Statement on Lebanon and the Current Middle Eastern Conflict

From the Socialist Action National Office

The massive Israeli collective punishments of the populations of Lebanon and Gaza and the specter of a new Middle East War that they have raised are a dramatic revelation of the fact that the Zionist state depends on terror to maintain itself in the face of the hostility of the people of the region. The present crisis is also demonstrating to the world that in the long run an apartheid Jewish state cannot be sustained.

Even commentators in the big Western countries that support Israel has been declaring that so far Hizbullah is winning the war. What a guerrilla organization needs to win is simply to survive and to inspire popular support, as Hizbullah is clearly doing. The New York Times of July 28 noted that Arab public opinion has swung overwhelmingly behind the Lebanese resistance organization.

Hizbullah is hitting the Achilles Heel of the Zionist settler state, its relatively small population and its relatively small economy. Under a rain of missiles that the Israeli military has been unable to stop or even mitigate, the northern third of Israel has already become paralyzed and largely depopulated.

Israel’s dependence on U.S. military aid has been highlighted by a special shipment of “smart bombs” in the midst of the present crisis. But this conflict has also pointed up the limits of U.S. power in the region.

The U.S. has been unable to defeat the resistance in Iraq and secure its control of the country. It would be taking an enormous risk if it confronted Syria and Iran, the two states that support Hizbullah. The Iranian government has said that it will not tolerate a U.S. attack on Syria, and it has very considerable political and military resources at its command. Iranian volunteers are already on their way to Lebanon to reinforce Hizbullah. And the Iranians could tip the Shiites in Iraq into active opposition to the U.S. occupation and thereby multiply the challenges that face it.

The resistance of Hizbullah and the Palestinian organizations to the Israeli onslaught has demonstrated that the Arab population of the region cannot be enduringly intimated by Zionist collective punishments. And the U.S. defeat in Iraq shows that in general the relationship of forces is deteriorating for imperialism in the region.

The initial provocation for the present crisis was in fact Israeli repression in Gaza. The kidnapping of an Israel soldier by the Palestinian resistance was motivated by the urgent need that Palestinians feel to force the Israelis to release at least some of the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners they hold.

Initially, the resistance groups that carried out the kidnapping demanded only that Israel release about 100 women prisoners and some prisoners who have been held many years. The Zionist rulers then took the pretext of the kidnapping to launch a huge collective punishment operation to crush the people of Gaza. Hizbullah could not stand by and watch the Palestinians crushed. And so it acted, thereby providing the pretext for the murderous Israeli assault on Lebanon.

Therefore, the first prerequisite for ending the present slaughter is that Israel end its practice of collective punishments. Following the experience of the Nazi occupation in Europe, international law has banned such measures. They are specifically outlawed by the Geneva Convention, which was adopted in the wake of the World War II experience.

Second, the Israel repression of the Palestinians must end and the prisoners must be released.

Third, Palestinians have to be guaranteed democratic and equal rights through their historic homeland. The logic of this, of course, is the replacement of the Zionist apartheid state and the Palestinian Bantustan with a democratic secular Palestine in which Jews and Arabs can live together. This ultimately is the only way to end the chronic warfare in the Middle East and to avert the threat of even wider and larger scale conflicts resulting from it.

·       Stop the U.S. and Israeli bombings and terror in the Middle East!

·       Occupation is a crime, from Iraq to Lebanon and Palestine!

·       Self-determination for Palestine!

·       Stop all U.S. aid to Israel!

·       End collective punishments!

·       Free the 9,000 Israeli-held Palestinian political prisoners!

·       Equal rights for Palestinians throughout the historic land of Palestine!