Friday, July 21, 2006

Stop Israeli agression in Lebanon now!

The war in Lebanon between the Israeli government and the armed militias of Hezbollah is raging. It is getting worse by the day. Latest reports say that Israel now expanded its operations on the ground in Lebanon and has thousands of troops across the border. This is a sign that Israel is not backing down despite the pressures from the international civil society to cease its agression. The United States, the only country in the world that has the power to influence Israel, is sticking to its position that the Jewish state has the right to defend itself notwithstanding the fact that it is killing innocent civilians. It vetoed the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel. This is like granting Israel the 'diplomatic license' to kill.

The conflict, which was prompted by the capture of three Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hezbollah, is truly deplorable especially with the unjust and disproportionate reaction of the Israeli authorities who bombarded Lebanon everyday with complete disregard to the lives of innocent civilians. Various reports estimate that more than 300 people are now killed in Lebanon due to the constant air strikes by Israeli security forces while scores of Israeli citizens are hurt and several people killed by Hezbolla rockets fired to Northern Israel. The Jewish State, in its effort to force the Hezbollah militants to release the soldiers, also held hostage the entire Lebanese population through land and sea incursion with tanks, gunboats and planes across the Lebanese border and by destroying bridges, schools, mosques, power and water supplies which have no obvious military use. This is clearly a violation of the Geneva Conventions and other international laws.

If the crisis in Lebanon continues, I am afraid that it will escalate into an international war. As of this moment, the Arab countries are agitated. They can not wait in the sidelines as hundreds of their brothers, sisters and children are being slaughtered everyday. Already, thousands of Muslims across the world are holding protest actions calling for a pan-Arab action against Israel. If they do strike against Israel, the US will surely take a stand and defend the Jewish state. An immediate ceasefire is clearly the best option right now.

If you believe that Israel should stop its attacks against Lebanon please send an email protest to the Embassy of Israel in Manila. (Photo from Beirut Lemons)

Below is a statement I wrote for Migrant Forum in Asia on this crisis:

MFA calls for ceasefire in Lebanon; chides Asian governments for not acting fast on repatriating their citizens

Migrant Forum in Asia, a regional network of more than 260 member-organisations, expresses its deep concern over the deteriorating situation in the Middle East. We lament the escalating violence committed by the Israeli government and the armed militias of Hezbollah and Hamas against the civilian population of Lebanon and Israel including the thousands of Asian migrant workers in those countries.

MFA condemns in the strongest terms the actions of Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas. Terrorism, in any kind and form, is barbaric, heinous and completely unacceptable. The potential humanitarian crisis is catastrophic if the crisis escalates further. The United Nations (UN) believes that more than 500,000 Lebanese are now internally displaced and scattered in various refugee camps along the borders of Lebanon. All freedom-loving governments and organisations must act now to stop this nonsensical show of brute of might. MFA calls on the UN to call for an immediate ceasefire and show the whole world that it will not be intimidated by a superpower whose ‘low-key’ response to the crisis is fuelling Israel’s frenzied and vicious attacks on its neighbours. Continuing apathy and inaction of the international community give Israel the ‘diplomatic license’ to continue its destruction of Lebanon. The UN, through the Security Council, must not allow this to go on. It should, likewise, reinforce security in the region by deploying a multinational peacekeeping force along the Israeli and Lebanese border. It must push for sanctions for all those who are responsible for this conflict.

The collective punishment of the people of Lebanon by Israel affects the more than 200,000 migrant workers from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh and from countries in the Northern African region. Thousands of migrant workers who wish to return to their respective countries are now trapped in the deadly pit that is Lebanon. We are worried over reports that many domestic migrant workers are left behind by their employers who also took their passports. Many of them are left with no money, food and shelter. We must bear in mind that these migrant workers helped in the reconstruction of Lebanon after the devastating civil war years ago. They surely do not deserve to be treated as commodities only to be abandoned when their services are no longer necessary.

We are also appalled by the slow response of the governments of migrant sending countries to the plight of their people. We cannot understand the delay in the immediate evacuation of those who are willing to leave. After propping up their economies with billions of dollars in remittances the least these countries can do is to ensure the safety of their nationals during crisis such as this. Conflicts do happen and the Asian governments should have seen this one and established an early warning mechanism that will help the migrant workers. As in the 1990 Gulf War and US-led occupation of Iraq, the sending countries seem to be always at a lost on what to do to evacuate their citizens. While it is true that some of the sending countries lack financial resources, there are charitable institutions that can be tapped for assistance such as the International Organization for Migration and the International Red Cross and Crescent.

This recent conflict underscores the need for a quick-response mechanism to protect the rights and livelihoods of migrant workers. MFA recommends that relevant international organisations such as the IOM, Red Cross, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to work with the governments of sending countries and formulate measures that will ensure that the migrant workers are protected from harm and can be evacuated immediately during periods of upheavals and conflicts.

Migrant Forum in
59-B Malumanay Street

Teachers Village
, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel (632) 4333508

July 20, 2006


Yowee said...

The raging war between the Hezbollah militia of Lebanon and Israel paints a chilling portrait of the agitated Middle Eastern countries and what could happen to the world if these conflicts will not be resolved immediately. What with the unfinished war between the United States and Iraq, North Korea ignites the situation by launching missile tests where the US claims that Iranian officials were present during the launches. US envoys also claim that Syria, Venezuela and Myanmar allegedly trade arms with North Korea. It scares me to think that countries are stacking up weapons of mass destruction. What scares me more is that it seems that the world is on verge of another world war. I hope the United Nations and the United States and all anti-war countries won't let this happen. It's not paranoia, it's a nightmare waiting to happen.

/iambrew said...

Now that's heavy blogging...

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed looking at your site, I found it very helpful indeed, keep up the good work.