War continues

Posted in Politics + Diplomacy by expresscheckout on 23 July, 2006

Israeli Soldier

In recent developments, a report in The New York Times says that Washington is speeding up a shipment of precision bombs sold as part of a deal made last year upon recent request made by the Israelis. It stated, ‘One American official said the shipment should not be compared to the kind of an “emergency resupply” of dwindling Israeli stockpiles that was provided during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war’, although it appears to reflect the same close relationship between the two countries. With no apparent sense of irony, BBC News quotes, ‘Unnamed US officials say the request to speed up delivery is unusual.’  

As reports are made claiming the IDF is seizing villages in southern Lebanon, it appears that Israel is moving–slowly, but surely–to re-occupy the south of the country. There has also been much talk over the disputed Lebanese territory of Shebaa Farms, as addressed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and it would not be surprising if the issue comes to the fore of the conflict in the upcoming weeks.

While US representatives keep mum over any criticism against their Israeli partners, falling a step short of fully endorsing the indiscriminant extermination of the Lebanese people, UK Foreign Office minister Kim Howells has condemned Israeli action. Speaking in Beirut, he stated, ‘I very much hope that the Americans understand what’s happening to Lebanon…The destruction of the infrastructure, the death of so many children and so many people. These have not been surgical strikes…If they’re chasing Hezbollah, then go for Hezbollah. You don’t go for the entire Lebanese nation.’

There have been various protests and staged rallies worldwide in condemnation of Israel’s attack against Lebanon that, until early today, the BBC had failed to make the slightest mention of. People have gathered in the UK, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Poland, Argentina, Tel Aviv, throughout the Middle East and Asia, and in New York to protest against Israeli military action in Lebanon and in Gaza. Local Jewish groups in San Francisco have also staged a rally against Israeli aggression. Even before the Israeli attack on Lebanon, there have been various moves and petitions to send a message against Israeli action in the Middle East, including a petition by the Australian academic community and the academic boycott of Israel by the UK National Association of Teachers.

Meanwhile, the UN is proving alarmingly incapable of doing anything to improve the current situation. This, at a time when charities are unable to deliver aid supplies to the affected regions, shows that there is not much hope of alleviating the suffering of the thousands of Lebanese civilians that are trapped in their war-ravaged country. Many eyewitness reports have confirmed that Israel has been using banned, highly toxic weapons such as phosphorus incendiary bombs against both the Palestinian and the Lebanese civilian population. So many civilians have been killed in South Lebanon that health authorities have been forced to resort to mass graves. Megan Stack writes:

‘”I’ve been a doctor for years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Nabil Harkus, who stood over a trio of unidentified corpses. “They can’t fight Hezbollah because Hezbollah is not an army,” he said, referring to the Israeli warplanes overhead. “They kill the people because they think it’s the only way to stop Hezbollah.” The Lebanese government has confirmed the deaths of 350 people in the fighting so far, but rescue workers here warn that the true tally is probably much higher. Relentless bombing has wrecked roads and rendered communication so spotty that no one knows how many people have died. ‘

Without question, this war is continuing unabated. And as Israeli jets continue to bomb Lebanese cities and IDF forces continue to gather at the border and inch in towards capturing more Lebanese villages, any world leader, government, or individual claiming that Israeli action is either limited or restrained either does not understand the magnitude of these operations, or sadly may have a grim hidden agenda using hundreds of civilians’ lives as a means to an end.


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