War crimes and Lebanon
By Professor Steve Trevillion
Guardian" -- -- The US-backed Israeli assault on
Lebanon has left the country numb, smouldering and angry. The
massacre in Qana and the loss of life is not simply
"disproportionate". It is, according to existing international laws,
a war crime.
The deliberate and systematic destruction of Lebanon's social
infrastructure by the Israeli air force was also a war crime,
designed to reduce that country to the status of an Israeli-US
protectorate. The attempt has backfired. In Lebanon itself, 87% of
the population now support Hizbullah's resistance, including 80% of
Christian and Druze and 89% of Sunni Muslims, while 8% believe the
US supports Lebanon. But these actions will not be tried by any
court set up by the "international community" since the US and its
allies that commit or are complicit in these appalling crimes will
not permit it.
It has now become clear that the assault on Lebanon to wipe out
Hizbullah had been prepared long before. Israel's crimes had been
given a green light by the US and its loyal British ally, despite
the opposition to Blair in his own country.
In short, the peace that Lebanon enjoyed has come to an end, and a
paralysed country is forced to remember a past it had hoped to
forget. The state terror inflicted on Lebanon is being repeated in
the Gaza ghetto, while the "international community" stands by and
watches in silence. Meanwhile, the rest of Palestine is annexed and
dismantled with the direct participation of the US and the tacit
approval of its allies.
We offer our solidarity and support to the victims of this brutality
and to those who mount a resistance against it. For our part, we
will use all the means at our disposal to expose the complicity of
our governments in these crimes. There will be no peace in the
Middle East while the occupations of Palestine and Iraq and the
temporarily "paused" bombings of Lebanon continue.
As our political leaders argue over the difference between a
"cessation of hostilities" and a "ceasefire", more and more children
die. The British government (unlike the US) has agreed to be bound
by the UN convention on the rights of the child. This is a legally
enforceable international treaty which enshrines the "right to life"
as one of its four core principles. I would be very interested to
know how the government justifies its actions in relation to its
responsibilities under the convention and why our new children's
commissioners have remained silent on what appears to be a flagrant
disregard of children's rights, as well as a breach of our
Professor Steve Trevillion - University of Leicester
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