Emergency Action: Lebanon

Ian Douglas and Hana Al Bayaty | 23 July 2006 |



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Security Council fails

if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures, including in the case of a breach of the peace or act of aggression the use of armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security. If not in session at the time, the General Assembly may meet in emergency special session within twenty-four hours of the request therefor. Such emergency special session shall be called if requested by the Security Council on the vote of any seven members, or by a majority of the Members of the United Nations …

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 377 (V) “Uniting For Peace” 302nd plenary meeting, 3 November 1950

Public demonstrations are essential, but even more is demanded of us. The system has to be disrupted completely if there is to be any chance of minimizing the casualties of Israel’s coming ground invasion and re-occupation of South Lebanon.

We call on all workers, all management, all professions, all unions and syndicates, and all Arabs to begin immediately a general strike.

We appeal especially to dockers, oil workers and airport workers. Anyone who has a position in the supply chain for Israel should act on their conscience.

This action is needed now. We believe the invasion will begin this week.

General strike, now!

Hana Abdul Ilah Al-Bayaty, BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee
Ian Douglas, BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee
Dirk Adriaensens, BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee

Spread this call for action
We call on people who endorse this call for action to diffuse it widely.

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General Assembly can and must act

Israel’s wanton bombing of Lebanese civilians is an unequivocal war crime

States are obliged to protect Lebanon, militarily if necessary, lest international law become a travesty

If the Security Council won’t act, the General Assembly can and must

Over 250 Lebanese civilians dead within a week, all murdered by the State of Israel. If the elected leaders of the states we, the people, compose do nothing about this, international society is nothing but illusion — camouflage and safety valve for unbridled aggression.

  • Israel cannot wantonly kill civilians and claim “self-defense”
  • Collective punishment is illegal under international law
  • The scale and target of Israeli military strikes is utterly disproportionate to the legal resistance operation Israelclaims provoked them.
  • This lack of proportionality itself constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity
  • Condoleezza Rice suggesting “conducive conditions” must appear before any ceasefire be negotiated is tantamount to aiding and abetting war crimes and is imputable under international criminal law
  • It is paramount for people everywhere to mobilize now to save Lebanese civilians, understanding that their suffering mirrors the impact of US-Israeli colonial imperialism in Palestine, Iraq and elsewhere
  • Tel Aviv and Washington: Executioner and apologist

    Following the intended destruction of the Iraqi state and society by the United States and its allies, (condemned by the BRussells Tribunal), and the catalogue of atrocities of recent years, no one can maintain that the United States and Israel — international tyrant and regional proxy — have anything but the most contemptuous plans for the Arab world and its people. Not only do we have stomach a barrage of lies and endless attempts by Bush and his oil company paymasters to enact their own version of the domino theory across the Middle East, last week witnessed what could be an audacious bid to begin the endgame: one that likely will lead to a major, multi-state regional war which surely would include, sooner or later, the use of nuclear weapons.

    [pullquote align=”right”] The opening years of the second millennium have crystallized all the injustice of the last century. And in this conspiracy, corporate mainstream media plays a willing, opportunist role [/pullquote] From Iraq to Palestine and across all the crooked pro-Washington Arab regimes, the US alliance with Israel — which now has reached insane proportions of mutual devotion — has brought nothing but torture, violence and mass destruction to the Arab world. The opening years of the second millennium have crystallized all the injustice of the last century. And in this conspiracy, corporate mainstream media plays a willing, opportunist role.

    Now we are obliged to sit back, relax and watch Lebanese citizens be exterminated in an orgy of Israeli violence. We refuse. We are cajoled to believe that Israel is the victim and the only fair-playing actor in the Middle East. We do not believe.

    The right to resist

    The resistance operation that was the alleged trigger for Israel’s latest foray of war crimes was legitimate under international law. Despite Israel’s withdrawal from much of South Lebanon in 2000, it has continued to occupy the Shebaa Farms area, contrary to UN determinations, kept thousands of prisoners, as well as routinely violate Lebanese sovereignty with flyovers by Israeli warplanes.

    For over a quarter of a century, customary international law has explicitly sanctioned the use of “all means” necessary to achieving effective self-determination for peoples under colonial rule or occupation. There are hundred of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon since 1948 whom Israel refuses the right to return to their homes, as stated in resolution 194 of the General Assembly of the UN. The nature of Israel’s colonial designs on Lebanonis well established. So long as Israel occupies Lebanese land, Hizbullah — or any other popular force — has a right under international law to repel and resist that occupation. Nothing in international law prohibits the taking of prisoners of war, which Israel’s captured soldiers are.

    Regardless of whether Israel likes it or not that its colonial plans are resisted by those it would subjugate, nothing — certainly not morality — allows it to displace its fury upon a civilian population. This is what it is doing. It is not even targeting Hizbullah.

    Colonialism and the fight for justice

    In reality, Israel’s bombing of Lebanon has nothing to do with two soldiers. Bush and advisors are saying now that Hizbullah should be addressed militarily: that a ceasefire “won’t solve the problem,” which in their view is resistance to US-Israeli colonial plans.

    [pullquote align=”left”] It is impossible to separate Israel’s bombing of Lebanon from its history as a state founded on the dispossession of another national entity — the Palestinians [/pullquote] History has taught repeatedly that no grievance is ever forgotten until justice is attained. Thus, it is impossible to separate Israel’s bombing of Lebanon from its history as a state founded on the dispossession of another national entity — the Palestinians. It is also impossible for Israel to achieve its ends through force, just as the United States has failed in Iraq.

    The State of Israel claims, nonetheless, a free hand to do whatever it wishes, wherever it wishes. In this, the US is its most valued apologist. In clear violation of an agreement brokered by Condoleezza Rice herself, Israel is starving Gaza to the point of humanitarian disaster, denying entry for the most rudimentary components of human survival. Supported by Bush’s America, Israel has refused to recognize the internationally declared free and fair election results that brought Hamas to power. In abducting members of the Hamas government, it places the entire Palestinian population at risk.

    [pullquote align=”right”] The attempts to justify Israel’s state of exception — a racist conception of blood purity and regional supremacy — have poisoned not only the Middle East but world politics as a whole [/pullquote] It is time that the Middle East ceases to be the abyss around which the entire world revolves for the sake of the State of Israel. The attempts to justify Israel’s state of exception — a racist conception of blood purity and regional supremacy — have poisoned not only the Middle East but world politics as a whole. Yet Israel continues to be given carte blanche to cut down all who resist its colonial plans without reference to any of the numerous instruments of international human rights and humanitarian law aimed at codifying the most basic moral principles of human relations.

    Justice means addressing the unjustifiable exception to all contemporary norms that is the State of Israel. Justice will begin when the world admits what it knows about Israeli strategic intentions, and when Israel knows it can no longer hoodwink the world.

    Action now!

    We call for the following immediately:

    1) Action in the UN General Assembly

    The UN General Assembly has created the State of Israel. It has the political and moral obligation to protect the Lebanese state and people. The UN Security Council is morally bankrupt and practically impotent because Americavetoes anything that negatively affects Israel. Israel’s actions in Lebanon constitute a grave threat to international peace and security and thus challenge the founding principles of the United Nations. Under the “uniting for peace” resolution of 1950, the UN General Assembly is empowered to act when the Security Council neglects its duty to maintain order and peace between states. The General Assembly should immediately evoke this resolution and find or create means to restrain the State of Israel and/or expel it from the United Nations system. (Further reading: A Road to Peace in Lebanon? Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith (27 July 2006)

    2) Immediate humanitarian aid for Lebanese civilians

    Humanitarian and relief aid agencies have a duty to respond to the needs of all civilians in Lebanon affected byIsrael’s campaign of destruction, regardless of nationality. Many already warn of a severe humanitarian crisis but days away as thousands are internally displaced. Citizen-based initiatives are as important, if not more so. While the community of state leaders seems happy to watch the carnage, world civil society should demonstrate in action that this silence is not in our name.

    3) Divestment drives and boycotts of the State of Israel

    We call for an immediate and complete economic boycott of the State of Israel. Divestment campaigns — successful on many college campuses in the West — should be extended and publicized. The manufacturers of hundreds of US products give money directly to Israel (lists are available on the Internet). All should be boycotted immediately and until Israel has established again its credentials as a peaceful, democratic, and open state and society.

    4) Immediate and sustained protest until the killing stops and real change occurs

    It is time for wider humanity to address the core reasons for the litany of atrocities — from Iraq to Afghanistan,Lebanon to Palestine — to which we are all subjected as witnesses. These core reasons concern the State of Israel, and blind US support for the racist policies thereof.


    The BRussells Tribunal, in solidarity with the people of Lebanon, accuses the State of Israel of war crimes and theUnited States of complicity. We demand the unconditional end of Israeli aggression against the sovereign state and sovereign people of Lebanon.

    We call upon people of conscience and moral fortitude everywhere to vigorously oppose Israel’s campaign of mass murder and America’s grotesque alliance with Israeli state terrorism.

    We stand with the Lebanese against imperialism and racism, and in defense of human values, democracy and international law.

    The BRussells Tribunal Committee

    The BRussells Tribunal calls on people who endorse the sentiment of this statement to diffuse it widely. Email contact for the BRussells Tribunal: [email protected]

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    This statement was drafted by Ian Douglas and Hana Al Bayaty, and was first published by the BRussells Tribunal: http://brussellstribunal.org/Lebanon.htm

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