Lapdog Blair Gets an Earful in Beirut
It wasn’t a good day for the embattled Tony Blair. During a press conference in Beirut with Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora—former central banker for Group Méditerranée and Citibank employee—an “angry protester accus[ed] Tony Blair of complicity in the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon,” according to ABC News.
And then Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri “left town in an apparent snub” and “the country’s most senior Shiite Muslim cleric said he held Blair responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Lebanese civilians during the 34-day war because Britain supported the United States in refusing to demand a quick cease-fire.” Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah characterized Blair as a “killer of children, women and the elderly.” Blair responded blithely by saying “he understood the anger in Lebanon” and “pledged Britain would help Lebanon rebuild. Both he and Saniora said a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was crucial to securing stability in the entire region.”
Of course, for Blair and his neocon co-conspirators in Washington, the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”—in other words, Israel killing thousands of Palestinians and stealing their land—will be resolved when Palestinians surrender and finally consent to their assigned colonial role as hewers of wood and drawers of water. Caoimhe Butterly, a well-known Irish peace activist, mentioned above, understands this and that is why she unfurled a banner declaring “Boycott Israeli apartheid” in front of live TV cameras. “It’s all right. We are in a democracy…. We respect all sorts of expression,” Saniora commented as security thugs dragged Butterly out of the press conference. In democratic Lebanon, as in democratic America, protesters were “kept about a half-mile from the government headquarters,” thus making sure they did not embarrass Blair, as Caoimhe Butterly had managed to do.
“I hope out of … what has been a tragic and terrible time, we can rebuild in a way that gives not just lasting peace here in the Lebanon but a lasting peace in the region,” Blair said. “I believe it can be done. And furthermore I commit myself for the remainder of my time in office to do everything I can to bring that about.” Instead of “terrible time,” Blair should have said “terrible crime,” as that is what Israel inflicted on the people of Lebanon, as noted by Amnesty International late last month.
In standard fashion, and in keeping with Israel’s long history of brutality, Amnesty International made mention of Israeli war crimes against the people of Lebanon. “The pattern, scope and scale of the attacks makes Israel’s claim that this was ‘collateral damage’, simply not credible,” said Kate Gilmore, Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International. “There must be accountability for the perpetrators of war crimes and reparation for the victims.” Such war crimes include: “Massive destruction by Israeli forces of whole civilian neighborhoods and villages… Attacks on bridges in areas of no apparent strategic importance… Attacks on water pumping stations, water treatment plants and supermarkets despite the prohibition against targeting objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population… Statements by Israeli military officials indicating that the destruction of civilian infrastructure was indeed a goal of Israel’s military campaign designed to press the Lebanese government and the civilian population to turn against Hizbullah…. The report exposes a pattern of indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, which resulted in the displacement of twenty-five percent of the civilian population. This pattern, taken together with official statements, indicates that the attacks on infrastructure were deliberate, and not simply incidental to lawful military objectives.”
“Zionist designs upon Lebanon long antedated the formation of the state of Israel,” writes Ralph Schoenman in the Hidden History of Zionism. “The slaughter and dispersal of the Palestinian people [during the 1982 invasion] was one component of Israeli strategy. Another was the decimation of the vital Lebanese economy which, despite Israeli efforts, had emerged as the finance capital of the Middle East… Twenty thousand Palestinians and Lebanese died, 25,000 were wounded and 400,000 were made homeless during the first months of the 1982 Israeli invasion. The tonnages dropped on Beirut alone surpassed those of the atomic bomb which devastated Hiroshima. Schools and hospitals were particularly targeted…. Lebanon was the model, prepared for its role by the Israelis for thirty years, as the [Moshe] Sharett diaries revealed. It is the expansionist compulsion set forth by Herzl and Ben Gurion even as it is the logical extension of the Sharett diaries. The dissolution of Lebanon was proposed in 1919, planned in 1936, launched in 1954 and realized in 1982.”
“By consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Israel has violated one of the most fundamental tenets of the laws of war: the duty to carry out attacks on only military targets,” explains Human Rights Watch. “The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests that the failures cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents; the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences indicate the commission of war crimes.” For Israel, however, there is no difference between combatants and civilians—all Arabs are targets of opportunity, ripe for “armenization,” for as Theodore Herzl and Rabbi Fischmann have declared, the “Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. It includes parts of Syria and Lebanon” and extends from “the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.”
Apparently, Fouad Siniora is not onboard with Ali Berro, the Lebanese government’s special adviser on legal affairs, who “is working behind the scenes to bring Tony Blair before the Scottish courts, charged with war crimes for aiding and abetting the Israeli onslaught against Lebanon,” according to the Sunday Herald. Berro’s legal “team is accusing Blair of assisting Israel in carrying out war crimes against civilians, citing various pieces of international legislation, including the Geneva Conventions, which say that it is a war crime to aid and abet a nation carrying out attacks targeted against civilians.” Azam Mohamad, the director of Glasgow’s Middle East Society, added: “We are shocked that Tony Blair has allowed aircraft carrying bombs bound for Israel to come through this country. These weapons are illegal as they are used to kill civilians. I cannot find words to explain my unhappiness at Blair’s decision. If we get a chance to take Tony Blair to court, we will do so.”
Of course, more than likely they will not get the chance. In a perfect world, or one a shade more perfect than the one we have, not only would Blair be arrested and forced to do the perp walk in an orange jumpsuit, but so would Bush, Cheney, their murderous minions, and Olmert and his Zionist mobsters. For now, we will settle for brave souls of Caoimhe Butterly’s caliber, confronting Blair before live television cameras.
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