What are the options?

Open a newspaper – any newspaper around the world – the news of Israeli aggression is splashed all over. Although the Western press is undoubtedly favouring Israel, but the facts on the ground speak for themselves. It all started when a 19-year old Israeli soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit was abducted by Palestinian militants during a raid on an Israeli post near Gaza on June 25, 2006. The kidnapping was in retaliation for Israel’s arrest raid in Gaza on June 24, where Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who the army said were Hamas militants. On June 27, Israel launched a massive attack on the Gaza Strip. What started from the Gaza Strip spilled into the West Bank and then entered into another country, Lebanon.

At the recent G-8 summit in Russia, the following statement was released by the members: “We, the leaders of the G-8, meeting in St Petersburg, categorically denounce terrorist attacks worldwide and condemn in the strongest terms those who perpetrate these atrocities and bring untold suffering and death to citizens.” This statement was presented by those countries who do not think that Israel is involved in state terrorism or any kind of terrorism for that matter.

The West supports Israel by saying that it was only in self-defence that it started its offensive. US President George W Bush said, “Israel has a right to defend herself. Every nation must defend herself against terrorist attacks and the killing of innocent life. It is a necessary part of the 21st century.” Is carrying out such an extensive offensive just because one soldier was kidnapped justified, even in the 21st century? The West answers in the affirmative. Well if this be the case, would the West then allow self-defence to Palestine or Lebanon? Is attacking a country without any valid reason, except that a militant organisation is based there, called self-defence? To the US and the West it might be, since they opted to attack Iraq under the false pretence of WMDs. If the West thinks that Israel’s attacking the Gaza Strip and Lebanon is justified, then they are giving a licence for state terrorism. The US accusations that Hezbollah is merely the strawman for Iran and Syria is no justification for an attack on Lebanon. Who knows if next the presence of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (now called Jamatud Dawa) would be enough for India to launch a war on Pakistan. Whether the agenda is to remove and disarm Hezbollah from southern Lebanon is not the point. Why attack a sovereign state? If this had been Iran attacking Israel, would the West have taken it sitting down? No, it would have come running after Iran like anything.

Why this blind support for Israel? The settler-colonial Zionist mindset says, “If you hit me with a fly swatter, I will beat you with a sledgehammer.” This attitude is reminiscent of the ‘Black Law’ of our FATA region, where if one person commits a crime, his whole tribe suffers. One soldier was kidnapped, hundreds are being slain in Palestine and Lebanon. While browsing through the BBC’s website, the headline: “Lebanon ‘has been torn to shreds’” (BBC News, July 19, 2006) caught my attention. It went on to say, “The Lebanese prime minister has called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah militants, saying his country ‘has been torn to shreds’.” The infrastructure of Lebanon has been destroyed and it would take decades to repair the damage. Is Israel still justified?

We must not forget how Israel has tormented and tortured the Palestinians over the years. There have been countless casualties, expulsion of Palestinians through the use of military force, arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, attacks on civilians (which includes women, children and the elderly), destruction of homes and other property, indiscriminate killings, mass murders, confiscation of lands, mental and physical torture, legislations that are anti-Palestinian, etc. This is but a mere summary of what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians over the years; the real pain of the Palestinians cannot be described in words.

“The Middle East peace process has failed. The whole process should now be sent back to the Security Council for a complete overhaul,” said Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa. His statement came in a press conference in Cairo following an urgent meeting of Arab states’ foreign ministers following Israel’s aggression on Lebanon. Although the Arab League and other Muslim organisations have not been able to do anything yet, except paying lip service in condemning Israel’s offensive, it is time that the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League stand up for Palestine and take the Israelis to task. A hue and cry should be raised against Israel’s indiscriminate violence against the Palestinians and the Lebanese, the UN should be pressurised to implement an immediate ceasefire or given an ultimatum. If the UN fails, there are a few options that the Muslim world can adopt. It can threaten to boycott Israel and its products. In 1945, an Arab boycott was formally declared by the then newly formed Arab League Council. It announced: “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” This boycott gradually dilapidated after the signing of peace agreements between Israel and the PLO and Jordan. A new boycott might be able to pressurise Israel a bit, though the impact would be only symbolic as historically it has not changed Israel’s stance about various issues. What violence could not accomplish, maybe this renewed economic boycott might be able to. The Muslim world can unite over this issue, protest vehemently, publicly but peacefully, everywhere to show its anger at these actions and reduce ties with Israel. The Muslim countries can put their own sanctions on Israel, etc. War is not usually a solution in today’s world when the economy is more important.

The West is doing what it thinks is right, and it is doing it clearly and loudly. Similarly, in this time of need, every feeling Muslim shares a responsibility to help their religious brethren by providing assistance and aid in the form of relief and reconstruction of the destroyed facilities in Lebanon.


saad said…
mehmal, do u really think that what happened in lebanaon whappened, becasue of two soldiers ?

What do you think why olmert went to US and UK one month before the war ?

I was just going through some news and articles saying that US already knew of this isralei plan .
mehmal said…
Saad, I know that this war wasn't about two soldiers. In fact, there are some quarters that are of the opinion that the Israelis were the first to arrest some Hezbollah members from the Lebanese soil (and ofcourse there were the Gaza arrest raids before these soldiers were kidnapped).

I've written in Behind the war... (http://mehmal.blogspot.com/2006/08/behind-war.html), how the US was in on the plan and fully supported it.

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