Sunday, October 15, 2006

How Britain loses friends in Lebanon

The timing was ‘a little bit tight’ apparently. That was the excuse Margaret Beckett gave as to why no criticism of Israel’s war on Lebanon last July was included in the British Foreign Office’s annual human rights report released last Thursday.
There was enough time however to include criticism of Hizbullah for its rocket attacks on Israel during the same war, as well as listing the number of Israeli casualties.
The wording goes: “We remain deeply concerned by Syria’s ongoing support for Hizbullah. Hizbullah’s role in the major outbreak of violence this year with Israel included abducting and detaining two Israeli soldiers and firing unguided rockets into Israeli towns and cities. In total Hizbullah fired nearly 4,000 rockets into Israeli territory.”
What is not mentioned is the 1489 buildings, 535 road sections, 21 of the 29 bridges over the Litani River and 545 cultivated fields were destroyed or damaged in South Lebanon; the 326 residential buildings damaged or destroyed in the southern suburbs of Beirut; the damage to Beirut Airport’s runways and 6 strategic highway sections; and the over 1,000 civilian dead.
Since it’s difficult to treat much that comes out of the FO or the PM’s office on the subject of Iraq, Iran, Israel and the Middle East as truthful these days it’s tough to believe the omission was a mere oversight as the report’s authors claimed last week.
One of the writers said that the British embassy in Damascus had sent information on Syria and Hizbullah for inclusion in the report but there were was no such communication from the British embassy in Israel. Funny that… What about from the British Embassy in Beirut?
Either this was blatant neglect or a policy choice - during the war Tony Blair was accused of bias towards Israel by most in Lebanon and the Arab world as well as many in the UK, for refusing to call for an immediate cease-fire.
The point is that this omission in a 356-page report which lists countries the British government views as being of major concern with regard to human rights, including Burma, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and Israel - in regard to the Occupied Territories - continues to damage Britain’s reputation in Lebanon, an educated and literate country which probably has more admirers and supporters of Britain and its democratic and cultural values than any other Arab nation, by furthering the belief of pro-Israeli bias.
The facts of the summer’s conflict - which dominated the foreign news and front pages of the global media in July and August - are clear. Viewed as war crimes by the Lebanese and corroborated by reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published immediately after the war, Israel illegally targeted Lebanese infrastructure including economic targets, directly attacked civilian areas massacring countless men, women and children in just over 30 days, and used some of the most powerful and devastating cluster bombs known to man.
Reporting in Beirut this summer, seeing the damage, the fear and the terror caused by Israel’s relentless over flights, spy drones and bombing raids, running through the southern suburbs of Beirut to the site of a bomb which had leveled a residential apartment block killing over 60 civilians it is absolutely right and proper that Israel should come in for heavy criticism in the FO’s report.
It is incredibly depressing that it doesn’t.
The omission merely undermines the report especially considering the criticism tabled against Hizbullah and Syria and serves to enforce the opinion on the street in Beirut certainly that Britain tacitly supported Israel’s actions.
If it really was a case of not having enough time as Beckett claims then it comes at a great (and unnecessary) cost to Britain’s reputation in Lebanon and the Muslim world, when it is already at an extraordinarily low point
Or perhaps the FO just doesn’t care anymore and open pro-Israel bias today is acceptable.



Blogger Bryansaid said...

Hi Everybody

Does anybody want to read about another GEORGE BUSH Screw up, but this time it is North Korea not the Middle East!

7:44 PM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

Not sure the last link came across so here it is again

7:47 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

The trouble, RS, is that civilized countries have not adopted Israel's fundamental policy of "kvetch" - the constant whining that everybody hates Jews. So - if Lebanon was to do what Israel does, it could get the enormous dollars Israel does as well as the sympathy.

The policy of kvetch will last for so long as the world is willing to stomach Israel's constant "we must never forget" and "we are only protecting ourselves." They are the squeaking, whining wheel that draws attention and works on collective guilt. And the are the ones that say "what we did is not nearly so bad as the holocaust." What they've done is cause misery wherever they've gone.

The solution? Help them build their version of the Berlin wall. Make it even higher. And then cut off jet fuel. We'll air drop supplies and let them live in their usurped little country. But nobody can go in or come out. And they can watch Spielberg movies forever. In peace. While the rest of the area also enjoys peace.

8:27 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

And, by the way, we all know - from Israel - how corrupt the leaders of other countries are. Here from AP wire service:

Updated: 4 minutes ago
JERUSALEM - Police were expected to recommend Sunday that charges be filed against Israeli President Moshe Katsav, who has been questioned following sexual harassment allegations and other accusations, a senior investigator said.

The investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the media, said there was enough evidence to indict the president on “some of the matters.”

The investigator declined to elaborate, but the months-long investigation has included questioning on allegations of sexual harassment, electronic eavesdropping and granting pardons in exchange for cash. Katsav has denied all wrongdoing."

Absolute power absolutely corrupts. Absolute power combined with cluster bombs leads to wanton destruction without remorse.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

nah, Israeli govt is not corrupt! Only other neighboring countries' govts.

dont be surprised if the Israeli president claims his actions were in self-defense.

glad the police are calling the president out though

6:14 PM  
Blogger daooch said...

Like corrupt gov't officials is anything new .... in any part of the world. Relatively speaking, if it is just sexual harrassment, there's a whole lot of worse gov't corruption out there. Israeli President Moshe Katsav's situation barely makes me a bat an eye....


4:56 AM  
Blogger Doc said...

you are not batting eyes, because the western media doesnt talk about it.

we batted alot of eyes when clinton was accussed of sexual relations with ML.


6:31 PM  
Blogger dobegs said...

hcb you are so so sad matey. as i said before you really need to seek help from a doctor and soon as your anger may take over your life and you will end up in hospital... in self defense... :-)

The israeli presindent is brought to justice as they clearly have a law system that can bring the president to court, as far as your president I am not going to even start....... the facts are known worldwide! and as far as the neigburs of Israel... well they are all above law dictators and if they side with the wrong crowd they get killed by their neigburs too.....

so lets get the facts right sweet Man.

7:29 PM  
Blogger daooch said...

I heard 'bout President Moshe Katsav's situation a short while back through western media...give us a little credit, okay? It was on the CNN cable network as well as on news reports on-line. Don't generalize the western media too much....

I'm sorry Clinton batted your eyes. He didn't really bat mine nor a lot of ppl's.


9:06 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

daooch--you are right--there are lot more things to be worried about in this world but i believe the israeli president's accusations were rape, not just sexual misconduct--anyways, the media briefly talks about it, then shuns over it. i can generalize the media because i live it every day.

btw, i still like Clinton, wish he was still president.

10:27 PM  

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