A Message from the ADC Chairman, Hon. James G. Abourezk
FACTS AND COMMENTARY ABOUT THE CURRENT CONFLICT BETWEEN ISRAEL AND LEBANON.
Sen. James G. Abourezk
The Lebanese government has rejected the draft UN resolution on grounds that it does nothing to end the fighting between the Lebanese and the Israelis. Israel and President Bush have praised it, leaving no mystery as to which side the resolution favors.
Lebanon has proposed the following seven points as a means to a comprehensive peace (taken from a speech delivered to the United Nations by Lebanese Minister Mitri, July 31, 2006):
1. An undertaking to release the Lebanese and Israeli prisoners and detainees through the International Committee of the Red Cross.
2. The withdrawal of the Israeli army behind the Blue Line and the return of the displaced to their villages.
3. A commitment from the Security Council to place the Shebaa Farms and Kafr Shuba Hills under U.N. jurisdiction until border delineation and Lebanese sovereignty over them are fully settled. While in U.N. custody, the area will be accessible to Lebanese property owners there. Further, Israel surrenders all remaining land mine maps in south Lebanon to the United Nations.
4. The Lebanese government extends its authority over its territory through its own legitimate armed forces, such that there will be no weapons or authority other than that of the Lebanese state, as stipulated in the Taif national reconciliation accord.
5. The United Nations international force operating in south Lebanon is supplemented and enhanced in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operation, as needed, in order to undertake urgent humanitarian and relief work, and guarantees stability and security in the south, so that those who fled their homes can return.
6. The United Nations, in cooperation with the relevant parties, undertakes the necessary measures to once again put into effect the armistice agreement signed by Lebanon and Israel in 1949. And to ensure adherence to the provisions of that agreement, as well as to explore amendments to or developments of said provisions, as necessary.
7. The international community commits to support Lebanon on all levels and to assist it in facing the tremendous burden resulting from the human, social and economic tragedy which has afflicted [the] country, especially in the areas of relief, reconstruction and the rebuilding of national economy.
Provided Israel agrees to the following:
1. Israel must stop bombing and shelling Lebanon.
2. Israel must withdraw from Lebanese territory, including Shebaa Farms.
3. Israel must stop overflying Lebanese territory with its jets.
4. Israel must leave Lebanon alone.
5. Israel must swap its Lebanese prisoners.
The problem today is that none of the American news networks choose to relay what Lebanon is willing to do. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and CBS have all been reporting a one sided story biased towards Israel. Political analysts on all of these channels continue to insist on an international force to insert itself into south Lebanon before there is any agreement with the Lebanese government. What they don't discuss is the complete unwillingness of any country to want to insert its troops in the south of the country before the Lebanese agree to it. No government in its right mind would want to take up the fight against Hezbollah that Israel cannot win.
Yet others also insist on the Lebanese Army disarming Hezbollah, forgetting that what they are proposing is a civil war in Lebanon. What many Lebanese see in Hezbollah is not an enemy, but a military group that has defended Lebanon against Israeli depredations. The Shia population (from which Hezbollah draws its numbers) make up about 40% of Lebanon's population, 100% of whom support Hezbollah. That figure has gone much higher since the Israeli invasion started.
The problem as I see it is that the American media, who have been cheerleading Israel since July 12th, refuses to allow anything but pro-Israeli opinion to grace their airwaves. We are bombarded with the Israeli Ambassadors here in America, with Benjamin Netanyahu, and countless reporters who are "embedded" amongst the Israeli military. The media certainly doesn't broadcast the Lebanese government's conditions for ending the fighting, allowing U.S. and Israeli officials to continue to lie about the facts in Lebanon, preventing the U.S. public from knowing who is shooting whom, all the while keeping the U.S. government position intact.
Except for Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, no one in Congress is willing to stand up to the Israeli Lobby and call for an immediate cease fire and for fairness for Lebanon. They, along with George Bush and Condi Rice have a lot of blood on their hands for remaining silent and for re-arming Israel which allows the slaughter to continue.
Lebanon may never be able to recover from the devastation made possible by U.S. weapons. Although it is likely that the American taxpayer will have to pay, not only for the bombs, shells and planes that destroyed that country, but for any reconstruction costs to find housing for the 900,000 people Israel has made homeless. That does not include the complete destruction of Lebanon's economy, what with its bridges, its highways, its industries, its airport, and other factors being completely destroyed.
In an effort to correct the "Fair and Balanced" reporting, not just of Fox News, but of all the cable and national network news-people, who are acting as cheerleaders for Israel's War against Lebanon, here are some interesting points that are never mentioned:
· While UN Resolution 1559 is repeatedly cited by Israeli spokesmen as a document that must be obeyed by Hezbollah and by Lebanon, no mention is ever made of UN Resolutions 242 and 363, which were passed by the UN Security Council following the 1967 Arab Israeli War demanding that Israel withdraw from the territories they occupied in that war. The U.S. voted for the resolutions after receiving assurances from Israel that they were OK with the language. Of course, both Israel and the United States governments have totally ignored those UN Resolutions, along with the many others that have passed the UN Security Council requiring Israel to do the right thing.
· Israel has been illegally occupying the West Bank since 1967, when the Palestinians agreed to stop fighting over all their lands, agreeing to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
· Israel illegally occupied Lebanon from 1978 to 2000, but Israel kept a small piece of Lebanese soil called Shebaa Farms, a beautiful green valley that has water.
· Both Israel and Hezbollah have conducted cross border raids since 2000, taking prisoners, then trading them during negotiations. This time, on July 12, 2006, instead of negotiating, Israel went into what has been reported as a previously planned invasion of South Lebanon, bombing civilian areas in Beirut and other Lebanese sites. It was only after this bombing campaign started that Hezbollah began shooting rockets into Israel. Yet, the U.S. Media consistently claims that Hezbollah started it all.
· Hezbollah has announced that it will stop sending rockets into Israel, that it will return the two Israeli soldiers it captured, and will meld itself into the Lebanese Army, provided Israel returns the Lebanese prisoners it kidnapped from its raids into South Lebanon, turns over Shebaa Farms to Lebanon, and stops its bombing raids which have destroyed much of Lebanon. This offer, which did not quite make it on American television news, is only scoffed at by Israel and by the United States, apparently believing that Israel will win militarily and will not have to fulfill any of these conditions.
· When Israel withdrew its troops from inside the Gaza Strip, it maintained the Gaza as a huge prison, positioning troops outside the fence, retaining control over Gaza airspace and its sea routes, in effect keeping the Gazans locked into their compound.
· On June 9, 2006, one of Israel's artillery shells killed a family of 8 people and wounded another 32 Palestinians.
· On June 13, 2006, Israel again attempted another assassination when it fired missiles from a jet at a van which killed nine innocent Palestinians.
· On June 20, 2006, Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an attempt to assassinate a Hamas member on a road between Jabalya and Gaza City. The missile missed the car, and instead killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15 others.
· In July, Israel bombed a building in Qana, Lebanon, killing anywhere from 37 to 57 civilians, most of them women and children who had been seeking shelter from the bombings. Israel has said that Hezbollah was hiding behind these civilians and that the murders were Hezbollah's fault. Local villagers say that there were no Hezbollah positions inside Qana, but that they were in the mountains surrounding the village. The American media has spent more news time on Mel Gibson's arrest and racist statements than they have on the massacre at Qana. Qana, by the way, is where Jesus is said to have created the miracle of the loaves and fishes, turning water into wine for a gathering of thousands of his followers.
· Americans who pay taxes and who travel overseas are the ones who will pay the price for Israel 's aggression. We are paying for the bombs the Bush Administration is rushing to Israel to continue the killing in Lebanon, and, should the U.S. decide to help rebuild what Israel has destroyed, we will be paying that bill as well. But the bill will be paid by the Lebanese people, and no amount of money can make up for the suffering, the deaths, the maiming of the Lebanese people because Bush and Rice want to wait for a cease fire until Israel believes it has won its war. The problem with that is that, while Israel is trying-unsuccessfully--to defeat Hezbollah militarily, Lebanese civilians are continuing to die.
· One must ask, what does the destruction of the milk factory in Beirut have to do with Hezbollah, or the destruction of the grain silos in Tripoli? Or the hundreds of villages all through Lebanon that have been targeted by Israel's American made weapons?
· Will America's interests be served by arming Israel so it can continue to violate international law and kill at will those who resist their occupation? Israel is said to have at least 200 nuclear warheads, weapons that were developed by Israel with the cooperation of Apartheid South Africa before it was liberated by Nelson Mandela.
· It doesn't serve America's interests to refuse to talk with Syria or Iran. Israel has already encouraged attacks on Iran for its nuclear program. Instead of engaging in a double standard by allowing Israel to develop nuclear weapons and no one else, the U.S. should be calling for and enforcing a nuclear free Middle East, including Israel.