Amid mounting evidence that Israel is using banned chemical and other weapons against the civilian population of Lebanon, including cluster bombs - a definitive indiscriminate weapon specifically designed to maximize civilian deaths - as well as white phosphorus, the UN reports that indiscriminate Israeli bombing has now forced three quarters of a million people from their homes. The phrase "ethnic cleansing" is beginning to be heard around the world, even as the US rushes missiles to Israel and Secretary of State Cuntoleeza Rice insists that it is "too early" to call for a ceasefire. The American press confirms that Israel's invasion and obliteration of all of Lebanon was a long-planned operation formulated in mid-2005, and which was simply awaiting a pretext for deployment. Meanwhile, Israel declares -in flat violation of international law prohibiting collective punishment - that for every rocket which enters Israel, it will randomly destroy 10 multi-story apartment complex buildings in South Beirut. The Red Cross reports numerous incidents of appaerntly deliberate Israeli targeting of relief personnel and Red Cross ambulances. In a move chillingly similar to the deliberate bombing of a UN peacekeeping compound in Qana Lebanon, a decade ago, yesterday, Israel deliberately targeted a United Nations outpost, murdering four UN peacekeepers.
This week a group of prominent world intellectuals, including Noam Chomsky, Eduardo Galeano, Harold Pinter, Howard Zinn, Arundhati Roy, Tariq Ali, et al, issued the following statement, reminding the world that the Israeli aggression against Lebanon is, as it always has been, not about security, but about the century-old Zionist determination to permanently erase Palestine as a political concept and Palestinians as a people.
July 19, 2006
The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner - and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis - there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.
That this "kidnapping" was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources - most particularly that of water - by the Israeli Defence (!) Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land alloted to them by international agreements, during the last seventy years.
Today outrage follows outrage; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called Justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly - who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?
Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows, all serve as a distraction in order to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.
This has to be said loud and clear, for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognised for what it is and resisted.
ORIGINAL PHOTO: Tyler Hicks
IMAGE ALTERATION: /anomalous