STATEMENT ON THE SIEGE OF LEBANON AND GAZA BY ISRAEL
With IsraelÂ¹s attacks on Lebanon last week, the Middle East is once again on the brink of a full-scale war. This escalation can only lead to another round of bloodletting and destruction. Millions of people including thousands of Filipino migrant workers in the region will be affected.
We at Stop the War Campaign, a broad coalition of civil society organizations, social movements, labor unions, political parties, human rights, womenÂ¹s, students, religious and other organizations, lay the responsibility behind this tragedy squarely on the Israeli state, its primary ally the United States, and all those who actively support or tacitly tolerate its actions.
This latest phase in the long-running tragedy in the Middle East began in June 9 when Israel bombarded a beach in Gaza, killing an entire family having a picnic by the sea. That was followed by a series of killings of more innocent civilians. On June 25, Palestinian fighters then captured an Israeli soldier, demanding the release of some of the 10,000 Palestinian detainees held by Israel. Under international law, the soldier is a legitimate target in a legitimate resistance operation by an occupied people
All hell then broke loose as Israel began an all-out military assault on Gaza. It bombarded civilian infrastructure, including bridges and power stations, leaving over a million civilians without water and hundreds of sick people in hospitals without access to medication. Over forty were killed in military operations. The Israeli military also kidnapped more than a hundred elected Palestinian parliamentarians. The grossly disproportionate use of force and the collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian people are flagrant violations of international law.
It was evidently in response to the atrocities being carried out by Israel on the people of Gaza and the worldÂ¹s failure to stop it that the Lebanese mass movement Hezbollah carried out its attacks on the Israeli military beginning last June 12. IsraelÂ¹s response has been to bomb
airports, bridges, roads, and other civilian infrastructure in Lebanon. Over seventy have been killed and thousands have become refugees. Again, IsraelÂ¹s actions are brazen violations of international law. Not only do they constitute disproportionate violence but with Israel itself provoking the actions it claims to be defending itself from they are also totally unjustified.
At the root of the continuing tragedy in the Middle East is the continuing occupation of Palestine by Israel. That Israel is able to continue this occupation and that it is able to bomb and kill indiscriminately without restraint points to the incapacity of the international community, including the United Nations and the worldÂ¹s governments, to uphold peace and justice. It is this unwillingness to act that will ensure that more blood and tears will flow from this escalating war.
We in the Philippines must stop this war not only because thousands of Filipino migrant workers are caught in the crossfire but because we have a stake in creating a world with peace and justice. This world will not be possibly without taking a stand.
We at the Stop the War Campaign demand that Israel should immediately end its military offensive on Lebanon and Gaza, free all Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails, and end the occupation of Palestine.
We call on the international community, the United Nations and all responsible international government and civil society organizations, to stop Israel from continuing its attacks and to support a just resolution to the crisis. We demand that the Lebanese peopleâs right to sovereignty and self determination be respected.
We demand that the Philippine government recalls its ambassador from Israel and begin the process of severing all diplomatic ties with that state until it complies with international law and ends the occupation of Palestine. As our elected representatives, our government should take a stand in favor of international law and justice, summon the Israeli ambassador to protest, and
expressly condemn Israel for its actions in international for a and organizations. We call on our parliamentarians and diplomats to likewise denounce IsraelÂ¹s actions. We also call for immediate relief and evacuation plans for Filipino workers in the region.
In solidarity with the Palestinian, Lebanese, and Israeli people opposed to war, we call for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel.