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groundwork for a ceasefire? « Previous | |Next »
July 29, 2006

We know that the Bush administration's unwillingness to pressure Israel to halt its military campaign in Lebanon is rooted in a view of the Middle East conflict that is sharply different from that of his predecessors.

As Michael Abramowitz in the Washington Post writes that Bush holds that Israel is in the right. Hezbollah is in the wrong. Terrorists have to be eliminated, and he sees Israel fighting the war he would fight against terrorism." Israel's action against Hizbollah are a key part of the global war on terror – and Israel as the most important ally in that war.


Yet there are grounds for a ceasefire in the Hizbollah/israeli conflict that are different from the US-Israeli design to remap the Middle East according to the interests of Israel.

The first steps would be:

a) a truce, that is to say a suspension of military operations by both sides, to allow help to reach the hard-pressed Lebanese population;
b) an exchange of prisoners (including some Lebanese prisoners who have been held in Israeli jails for nearly 30 years);
c) require Hizballah to withdraw from the immediate border area in exchange for an Israel withdrawal from the Shebaa Farms (an enclave of Lebanese territory occupied in 1967.)

Could not these moves lay the groundwork for a more permanent ceasefire? The next steps would involve the United States ultimately accepting the legitimacy of Hezbollah. This means that the US backs away down from its current demonization of Hezbollah as terrorist pure and simple, and accepts that Hezbollah in many ways meets the description of a national-liberation movement.

Alas, I cannot see this happening. The Bush adminsitration is in favour of Hezbollah neutralization. Nor can I see Howard government breaking with the Bush Administration over its support for Israeli strikes that cause death and misery amongst innocent civilians. Or argue that 'a continuation of such military tactics by Israel could destabilise the already fragile Lebanese nation. Or question the logic of destroying Lebanon and then saving it.

So we are left with the Bush Adminstration and the Howard Government supporting the neocons and the Israel lobby urging the Israelis to go on bombing the hell out of Beirut. That is the road of folly.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:22 PM | | Comments (0)