Former US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark / International Action Center – 2006-09-13 23:44:31
On August 30, 2006 the International Action Center launched a major campaign to require accountability by the United States and Israel for their wars of aggression and assaults on the equal sovereignty of nations, which are crimes against peace, and their war crimes which include excessive force, indiscriminate bombing, targeting civilians and civilian facilities and collective punishments of entire populations.
Reparations are required for
• more than a thousands deaths, many thousands of injures and an estimated $10 billion for destruction of civilian facilities in Lebanon in one month alone; and thousands of deaths and injuries in Palestine since the Oslo Accords,
• the systematic destruction of the government of Palestine,
• the kidnapping of half the cabinet and the speaker of the Palestinian Parliament,
• the assassination of leaders and indiscriminate killing of others,
• and the destruction of the offices of President Arafat, the Foreign Ministry and civilian facilities throughout Gaza and the West Bank.
If the present ceasefire does not hold, bolder action must be taken. There must be absolute assurance from the US and Israel that they will honor the equal sovereignty of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran and recognize and honor the sovereignty of the State of Palestine, cruelly delayed for 58 years.
Individuals in the US and Israeli governments must be held accountable by prosecution for their criminal acts, and responsible leaders must be removed from office by impeachment in the US and appropriate legal action in Israel.
The new tragedy of Lebanon has brought death to hundreds of civilians, children, women and men. Hundreds of thousands, approaching one-fourth the population of four million, are fugitives from their homes within and outside of their country.
Destruction of the infrastructure will require decades to rebuild, if and when peace comes. Rage at Israel and the US dominate all other emotions in Lebanon and throughout the Muslim world. New anger is spreading over every continent.
If the capture of two soldiers, or one in the case of Palestine, justifies assaults against whole nations and peoples, as Israel has done, then there is no law, no alternative to war, no hope for peace.
Only a person with a memory no longer than three weeks could believe the capture of three Israeli soldiers began the present violence. Was not cross-border violence between Israel and Lebanon commonplace for decades? Had not Israel kidnapped half the Palestinian cabinet, destroyed its Foreign Ministry offices and other government buildings and engaged in summary executions throughout Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza, since the elections this year of the Hamas majority in the Palestinian parliament? Was there not a continuum of assaults at will against the Palestinian people over decades?
We must ask whether the forced withdrawal of Syrian peacekeepers from Lebanon earlier this year by the US, and Israeli political pressure after the murder of former Lebanon Prime Minister Hariri, were the preludes of a plan for Israel to assault Lebanon and reoccupy territories up to the Litani river in Southern Lebanon. While Syrian forces were present in Lebanon, such an assault did not occur.
And we must ask whether the fierce assault on Lebanon and Palestine are the prelude to broader actions against Syria and Iran. President Bush has made it abundantly clear that he would like nothing better than regime change in Iran and Syria and has attempted to lay responsibility for violence in Lebanon and Palestine at their door.
As Iraq descends into uncontrollable sectarian war, President Bush needs new threats to distract the attention of people in the US from what his Shock and Awe policy has brought for Iraq, for us, and for the world.
War in Lebanon helps divert attention temporarily and may serve to widen the conflict to include Syria and/or Iran. If not, there are always Cuba, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela and others to act against.
As with Iraq, in Lebanon we have seen a war of aggression, the supreme international crime; an attack on the equal sovereignty of Lebanon, violating the First Principle of the United Nations Charter; excessive force of a major magnitude, with Israeli planes striking a nation defenseless against aerial assaults; indiscriminate bombing; targeting of civilians; and collective punishment, in which everyone in Lebanon suffers.
The future of Palestine remains the central issue for peace in the Middle East. That future is more endangered than at any time since the Oslo Accords. Everyone in Palestine suffers from the violence unleashed on its people by Israel’s renewed Roadmap to War.
President George Bush supports every act of Israel, every strike against Lebanon and Palestine, alone among international heads of government. And Condoleezza Rice congratulates the Prime Minister of Lebanon for his courage while telling him there must be further destruction of his nation and government — an insult to every human being who cares about peace and understands that the world cannot be made safe for hypocrisy.
By permitting President Bush to pursue his policy of domination through threat and lawless force, we risk ever widening international violence.
I hope to see you at the UN Church Center on August 30th . This historic meeting will be the first in a series of national and international mass public gatherings in a Campaign for Accountability for US/Israeli war crimes in Palestine and Lebanon. We need your support, participation, and donations.
I hope that you will lend a hand to this campaign as best you can. We must persevere until peace prevails.
Sincerely, Ramsey Clark
• The content of the Campaign of Accountability’s August 30 Public Hearing is now available via videos and podcasts.