik, PLC Speaker, forced him to surrender and placed him
under detention without charge. All this is part of an illegal attempt to
undermine and destroy the democratically elected Hamas government because
Israel can't control and co-opt it to serve its interests - meaning act as
its enforcer and not as a legitimate government. Also, on August 6, unknown
masked assassins shot and killed Major Mohammed Mousa al-Mousah, chief of
Palestinian Military Intelligence, in the northern Gaza Strip.
Israel's Assaults on Lebanon and the OPT Were Planned Long Before They
It's now known that both Israeli assaults were jointly planned many months
earlier with their US allies that aided the Israelis with their support, funding,
supply and replenishment of weapons as needed, and satellite tracking and intelligence
information from National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts. Retired US General
Wesley Clark also revealed in his book Winning Modern Wars that in late 2001
(after 9/11 and the attack on Afghanistan began) the Pentagon was planning to
attack Lebanon as part of a five year campaign targeting seven countries beginning
with Iraq, then going on to Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.
It's all part of the US imperial plan to redraw the map of the strategically
important Middle East and its vast oil and scarce water reserves, establish
client states throughout the region, remove independent leaders standing in
the way, and replace them with more receptive ones willing to sacrifice their
nations' sovereignty in service to the de facto ruler of the world. Israel is
part of the scheme as well and has its own imperial aims. It's the only country
in the world without declared borders because it's plan is to extend them beyond
where they are now to wherever it's able to lay claim and get away with it.
Most important to the Israelis is their plan to include as part of Israel the
ancient lands of "Judea" and "Summaria," the West Bank biblical
parts of Israel comprising the OPT the Palestinians justifiably claim as their
homeland. In addition, the most extreme Zionists in the country, who have great
influence on policy, want all the land of "Eretz Israel," the total
biblical Jewish homeland they believe God gave to the 12 tribes of Israel which
includes all of present-day Israel and the OPT, Lebanon, most of Syria, part
of Egypt and a large part of Jordon. Israel already controls the choicest parts
of the West Bank including 50% of its fresh water resources and all of Gaza
any time it chooses to enter and reoccupy it, the Syrian Golan Heights that
supply it with one-third of its total water, and the 25 kilometer Shebaa Farms
area of South Lebanon it never relinquished after seizing it as well in the
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Likudnik right-wing spin-off allies
in his Kadima party apparently want still more territory seized and under its
control well within the timetable they set to declare permanent Israeli borders
in 2007. South Lebanon has long been one such area Israel covets. It seized
and occupied this land for 22 years but failed to keep it and was finally driven
out by a determined Hezbollah resistance that was born out of the second Israeli
invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the oppressive occupation that followed.
Why Israel Attacked Lebanon
Israel claims this area is important to it for so-called security reasons,
but its greatest value is as a source of fresh water from the Litani River in
South Lebanon and also the Wazzani springs that feed directly into the Hasbani
River which is a tributary of the Jordan River. The Hisbani flows into Israel
two miles downstream from the Wazzani and runs into the Sea of Galilee that's
Israel's largest source of fresh water. Lebanon wants to pump about 350,000
cubic feet of water daily from the Wazzini to supply its villages in the south
which it has every right to do, of course, but Israel opposes that plan and
now effectively stopped it since invading the country.
The prime motive of Israel's assault on Lebanon and invasion in the south is
to seize, occupy and then annex the 20 mile stretch of territory into the country
up to the Litani to be able to use for its own needs what now supplies a major
portion of Lebanon's fresh water. The Litani's annual flow is estimated at about
920 million cubic meters. If Israel can incorporate and control South Lebanon
up to the Litani, it would augment its annual fresh water supply by up to 800
million cubic meters or nearly 40% of its annual consumption. That amount would
be in addition to the one-third of its supply now gotten from the Golan Heights
Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war, never returned for obvious reasons,
and never intends to. And, as mentioned above, Israel also controls half the
fresh water resources of the West Bank it uses for its own needs and denies
them to the Palestinians for theirs.
There's no mystery about what the US interest is in the Middle East. In the
words of its high-level officials in the 1940s, the energy resources there were
seen as "a stupendous source of strategic power (and) one of the greatest
material prizes in world history." But Israel also has an oil-related motive
driving its current policy of aggression it and the US may extend next to Syria
and Iran. Israel gets a large amount of its oil from the Caspian Basin which
will be made all the easier by the opening of a new pipeline from that region
to the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel needs the oil, and the US needs a strong
military ally it can depend on in the Middle East to assure it maintains control
of the oil there and from the Caspian and that US and European Big Oil giants
are guaranteed handsome profits from it. It's all part of a new "Great
Game" to dominate these two vital energy-rich regions that instead of pitting
the old British Empire against Tsarist Russia that lasted nearly 100 years until
the early 20th century (when the issue wasn't over oil) now finds the US with
Israel's help challenging Russia and China.
As part of its plan to make it work, Israel (and the US) wants to depopulate
South Lebanon to control it and likely eventually build permanent settlements
there just as it did in Gaza and now continues to do illegally in the West Bank
and the Golan. To do it, it's now warning the civilian population there to "ethnically
cleanse" itself voluntarily or the IDF will terror-bomb it out forcibly
which it's doing daily. It's all part of Israel's long-standing policy made
clear by its leaders since its first prime minister David Ben-Gurion first stated
it - that all means will be used including war to "redeem the land"
occupied by the Palestinians and other Arabs in the way for "the chosen
people." Current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made that position very clear
when he addressed the US Congress joint session on May 24, 2006 saying "I
believe and to this day still believe in our people's eternal and historic right
to this entire land." Unstated by the prime minister was exactly what he
claims that "entire land" to be. World leaders though understand Israel's
aims well enough and thus know what its assault against Lebanon and Palestine
is all about. It's why they haven't challenged it, aren't likely to beyond the
meaningless and customary pro forma disingenuous calls for "restraint on
both sides," and thus are aiding the Jewish state accomplish its land-grab
in the short run. Over time, however, it's quite another matter.
Israel tried before and failed in 1978 and again in 1982 to seize and permanently
occupy South Lebanon hoping eventually to annex the territory as it did the
Golan and the parts of the OPT it wanted. Now it's trying again in Lebanon and
wants to annex more land in the OPT. It's plan is to seize this land, destroy
the resistance in it, crush both nations politically and succeed this time unlike
before when Hezbollah forced it out of South Lebanon and the Palestinian resistance
in part prevented its annexation of all areas of the OPT it wants for settler
It's using a new strategy in Lebanon this time calling for a robust international
military force, likely a NATO one(under US control) to replace the ineffective
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) that's been there since 1978.
It wants this force to serve as so-called "peacekeepers" once it's
completed its land-grab, finished its assault on and destruction of the country,
and it allows it to come in. Israel's earlier failed 22 year occupation cost
it dearly in lives lost, shekels spent, and the reputation of its vaunted military
machine with all its US supplied modern weapons tarnished by a determined Hezbelloh
guerilla resistance that finally drove it it from the country.
Israel wants no repeat of that this time and thinks it can have the land it
wants and avoid being expelled trying to hold on to it through a proxy force
it can control - this time a NATO-led one it's allied with militarily and which
it knows will serve its interests and not those of the Lebanese people. It wants
NATO there to act as its enforcers, engage Hezbollah or other resistance that
may challenge it, have it do its killing and dying for it, and relieve Israel
of the burden of funding a long and costly operation or being humiliated again
if it fails, which almost certainly will happen in time.
Israel's Aim in the OPT
So far in the OPT, Israel is going it alone handling the dirty job of crushing
a defenseless people, so it hasn't asked for an international military force
to come in as its enforcers there. Once it ends its assault, Israel ideally
wants the Palestinians to be their own enforcers as was the arrangement agreed
to by Yasser Arafat under the 1993 Oslo Accords and later related agreements.
The Israelis know current Fatah party leader and Palestinian National Authority
(PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to take on the job for them as he proved
his Israel-friendly bona fides at Oslo and in the 1990s. Will the Palestinian
people and its Hamas leadership submit to their subjugation any more this time
than in the past when they eventually resisted it? And will Hezbollah and the
Lebanese people be any less resistant? There's little chance of it in both countries
and thus every chance the carnage now ongoing may ebb and flow but will continue
unending until the people of both lands win the freedom they're unlikely never
to stop fighting for.
Israel Must Finally Be Held to Account For Its Criminal Acts
Israel's crimes so far have gone unchallenged because most world leaders have
supported them overtly or tacitly. In so doing, these leaders and other officials
are guilty criminal accomplices under Article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter that
states: "Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating
in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any
of the....crimes (listed in Articles 6b or 6c of the Charter) are responsible
for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan." By this
standard, the entire US Senate and all but eight members of the US House are
also criminal accomplices by result of their votes during the week of July 17
to unconditionally support Israel's "supreme international crime"
of illegal aggression against Lebanon and Palestine unjustifiably claiming Israel
has the right of self-defense guaranteed it under Article 51 of the UN Charter.
It's long past time that Israel no longer be allowed to get away with its crimes
and for its officials responsible for them to be held to account for them. Since
world leaders on their own won't act (especially as they're guilty co-conspirators),
mass worldwide public protest and action must do it for them and demand either
the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague indict and prosecute Israeli
officials responsible for what they've inflicted on Lebanon and the OPT or the
UN General Assembly must act in its stead to establish an International Criminal
Tribunal for Israel. It has the authority to do it under Article 22 in the UN
Charter and twice before used it for Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
The ICC was established in 2002 in accordance with the Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court in 1998. It's authorized by its signatories to
act as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, war crimes
and crimes against humanity as defined by the 1945 Numerberg Charter drafted
by the US and its main WW II allies to try Nazi war criminals. The court was
established to adjudicate in the kinds of cases Israeli officials should be
brought to book for. However, while Israel signed the final act of the Rome
conference creating the ICC, it voted against the statute to remain free of
its authority. People demanding justice thus may have no other recourse than
to have the UN General Assembly act to establish a special International Tribunal
for Israel that will use its authority to prosecute culpable Israeli officials
in the Hague if they can be brought there or in absentia if they're not.
Israel has a long history of criminal and abusive acts. Long before the June
25 incident near Kerem Shalom crossing that began the current conflict, the
UN Human Rights Commission held that Israel had violated nearly all 149 articles
under the Fourth Geneva Convention that governs the treatment of civilians in
war and under occupation and in so doing is guilty of war crimes according to
international law. The Commission also determined Israel as an occupier in the
OPT has committed "crimes against humanity" as defined under the 1945
Nuremberg Charter. By its actions since June 25 against the Palestinians and
especially after July 12 in Lebanon, Israel has compounded its crimes by committing
many more of them.
It remains for an international court of law to name those individuals culpable
for these crimes and to state the specific charges. But the one accusation above
all others should be that Israel violated the most important of all binding
international laws under the UN Charter to which Israel is a signatory. The
Charter authorizes a nation to use force only under two conditions: when authorized
to do it by the Security Council or under Article 51 that allows the "right
of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a
Member....until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international
peace and security." In other words, necessary self-defense is permitted.
Israel's extreme responses following the capture of three of its soldiers,
known in both cases to have been planned well in advance awaiting only convenient
pretext to initiate them, are no acts of self-defense. They're acts of premeditated
illegal aggression and, as such, are what the Nuremberg Tribunal that tried
the Nazis called "the supreme international crime." The Nazis found
guilty of it were hanged and justice was served. Under Article 6b of the Nuremberg
Charter, Israel also committed the flagrant war crimes of "plunder of public
(and) private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, (and)
devastation not justified by military necessity." Under Article 6c, it's
guilty of the "crimes against humanity (of) murder..., deportation and
other inhumane acts committed against (the Lebanese and Palestinian) civilian
population(s), before (and) during the war."
The Nuremberg Tribunal set a high standard which it followed based on the principles
of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact signed by 63 nations after WW I to renounce
war as an instrument of foreign policy. The Pact didn't prevent WW II, but what
it stipulated formed the basis for "crimes against peace." The Nuremberg
Charter described those crimes as "the planning, preparation, initiation
or waging of a premeditated war of aggression or a war in violation of international
treaties." It prosecuted the Nazis for what they did including the ones
charged with this supreme crime. The UN is surely authorized to act to establish
an international criminal court just as the victorious US, UK and USSR allies
acted on their joint authority during and after WWII to establish the Nuremberg
Tribunal to try Nazi war criminals.
Israel also has a long and disturbing record of flagrantly violating or ignoring
international laws and norms. In its past conflicts as well as the current ones,
besides committing "the supreme international crime" of illegal aggression,
it's using weapons banned under the Hague Convention of 1907, the 1925 Geneva
Protocol and succeeding Geneva Weapons Conventions that outlaw the use in war
of chemical, biological or any other "poison or poisoned weapons. In the
1973 war and currently, Israel is using depleted uranium (DU) weapons that are
radioactive and chemically toxic and thus clearly fit the definition of poisonous
weapons banned under the 1907 Hague Convention.
It's also suspected of using other illegal weapons including chemical agents,
white phosphorous bombs and shells against civilian targets that burn flesh
to the bone and can't be extinguished by water that only makes the burning worse
when used, cluster bombs, and a terror weapon called "flashettes"
which explode and shoot out 1000s of nails in all directions. In addition, the
IDF is reportedly testing in real time some new terror weapons (using the helpless
Lebanese and Palestinians as their lab rats) including a thermobaric solid fuel-air
explosive bomb able to penetrate buildings, underground shelters and tunnels
creating a blast pressure great enough to suck all the oxygen out of spaces
struck and the lungs of all those in the vicinity. All these weapons are either
questionable or illegal under Hague and/or Geneva international law.
All the above actions clearly warrant Israel's criminal prosecution by an international
court. Yet there are still others to be added to them. Israel ignored the World
Court in the Hague that ruled 14 - 1 in 2004 that the annexation/separation
wall it's building is "contrary to international law" because it "destroyed
and confiscated" property, greatly restricts Palestinian movement, and
"severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of (the) right
to self-determination." As a result, the Court ordered construction to
end at once, the existing portion of it built to be taken down, and Palestinians
adversely affected by its construction to be compensated for their losses. Israel
ignored the ruling, continues building the wall, and thus is violating international
law. In addition, over the last half century, Israel has been a serial abuser
of UN resolutions flagrantly and willfully ignoring over five dozen of them
that condemned or censured it for its actions against the Palestinians or other
Arab people, deplored it for committing them or demanded the Jewish state end
Like its US ally, Israel is also know to be a serial abuser of torture as a
means of inflicting punishment or trying to elicit information from the 10,000
or more Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners it forcibly abducted and now holds
in its prisons. According to Amnesty International, Israel is the only country
in the world to effectively legalize torture (now, of course, the US has as
well). Many of those Israel holds in custody are political prisoners held administratively
without charge, and Israeli human rights monitoring group B'Tselem reports Israel's
use of torture is flagrant, widespread and routinely used against them. Such
practice is clearly a violation of international law that bans the use of torture
or degrading treatment under any circumstances. The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights outlawed it in 1948. The Fourth Geneva Convention then did it in
1949 banning any form of "physical or mental coercion" and affirming
detainees must at all times be treated humanely. The European Convention followed
in 1950. Then in 1984, the UN Convention Against Torture became the first binding
international instrument dealing exclusively with the issue of banning torture
in any form for any reason. Israel ignores these and all other international
laws and norms but has never yet been held to account for its actions. It's
way past time that injustice be addressed and corrected. World public opinion
overwhelmingly demands it.
It now remains for an international court to place Israeli officials on trial,
have them answer for their past and present crimes, and see to it they pay the
price for them if found guilty. That must happen if those harmed by them are
ever able to achieve the justice they seek and deserve. It's also crucial this
action be taken soon to send a clear message to Israeli officials that world
public opinion no longer will tolerate this behavior and that it forced the
UN to act in its behalf to demand justice in a world court of law. Even if Israel
doesn't accept the court's authority, as will likely happen, its establishment
alone may send a message to the Jewish state strong enough to make it cease
further aggression against its current victims. It may also deter it and the
US from committing further acts of aggression against Syria and Iran now in
their plans based on credible reports quoting high-level officials in both countries.
If it happens, it's part of the US and Israeli grand plan to destroy Iran's
legal commercial nuclear capability, redraw the map of the Middle East, remove
the Iranian, Syrian and Hamas independent leaderships in it (as well as destroy
the legitimate Hezbollah resistance), and replace them with new regimes henceforth
acting as subservient and reliable client states. Neither the US nor Israel
must any longer be allowed to get away with their current wars of aggression
or have world leader's support their right to extend them further in the region
as they likely have in mind to do.
Further Action Against Israel Is Also Needed
In addition to halting Israel's current aggression and prosecuting its officials
responsible for it, it's time to go still further and begin a concerted campaign
calling for divestment, economic and political sanctions and a boycott of Israeli-made
products. Throughout its history, Israel has been unresponsive to all efforts
aimed at getting it to abide by international laws and norms, live peacefully
with its neighbors and respect the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian
and Lebanese people whose lands it occupies and is now in conflict with. Having
no interest in voluntarily engaging in serious negotiation to reach an equitable
settlement, the only recourse is for mass people-action to demand it through
punitive measures. In the 1980s, these actions proved successful in the struggle
to abolish the repugnant apartheid system in South Africa that began in 1948
(ironically the year Israel became a state) and ended officially in 1994. During
its later years, it became clear this was a failed system that had to end, and
the world community could no longer tolerate its existence. Civil unrest and
township violence began growing, and the P.W. Botha government declared a state
of emergency in 1985 that remained in place until the F.W. de Klerk government
lifted the 30 year ban on the anti-apartheid and now ruling African National
Congress and two other opposition parties previously banned. In 1990 Nelson
Mandela was freed from prison after 27 years of incarceration, and by 1991 the
legal apparatus of apartheid ended.
People of conscience and mass civil society worldwide are a potent force in
big numbers. It must now coalesce and denounce Israel as a pariah state and
begin a non-violent campaign to demand governments, businesses, institutions
and other organizations impose economic and political initiatives with teeth
including divestment, sanctions, boycotts and embargoes. They should remain
in place long enough to isolate Israel, and, if necessary, bring it to its knees
economically and politically if that's what it takes to prove world public opinion
no longer will tolerate its actions.
As part of the campaign, a clear set of demands must be made. They must include
an immediate cessation of Israel's current hostilities against the Palestinians
and people of Lebanon; Israel's full withdrawal from the OPT to the pre-1967
war borders and the dismantlement of all settlements therein; return of the
Golan and all occupied land in South Lebanon; abiding by all UN resolutions
so far ignored; dismantlement of its annexation/separation wall along with full
restitution to the Palestinian people affected by it; agreeing to the Palestinians'
right to a free, sovereign and independent state and allowing the right of return
of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland as UN Resolution 194 affirmed
and Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees to all
displaced people; and agreeing to send its culpable officials to stand trial
in an international tribunal in the Hague to be held to account to answer the
charges levied against them. If Israel complies fully with these minimum demands
and justice is served, the campaign of punitive action against it can end and
the Jewish state can take its rightful place as a member of the world community
of nations in good standing.
Might any of this happen? With today's headlines in mind, it looks doubtful,
but at one time the South African apartheid government had the full support
of the US and the West. Nonetheless, in the end it fell because enough pressure
was brought to bear against it to make it happen. If it could happen to that
ugly regime, it can happen to Israel as well but only if enough responsible
people demand it and turn up the heat until it does.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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