Saturday 4th of December 2021

Abdicating Neutrality

Bush has abdicated the role of the USA as a broker of peace in the Middle East by failing to call for a UN sponsored cease-fire between Israel and Hezbullah. He and America are no longer viewed as a neutral player in this debacle, but then they never were truly neutral.

On Tuesday Bush told reporters that Hezbullah was the "root cause" of the strife in the Middle East. Anyone with any knowledge of the region will tell you that the problems in this region are the result of nearly 60 years of oppression of the Palestinian People by Israel.

While the situation in the region has continued to fester, Bush has been obsessed with his disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq, a continually esculating melay of death and destruction brought on by his and his cronies lies about WMD and Iraq's non existant connection with the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Centre.

 Bush has effectively condoned the isolation of the democratically elected government of Palestine, the "kidnapping" of more than two dozen ELECTED government officials in Palistine and the depriving of the Palestinian Government of it's own tax revenues. Bush also raised no objections when Israel destroyed the only energy plant in Gaza, leaving thousands of Palestinians without electricity.

 

So much for "promoting democracy".

In past conflicts in the region, the American President has always called for restraint, for a truce as the first step towards peace talks. American Presidents always sent mediators to the area to try and stem the tide of war and death in the area.

Bush's pitiful reaction extends to a tepid call for "restraint".

During last weekend's siege of Lebanon, a tearful Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora begged Bush to call for a cease-fire. Instead of calling for Israel to stop and negotiate, Bush has stood by while Lebanon's infrastructure has been demolished, it's people slaughtered, and tens of thousands of visitors to the region from all over the world have been left to fend for themselves, to run for their very lives!

No previous American President would have turned down such an appeal. No other President would have stood by and allowed so many of it's own and it's "friends" citizens to be placed in harms way in this manner.

The Bush administration likes to brag that it has the authoritarian leaders of Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who also want to rein in the militant Hezbollah, in its hip pocket. However, by failing to play its traditional role of peacemaker, Bush has cost the U.S. the last of whatever esteem it once commanded with the people of the Middle East.

In U.S., Not All Casualties Are Equal


Published on Wednesday, July 19, 2006 by the Inter Press Service

by Emad Mekay
 

WASHINGTON - Numerous U.S. groups, intellectuals, politicians and media outlets are mobilising in the United States to back Israel in its ongoing assault on neighbouring Lebanon with one main idea to promote -- that Israel is always the victim.
On Sunday morning, millions of U.S. citizens watched as the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, a Republican from Georgia, argued on the network television news show "Meet the Press" that the Israeli demolition of Lebanese infrastructure, targeting of civilians and total blockade of the small Arab nation was an act of self-defence.

He and many other public figures in the United States also echoed the Israeli line of blaming Iran and Syria for recent events.

There is, Gingrich said, a "Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas alliance trying to destroy Israel."

"You clearly have Iranian involvement, there are at least 400 Iranian guards in south Lebanon," he added, without citing any evidence.

The reason the United States should continue to back the Israeli campaign with weapons and aid is because this is "World War III", which includes the United States, Gingrich claimed.

"I mean, this is absolutely a question of the survival of Israel, but it's also a question of what is really a world war," he said

The so-called U.S. mainstream media has also largely avoided depicting the scenes of civilian carnage on the Lebanese side, with many referring to the onslaught as one that has targeted Hezbollah. In fact, the targets have so far included women and children, a lighthouse, a medical truck and a dairy factory.

On Monday, for example, the front page photo on the Washington Post was of stressed out Israeli rescue workers operating in Haifa, where eight people were killed by Hezbollah rocket fire on Sunday.

However, the previous day, when 13 members of one family, including children and women, were killed in an Israeli air attack, the paper ran a relatively bland picture of an explosion near advertising billboards in Lebanon.

Most headlines have also either favoured Israel or remained so general that the intensity of the Israeli attack was hardly conveyed.

Many television stations here sought to present the current crisis in terms of equal suffering, with Israeli civilians hit by Hezbollah rockets as savagely as Lebanese civilians were targeted by Israel's U.S.-made bombs.

More than 250 Lebanese, most of them civilians, including women and children, have bee killed in Israeli air sorties using 500-pound laser guided U.S.-made bombs. The Lebanese economy suffered billions of dollars worth of damage after Israel targeted Beirut's airport, bridges, roads and factories.

To date, 25 Israelis have been killed, half of them uniformed soldiers in combat with Hezbollah fighters.

"Syrian President May Hold Key to Mideast Crisis" read the Wall Street Journal's headline on Tuesday.

"Toll Climbs in Mideast as Fighting Rages On," was the Washington's Post generic headline for the same day.

In editorial after editorial, Israel was portrayed as the victim.

"Make no mistake about it: Responsibility for the escalating carnage in Lebanon and northern Israel lies with one side, and one side only. And that is Hezbollah, the Islamist militant party, along with its Syrian and Iranian backers," said the Los Angeles Times editorial on Monday.

Palestine Media Watch, a group monitoring coverage of events in the Middle East, says it called CNN's International Desk on Sunday to complain about the network's lack of coverage of civilian suffering on the Lebanese side.

The pro-Arab organisation reported that the answer they got from CNN was "they did not have enough equipment and could not be everywhere at the same time".

"I think it's been strikingly one-sided in the coverage. The downplaying of the civilian casualties in Lebanon, I think, is fairly remarkable," said Jim Naureckas of the New York media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).

"And the sort of acceptance that Israel is engaging in some kind of normal behaviour by responding to the one violent incident on the border by declaring war on an entire country is treated as a matter of course by U.S media commentators when it is really an amazing escalation."

He said that with the U.S. media coverage so biased, the public and politicians would be very hard pressed not to take sides with Israel.

"Certainly by giving only one part of the narrative where you have Israeli victims as the victims of unprovoked violence, it would be hard not to take Israel's side. If you are taking your information from the U.S. media, it'll be hard to construct a different way of looking at it," said Naureckas.

Already, several U.S. lawmakers have hurried to the defence of Israel, repeating the Israeli line that it was provoked and that its military action was in self-defence.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, a Democrat from New York, cited common Israeli and U.S. values for her support. Clinton, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2008 U.S. elections, criticised the "unwarranted, unprovoked attacks from Hamas, Hezbollah and their state sponsors" and named them "the new totalitarians of the 21st century."

"We will stand with Israel because Israel is standing for American values as well as Israeli ones," she said.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate was still preparing a resolution supporting Israel in its conflict in Lebanon.

Nobel laureate and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, joined hundreds of people who rallied outside the United Nations in defence of the Jewish state as the mobilisation for Israel picks up pace.

In Washington, a group of right-wing Christian fundamentalists, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) said they were gathering at least 3,500 people to rally in the U.S. capital on Tuesday to drum up political backing for Israel in its offensive against Lebanon.

The organisation, lead by fundamentalist pastor John C. Hagee, says that Jewish leaders will also take part, including Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, retired Israeli defence chief Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon and Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

The support for Israel in the U.S. comes despite U.S. laws that, if activated, would mean the end of this backing. The U.S. Arms Export Control Act restricts the use of U.S. weapons to justifiable self-defence and internal security, meaning that U.S. weapons cannot be used to target civilians in offensive operations.

The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act also bars U.S. aid to a country with a pattern of gross human rights violations. Several human rights groups have so far condemned the Israeli attack.

But despite those injunctions in the U.S. law, on the first few days of the offensive against Lebanon, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of U.S. munitions have been used by the Israeli army against a country friendly to the United States and a government fully supported by the United States.

The fact that civilian structures, including milk factories and houses of worship, have been targeted may have a left a dent in the position of those backing Israel's offensive. But it didn't. After all, they say Israel is the victim.
 

 

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation. ~~ Marian Wright Edelman

And while Israel is crapping on Lebanon

From Al Jazeera

Curfew extended as Baghdad bleeds

Friday 21 July 2006, 11:56 Makka Time, 8:56 GMT

A daytime curfew on Baghdad has been extended in an apparent effort to cut violence after one of the bloodiest weeks this year.

Iraqi state television announced that a four-hour traffic ban in force every Friday to curb bomb attacks on mosques during weekly prayers would be extended through most of the day.

The regular Friday ban on traffic in Baghdad from 11am to 3pm has been extended to 7pm for the day, state media said. An overnight curfew operates from 9pm to 6am

A gun and grenade attack on a market just outside Baghdad on Monday and a suicide car bombing to the south of the capital killed 120 people this week.

US data showed that attacks on security forces in Baghdad have risen to 34 a day this week, up from 24 a day in recent months.

Baghdad morgue alone has taken in 1,000 bodies this month.

American commanders are speaking about a fight to the finish in the capital between the unity government of Nuri al-Maliki, the Shia prime minister, and Sunni Arabs with links to Saddam Hussein, the former president.

Describing the capital as a "must-win" for the rebels and the government, a US military spokesman said on Thursday that al-Maliki's month-old security clampdown in Baghdad had achieved only a "slight downtick" in violence, with civilian deaths steady.

"They will do an all-out assault against the Baghdad area," Major-General William Caldwell said. "We have seen the movement of terrorist elements into the Baghdad area. We have seen the flow occurring."

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I have an inkling the US Major is telling big fibs... "We have seen the movement of terrorist elements into the Baghdad area. We have seen the flow occurring." does not add up... The US would not knowingly let "terrorists" enter Baghdad in such or any other way... This is crap of the highest order...

Shopping list...

From the New York Times

WEAPONS
U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis

By DAVID S. CLOUD and HELENE COOPER
Published: July 22, 2006
WASHINGTON, July 21 — The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.

The munitions that the United States is sending to Israel are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said. But Israel’s request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers, and as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike.

AT A GLANCE
Developments yesterday in the Middle East conflict:
ISRAEL The Israeli military massed vehicles near Lebanon’s border. Hezbollah rockets hit Haifa and other towns in northern Israel.
LEBANON The Lebanese defense minister said the army would resist any invasion. Israeli warplanes hit targets throughout the country and at least 12 Lebanese were reported killed.
WASHINGTON The Bush administration is rushing precision-guided bombs to Israel at the Israelis’ request, American officials said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she would go to Israel tomorrow and then meet Arab and European envoys in Italy.
GAZA Fighting continued, with Israeli tank fire killing a man the Israeli military said was a Palestinian militant.

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Gus: I'm left speechless... Help! would someone say something!?

No "Invasion"?

From the ABC

Troops mass on Lebanese border
As Israeli tanks and troops mass on the country's northern border, Lebanon's Defence Minister has vowed the Lebanese army is ready to fight off any Israeli ground incursion.

Israel says it wants to destroy the militant group Hezbollah, but Lebanon's civilian infrastructure has been badly hit as has the Lebanese army.

More than 300 Lebanese civilians have now been killed in the conflict and hospitals in the south of the country are overwhelmed with the number of injured.

The bodies of 72 people had to be buried in a mass grave near Tyre.

More bodies are believed to be buried beneath the rubble of homes across the border area.

The Israeli shelling, which has devastated the south, is relentless with many people trapped in their homes, unable to leave.

Several cars carrying people escaping the shelling have been hit by Israeli fire that has occurred over the past 10 days.

There are fears that a humanitarian crisis could develop as movement is made difficult and supplies are slowly dwindling.

Israel has called up thousands of reserve troops and warned Lebanese civilians to leave the southern area immediately, amid threats of a large-scale ground offensive.

On the other side of the border, at least 10 people have been wounded in another Hezbollah rocket attack on the Israeli city of Haifa.

United Nations (UN) envoy to the Middle East Terje Roed-Larsen says the chances of reaching a cease-fire at the moment are remote.

"I think what everybody's realising now, also on the basis of the report which the UN team who was in Beirut and Jerusalem brought back to New York, is that even if everybody wishes to have a cease-fire it's unrealistic," he said.

"Unless there are the necessary political tools to underpin such a cease-fire to make it durable, to make it hold."

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Invasion!

From the ABC

Israel takes over village in southern Lebanon
Israel says it has taken over a village in southern Lebanon, although Lebanese sources say Israeli troops and Hezbollah guerrillas were engaged in street battles.

Air and ground forces "have more or less completed taking over the village Maroun al-Ras," General Beni Gantz said during a press conference.

Six commandos have been killed in clashes around Maroun al-Ras, which Israel says had served as a staging ground for attempted Hezbollah attacks on nearby Israeli border towns such as Avivim during a more than 10-day-old regional flare-up.

General Gantz says Hezbollah suffered dozens of casualties in and around the town.

"In summary, it can be said that the area of Maroun al-Ras, that had served as a (Hezbollah) vantage point over Avivim, now serves as an (Israeli) vantage point over Bint Jbail," General Gantz said, referring to a suspected Hezbollah stronghold nearby.

But Lebanese security forces say Israeli and Hezbollah forces were engaged in street battles in the village, where four Israeli soldiers and several Hezbollah militiamen were killed in battles in recent days.

Three Israeli tanks were in flames, the sources say.

Evacuations
Meanwhile, ships and aircraft scooped more exhausted people fleeing the fighting in Lebanon to safety in Cyprus in a mass international effort that has so far evacuated more than 25,000 people.

The European Union dispatched a team to help Cyprus cope with the huge wave of foreign evacuees, which is stretching the small island's resources at the height of its tourist season.

"We expect the number to triple in the coming days. There are more than 60,000 to 70,000 to be evacuated through Cyprus," Foreign Minister Georgios Lillikas said, inspecting a French-chartered boat that brought in more than 1,200 people.

On the ship people were lying on sheets on the floor and long queues had formed outside the toilets.

Many will have to stay in Cyprus for days before being sent home and the EU urged its members to help process evacuees faster.

Turkey started to share Cyprus's burden and hundreds of evacuees, mostly Canadian and some Swedish citizens, have been arriving in the port of Mersin to the north of Cyprus, where they were welcomed with carnations.

"We are working at a capacity of about 1,000 people a day," Canadian ambassador to Ankara Yves Brodeur told Reuters.

Britain gave its citizens until Saturday evening to gather in Beirut for the last scheduled evacuation by sea.

A ship with British evacuees was expected in Cyprus early on Sunday.

Chartered ships also were expected to bring 500 Australians, 1,100 Canadians and 400 Swiss to Larnaca late on Saturday.

Aid
As people escaped the violence, aid poured in.

The EU pledged to send medicine, shelter material and other supplies.

France sent 20 tonnes of water, food and medicines, and was dispatching a water purifying plant on Saturday.

Officials say the French humanitarian agency Medecins Sans Frontieres planned to send 60 tonnes of emergency aid through Cyprus to Lebanon.

Eleni Theocharous, a doctor with the Doctors of the World aid agency escorting 4,000 tonnes of medical and other supplies to Lebanon they are going there to help those who do not have the opportunity to leave the country.

"For example, Palestinians who have no documents are stranded and need help," he said.

Brothers

My country, Australia, and the world community disgust me by turning away from a blatant genocide...

To allow more time for Israel to destroy an entire country — in killing mainly innocent people, many unaccounted for, yet — to get to a few rabid extremists — who I may say Israel will never eradicate totally no matter how many they kill — is a disgrace of cosmic proportion.

A cease-fire is needed NOW.

Contrary to what Ms Rice of the bought-out Bush administration says, we-the-world need a cease-fire, NOW... and this cease-fire won't bring false hopes. It will become the basis for a proper process-resolution to take place — a process, difficult as it may be, that can and will eliminate the desire to eradicate each other now and forever. It is possible...

As mentioned on this site before, Arabs and Israelis ARE long lost brothers — of different creed...

...and god, if he/she is, can only exist in peaceful hearts.

Thus, Jews and Muslims, you are destroying your own god by your violent actions that reek of hell.

Through peace, show that the god who has driven your ideals — on both sides — do exist. Otherwise, continuing this war-path of greed and destruction only shows you have been praying in vain to the wind, whether you win or lose.

A cease-fire is needed NOW.

...and Mr Bush, you are a disgrace to humanity.

Never too late, hopefully

From the Guardian

Britain criticises Israeli tactics

Ned Temko in London, Conal Urquart in Tel Aviv and Peter Beaumont in Beirut
Saturday July 22, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Britain has dramatically broken ranks with George Bush over the Lebanon crisis, publicly criticising Israel's military tactics and urging the Americans to 'understand' the price being paid by ordinary Lebanese civilians.
The remarks, made in Beirut today by the Foreign Office Minister, Kim Howells, were the first public criticism of the US voiced by Britain. The Observer can also reveal that Tony Blair urged restraint in a private telephone conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, last week.

read more at the Guardian