The Guardian June 7, 2000


New war threats in Middle East

A statement issued by the Israeli Communist Forum following the hasty 
withdrawal of the Israel forces from southern Lebanon warns of the warlike 
declarations being made by the Israeli Prime Minister, Barak.b

"Leading Israeli politicians  including Prime Minister Barak in person  
continue their repeated threats of a severe attack on Lebanon in the 
aftermath of the withdrawal. Moreover, the threats to attack Syria as well, 
which were hitherto veiled, are now becoming more and more bald and 
explicit", says the statement. 

"The Israeli Communist Forum strongly condemns these threats, and warns the 
government that any attempt to carry them out may ignite an all-out war. In 
such a war, the entire region  including Israel herself  may suffer 
worse disasters, and pay an even heavier price in blood, than what was 
hitherto exacted by the whole period of aggression and occupation of 
Lebanese territories since 1982.

"The Israeli Army's precipitous and humiliating withdrawal from South 
Lebanon is yet another proof that military superiority, however great, is 
incapable of defeating a people which is determined to carry on a justified 
struggle to liberate its homeland from foreign occupation, and whose sons 
and daughters persist in the struggle even when faced with enormous 
sacrifice. 

Casualties

"Some of the victims were Lebanese fighters  but most of them were 
civilians who were wounded or killed in the countless Israeli bombings and 
bombardments launched from sky, sea and land alike. Also the Israeli 
inhabitants in some of the Lebanese border communities suffered from the 
effects of the ongoing occupation of South Lebanon and specifically of the 
criminal attacks on the Lebanese civilian population."

The statement recalls that it was the representatives of the Communist 
Party of Israel and the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality who were 
the only ones in the Israeli Parliament to oppose the Lebanon War from its 
first day in June 1982, and warned of its dire consequences which we still 
experience. 

"The Israeli Communist Forum calls upon the Barak Government to set free 
with no further delay, the Lebanese prisoners still in its hands and, 
rather than threaten new military action against our neighbors, make a 
fundamental change in its perilous policies towards Syria and Lebanon as 
well as the Palestinians." 

Noting the escalation of violence in the Palestinian Territories the 
statement says the the Barak Government bears full responsibility for this 
because of its "non-implementation of previous Israeli obligations" and the 
policy of annexations.

Only a full withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and the creation of an 
independent Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967, with its 
capital in East Jerusalem, can bring peace and security and put an end to 
the prolonged cycle of bloodshed. The Syrian Golan Heights must also be 
fully evacuated. "This is the key to an agreement with Syria and the 
achievement of a stable and lasting peace throughout the region" concluded 
the statement.

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