NIAPN response to Lebanese crisis

The Northern Ireland Anti Poverty network has issued the following statement in relation to the crisis in the Middle East, and attaches a release from the Arab NGO network. (below fold). I feel a mass protest rally coming on very soon, and perhaps not soon enough. If you read to the end, there are options for signing a petition, e-mailing or writing to the Foreign Secretary. Links to other sites as well, if you want to read more.

The Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network wishes to express its strongest protest at the failure of the international community to intervene in the mass murder of innocent citizens on the Middle East. The past few days has seen a horrendous escalation in attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Lebanon. Yet the G8 leaders have failed conspicuously to uphold their moral and legal obligation to address such blatant breaches of international humanitarian law, which in some cases have amounted to war crimes. We are calling on you to do something concrete to stop this blatant abuse of human rights. You could write a letter or send an email to the Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett. A copy of the letter we are sending is attached for your information. Please forward this email on to others to ensure the government gets our message loud and clear.

Subject: The Arab NGO Network for development issued the attached call addressed to the international and Arab communities

A Call upon the International and Regional Communities

Say STOP to Israeli War on Lebanon

Lebanon has been under a war attack by Israel since Wednesday the 12th of July 2006. The situation has been deteriorating and the military attacks have been escalating.

Israeli aggression against Lebanon went far beyond a reaction to a military operation targeting its soldiers. The capture of Israeli soldiers is
serving as a mere pretext for a major offensive attack by Israel on the aspirations and the morale of the Lebanese people, as is the case with
the Palestinian people through the continuous attacks on Gaza. Israeli army is targeting Lebanese civilians and civil infrastructure. The Israeli
aggression against Lebanon can be described as a collective punishment against all the Lebanese people. More than 100 victims and thousands
of injured inhabitants is the result of the first four days of the attack. In addition to human losses, three airports were targeted and all the coastal
ports and transport and communications infrastructure including wheat elevators, bridges, and power stations have been bombed and rendered unusable.

Moreover, Israeli army was given the political encouragement and green light from the newly elected Israeli prime Minster and his government to systematically siege the Lebanese people and fragment Lebanese villages, towns, and cities into isolated areas. ANND condemns Israeli military aggression against civilians which is a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits the attacks on the civilian infrastructure.

From an alive, peaceful, and secure country, Lebanon became a shattered country not able to protect its citizens and cities. Lebanon is in an
urgent need for relief support and solidarity in order to face the challenges related to displacement and injuries, in addition to the reconstruction
plan of the destructions resulting form the Israeli aggression. The Arab NGO Network for Development calls upon the international community to immediately intervene in order to protect civilians and to end Israeli aggression against Lebanon. ANND joins the call of the Lebanese prime minister to an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire under the support of a strong UN Peacekeeping Mission supervision.

We call upon the international community to condemn the Israeli attack as “state terrorism”. The targeting of civilians and deliberate creation
of terror is terrorism. We need a clear and wide affirmation from the international community that human life is precious irrespective of nationality
or religion. The right to life and security is above any other consideration. We call upon all concerned civil society organizations around the world to voice out their refusal for the current attack on Lebanon and the ineffective role of the United Nations whether at the level of Security Council or at the level of their peacekeeping troops on the grounds which are failing to protect the threatened civilians from the massacres resulting from Israeli attacks on Lebanon.

We call upon Arab civil society groups to mobilize on a regional and international level; to push their governments and their country missions at the United Nations in New York to take action whether through diplomatic channels or the United Nations channels to stop the brutal Israeli military attacks on Lebanon. We ask them to push their governments to call for a General Assembly of the United Nations, which have the right in the case of failure of the Security Council, to take action against military attacks on any country.

We believe that the people around the world, who believe in human rights and the right to life and security, have a big role to say NO against such an unexplainable attack on Lebanon. We call upon them to take their refusal to the streets, to voice their refusal to such fierce and brutal aggression over Lebanon.

We depend on you.

What you can do: Sign the petition below.

Write a letter to the Foreign Office Minister Margaret Beckett calling for immediate action to stop this illegal war.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London SWIA 2AH

OR send an email to margaret.beckett@fco.gov.uk

SIGN THE PETITION ‘Save the Lebanese Civilians’: www.epetitions.net/julywar

For more information on the current situation in Lebanon, you can visit:

http://sanayehreliefcenter.blogspot.com, http://siegeoflebanon.blogspot.com, http://lebanonupdates.blogspot.com, http://waronlebanon.blogspot.com

  • Keith M

    This is a disgraceful intrusion into an external and unrelationed issue by a quango which is subsidised by the taxpayer. The head of the network should be dismissed immediatly.

  • John Maynard

    There’s nothing like a statement from these pompous eejits to make you suddenly stop agreeing with them.

  • Pete Baker

    So, “The Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network wishes to express its strongest protest at the failure of the international community to intervene in the mass murder of innocent citizens on the Middle East”?

    Or is it just the individual members of the committee who wish to do that? Why does the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network sound just like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, or for that matter, another offshoot of the Stop The War Coalition?

    And as for the [not an associate of NIAPN btw] Arab NGO Network on Development’s description of the current situation in Lebanon..

    “Moreover, Israeli army was given the political encouragement and green light from the newly elected Israeli prime Minster and his government to systematically siege the Lebanese people and fragment Lebanese villages, towns, and cities into isolated areas. ANND condemns Israeli military aggression against civilians which is a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits the attacks on the civilian infrastructure.

    From an alive, peaceful, and secure country, Lebanon became a shattered country not able to protect its citizens and cities….”

    … where Hizbullah has repeatedly launched indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli towns and cities.

    What’s that? The Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network haven’t noticed that? Well I guess they’ve been busy campaigning for anti-poverty measures… and, after all, I suppose the Arab NGO didn’t notice that either..

    [off sarcasm]

    btw, here’s NIAPN’s mission statement

  • At least they didn’t waste much taxpayers’ money proofreading their statement.

    Seriously though, if they are to get involved in an issue so far removed from their remit, and launch a campaign against Israeli “state-sponsored terrorism”, they might at least have criticised the opposing terrorism from Hezbollah (arguably sponsored by Syria and Iran). The UN resolution recognised that the situation was not one-sided. Shame the anti-poverty network didn’t.

    The Israeli attack, disastrous though it is for Lebanon, is certainly not (as the NIAPN say) “an unexplainable attack on Lebanon”. The reasons are all too easy to see!

  • Fanny

    For fuck’s sake, not another bunch casually ignoring the fact that Iran and Syria want Israel (and its inhabitants) wiped off the face of the earth.

    It’s bad enough that we have to have skewed reporting every day from the BBC and others.

    Read my virtual lips: Hizbullah are terrorists, who have dug in with weaponry in civilian areas. Terrorism is evil and must be combated. Hizbullah started it. The Lebanese ought to kick their asses out of govt and the country. And Iran definitely is part of the axis of evil.

    Wise up.

  • curious

    Skewed reporting from the BBC and others? When all else fails, blame the press.

  • Fanny

    “When all else fails?” Didn’t you read the rest of my post?

  • wild turkey

    Miss Fitz

    Ever heard of the BOHO Dance?

    Although I might agree with the sentiments (while ignoring the lack of analysis) of the NIAPN statement, my initial reaction is this; yo wait a minute. Do these people seriously think that that main players (sorry lets use the lingo, key stakeholders) who ultimately cut a deal will be moved by the position (pontifications) of NIAPN?.

    NIAPN has its view and should publicise it. Fair Enough. But somehow, in its self-importance and self (fill in the blank) in its statement, I am reminded of Tom Wholfes essay, The Painted Word. And the lyrics of Joni Mitchell (below). Jesus. Am I getting to old for this?

    You read those books where luxury
    Comes as a guest to take a slave
    Books where artists in noble poverty
    Go like virgins to the grave
    Don’t you get sensitive on me
    ‘Cause I know you’re just too proud
    You couldn’t step outside the Boho dance now
    Even if good fortune allowed

  • Brian Boru

    “… where Hizbullah has repeatedly launched indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli towns and cities.”

    But the scale of the Lebanese destruction and death is clearly massively out of proportion to that on the Israeli side Pete Baker, unless you’ve been missing something.

  • Fanny

    Has anybody noticed the distinct absence of marches, protests and petitions calling on Hizbullah to stop their murder?

    Are we afraid of a fatwah or something?

  • Garibaldy

    Can I ask those who support what the Israelis are doing what their reaction would be to a similar bombardment of, say, the Shankill Road by the British Army should loyalists open fire on police and soldiers as they did last September? Or if Thatcher had shelled Catholic areas of west Belfast after Brighton as she considered? And can they then explain how the Israeli action is appropriate?

  • Pete Baker

    Well done Brian, ignore the rest of my comment, in response to the blatant ignoring of the actual situation by the Arab NGO, to engage in whataboutery.

    *sheesh*

  • Brian Boru

    Well perhaps I think that civilians dying matters Pete, and oppose it. Don’t know about others.

  • Brian Crowe

    An absolute disgrace. If NIAPN is in any way serious about working in partnership with other stakeholders in NI, it has to recognise that some of us will be both profoundly disturbed and deeply offended by its partisan comments on the situation regarding Hezbollah, Lebanon and Israel.

    Perhaps we should be unsurprised that individuals associated with NIAPN have anti-Israeli views – but for NIAPN as an organisation to so blatantly align itself with anti-Israeli sentiment will seriously undermine its ability to work for social justice in Northern Ireland.

  • Cato

    I think the most interesting thing about this conflict is that for the first time some of my more liberal friends are actually siding with Israel. I have always been strongly in favour of Israel and believe it is not acting out of proportion in this instance. Israel believes, rightly in my opinion, that the rocketing by Hizbollah is the latest stage of a proxy war waged by all Arab countries with the aim, in the words of Mr Ahmadinejad, of wiping it off the map. I am sure that there are many people in Ireland who in the event of a country attempting to wipe Ireland off the map would see the deaths of innocents as a sorry but inevitable consequence of defending national territory.
    The anti-war lobby has become so strong because they don’t actually have to suffer the attacks of the enemy. As the V2 rockets rained down on Britain, where were the placards condemning the bombing of Dresden?

  • curious

    fanny
    I did read your whole post – it’s just as one sided as everyone talking about Israeli attrocities and completely ignoring the atrocities that Hisbola are committing. I just get fed up hearing someone who knows that they are wrong automatically blast the press. There’s no justification for blowing up neighbourhoods when it is known that there are large numbers of civilians in them, or murdering neutral UN observers, or firing on Red Cross Ambulances, just as there is no justification for deliberatly firing rockets into Israeli to kill civilians.

    As far as the press go, I would say the majority of the news reports that I have watched seem to be fairly well balanced. I haven’t heard any reporter, BBC or other, suggest that hisbola’s actions are justified. If Israel tend to get slated more than Hisbola, it’s probably something to do with the fact that approximately 10 times more Lebanese have been killed than Israelis.
    Any way you look at it, it’s murder on both sides and you can’t justify either side’s position. And you certainly can’t criticise the press for not showing support for the side that you’re supporting.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Brian Boru: “Well perhaps I think that civilians dying matters Pete, and oppose it. Don’t know about others. ”

    Arab civilians, perhaps…

  • Garibaldy

    Cato,

    Since when are Iranians Arabs? On more substantive points, how can the tactical conventional rockets fired from Lebanon (which should never have been fired in the first place) pose a threat to the existence of the only nuclear power in the region, which is backed to the hilt and then some by the hyperpower? And given that numerous countries in the region recognise Israel’s right to exist, what “all Arab countries” are you talking about? As for proportionality, did an all out war start I didn’t notice? Are Hizbollah an unrepresentative terrorist group, or are the representatives of a state at war with Israel in the pro-Israeli viewpoint? Can’t have it both ways. The truth is that the Israelis are behaving disgracefully, exemplified by their murder of the UN people. Something they did to Irish troops repeatedly. Are the Chinese justified in declaring war on Israel for the loss of their citizen? Your logic suggets so.

    Perphaps your moniker, named after someone who threatened Roman liberty, is well chosen.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    curious: “I just get fed up hearing someone who knows that they are wrong automatically blast the press. There’s no justification for blowing up neighbourhoods when it is known that there are large numbers of civilians in them, or murdering neutral UN observers, or firing on Red Cross Ambulances, just as there is no justification for deliberatly firing rockets into Israeli to kill civilians. ”

    Sure there is, curious — that is where Hizbollah has entrenched itself. As for the UN being neutral, what have you been taking? UN “neutrality” has included covering for Hizbollah terrorists, destroying tapes of their incursions and returning evidence to Hizbollah that could have been used to track and rescue kidnapped Israeli soldiers. If one widens the focus to encompass Palistinian issues, you have Hamas weapons factories and storage sites in refugee camps and the use of UN ambulances to transport suicide bombers.

    Hizbollah chose to entrench themselves in civilian areas, so as to use their fellow countrymen as human shields. They had a choice where to set up shop… Israel doesn’t have nearly the same luxury re: what to do about the rockets.

    curious: “I would say the majority of the news reports that I have watched seem to be fairly well balanced. I haven’t heard any reporter, BBC or other, suggest that hisbola’s actions are justified.”

    The BBC world service has not been that well-balanced, although they have been getting better. The bint who was on near the beginning was painfully anti-Israel, but has since been reeled back in.

    curious: “If Israel tend to get slated more than Hisbola, it’s probably something to do with the fact that approximately 10 times more Lebanese have been killed than Israelis.”

    And if Hizbollah wasn’t entrenched in civilian areas, this wouldn’t be an issue, now would it?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Garibaldy: “On more substantive points, how can the tactical conventional rockets fired from Lebanon (which should never have been fired in the first place) pose a threat to the existence of the only nuclear power in the region, which is backed to the hilt and then some by the hyperpower?”

    It is a threat to their populace and an act of war, given Hizbollah’s position in the Lebanese govenment.

    Garibaldy: “And given that numerous countries in the region recognise Israel’s right to exist, what “all Arab countries” are you talking about?”

    Point of fact, to the best of my knowledge, only two have formally “recognized Israel’s right to exist” — Egypt and Jordan.

    Garibaldy: “As for proportionality, did an all out war start I didn’t notice? Are Hizbollah an unrepresentative terrorist group, or are the representatives of a state at war with Israel in the pro-Israeli viewpoint?”

    The are a significant portion of the Lebanese government, caucasing with the current ruling majority, iirc.

  • curious

    Dread Cthulhu

    Maybe you’re right. Anywhere we find terrorists living with civilians, we should blow up from now on. Adios the Shankill, the Falls road, and Stormont.
    Violence is ALWAYS the answer!! Kill anything that moves!!

  • curious

    And are you suggesting that blowing up a UN observation post was a good move?

  • circles

    I fear that the answer to that one may just be yes curious!
    Sometimes these posts are very scarey indeed.

  • Garibaldy

    Dread,

    As several of us have been saying, apply this logic to NI and you’d been jumping up and down with outrage. And so would Tony Blair, the Conservatives and everybody in their right mind. This is what makes people’s support for Israel so absurd, and so sickening.

    As for Lebanon and Hizbollah. The country has what is effectively a national unity government due to a civil war which many outside powers, including Israel, did a great deal to foster, encourage and prolong. So the government as a whole can’t be held responsible for Hizbollah’s actions, which have been condemned by respresentatives of the government. Any more than the whole government of Iraq has collective responsibility for outrages committed by supporters of the various factions. Or, for that matter, the idea that your logic can apply to the previous NI Executive.

    On the recognition of Israel, you can of course add Palestine to that list. And those Arab countries which gave money and support to the Accord while it was still working who give Israel de facto recognition.

    On reporting. Note how often the Israeli soldiers are referred to as kidnapped, rather than taken prisoner, or captured. On top of that, Hizbollah people are referred to as militants. Surely they are militia soldiers, in their own point of view.

    I oppose Hizbollah, and terrorist bombings of civilans. Be it by Israelis, Lebaonese, or Irishmen. Would that all commenting on this issue on the various threads could say the same.

  • Cato

    Garibaldi

    Jordan and Egypt cannot be described as numerous and have only recognised the right of Israel to exist for politically expedient reasons. If you want to do a vox pop on the streets of Cairo or Amman, you’ll quickly discover the real anti-Israeli sentiment.
    You also state that the existence of Israel is not under threat because it has access to nuclear weapons. And yet you would be the first to deny Israel the use of such weapons and believe it should be disarmed. Therefore, by your own logic, Israel will not be able to use a nuclear weapon. So why mention that?
    Finally anyone who has been to Israel realises that it is in a permanent state of war. I think more and more people in the West, particularly after 7/7 (caused by the war in Iraq of course) and 9/11 (hmmm, not sure what act of Western aggression caused that – the Crusades maybe?) realise what the Israelis have been going through and are starting to see who the real aggressor is. Does anyone really believe that if Israel goes back to the pre-1967 borders, it will be left alone?

  • Cato

    Palestine recognises Israel? Really Garibaldi, that betrays a profound misunderstanding of the Middle East. You talk of these countries as abstract entities. Palestine only has political opinions as manifested in the attitudes of their people, the same people who elected Hamas, the suicide bombers who have absolutely no intention of recognising Israel, ever. Abu Mazen is a Palestinian who says he supports the right of Israel to exist. Go and ask individual Palestinians what they think of Abu Mazen.

  • Fanny

    Thank you, Dread Cthulhu, for taking on Curious in my absence and addressing those issues he or she raised.

    I couldn’t have answered more eloquently.

    Garibaldi: The kidnapped soldiers were not at war and were captured by terrorists, not “militia soldiers.”

  • Garibaldy

    The Palestenians did indeed elect Hamas. But the Palestenian state recognises a two state solution, as do the majority of Palestenians. Hence Hamas avoiding the referedum Abu Mazen proposed which would have proven excactly that.

    On the point of recognising a two state solution, the Accord received support from many neighbouring countries, not just Jordan and Egpyt. Which on their own, were enough to invalidate your claims that all Arab states wanted to destroy Israel, and so the bombing was justified.

    On nuclear weapons, I’d rather nobody had them. Were Israel to be attacked by another state with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons then of course it has the right to use them. However, I think it much more likely that Israel would use them in a less extreme situation. That’s the main worry.

    I don’t blame 9/11 on an act of western aggression. Rather I blame it on those hypocrites who armed and trained these people in Afghanistan against an imperfect but much more egalitarian secular government.

    Do the people of Palestine not live in a state of permanent war? I don’t see so many of the quiet oases there that one finds in many parts of Israel.

    Would Israel be left alone if it withdrew to pre-1967 borders? I believe so, although there would be residual terrorism unfortunately. If the Palestentians get a viable state with agreed borders and the issue of refugees is suitably dealt with, why wouldn’t there be peace? Peace is possible, and there was a very good impression of it while the Oslo accord was being implemented properly.

    Popular opinion in many places would remain hostile to Israel, but the truth is Israel’s existence is secure, both from its own miltary strength and the support of the US. Anyone who thinks differently is kidding themselves.

  • Brian Boru

    Judging by polls in recent days, it seems most British ppl have a far more laudable analysis of the situation in the Middle East than their Unionist fellow UK-citizens, and that is to the former’s credit:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1828224,00.html

    “And voters are strongly critical of the scale of Israel’s military operations in Lebanon, with 61 percent believing the country has overreacted to the threats it faces.

    As pressure grows for a change of strategy, the poll finds that only 22 percent of voters believe Israel has reacted proportionately to the kidnapping of soldiers and other attacks from militant groups in southern Lebanon. Israel has repeatedly sought to assure the world that its actions are a legitimate response to threats to its own territory, including missile attacks on the north of the country.”

  • Brian Boru

    “Does anyone really believe that if Israel goes back to the pre-1967 borders, it will be left alone?”

    A possible solution could involve applying the idea in the embryonic Lebanon peace-plan of a toughened peace-keeping force (perhaps NATO or EU) to the disputed territories after Israel returns them e.g. give Golan back to Syria but with a force preventing attacks on Israel, same with rest of 1967 territories. I agree with the Arabs that the root-cause of the Middle East conflict is “the occupation”. Lebanon claims the Sheeba Farms which the UN does not recognise as Israeli. It was seized by Israel in 1967, along with the Palestinian territories and Golan. Since then Israel has illegally colonised those areas. Colonisation led to the birth of sectarianism in the 6 counties in the 1600’s and Israel is long past creating a far-worse form of NI-style sectarianism in the Middle East. When they’re in a hole they should stop digging.

  • Cato

    BB

    And where are your statistics on the opinions of Unionists in Northern Ireland?

  • Garibaldy

    Fanny,

    That’s how you see it. And that was the language the BBC et al were using. So why the yapping about the tone of the coverage? The tone may have changed, but only once Israel flagrantly overreacted.

    Hizbollah are terrorists when they fire rockets at civilians. But the Israelis are not apparently. I’ve still to see this logic explained. Dread says this is what happens when people place military resources in built up areas. Every country does it. And let’s not forget that to apply that logic to Israel, virtually the entire adult population is a target because of conscription and the presence of large numbers of weapons throughout the country.

    Such logic is wrong-headed and dangerous no matter who applies it, Lebanonese, Palestenian, or Israeli.

  • curious

    Brian Boru – Judging by polls in recent days, it seems most British ppl have a far more laudable analysis of the situation in the Middle East than their Unionist fellow UK-citizens

    Don’t tar us all with the same brush – I don’t agree with Israel’s action in this situation.

  • Brian Boru

    “BB

    And where are your statistics on the opinions of Unionists in Northern Ireland?”

    Have none but I am going by this forum and the general propensity of Unionists herein to support Israel and its works, and also the tendency of Unionists to fly Israeli flags on certain occasions.

  • Brian Boru

    Curious I’m not but I am speaking generally.

  • Keith M

    BB “Judging by polls in recent days, it seems most British ppl have a far more laudable analysis of the situation in the Middle East than their Unionist fellow UK-citizen.

    Your judement of unionist opinion has already been shown as deeply flawed, and since when has the leftie reading rabble who buy the Guardian or visit its website been representative or anyone?

    The only people to speak for the UK is its government, and I don’t see any significant objection to its current position.

  • Brian Boru

    Keith M the poll was conducted by ICM using a representative sample of the UK population of the whole, not just Guardian readers.

    “The only people to speak for the UK is its government, and I don’t see any significant objection to its current position.”

    It’s called the silent majority.

  • micktvd

    Good on the NIAPN- a very eloquent summary of what a lot of people believe – most, I hope.

    I think the question of justification of Israel’s actions comes down to this:

    Is Israel (a) collectively punishing the Lebanese people and society to teach them to be less tolerant of Hizbollah now and in the future?

    or

    Is it (b) legitimately trying to target Hizbollah, but unavoidably inflicting ‘collateral damage’ on the general population?

    Most defenders of Israel emphasise the second proposition, but some have argued for both. Most critics of Israel would argue that even if the second proposition is true (at least sometimes) that the first proposition is certainly true. Hence, Israel stands condemned in world opinion and international law. This is my belief too.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    curious: “Maybe you’re right. Anywhere we find terrorists living with civilians, we should blow up from now on. Adios the Shankill, the Falls road, and Stormont.
    Violence is ALWAYS the answer!! Kill anything that moves!! ”

    Don’t be an ass.

    That said, what is *your* proposal to deal with the rockets?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Garibaldy: “As several of us have been saying, apply this logic to NI and you’d been jumping up and down with outrage. And so would Tony Blair, the Conservatives and everybody in their right mind. This is what makes people’s support for Israel so absurd, and so sickening. ”

    Turn it around. Were “themmuns” launching rockets into your neighborhood, you’d be screaming bloody murder.

    Garibaldy: “So the government as a whole can’t be held responsible for Hizbollah’s actions,”

    Can’t they? Are they not part of said government? Hizbollah’s head guy has made it clear that he informed at least some of the government leaders in Lebanon what he was planning, although he has declined thus far to name names. If you are in government, its no longer free-lance terrorism, its casus belli.

    Garibaldy: “On the recognition of Israel, you can of course add Palestine to that list. ”

    Not with Hamas in charge, or hadn’t you been paying attention?

    Garibaldy: “Note how often the Israeli soldiers are referred to as kidnapped, rather than taken prisoner, or captured. On top of that, Hizbollah people are referred to as militants. Surely they are militia soldiers, in their own point of view. ”

    Or terrorists, again, depending on your point of view.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Garibaldy: “The Palestenians did indeed elect Hamas. But the Palestenian state recognises a two state solution, as do the majority of Palestenians. Hence Hamas avoiding the referedum Abu Mazen proposed which would have proven excactly that.

    And yet the people who run the government don’t…

    Garibaldy: “Would Israel be left alone if it withdrew to pre-1967 borders? I believe so, although there would be residual terrorism unfortunately. If the Palestentians get a viable state with agreed borders and the issue of refugees is suitably dealt with, why wouldn’t there be peace? Peace is possible, and there was a very good impression of it while the Oslo accord was being implemented properly”

    Unlikely. Too many governments have used the Palestinian conflict as a smokescreen for just how rotten their own existence is. Likewise, I would recommend to you the fate of Czechoslovakia the last time Europe got all warm and fuzzy over the notion of land for peace.

  • Garibaldy

    Dread,

    Nobody who lived in NI, as far as I know, argued for the bombing of communities from which terrorists launced sectarian attacks on other communities. I certainly never advocated it, and I hope my response to rockets instead of bombs and guns wouldn’t be the Israeli one.

    In a normal government, it is causus belli. But Lebanon’s is not a normal government. Anymore than any political party in the NI Executive was responsible for the actions of any other.

    On Palestine, I’ve already explained my belief that the majority supports a two state solution, which is why Hamas ran scared of the referendum proposed by Abu Mazen.

    The idea that surrounding governments would attack Israel, particularly if the Palestenian problem reaches a solution, is nonsensical, for very obvious military and political reasons. Not least, the fact that many of these governments are effectively US puppets now. For example, who sustains the corrupt House of Saud?

    The comparison with the Sudetenland is, I think, nonsensical, so I won’t bother talking about it.

    Quite simply, Hizbollah and Israel are both in the wrong. Both are guilty of terrorism.

  • Setanta

    Returning to the statement from NIAPN.

    NIAPN is a membership organisation and as far as I am aware has not consulted it’s membership on supporting this petition or the basis of the statement – does their statement therefore reflect their policy or the policy of any of their members or is it just the act of one or two staff members?

    I think NIAPN has some questions to answer about it’s role and remit.

  • Dk

    “I don’t blame 9/11 on an act of western aggression. Rather I blame it on those hypocrites who armed and trained these people in Afghanistan against an imperfect but much more egalitarian secular government”

    I think you will find that the reason for 9/11 – as given by the bombers themselves – was that there were infidel soldiers on the holy soil of Saudi Arabia. They were armed and trained in, er, flying schools. And the “secular government” in Afghanistan was a deeply unpopular Soviet puppet state, with all that entails for human rights and democracy.

  • Garibaldy

    The socialist government respected human rights and democracy much more than our friends in the Muhjihadeen. Just ask Afghan women, non-believers etc.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Garibaldy: “Nobody who lived in NI, as far as I know, argued for the bombing of communities from which terrorists launced sectarian attacks on other communities.”

    They also weren’t using rockets from a fortified bunker system.

    Garibaldy: “In a normal government, it is causus belli. But Lebanon’s is not a normal government. Anymore than any political party in the NI Executive was responsible for the actions of any other. ”

    The Lebanese government has 18 months to disarm Hizbollah. Their president is a Syrian sycophant, Syria being one of the two states that Hizbollah is a client for. Per Nasrullah, the government of Lebanon was informed of his intentions and made no objection. They are as guilty as Hizbollah, having given tacit approval for the raid and miscalculating the Israeli response.

    Garibaldy: “On Palestine, I’ve already explained my belief that the majority supports a two state solution, which is why Hamas ran scared of the referendum proposed by Abu Mazen”

    Neither here nor there — Abu Mazen cannot force his resolution through the Hamas dominated legislature. Hamas has day to day control over the government and they do not recognize Israel. Realpolitik trumps your “belief.”

    The surrounding nations — indeed, most of the Arab world, plus Persia, have no interest in “solving the Palestinian problem,” since they use is a distraction for their people.

    As for the Czech scenario, you are asking Israel to surrender defensible borders, won as a consequence of Arab invasions. Replacing defensible borders with indefensible ones makes no sense.

  • Brian Boru

    “Arab civilians, perhaps…”

    Dread in case you haven’t noticed, 90% of the deaths are on that side. Israel is an evil regime which is fighting an unjust war and which I now thoroughly despise for its Nazi-like Reich-building Fascism, as exemplified by these outrageous remarks today from its Justice Minister:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5219360.stm
    “He added that Israel had given the civilians of southern Lebanon ample time to quit the area and therefore anyone still remaining there can be considered Hezbollah supporters….All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah,” Mr Ramon said. ”

    When in actual fact many Lebanese civilians have been prevented from escaping by Israel’s bombing of roads and bridges, as reported in the media in recent days. This is the kind of fascism that the Israeli Reich has become notorious for especially since 2000. They deserve only the contempt of the world and a boycott of all their exports until they stop this Zionazi offensive which has fuelled hatred of Israel around the world and deservedly so. Their intransigent refusal to seek diplomatic solutions to their problems, together with their bombing of the UN and carelessness about killing Arab civilians, and the excessive and OTT force they use when they do take military action (which is nearly 100% of the time) rightly earns them the contempt of world public-opinion. Israeli ambassadors should be expelled until the Zionist state sees reason.

  • Garibaldy

    Dread,

    realpolitik is that the Palestenians, including Hamas, and the neighbouring countries all work in their ongoing day to day politics on the basis that Israel will continue to exist and that there will be a two-state solution.

    Again, Israel’s response has been entirely disproportionate, and absolutely unconcerned with the lives of civilians, or UN personnel. That is terrorism.

    How do you suggest the Lebanonese government disarm Hizbollah? It can’t – it is not strong enough to do it. As for why Hizbollah keeps its arms, well I think this war, and the Israeli practice over decades of violating the terroritory of other countries and striking at targets there – like refugee camps – might just provide an illustration of some of the reasons.

    As for Syria’s influence, hasn’t everybody been telling us for months that the Cedar Revolution ended that. That dog won’t hunt, as some Americans say.

    Israel has more than enough capacity to defend itself regardless of the current or 1967 borders. None of its opponents either individually or together is strong enough to threaten it. Iran potentially, but it’s too far away, and its airforce would get annihilated by the Israelis and the yanks should it try to use it.

    You’re defending the indefensible Dread. And doing it with arguments that you spend most of your time here arguing against, ironically.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Garibaldy: “realpolitik is that the Palestenians, including Hamas, and the neighbouring countries all work in their ongoing day to day politics on the basis that Israel will continue to exist and that there will be a two-state solution. ”

    Yeah, its just their text books, Arab language press conferences and internal manifestos that still demand the Jews get run into the sea… If that is *truly* their belief, why the resistance to changing Hamas charter / mission statement? Why does Egyptian television still play up the blood libel and the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and other anti-semitic trash?

    Garibaldy: “Again, Israel’s response has been entirely disproportionate, and absolutely unconcerned with the lives of civilians, or UN personnel. That is terrorism. ”

    Lebanon, is essence, invaded Israel. As for disproportionate, I would disagree — compared to the worst they could do, the Israelis are being rather restrained… the lights and water, generally speaking, still work. Transportation infrastructure has been damaged, but not nearly with the disregard shown by NATO (remember that train?). They warn of impending raids with fliers and attack those areas of Hizbollah bunkers and rockets, which Hizbollah have emplaced in civilian population centers. It is Hizbollah who have drafted their countrymen as human shields, Garibaldy.

    Garibaldy: “How do you suggest the Lebanonese government disarm Hizbollah? It can’t – it is not strong enough to do it.”

    Then they should not have been tasked to do so by the UN at the withdrawal of the Israelis, now should they?

    Garibaldy: “As for why Hizbollah keeps its arms, well I think this war, and the Israeli practice over decades of violating the terroritory of other countries and striking at targets there – like refugee camps – might just provide an illustration of some of the reasons.”

    And Hizbollah’s raids over the border, their mining of Israeli border areas, the rockets, the shelling — Israel is supposed to simply lie back at take it?

    Garibaldy: “As for Syria’s influence, hasn’t everybody been telling us for months that the Cedar Revolution ended that. That dog won’t hunt, as some Americans say. ”

    You confuse “influence” for “control.” Syrian control has been broken, its influence has not.

  • Garibaldy

    Dread,

    Of course Israel should not be subjected to rocket attacks, and if it can catch or kill those responsible then fair enough. But that is not the aim of these raids. They are being restrained, I mean they could just nuke the place and be done with it. Just like the paras were restrained on bloody sunday compared to how much damage they could have done then. Given the marevellous efficiency of the Israeli army and its history of commando raids, I suspect it could remove a lot of these bunkers should it wish too using different tactics that would harm a lot less civilians, but might cost them more soldiers.

    I condemn the US when it chooses to bomb an area instead of sending in troops, and in fairness to the British they tend to risk the troops rather than just flatten the place. Israel could chose the British rather than the American option.

    On Hamas, it seems likely that they will witholhd recongition until they get a better deal. Just like the Provos always intended to decomission but strung it out over a decade to get maximum media coverage, attention and the resultant votes.

    Can I have a link that says the Lebanonese government knew in advance what was going to happen? I’d like to see what was said.

  • andy

    “And Hizbollah’s raids over the border, their mining of Israeli border areas, the rockets, the shelling—Israel is supposed to simply lie back at take it? ”

    This statement pretty much somes up why the debates on this conflict are so misjudged.(No personal offence meant Dread).
    If you knew ANYTHING about Lebanese politics you would know that since israeli withdrawal (you know – from the 18 year illegal occupation in which they failed to disarm Hizbollah) they have regularly carried out assasinations in Lebanon (eg Ramzi Nohra and Ali Saleh) have violated Lebanese soveriegnty on a regular basis (according to an article in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on a daily basis) and have killed the odd civilian that wandered too close tothe border. As well as that they have left around 140,000 mines in place in Lebanon and refuse to disclose their location.

    So, no, they wouldn’t be expected to lie back and take it…

    I must also stress that Hezbollah also launched cross-border attacks, and are unequivocally to blame for the latest escalation, but it did not come out of the blue.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Garibaldy: “Can I have a link that says the Lebanonese government knew in advance what was going to happen? I’d like to see what was said.”

    http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD121106

    The information passed was strategic, not operational, in nature, i.e. they were not formally briefed on the details of this specific operation, but were informed that Hizbollah saw kidnapping Israelis as the level to address the remaining issues between Lebanon and Israel. Below is a partial transcript of an Al-Jazeera interview, as translated by MEMRI.

    To quote:

    Interviewer: “Did you inform them that you were about to abduct Israeli soldiers?”

    Hassan Nasrallah: “I told them that we must resolve the issue of the prisoners, and that the only way to resolve it is by abducting Israeli soldiers.”

    Interviewer: “Did you say this clearly?”

    Hassan Nasrallah: “Yes, and nobody said to me: ‘No, you are not allowed to abduct Israeli soldiers.’ Even if they had told me not to… I’m not defending myself here. I said that we would abduct Israeli soldiers, in meetings with some of the main political leaders in the country. I don’t want to mention names now, but when the time comes to settle accounts, I will.

  • andy

    Nasrullah made a number of public pronouncements that his organisation was going to try and kidnap Israeli soldiers.
    I’m not sure how this made the Lebanese National Unity government any more culpable.
    I will get back to you on that al-jazeera translation. I read another transcript of what I presume must be the same interview which did not come out anything like that.

  • Garibaldy

    Dread,

    Thanks for that. Most informative. As I read it, he said that he would not start a war even over Israeli incursions into Lebanon by sea, air and land but that the issue of prisoners was one on which he would act. There was no hint of a timeframe, and this type of thing had happened before. Capturing soldiers along a disputed border is also very different to targeting civilians, though Hizbollah does that too.

    What I do note is that it’s quite clear that the Lebaonese government was unaware of this operation and did not authorise it, and cannot be held responsible for it. The Hizbollah guy also said

    “It is true that I did not inform the Lebanese government, but I did not inform my closest allies either. Syria and Iran did not know. No Syrian or Iranian knew. They did not know, and I did not consult any of them.”

    So this was a unilateral operation. The collective punishment is wrong.

  • harpo

    ‘Can I ask those who support what the Israelis are doing what their reaction would be to a similar bombardment of, say, the Shankill Road by the British Army should loyalists open fire on police and soldiers as they did last September? Or if Thatcher had shelled Catholic areas of west Belfast after Brighton as she considered? And can they then explain how the Israeli action is appropriate?’

    Garibaldy:

    There’s a large difference there, in that Israel isn’t bombarding places within its own territory.

    In NI, the terrorists did not build large scale infrastructure anywhere, never mind within heavily populated urban areas, so the security forces wouldn’t have had anywhere to attack in the way that the Israelis do have things to attack.

    If you are battling terrorists/rebels within your own territory it doesn’t make much sense to level parts of your own territory in the hope of getting a few terrorists as part of that.

    Thus the security forces relied more on specific actions, and even those specific actions drew criticism – sweeping searches of areas, relying on informers to tell you where weapons were so that raids on specific houses could be mounted. Do you remembers the whining about such limited actions?

    The police raid a house in a nationalist area, there is a gunfight with terrorists and ‘nationalists’ started whining when one of the terrorists is shot dead. ‘They could have arrested him instead’ was the cry.

    Within NI general bombardments weren’t an appropriate tactic, given that there were no appropriate targets to go after. The PIRA didn’t build bunkers at the base of Divis Flats, nor put missile batteries on top of Divis Flats. So there were no hard targets of that sort for the security forces to bombard.

    Now let’s draw an imaginary situation up that parallels what IS going on in the middle east. Let’s say that in the early 1970s there had been more sympathy for the PIRA within the ROI, including at government level, so that a blind eye would have been turned (even if there wasn’t official approval) to the PIRA building infrastructure at various locations around the border, from which they could attack NI.

    So the ROI authorities would have allowed the PIRA to set up bases, and the PIRA would have had artillery and rocket batteries at these bases. The PIRA open fire and the British take measures to stop them. Return fire onto the bases and maybe raids into the ROI to destroy the bases.

    The bases are all destroyed, but the PIRA then moves to a different tactic – openly identifiable bases are no good as the British can just flatten them, so the PIRA sets up its next set of bases/fire points in towns like Dundalk and Monaghan town.

    The PIRA starts firing again, and the British have a choice. Let the PIRA fire away on the basis that these bases/fire points are within urban areas, so that return fire is bound to kill civilians as well as deal with the fire points, or return fire anyway.

    In such a circumstance, I’d have been on for issuing warnings to civilians in these towns to get out as fire was going to be returned. Give them 48 hours to leave the areas. And after the 48 hours is up, return fire on the fire points.

    Of course in this scenario, the government of the ROI would have been in exactly the same situation as the Lebanese government is today. It doesn’t really matter why you allow an unofficial militia (or whatever you want to call them) to set up on yout territory, but once they do, and it draws outsiders to attack your territory, you aren’t really in much of a position to complain about it.

    In my imaginary scenario, the ROI government would have complained about the British firing on Dundalk and Monaghan, but they would have done nothing to prevent the situation from happening, would they? They could argue that they didn’t want civil war, or that they were too weak to do anything, but in the end there’s going to be trouble. And if you abdicate responsibility when you had some control of events, you can’t omplain when you suffer because events are out of your control.

    People are making all sorts of excuses as to why the Lebanese government can’t be blamed in today’s situation, but it’s nonsense. They basically sub-contracted armed force responsibilities out to Hezbollah in certain areas of their country. And this is the result.

  • andy

    What would you have the Leb government do though Harpo?

    Start another civil war, at the bidding of a previous occupying power, against the force that forced that occupying power to leave?

    I appreciate that’s a loaded answer but I think that is sure to be what would have happened.

  • Garibaldy

    Harpo,

    I raised that parallel because people say this is terrorism, and so I was asking the question is collective punishment of an entire population the sensible or appropriate way to deal with terrorism? In an age of surgical strikes I’m sure the Israelis could be more discriminating than they are. The problem with your imaginary scenario is that the Lebaonese government cannot be compared to the southern one. It’s nowhere near as strong relative to Hizbullah. Should the Lebanonese start another civil war to keep the Israelis happy? We can’t expect them to do so.

    As for warning civilians to leave, many people are unable to do so in such situations. Look at Fallujuah. Lots of civilians died there despite US warnings.

    The failings of the Lebanonese authorities – many of which are not their fault – do not excuse the Israelis.

  • Brian – you suggested:

    “A possible solution could involve applying the idea in the embryonic Lebanon peace-plan of a toughened peace-keeping force (perhaps NATO or EU) to the disputed territories after Israel returns them e.g. give Golan back to Syria but with a force preventing attacks on Israel, same with rest of 1967 territories.”

    How should a toughened peace-keeping force in, say, the Golan Heights, react to Hezbollah-style militants continuing to fire rockets or whatever at Israel (as part of a campaign for the removal of Israel) from civilian areas?

    Should they go in and “stop” the attacks?
    Even if they come from outside the peacekeeping zone?
    Or should they leave it to the appropriate Syrian or Lebanese army?
    And when they fail to act, should they leave it to the Israelis to return fire?
    Should they then attack the Israelis to prevent their attacks?
    What if the peacekeepers become targets?
    Should they respond forcefully (with civilian and peacekeeper casualties) or just quit?

    It’s not easy, is it?

    You also stated: I agree with the Arabs that the root-cause of the Middle East conflict is “the occupation”.

    Do you mean Israeli occupation of “disputed territory”, or Israeli occupation of any territory at all?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Garibaldy: “Thanks for that. Most informative. As I read it, he said that he would not start a war even over Israeli incursions into Lebanon by sea, air and land but that the issue of prisoners was one on which he would act. There was no hint of a timeframe, and this type of thing had happened before. Capturing soldiers along a disputed border is also very different to targeting civilians, though Hizbollah does that too. ”

    If the Israelis are “targetting civilians,” then they are doing a piss-poor job of it. 40,000 shells fired (do not know if this includes aerial bombs) and only 400 dead, some of whom are Hizbollah.

    Garibaldy: “What I do note is that it’s quite clear that the Lebaonese government was unaware of this operation and did not authorise it, and cannot be held responsible for it.”

    They (the Lebanese government) signed off on the strategy, as Nasrullah stated explicitly in the interview. Operational details are of little import. Likewise, as the Lebanese government is supposed to be disarming Hizbollah, per their agreement for the Israeli withdrawel and have been ignoring that responsibility, it falls on their head for not asserting their sovereignty. Approve the strategy, permit the terrorists, accept the fall-out.

  • Brian Boru

    “Do you mean Israeli occupation of “disputed territory”, or Israeli occupation of any territory at all?”

    Disputed territory at the moment.

    “How should a toughened peace-keeping force in, say, the Golan Heights, react to Hezbollah-style militants continuing to fire rockets or whatever at Israel (as part of a campaign for the removal of Israel) from civilian areas?”

    It’s better than nothing. You are never going to get 100% certainty of absolute peace and quiet. But it would be an improvement.

  • Miss Fitz
  • Miss Fitz

    Oh wow, I turned off the italics….. sorry to interrupt