Israel Out of Lebanon and Gaza!
End U.S. Aid to the Colonial-Settler State of

by George Saunders

Imitating George W. Bush’s massive use of air power to “shock and awe” an entire population, Israeli air strikes and naval bombardments at time of writing (July 22) have killed a reported 350 Lebanese and wounded more than 1,000, mostly civilians. The actual toll of death and injury is probably much higher. Israel’s destruction of communications and other infrastructure in Lebanon make it impossible to know exactly how many have been bombed to death or injured. The economic destruction from this man-made disaster has additionally caused losses of millions of dollars and has probably set back the economy of Lebanon by more than a decade.

The government of Israel, with full support from its U.S. imperialist puppet master, gives as its excuse for this genocidal bombing campaign the “right to defend itself.” But it was not attacked. The pretext for this massive bombardment of an entire population was that in a clash with Hizbullah guerrillas along the Lebanon-Israel border some Israeli soldiers were captured and/or killed. Yet such fighting between Israeli forces and Lebanon-based Hizbullah guerrillas has been going on for decades. And when Israeli forces, as they frequently do, capture and abduct people outside Israel’s borders, no military power retaliates with indiscriminate slaughter of the Israeli population.

Israel has been preparing to launch an attack like this for more than a year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The July 12, 2006, clash with Hizbullah guerrillas was merely a pretext that the Israeli military-political leadership was waiting for.

Visitors to the Labor Standard web site may find the following information useful, in addition to articles about the war on Lebanon already posted on our site. Connecticut peace activists put together the following background information on events leading up to Israel’s genocidal attack on Lebanon. In addition to the sources recommended below, we recommend the web site of the Alternative Information Center, which is supported by antiwar opposition groups inside Israel.

Good sources for coverage of the conflict: 

Also see the following news story: 

“Even military analysts find Israel’s rationale for attack on Lebanon to be ‘thin’ 

And see Israeli children writing messages on bombs that will soon kill innocent Lebanese people, a counter to the Zionist claim that Palestinians “teach their children to hate.”

See also, “Israelis shoot at some Fox reporters in Gaza—and anchors, thousands of miles away, try to excuse the soldiers.”

The following is some basic information to help with writing letters to media editors:

1. Background to Israel’s attack on Gaza.

On June 24, Israel abducted a doctor and his brother from Gaza.  Their fate is unknown.

The next day Palestinian militants abducted an Israeli soldier. They agreed to free him if Israel would release the Palestinian women and children kept inside Israeli prisons. (There are 10,000 Christians and Muslims in Israeli prisons—300 of whom are children under the age of 18.)

Israel then began bombing Gaza. The only power plant in the area was destroyed, leaving many without clean water. Bridges and roads were destroyed. Soldiers and tanks rolled in, threatening a population already facing a humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s border closures and U.S,/European sanctions. One hundred people in Gaza have been killed (as of July 19) and most of their democratically elected leaders have been abducted.

2. The attack on Lebanon

[On July 12] Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. Their intent was to arrange for a prisoner exchange. (Officially Israel is holding three Lebanese prisoners but there are allegations of hundreds missing.) The timing of the Hezbollah action suggests that it was partly intended to reduce the intensity of the attacks in Gaza by forcing Israel to fight in two places simultaneously.

Israel then launched a bombing campaign that has since attacked over 100 villages, towns, and cities in Lebanon. As of July 20, 330 people had been killed and 500,000 people displaced. Hezbollah responded with rockets that have killed 25 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Israel claims it has only been bombing “legitimate targets.” Here is a short list of some of these targets:

Bridges, roads (even as people were fleeing), Lebanon’s largest milk factory, a food factory, grain silos, two pharmaceutical plants, water-processing plants, power plants, trucks carrying medical supplies, and a Greek Orthodox Church.

3. U.S. support to Israel

The U.S. gives Israel more aid than any other country, even more than all of black Africa. Estimates range as high as 5 or 6 billion tax dollars a year.  Therefore, the U.S. government has a strong role in deciding Israel’s actions.

In this current conflict, the U.S. has supported Israel’s aggression in Lebanon by doing the following:

Preventing the United Nations from calling for a cease-fire [by using its Security Council veto]. The U.S. was the only member of the 15-nation Security Council that opposed action against the violence.

The Bush administration has given Israel permission to continue the attacks for another week, according to Israeli and European sources (on July 19). If the administration leaders can stop this conflict in a week, why can’t they stop it immediately?

The administration has rejected calls for a cease-fire in interviews and meetings with leaders of other countries. There was even a resounding “no” to the Lebanese Prime Minister’s appeal [that Israel be stopped].

There has been no discussion of cessation of arms to Israel. The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to back Israel’s attacks, placing all the blame on other parties. [The House of Representatives followed suit, with only 8 voting against.]

Following is a sample “letter to the editor”:

Letter to the Danbury, Connecticut, News Times

Israel using U.S. aid for actions in Gaza

July 18, 2006

In Israel, Jewish citizens have rights. Palestinian Christians and Muslims, however, are denied basic rights by the Israeli military that rules over them.

Gaza has been turned into an open-air prison, with Christians and Muslims denied freedom of movement.

For no reason at all, the Israelis have been using sonic blasts over the skies of Gaza, which shatter windows, cause miscarriages, and inflict psychological trauma among children.

After the elections [in January 2006], Israel and the United States were angry that Palestinians didn't pick the leaders our governments preferred. Currently, they are being punished by harsh sanctions, leaving many Christians and Muslims without food or basic medical supplies.

This hypocrisy is being perpetrated while the U.S. government claims to be “spreading democracy.”

And now, while they are starving (over 70 percent of Gazans live on less than $2 a day), the Israelis invade. They kill innocent people, destroy electric facilities and bridges, and leave people without clean water.

In addition, the Israelis kidnapped the elected leaders of Palestine. And it’s all done with U.S. tax money.

Palestinian militants captured a soldier who was enforcing the illegal and immoral occupation of Palestine (not a civilian).

Yet the militants agreed to free him, if Israel would release the Palestinian women and children kept inside Israeli prisons. (Israelis kidnap men, women, and children to detain in prisons. At least a thousand of these prisoners have been charged with nothing.)

Even the father of the captured soldier has said openly that these actions are not for the purpose of freeing his son.

We have to end our support for these atrocities. We should withhold our billions of aid dollars until Israel grants rights not just to Jews but to Palestinian Christians and Muslims as well.