Message from Middle East

UN HAS been appalled by the total devastation of Beirut and Lebanon. A shocked Jan Egeland, UN’s emergency relief chief, has slammed the ravaging of the once beautiful Mediterranean country as a serious violation of humanitarian law.

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Published: Tue 25 Jul 2006, 9:08 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:11 PM

Condoleezza Rice, who finally decided to offer an audience to the besieged leaders of Lebanon 12 days after all this madness started, should pay attention to Egeland’s remarks. For the UN official’s horrified reaction sums up the utter sense of outrage and helplessness that overwhelms the Middle East and the rest of the world. Lebanon continues to be raped and bombed back into the Stone age even as the so-called world leaders stand and stare.

Anti-war demonstrations around the world are quite common. But what is extraordinary is the sight of people coming out on the streets in the Arab and Muslim capitals, in support for the besieged people of Lebanon and Hezbollah. In Cairo, Amman, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East, there have been rallies expressing anger and frustration over the helplessness of their governments to stop the Israeli aggression.

You don’t have to be a pundit to know that if people in the Arab-Muslim world, majority of them Sunnis, are cheering on Hezbollah, a predominantly Shia party, because they see the militant organisation as fighting for the oppressed and persecuted Palestinians. Many others who do not share its world view have come to recognise that injustice, oppression and occupation are at the heart of this war of aggression.

There is little hope that Ms Rice would be able to achieve any breakthrough in her belated mission to Middle East. For her hands are really tied — by her bosses in Washington and the powerful Israeli lobby in the US. At best, she may be able to bring about a temporary ‘ceasefire’ now that the Hezbollah ‘threat’ has been considerably neutralised after the relentless bombing of the southern Lebanon. Besides, there is nothing else left to bomb in Beirut either.

But, if the US and the West honestly want to end this war and prevent another in the Middle East, they will have to get to the root of this conflict. In the interest of the Middle East peace, it’s high time the US did some plain-speaking to its reckless ally. Israel has to be told that as long as it continues to deny justice and what is due to the Palestinians, not only the Jewish state will remain without peace but it will remain the constant source of strife and instability for the Middle East —and the rest of the world. That’s the message from the Middle East for America.

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