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Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Middle East; ACT's View vs Socialist Stance

I have some pretty mixed feelings on the Israel/Lebanon/Palestine tangle. I am certainly not blind to the plight of innocent Lebanese and Palestinians and do not regard the Israelis as angels. However I think it will be easy to see which of the two following statements I most support.

Here's what Rodney Hide said in Parliament yesterday

RODNEY HIDE (Leader--ACT): Thank you, Madam Speaker. The ACT party rises to join with the Prime Minister in deploring the loss of life in the Middle East, and especially the four UN peacekeepers. But we do not endorse the Prime Minister’s statement. In particular, we take issue with the Prime Minister’s repetition of the statement of “disproportionate violence”. I can do no better than to refer to page B3 of today’s New Zealand Herald, where Dominic Lawson, writing for the Independent, states: “What is the proportionate response to a terrorist organisation which repeatedly sends rockets packed with ball bearings to cause maximum civilian casualties in your main domestic tourist resort? And what do you do if that organisation, backed by Iran and Syria, also has two ministers in the Government of the country from which they are sending those rockets?”.

I ask New Zealanders and this Parliament to consider what New Zealand’s response would be if we had to confront a neighbour right on our borders who would commit such atrocities, and whether we would stand idly by and talk about a proportionate response. I say to this House and to New Zealand that until Hezbollah stops the violence and recognises the State of Israel’s right to exist, then we cannot expect peace. Our focus should be on achieving that peace, not on repeating propaganda. Thank you.

Below is a July 20th statement signed by more than 50 communist and workers’ parties from around the world, including Palestinian, Israeli, Lebanese, Syrian, US, British, Greek, Cypriot and Australian parties:

From the Communist Party of Australia's Guardian of July 26th

We strongly condemn all aggressive acts by the Israeli army in Gaza and Lebanon with tragic consequences for the lives of the Palestinian, Lebanese and Israeli people but also for people from other countries.

We reject and condemn the blames and threats by US and Israeli Government addressed toward Syria and Iran and against other countries of the region. These threats reveal that the real aggressive and expansive force in the region is Israel.

We strongly protest the US policy which encourages the Israeli aggressiveness. We reject the hypocrisy shown by the G8 leaders and the "equal distance" policy pursued today by certain forces.

We are highly concerned about and warn of the great dangers for a general spread of the crisis in the Middle East, for a new civil war and for a massive imperialist intervention in Lebanon under the pretext of "peace building measures".

The bombings against Lebanon follow the fierce offensive in the Gaza Strip, the kidnapping of Palestinian political figures, the attempt to eliminate the Palestinian National Authority, to destroy the infrastructure and to sink the Palestinian society into a state of chaos.

The raids in Gaza and Lebanon constitute new steps of the "Greater Middle East" US and NATO policy which is directed against the legitimate rights of the peoples, the popular resistance, the progressive and peace loving forces.

The Israeli Government, the only military nuclear power in the region, demonstratively ignores UN Security Council resolutions, violates agreements with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, undermines the agreements by the Palestinian organisations regarding the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, and rejects the cease-fire proposals. It is also in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, an international law that prohibits collective punishment, "targeted" assassinations, and destruction of the infrastructure of an occupied territory.

We call upon all peace loving forces to strengthen their solidarity with the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples, with the progressive forces fighting for peace in Israel and to intensify the struggle for a political solution based on:

The immediate cessation of the attacks and withdrawal of the Israeli army.

The respect of national sovereignty and territorial integrity against any imperialist intervention under any pretext.

The immediate release of the political prisoners.

The complete dismantling of the settlements and withdrawal of the Israeli army from the territories occupied in 1967, the establishment of a Palestinian state (Gaza Strip and the West Bank) with its capital in East Jerusalem, alongside Israel.

The solution of the refugee question. The return of all Palestinian refugees should be based on the resolution of UN Security Council No. 194 and according also to the other UN resolutions.

Only pulling out Israeli soldiers from Gaza and Lebanon and a just and viable peace would put an end to the bloodshed and guarantee the security for all peoples of the Middle East.

New Zeal The socialists don't ask for much, do they?


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