As Israeli missiles continued to bombard Lebanon, an immediate ceasefire was demanded by an emergency demonstration of 100,000 people in London on August 5.
Also, reflecting the anger of people in Britain and internationally at George Bush and Tony Blair’s refusal to call for a ceasefire, almost a third of the parliamentary Labour Party – over 110 Labour MPs – signed a petition calling for an immediate ceasefire. That number would be enough to wipe out Blair’s majority in parliament, which illustrates, once again, the weakness of his position.
Blair claimed in a recent speech on the Middle East: “We could have chosen security as the battleground. But we didn’t, we chose values.” So his original reason for the Iraq war, which was ‘security’ against weapons of mass destruction (which did not even exist in Iraq) is now dismissed. And values? How many people support Bush and Blair’s values which have led to 100 deaths per day in Iraq and their backing of the Israeli state terror offensive in Lebanon?
The Israeli regime and its army chiefs are becoming increasingly desperate as their brutal bombing of Lebanon is failing to stop Hezbollah rockets hitting Israel. As well as continuing to pound south Lebanese villages and southern Beirut, Israeli Defence Force (IDF) shells have hit new areas, including the bridges in a Christian area of north Beirut. It was unlikely that there were Hezbollah fighters in that area.
There have been many missile hits on civilians, including the terrible Qana massacre, where over 40 were killed, and a strike on a group of mainly Syrian Kurdish farm workers, killing 33. Over 900 Lebanese people have been killed (a third of them children), and one million forced to flee their homes. Attempts to reach displaced, trapped and injured people with aid have been severely hampered by Israeli bombing of key roads and bridges. Diseases are starting to spread among people who have had their water supplies destroyed by missiles.
The toll in Israel, while much less, at 94 deaths and 300,000 people displaced, has caused great suffering to those worst affected and is a blow to the Israeli regime that it did not expect.
Israeli Jewish people overwhelmingly support the war so far. But they were assured at the start of it that Hezbollah would soon be eliminated, yet Hezbollah’s resistance remains strong.
So Israeli ministers changed their propaganda to say that Hezbollah can only be weakened, not completely defeated, which has led to widespread questioning of their strategy. This will turn into outright opposition if the war continues for a prolonged period.
This savage war will bring no security to Israeli Jews, and is a nightmare for hundreds of thousands of people in Lebanon. The building of the anti-war movement internationally and in Israel is urgent, to bring a halt to it as soon as possible.