Sunday 30 July 2006

Innocents are Dying but still Bush and Blair Refuse to Call for an Immediate Ceasefire

Like most people I found the pictures from Qana of more innocent lives being lost through indiscriminate bombing by the Israelis distressing in the extreme. In the Observer this morning it is also revealed that the Israelis are using in civilian areas cluster bombs, which are designed to kill and maim in such an indiscriminate way. In addition it is reported that the US has delivered at least 100 "bunker buster" bombs containing depleted uranium warheads.

In the face of such immense suffering on all sides it is incomprehensible why the Prime Minister has determinedly followed George Bush in refusing to call for an immediate ceasefire. This refusal is being interpreted rightly or wrongly as part of a joint US/UK strategy of allowing Israel sufficient time to invade south Lebanon, wipe out Hezbollah and extend its border to annex a buffer zone between Israel and Lebanon. If this is the case I believe that this cynical strategy will not only fail but will also prove to be counter productive in the long term by breeding further hatred and future terrorist activity.

What is needed is for the US and UK to join up with the rest of the world calling for an immediate ceasefire. Israel will not be able to withstand pressure from its major backer and arms supplier, the US. This will also enable the creation of a united front with the Arab world in pressurising Hezbollah to enter into serious peace negotiatons, including the exchange of prisoners.

Many have been angered to discover that Britain has been used as the transit station for US weapons being transported to Israel for use in Lebanon. Now that we know not only the type of weapons being used but also how these weapons are being used in an indiscriminate way against civilans, the Prime Minister must now refuse the Bush regime the right to transport these weapons through our country and airspace. If the Prime Minister refuses I believe that any workers associated with this transport activity have every right to refuse to assist in transporting these weapons on the grounds that they are being used in a way which is contary to international law.

If a ceasefire is not achieved within the next 48 hours I am calling for the recall of Parliament so that Parliament can itself be given the opportunity of calling for an immediate ceasefire on behalf of the British people and debating an alternative strategy to the failed Bush/Blair approach.

Many now also believe that at a time of world crisis like this the spectacle of a British Prime Minister taking time out to pander to the whims of Rupert Murdoch by virtually playing the role of an after dinner speaker at a Murdoch staff conference will be interpreted by some as demeaning the office of British Prime Minister.