The Oakland Institute & The New York Times – 2006-07-22 09:53:14
Middle East Crisis:
Speak Out Now for an Immediate Ceasefire
The Oakland Institute Reporter
Israel’s military campaign in Lebanon has resulted in the Lebanese death toll passing 330, almost all civilians and one quarter of its population has been displaced.
The New York Times reports that the UN High Commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour, has labeled Israel’s actions as War Crimes, saying: “Indiscriminate shelling of cities constitutes a foreseeable and unacceptable targeting of civilians… The scale of killings in the region, and theirpredictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control,”
The only way out is an immediate ceasefire, but United States continues to block it. ]
The House voted 410-8 on Thursday, July 20, 2006, to support Israel in its confrontation with Hezbollah guerrillas.
House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, cited Israel’s “unique relationship” with the United States as a reason for his colleagues to go on record swiftly supporting Israel in the latest flare-up of violence in the Mideast.
• Contact Ambassador John Bolton at the US Mission to the UN by calling (212) 415-4050 or emailing email@example.com and ask him to support the international community that is asking for an immediate ceasefire and let him know that:
• 1. Israel’s right to defend itself is absolutely distinct from the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians.
• 2. Israel indiscriminate bombing of homes, ports, highways, energy plants, water treatment facilities, and communication networks is effectively collective punishment for all Lebanese people
• 3. Israel’s actions to systematically destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure has lead to to complex humanitarian, housing, and public health disaster.
• Contact UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and implore the UN must show leadership and demand a ceasefire.
• Pressure the United Nations Security Council to meet immediately and issue a Chapter 7 Resolution (http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/chapter7.htm) condemning the Israeli attacks and imposing sanctions on Israel in an attempt to prevent it from repeating these attacks in the future.
Fax: (212) 963-1921.
What Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton has to say about the crisis in the Middle East:
In a press conference, US Ambassador John Bolton has said there was no moral equivalence between the civilian casualties from the Israeli raids in Lebanon and those killed in Israel from “malicious terrorist acts”. “Its simply not the same thing to say that it’s the same act to deliberately target innocent civilians, to desire their deaths, to fire rockets and use explosive devices or kidnapping versus the sad and highly unfortunate consequences of self-defense.”
Links to relevant articles:
• Attacks Qualify as War Crimes, Officials Say, New York Times,
• Israel Hints at Full-Scale Lebanon Attack, San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2006/07/20/international/i131301D32.DTL
• Battered Lebanon counts the cost of Israeli onslaught, Guardian
• Lebanon in Crisis; Bush, Most Democrats in Denial, The Nation
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US OKs Rushing Bombs to Israel
Move Could Mean Many Targets to be Hit in Lebanon
David S. Cloud, Helene Cooper / New York Times
WASHINGTON (July 22, 2006) — The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, US officials said Friday.
The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign.
The munitions that the United States is sending to Israel are part of a multimillion dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said. But Israel’s request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers, and as an indication that Israel had a long list of targets in Lebanon still to strike.
The new US arms shipment to Israel has not been announced publicly, and the officials who described the administration’s decision to rush the munitions to Israel would discuss it only after being promised anonymity. The officials included employees of two government agencies, and one described the shipment as just one example of a broad array of armaments that the United States has long provided Israel.
One US official said the shipment should not be compared to the “emergency resupply” of dwindling Israeli stockpiles that was provided during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, when a US military airlift helped Israel recover from early Arab victories.
David Siegel, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said: “We have been using precision-guided munitions in order to neutralize the military capabilities of Hezbollah and to minimize harm to civilians. As a rule, however, we do not comment on Israel’s defense acquisitions.”
Israel’s need for precision munitions is driven in part by its strategy in Lebanon, which includes destroying hardened underground bunkers where Hezbollah leaders are thought to have taken refuge as well as missile sites and other targets that would be hard to hit without laser and satellite-guided bombs.
Pentagon and military officials declined to describe in detail the size and contents of the shipment to Israel, and they would not say whether the munitions were being shipped by cargo aircraft or some other means. But an arms-sale package approved last year provides authority for Israel to purchase from the United States as many as 100 GBU-28s, which are 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs intended to destroy concrete bunkers. The package also provides for selling satellite-guided munitions.
An announcement in 2005 that Israel was eligible to buy the “bunker buster” weapons described the GBU-28 as “a special weapon that was developed for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground.” The document added, “The Israeli air force will use these GBU-28s on their F-15 aircraft.”
American officials said that once a weapons purchase is approved, it is up to the buyer nation to set up a timetable. But one U.S. official said normal procedures usually do not include rushing deliveries within days of a request. That was done in this case because Israel is a close ally in the
midst of hostilities, the official said.
A senior Israeli official said Friday that the attacks to date had degraded Hezbollah’s military strength by roughly half, but that the campaign could go on for two more weeks or longer. “We will stay heavily with the air campaign,” he said. “There’s no time limit. We will end when we achieve our goals.”