The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 21th July 2006

The bombing of Lebanon continues

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by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

are pounding Lebanon from land, sea and air, spreading death and destruction throughout the country. But the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, has given the Israelis a taste of their own medicine, scoring a direct hit on an Israeli warship off the Lebanese coast and launching hundreds of rocket attacks on towns across northern Israel.

The daily rocket attacks on northern Israel have paralysed the port of Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, and forced thousands of Israelis to flee to Tel Aviv and other parts believed to be out of range of Hezbollah’s missiles. The deadly attack on an Israeli missile corvette blockading Beirut, which killed four and set the ship ablaze, was a dramatic demonstration of the Lebanese guerrilla movement’s capabilities.

Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has said his fighters are fully armed and more than ready to take on any Israeli ground invasion. Speaking on Sunday, he said that the fight against Israel had only just begun. The militant Lebanese Shia leader said that the Israeli attack had inflicted no real harm on the Hezbollah movement, and that his fighters had every right to resist. Hezbollah’s fight is not just for itself or for Lebanon, but for the whole Arab world, he declared.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for a ceasefire and the deployment of an international force along the Lebanese frontier with Israel and oil prices topped $78 a barrel on the open market on Monday reflecting fears that the conflict could spread across the entire Middle East. But US imperialism has blocked the UN Security Council from censuring Tel Aviv for its attacks on Lebanon and Gaza and Washington has not expressed the least concern over Beirut’s announcements that the attacks are killing civilians and destroying its infrastructure.

Syria has said that it would respond forcefully to any Israeli attack on its territory and Iran has also warned the Zionist entity of “unimaginable losses” if it makes “the mistake of attacking Syria” and vowed that it was “standing by the Syrian people”. All Syria’s  airports and crossing points have been put at the disposal of the Lebanese people to promote their steadfastness to confront Israeli hostilities and the Syrian Red Crescent is rushing medical and food aid to Lebanon.

The crisis overshadowed the G8 summit in St Petersburg with Anglo-American imperialism watering down calls for a ceasefire in the face of French and Russian opposition. Bush and Blair backed Israel, which claims its offensive and military blockade of Lebanon is designed solely to obtain the release of two Israeli soldiers captured by the Hezbollah militia during a raid last week.


But Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov on Wednesday said that peace in the Middle East can’t be achieved unless a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict has been found. Ivanov added that “the only way to solve the region’s conflict is through adopting political and diplomatic means” and he expressed sorrow over the escalation of the conflict in the region and destruction of infrastructure in Lebanon by the continued Israeli aggression.

Hezbollah want to exchange their Israeli prisoners for the thousands of Arabs held in Israeli camps. Though Israel has hinted that it will eventually discuss a prisoner exchange premier Ehud Olmert has said this will only happen after it has finished its military operations against the Lebanese resistance.

Though the Israelis claim their motive is simply to save the lives of their prisoners, they have now lost many more in the fighting that has followed.

Their real objectives are first of all to restore the prestige of their army whose generals have been embarrassed at the capture of three of their men – one in Palestine and two in Lebanon – and secondly to force the weak Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah, whose base is amongst the poor Shia Muslim community of the south.

But the Lebanese government is divided. Those weak, venal politicians who supported the move to force the Syrian peace-keeping forces out last year have been embarrassed at the failure of the United States to do anything to help them and the apparently inability of France, their other friend, to mobilise European pressure to help.

Others in the pro-Syrian camp point out that none of this could have happened if the Syrian forces were still in Lebanon.

Olmert’s Kadima/Labour coalition remains solid in favour of the aggression. But cracks are beginning to appear as the public realise that war is not a one-way street and the peace movement mobilises to counter the militarism of the Zionist administration.


Some 2,000 people marched through Tel Aviv on Sunday to demand prisoner exchange negotiations with the Hamas and Hezbollah and an end to the offensive against Lebanon. A women’s protest was also held on Sunday, next to the central Haifa train depot where a Hezbollah rocket landed earlier that day, killing eight people. The women said that in the coming days, they would be assembling a new group of Arab and Jewish women against the war.

The Communist Party of Israel is demanding an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza and Lebanon. Calling the policies of the Kadima/Labour coalition “violent lunacy”, the Israeli communists are demanding an immediate ceasefire on all fronts, an  end to the seizure of Gaza and the opening of the commercial crossings to allow uninterrupted supply of food, medicines and fuel to the Palestinian population of the Gaza strip, threatened with a humanitarian disaster.

“The violent lunacy headed by the generals of the Israeli Army, and the “no negotiation” policy of Prime Minister Olmert and Defence Minster Peretz, has boomeranged back to hurt the citizens of Israel”, the Party declared.“We call upon all peace seekers, Jews and Arabs, to increase their struggle for the political solution, based on a complete dismantling of the settlements, the withdrawal of the Israeli army from all the territories occupied in 1967, the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, alongside Israel, and the solution of the refugees question according to UN resolutions.”


The sewer rat clings on

“I have made it clear all the way I carry on doing the job. So I do look forward to next year’s G8, of course. But in the end the most important thing is doing the job,” Tony Blair told BBC reporters last weekend at the G8 summit.

 This was a slap in the face to all those Labour Party members who are desperate for him to go as soon as possible before he does anymore damage to the party and thought they had him pinned down to going some time next April – “to give Gordon Brown time to settle into the job before the next general election”.

 Blair should have gone three years ago. Any prime minister who led Britain into an illegal war and invasion in the basis of a lie about alleged weapons of mass destruction should have died of shame and guilt by now.

 But Blair is not simply the Prime Minister, he is also George W Bush’s most loyal ally and Bush needs all the help he can get. If Blair resigns, Bush will be in even deeper trouble than he already is.

 So every time Blair meets Bush, all the pressure from within the British electorate and the labour movement from Blair to go is undone by pressure from Bush for him to stay, come what may. As for being worried about damaging Labour’s chances at the polls, Blair’s mission since he joined the party seems to have been to destroy it and turn it into a Thatcherite Tory party. This is what he means when he speaks of the importance of “doing the job” and carrying it through to the end.

 The only reason he appeared, after the disastrous local elections in May, to agree to go early next year was to give his opponents the idea they had won at last so they would relax and take the pressure off. The real labour and trade union movement must never take the pressure off, they must stop being so naïve and falling for his nebulous promises.

 Currently the ruling class in Britain and the world is deeply divided. On one hand are the most extreme right-wing American neo-cons who are behind Bush. They are seeking to control the whole world by capturing and controlling all of the planet’s oil and fuel supplies.

 On the other hand is the rest of the world. The European Union, Russia and even Japan are coming together with China and most Third World countries in finding common cause in mutual self defence against the neo-cons. Even the more moderate American capitalists are with them.

 The pro-Europeans are a powerful lobby in this country and have been in intense struggle with Bush and Blair and the neo-cons since 2003. But they see Gordon Brown as the way forward. He is barely different to Blair in his policies but he has not burnt so many bridges with Europe yet or earned such contempt on the world stage. And their only alternative, a Tory government, whether led by Cameron or anyone else could not lead Britain further into Europe.

 This is why this section of the ruling class, although a powerful force against Blair; do not follow through, do not use all the power they have to force him out. They want a smooth, unopposed transition to a Brown government. They are not concerned with working class issues like fighting for wages and jobs and halting the privatisation of our public services. For the working class, they are weak and unreliable allies in the fight against the neo-cons’ agenda.

 The working class must take the lead. John McDonnell MP last week pledged to stand against Brown whenever Blair does step down, to ensure a debate on Labour’s policies. This is a vital stand. It is the best chance the working class has of getting rid of not just Blair but also his policies and effecting some real change.

 The Labour Party and trade union movement – all those people who have been betrayed and treated with contempt by Blair – must put their boots on and make sure Blair goes; they must seize control of their own party and save it.

 Blair and his mates are up to their ears in sleaze but they seem, like rats, to thrive while swimming in sewage. Don’t let him get away again.

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