The illegitimate settler-state of Israel targets the people of Lebanon in an attempt to terrorize the general populatioon.
On June 25, 2006, the armed wing of Hamas captured an Israeli soldier at an outpost on the illegitimate colonial border separating Occupied Palestine, known as Israel, from the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Israel retaliated with heavy artillery and air attacks on civilians in the Gaza Strip, also kidnapping many officials of the Palestinian Government who belong to Hamas.
The United Nation’s top humanitarian official Jan Egeland has described Israel’s month-long military offensive in Gaza as a “disproportionate use of force” and said he was shocked by the targeting of civilian infrastructure including Gaza’s only power plant.
Hamas responded that the Israeli soldier would only be released after Israel released the hundreds of women and children among the 9,000 Palestinians currently incarcerated by Israel. Hamas, primarily a political party, was established in 1987 with the short-term goal of confronting the Israeli occupation and the long-term goal of establishing an Islamic State in all of Palestine.
In January of 2006, Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, claiming 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats. With those seats Hamas won the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, who is the darling of the white settler-state of Israel and the U.S.
Israel makes genocidal attack on people of Lebanon
Two weeks later on July 12, 2006, Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in the Shabba Farm area of Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah, with broad Lebanese political support, says the Shabba Farms area is occupied Lebanese territory, but Israel, backed by the UN, claims the farms are on the Syrian side of the border and so are part of the Syrian Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since 1967.
Following the capture of its two soldiers, Israel brought its campaign of collective punishment and excessive force to Lebanon as ‘Operation Just Reward’. Dawn air strikes on South Lebanon began on July 13, 2006 and are continuing to this day, using many of the 500 F16’s provided by the USA. With these air strikes Israel launched a fierce fire storm of bombs and artillery shells against the civilian population and the nonmilitary infrastructure including roads, a milk factory, water and power plants, ambulances and civilians fleeing in their automobiles.
Hezbollah emerged in 1982 to resist the new Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Its struggle resulted in the withdrawal of Israel from southern Lebanon in the year 2000.
The popular support for Hezbollah in Lebanon is growing steadily, resulting in an ever-increasing number of parliamentary seats in the Lebanese government, especially in the south.
Both Hamas and Hezbollah have a history of military engagement and exchanging prisoners with the State of Israel. The question is raised then, why is Israel now refusing to exchange prisoners and instead unleashing a murderous air and artillery attack which according to the New York Times, has been in the planning for more than a year?
There are several reasons. Among them is the fact that Israel is an illegitimate white settler colonial State that rests upon the land of the Palestinian people. It was created to feed the aspirations of a Jewish bourgeoisie for land upon which to build a capitalist State around which European and North American Jews could be organized.
Israel has always functioned as a military outpost for U.S. imperialism that uses the white nationalist State to protect the imperialist oil interests in the region known as the Middle East.
The current crisis of imperialism, represented in part by the U.S. war in Iraq, but also in the unending resistance of the Palestinian Arabs and the popular support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, has undermined the imperialist hold on the Middle East and the absolute Israeli domination of the region. The war against Hamas in Occupied Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon represents an attack on the resistance of the Arab people and a futile attempt by imperial white power to push back the forces of history that are determined to reverse the verdict of imperialism.
There is also the fact that the Israeli invasion of Lebanon has been used to obscure the ongoing losses of the U.S. in Iraq.
The imperialists are suffering setbacks despite all their efforts to use neocolonialist stooges — in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon — to facilitate their agenda. Kwame Nkrumah, who was a major player in the struggle for African liberation and unification, was correct when he declared that neocolonialism is the last stage of imperialism and this further informs us of the nature of the current struggle in the so-called Middle East.
Hamas and Hezbollah represent a profound threat to Israel and U.S. imperialism precisely because they reject neocolonialism. They uphold the absolute right of freedom and self-determination and have made it quite clear they are willing to fight and kill occupying Israelis to have it!
The historical roots of the Middle East crisis
The tap root of the struggle in the Middle East began in that historical period made famous by Christopher Columbus when the Europeans unleashed upon the world’s peoples a more than 500-year period of rape, plunder, pillage and genocide.
The specific roots of the current situation go back to that period around the First Imperialist War to re-divide the stolen resources of the world, known widely as World War I. Prior to World War I, the so-called Middle East was generally dominated by the 400-year-old Turkish Ottoman Empire.
The dying Ottoman Empire was finally defeated in the First Imperialist War, with future control and plunder going to the victorious western European powers of Britain and France.
Palestine, after having been under Ottoman control since 1517, came under British mandate in 1917. The British Balfour Declaration decided that Palestine would become a “national homeland for Jewish people.”
In 1948, the British, the United Nations and the Zionist Movement decided to split Palestine. The Israelis with 30 percent of the population received 53 percent of the land. The Arabs with 70 percent of the population received 47 percent of the land.
Then, as a result of the first Arab/Israeli War in 1948-49, the Israelis occupied another 22 percent giving them a total of 75 percent of Palestine. They immediately began receiving financial support from the United States.
Egypt was under British occupation from 1882 through 1936. It was the primary gateway to India, Britain’s most profitable colony.
Children bear much of the brunt of Israel’s genocidal attacks on the Lebanese people.
“…[U]sing many of the 500 F16’s provided by the USA… Israel launched a fierce fire storm of bombs and artillery shells against the civilian population and the nonmilitary infrastructure including roads, a milk factory, water and power plants, ambulances and civilians fleeing in their automobiles.”
After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, modern day Iraq was cobbled together by Britain from three separate provinces. The British established the king who would rule, and occupied Iraq until 1941.
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, France received a mandate for Syria and Lebanon from the League of Nations in 1920. Syria enjoyed a brief spell of self-rule before being overtaken by the French in the mid 1920’s.
France then took parts of Syria and grafted them onto an enlarged Lebanon, which it also controlled. The Syrians and Lebanese continually struggled against French control until France finally left in 1946.
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire the freedom and aspirations of the people of the Middle East were arrested by the rapacious European colonial powers legitimized by the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations. Even today the UN continues to support U.S. and European imperialism, but the record is clear.
The peoples of the Middle East did not submit willingly to European domination and never stopped struggling for freedom and self-determination. Today Hamas and Hezbollah represent the culmination and continuation of that struggle.
The present situation in the Middle East
The present situation in Lebanon and by extension in Palestine is expressed by a statement from the General Secretary of Hezbollah, Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah. Nasrallah stated, “I say to you that in this battle we are faced with two choices. — not “we” as in Hezbollah, or as in the resistance, the Hezbollah resistance, but Lebanon as a State, a people, an army, a resistance, and a political power. We are faced with two choices: either to submit today to the conditions that the Zionist enemy wants to dictate to us all, using the pressure, support, and backing it has from America, from around the world, and, I’m sorry to say, from Arabs. Either we submit completely to its conditions, which means taking Lebanon into an Israeli age under Israeli domination — in total frankness this is the extent of the matter — or we stand steadfast. That is the other choice: that we persevere, that we persevere and confront.”
As The Burning Spear goes to press, it has been more than four weeks since the initial Israeli assault and every day there is more evidence of Israel targeting civilians with terrible cluster bombs, missiles and artillery shells. Following the lead of Hasan Nasrallah, Hamas and Hezbollah continue to attack Israel militarily and resist occupation. They are fighting on the ground defending their villages and defeating Israeli ground troops.
In the face of this genocidal assault, the leaders of the many Arab countries, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, have been uniformly silent. They are committed to their neocolonial and subordinate relationship with U.S. imperialism and its proxy, Israel.
The United States has agreed to an expedited delivery of bombs and missiles to Israel and condoned the Israeli plan for at least another week of bombing. The general white population of the United States led by Senate cheerleaders Hilary Clinton, Harry Reid and Diane Feinstein are encouraged to believe the statement of a prominent Republican politician who said, “Today we are all Israelis.”
Currently the United States is pushing a “four point solution” that includes NATO forces occupying a buffer between Israel and southern Lebanon as well as the disarming of Hezbollah. This plan is being articulated by the neocolonial Condoleezza Rice.
Rice had a private dinner yesterday evening with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who appealed earlier for an “immediate” end to what he called the “indiscriminate and disproportionate” violence in Lebanon. The U.S. and Britain flatly refused to endorse any ceasefire, and both Israel and Hezbollah also rejected Annan’s plan for an immediate ceasefire, each accusing him of bias.
What future lies ahead
Israel is the last European white settler colony from a historical era of white domination. Because the struggle for international socialism is both dynamic and dialectical, the historic balance of power is shifting.
The system of U.S. imperialism is in a deep crisis. Iran and Syria continue to resist the imperialist camp, and after 50 years, the Palestinians cannot be subdued.
None of this is to obscure the contradictions with the political formations leading the struggles in Iran or the Arab countries that we are discussing. However, independent of the will of the Iranians and Arabs in this contest, their struggles represent an ongoing attack on a social system that requires the majority of the world’s peoples on our knees for its success in bleeding us of our resources, a condition of its existence.
Every victory, indeed, every sharp struggle that undermines imperialist certainty of its profit-making stranglehold, objectively serves the interests of the African revolution and unification.
We also understand that there are many outstanding issues that confront the African-Arab relationship, one that has its immediate origin in Arab enslavement of Africans and an invasion of our continent that even today has a negative impact on our ability to consolidate the African nation as a continental nation.
However, even the relationship between African and Arabs on the Continent of Africa is one that is conditioned by the existence of imperialist control of the world and imperialism as a world economy. We see the main, strategic enemy of Africans and the world’s people as U.S. imperialism and we believe the sharpest blows should be directed at U.S. and European imperialism even as we press forward in consolidating the African nation and contending with all forces that affect that consolidation.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, many States such as Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela are forging their own cooperative relationships outside of U.S. and European domination. The APSP understands that in the great contest to defeat the dying but not yet dead forces of imperialism, the African liberation struggle is the key.
The work to build the African Socialist International puts us in profound strategic unity with the just struggles of the suffering peoples of the world who are challenging imperial white power and this includes the struggles of the Palestinian and Lebanese people for independence, freedom and self-determination.
Israeli children are taught to write messages on missiles which are then sent to Lebanese children.