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by William Hughes
Thursday, Jul. 27, 2006 at 11:36 AM
On July 25, 2006, a spirited rally was held in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. The protesters demanded an end to Israel’s murderous attacks on Lebanon and Gaza. The rally was preceded by a march through the neighborhood, which included the protesters carrying 50 coffins draped in black. The coffins symbolized the innocent Lebanese and Palestinians, who have been slaughtered in the latest war crimes committed by Zionist Israel.
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“Hell is empty, all the devils are here.” - William Shakespeare
Washington, D.C. - Close to 400 protesters showed up for a spirited demonstration on Tuesday, July 25, 2006, at the Israeli Embassy, 514 International Drive, NW, in the nation’s capital. They were there, despite the sweltering heat, to express their strong opposition to the ongoing barbaric conduct of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in Lebanon, as well as in Gaza. The IOF has given new meaning to the term “collective punishment” by their reckless, disproportionate and murderous treatment of the Lebanese and Palestinian civilian populations. It is a war crime under the provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention, (Article 33), to deliberately target a protected population for punishment.
Many of the protesters wore black. They carried 50 coffins draped in black, too. They began at 5:30 PM, at Van Ness and Connecticut Avenues, with a march done in silence. It then proceeded around the neighborhood and ended up in front of the Israeli Embassy. The event was sponsored by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Code PInk, Pax Christi USA, the Council for the National Interest, along with many other groups. (1)
I talked with Jamilah Shami at the rally. She’s with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s D.C. Chapter. She said: “We’re here to bring attention to what is taking place in Lebanon and Palestine. Israel is bombing on both sides and innocent people are being killed and, unfortunately, with our tax dollars and with our government’s okay. Every other nation, every other person is calling for an immediate cease fire, except the U.S. It’s not reigning in Israel. And they have the power to do so.” The Rev. Philip Wheaton, an Episcopal priest from D.C., told me: “I’m really concerned about Israel. They are being led down the worst possible path by Zionism. And they can’t win by power and might.” He added that if they didn’t get off the road that they are presently traveling, “that they will only increase the anti-Israel spirit around the world and it’s very serious. Jews in this country have to understand that if they want to do something serious for Judaism, then they have to stop this madness.”
With respect to Lebanon, since July 13, 2006, the Israeli Air Force has flown over 4,000 air sorties over cities, like Beirut, Sidon and Tyre, dropping cluster and bunker bombs and laying waste to bridges, roads, homes, apartment buildings, banks, water and electric power plants, reservoirs, hospitals, airports, milk and food factories, clearly marked ambulances, and even striking a Greek Orthodox Church. At least, 400 innocent Lebanese civilians, many of them women and children have been killed, thousands more have been seriously injured. Property damages will be in the mega-billions of dollars. It is now estimated that Israel’s terror tactics have created over 600,000 refugees. Close to 12,000 American have been evacuated. Canadians trying to escape the Israeli-made horror, weren’t so lucky. At least 8 were reported killed by the Israeli air strikes. The Israelis dominate the skies with their jet fighters, since Lebanon has no air force to combat them.
Suzanne Wilder, from Maryland, told me that she was at the rally because she “was upset at the loss of innocent lives.” She felt that the politicians “turn these things to their own benefit and profit. If you want peace in the Middle East, you have to work for justice.” Carol Moore from D.C., said she was there “to protest Israel’s barbaric attack on Lebanon. We’re afraid it’s going to escalate and go to Syria and Iraq. It could even go nuclear.”
Flashback! One of Israel’s evil deeds in Lebanon, which still sticks out in my memory, occurred on April 18, 1996. The IOF bombed a UN shelter in the village of Qana (Cana). This is the same place that the Bible tells us that Jesus (pbuh) performed his first miracle. There were 106 people in the shelter, including two children from Dearborn, Michigan, who were visiting their grandparents. They were all slaughtered. (2) The Israelis, just like they did when they murdered 34 Americans on the USS Liberty, on June 8, 1967, insisted that it was all “a mistake.” This is the same lame excuse that they used when they ran over Rachel Corrie, an Olympia, WA, peace activist, with a bulldozer and snuffed the life out of her on March 16, 2003. The half-demented Ariel Sharon was Prime Minister of Israel then. Now, Ehud Olmert, his successor, must bear the brunt of the responsibility for Israel’s latest serial excesses. The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, when the ex-terrorist, Menachem Begin, was Israel’s P.M, left close to 18,000 Arabs dead. (3) UN Peace Keepers, some of whom were Irish, and knew about the Qana Massacre, said the Israelis were liars. (4)
With respect to Gaza, the IOF hasn’t let up their state-sponsored terrorism tactics there since the Palestinians dared to elect a government dominated by members of Hamas. The Israeli storm troopers have arrested Hamas members of the Palestinian Cabinet and its Parliament, too. According to Amnesty International, the IOF has also killed 150 Palestinians since the beginning of this year. Six more Gazans were killed yesterday, according to the Baltimore Sun. The IOF has also been systematically and maliciously destroying all the important civilian infrastructures of Gaza, the same as they are repeatedly doing daily in Lebanon. Gaza is now an entity of 1.4 million trapped, and desperate souls on the brink of a total humanitarian collapse. (5)
David Barrows of D.C. said: “I’m protesting the merciless slaughter of the Lebanese people...It’s just senseless and ruthless and it just makes you wonder: ‘Why in the world are we supporting Israel?’ I know we shouldn’t and this is real proof of it...Who speaks for the Palestinians? Very few! So, we the American people have to take charge of this renegade, corrupt and criminal government of ours and stop giving the green light to tyranny around the world.” An activist from the D.C. Antiwar Network (DAWN), Malachy Kilbride, shared his thoughts with me. He said: “I’m here to be a witness to what Israel and the U.S. are doing in Lebanon. Israel is perpetrating a war of aggression...I’m angry and I’m not going to be silent like so many in Congress, who won’t stand up to the Israel Lobby.” Lauren Barthel of D.C., one of the organizers of the affair, said she worked on the project “in order to keep the momentum going.” Another worker for the cause was David Kirshbaum, a D.C.-based activist. He said that he “was pleased by the turnout.” He added that the “collective punishment policy of Israel was illegal... and that America funds it.”
The dubious pretext for the Israeli assault on Lebanon was the supposed capture of two of their soldiers by Hezbollah, an indigenous political party, with militia capabilities, located near the Lebanon/Israel border. Just suppose two U.S. soldiers were employed to border duty with Canada and then imagine them “captured” by guerrillas associated with a Separatist Movement in Quebec. What would you think if that happened and the response of our Washington-based government, instead of negotiating with our neighbor to the North, was to go ahead and bomb Ottawa, British Columbia, Montreal and Toronto? That would be sheer lunacy! And, this is exactly what the lawless Tel Aviv government has done in the case of Lebanon. Its conduct cannot be justified in any form or by any legal or moral standard. This is the same kind of M.O. used by the Israelis to let loose their Terror, Mayhem and Death Machine on the hapless Gazans. The Hezbollah fighters, however, continue to inflict telling casualties on the Israeli invaders, despite all of their superior weaponry. One Zionist observer, a professor, was quoted as saying of Hezbollah’s tenacity, “As long as they don’t lose...that’s a victory!” (6)
Some of the speakers at the rally in front of the Israeli Embassy were: Radney Wood, Noura Erakat, Rami Elamine, Pilar Saad and the anti-Zionist Orthodox Rabbi, Dovid Feldman.
Incredibly, the mostly cowardly U.S. Congress has given its legislative endorsement to Israel’s outrages. It was pushed by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), to take the despicable action, along with prodding by the powerful Israeli Lobby in this country. (7) The Bush-Cheney Gang’s complicity in Israel’s wrongs was even more precise. It gave them a “green light” and is reportedly sending the IOF more lethal military weapons for it to use, in violation of U.S. law, in order for Olmert’s regime to kill additional Palestinian and Lebanese civilians with impunity. (8) Like the warmongering Neocons, Zionist Israel, to date, has never suffered any real consequences for its rampant militarism. (9) It remains above the Law. The stain, however, on our Republic from all of this evildoing runs red with the blood of the innocents, both Arab and Israeli alike. As for Zionist Israel, a day of retribution is coming as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow for this arrogant mocker of human life and of human dignity.
5. http://wrmea.org/ and http://www.pchrgaza.org/
6. “Hezbollah a Tough Foe for Israeli Military,” Steven Gutkin, AP, 07/24/06.
© William Hughes 2006.
William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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