The Stop the War Coalition is trotting (sorry) out some of the usual suspects for an “Israel out of Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria…” public meeting on Monday. (Don’t you just love that ellipsis?)
Anyone going? Anyone expect any of the speakers there to say anything even mildly surprising?
The Stoppers direct some of their outrage toward the British government for being “silent over Israel’s war threats against Syria, the Israel airforce having this week strafed one of Syrian President Assad’s palaces, a violation of international law.”
It’s true that Israeli planes flew over one of President Assad’s palaces more than two weeks ago, although according to my dictionary, that doesn’t mean they “strafed” it. But I’m sure Assad will appreciate the tender concern for him and his palaces.
In her blog on the STWC website, Lindsey German writes:
For many people in Palestine or Lebanon, Hamas and Hizbollah are not terrorists at all. They are elected representatives (in both the Palestinian and Lebanese governments), providers of welfare and services such as education, and even freedom fighters. To accuse Iran or Syria of supporting terrorism by supporting these groups misses the point that large sections of the Arab world and beyond support them.
I suppose that for German, the “many people” and “large sections of the Arab world” can never be wrong. Just as Israel can never be right.
Update: Few Lebanese are pleased by the Israeli air strikes. But it seems many are, sensibly enough, directing much of their anger where it belongs.
Israeli warplanes had dropped leaflets warning residents to stay away from the Hezbollah areas, but many had remained there. “The building was shaking, and we could only hear people screaming,” said Othman Zein, 55, a truck driver, as he recalled the Israeli raid that rattled his home Thursday night.
Many people in the neighborhoods that were hit expressed anger at Hezbollah, unusual in the areas where Hezbollah runs an Iranian-funded network of social services, including schools, hospitals, and charities. Many Lebanese also credit Hezbollah’s guerillas with driving the Israelis from South Lebanon in 2000.
Hezbollah is believed to have provoked Israeli attacks in order to shore up popularity that has faded in the six years since Israeli troops left, and to fend off calls from Sunnis and Christians to disarm the Shi’ite group that have grown since Syrian troops withdrew last year.
But Zein, who has been unable to work to feed his family of seven since the fighting began, blamed Hezbollah. “We’re a small country that can’t afford to go to war,” he said. “They are driving us like sheep, taking us to war or peace whenever they want to.”