Archive for July, 2006

48-Hour Ceasefire Broken Quickly

31 July 2006

Though George Bush seems extremely concerned with creating a “lasting” peace, as opposed to a “fake peace,” he seemed relatively unconcerned with Israel breaking the ceasefire, which was supposed to last 48 hours, after only a few hours. According to the BBC, over 50 Israelis have died in the conflict, and over 750 Lebanese have lost their lives, although are underway.

The Israeli Defence Minister said that “if an immediate ceasefire is declared, the extremists will rear their heads anew.” Head-rearing, whatever, that may be, should certainly be avoided. More important is the avoidance of civilian casualties. The attack on Qana Sunday, however, shows an Israeli focus on the prevention of head-rearing, whatever the cost in civilian lives may be.

According to the BBC, Israelis view the conflict in Lebanon as a fight for national survival, and don’t understand why the world is more sympathetic about the deaths of 51 Israelis, 18 of which were civilians. Maybe because their deaths are overshadowed by the deaths of 750 Lebanese, most of which were civilians. The deaths of civilians is, in all circumstances, a terrible thing. But the deaths of Israeli civilians have been much less frequent than the deaths of Lebanese. The Lebanese people have been drawn into this conflict through no fault of their own, and it is time that a ceasefire be implemented, and kept by Israel.

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Who Did that Attack Save?

30 July 2006

A recent Israeli attack on the town of Qana killed 54 civilians, at least 34 of which were children. Israel stated that, although Israel carried out the strike, a Shi’ite militant group was actually responsible because they launched rockets from the town. Israel also said that, although they regretted the incident, the people had been advised to leave the area and that Israel would continue its attacks in Lebanon. Israel failed to note that many people in the town were not able to leave, due to lack of transportation, etc.

The attacks by Israel began when two soldiers were taken hostage by militants, and has been fueled by missile attacks on Israel. 51 Israelis, 18 of which were civilians, have been killed in the conflict. The civilian deaths from the attack on Qana alone outweighs all Israeli deaths, including soldiers. Israel isn’t helping anyone but themselves, and they’re killing hundreds of innocent civilians. Israel, the United Kingdom, an the United States continue to oppose a ceasefire.

Israel has also continued to attack the Gaza Strip, although those raids have been less covered due to a media focus on Lebanon. Attacks in the Gaza Strip have killed about 100 Palestinians, including many civilians.

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Laser-Guided Bombs Don’t Create Peace

29 July 2006

Amid accusations of Israel using inaccurate weapons that resulted in killing civilians, our president has once again determined the solution: Ship laser-guided bombs to Israel.

Information about the shipments were in a BBC article that focused mainly on the fact that the planes refueled at a UK airport and may have broken rules regarding shipment procedures for hazardous materials. Air traffic controllers were reportedly “uncomfortable.” And why shouldn’t they be? Bombs are dangerous, and people don’t like to be around them. They kill people, and they’re very good at it.

How, though, are these laser-guided bombs going to create the “lasting Peace” that George Bush is so fond of talking about? Israel has shown little regard for civilians, and most of the Lebanese deaths have been innocent people.

Bush was kind enough to apologize to Tony Blair for violating the airplane rules. His administration has yet to apologize to the future victims of the bombs.

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Inaccurate Weapons Used by Israel

28 July 2006

Recent reports by Human Rights Watch say that Israeli military forces have been using cluster bombs and white phosphorus in battle, and a number of civilians have been killed by these weapons. Israeli military officials claimed that their use was legal, although their danger to civilians has been proven.

The Israeli argument is simply that since cluster bombs themselves are legal, so is their use under any circumstances. Human Rights Watch, however, has made the point that, since militaries must distinguish between people who are fighting and killing and people who are not. Therefore, their argument proceeds, militaries must make an effort to avoid civilian casualties, and the use of such weapons as white phosphorus and cluster bombs do not demonstrate that the Israeli military is making this effort.

The idea of the possession of something being legal makes the use of it legal under any circumstances is an odd one. It is perfectly legal to own a gun in the United States, but the use of it to kill anyone is strictly forbidden. Likewise, it is fine to own a truck, but driving it on the sidewalk carelessly is not acceptable. Likewise, it is not acceptable for Israel to kill civilians with cluster bombs and white phosphorus.

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There Needs to be Some Peace

27 July 2006

While bureaucrats from around the globe gather in Rome to discuss the differences between the kinds of peace, the killing continues in Lebanon. At least 445 have been killed in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and the Beirut government says it is around 600. 51 Israelis, including 18 civilians, have been killed.

The United States has refused to call for a ceasefire, or to allow the UN Security Council to do so. “My goal is exactly what I said it was, and that is to hopefully end this as quickly as possible and at the same time making sure there is a lasting peace, not a fake peace,” Bush said. Thus, Lebanese must continue to die, so that there can be a better kind of peace.

It remains unclear what exactly a fake peace is. Maybe it’s where we are now in Iraq, with our “Mission Accomplished” but no end to the fighting. If there was a ceasefire though, and Israel, say, ceased their fire, the victims probably wouldn’t mind the different terminology.

France, meanwhile, said that it was disappointed that a ceasefire had not been called for. With their typical French boldness, they have urged Security Council foreign ministers to meet to work on a ceasefire resolution next week.

On average, at least 27 Lebanese have been killed each day, so by Monday next week, the minimum killed will pass the 500 mark. The killing has thus far resulted in “lasting death,” and any kind of peace would be preferable.

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