US supports Israeli Holocaust of Palestinians


Richard Moore

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai employed the Hebrew word for Holocaust to 
describe the retaliation that is being prepared. He told the Israeli Army Radio 
Friday that the Palestinians would ³bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because
we will use all our might to defend ourselves.²

 WSWS : News & Analysis : Middle East
Washington deploys warships off the coast of Lebanon
By Bill Van Auken
1 March 2008

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The Bush administration has ordered the deployment of US Navy warships, 
including the guided missile destroyer USS Cole, off the coast of Lebanon and 
Israel, escalating the threat of a wider war in the Middle East.

The Cole, capable of striking targets throughout the region with cruise 
missiles, is expected to be joined soon by the US Navy¹s Nassau battle group, 
which includes six vessels, including amphibious landing craft, as well as a 
contingent of over 2,000 Marines.

The deployment constitutes a ³show of support for regional stability² because of
³concern about the situation in Lebanon,² a Pentagon official told Agence 

In reality this naked exercise in gunboat diplomacy can only serve to increase 
tensions and make a regional war all the more likely.

The immediate target of the military buildup appears to be Syria and opposition 
political forces in Lebanon itself, particularly Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia 
mass movement that Washington has branded as a terrorist organization.

The military action was joined Thursday by the Bush administration¹s 
announcement of another round of sanctions against Syria, this time directed at 
four named individuals alleged to have played a role in supporting the 
anti-occupation resistance in neighboring Iraq.

³We don¹t succumb to threats and military intimidation practiced by the United 
States to implement its hegemony over Lebanon,² said Hezbollah legislator Hassan
Fadlallah, who declared the naval deployment a direct threat to Lebanon¹s 
sovereignty. ³This proves the confrontation is with decision-makers in 
Washington,² he added.

Politicians linked to the US-backed government claimed that Washington had 
ordered the deployment without any consultation with Lebanese officials.

The US naval deployment coincided with yet another postponement of a 
parliamentary vote to fill the office of the Lebanese president, which has been 
vacant for the past four months. Washington is anxious to consolidate a 
US-dominated regime in Lebanon around Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to further 
its broader aims of controlling the region and its vital energy resources.

This week saw the 15th such postponement, derailing a mediation attempt by Arab 
League Secretary General Amr Moussa and making the selection of a new president 
unlikely until after an Arab summit scheduled in Damascus for March 29-30. King 
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and some other Arab heads of state aligned with the 
US-backed ruling coalition in Lebanon have indicated that they will boycott the 
summit unless the political impasse is resolved and a Lebanese president is in 

Washington has cynically opposed any negotiated settlement, instead seeking the 
installation of a regime committed to destroying the political influence of 
Hezbollah. For its part, Hezbollah and its political allies are determined to 
secure sufficient representation in the government to give them effective veto 
power. The opposition holds a sufficient number of seats in parliament to deny 
the ruling parties a quorum, thus giving it the power to prevent the selection 
of a president.

Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament and a leading opposition 
figure, charged the US with seeking to block any compromise. In a television 
interview Friday, he said that the Bush administration was particularly hostile 
to the Arab League initiative, which called for a unity government and the 
enactment of a new electoral law.

Washington and the March 14 coalition of pro-US government parties have sought 
to pin the blame for the government crisis on Syria, portraying it as an attempt
by Damascus to extract revenge for having been compelled to withdraw its troops 
from Lebanon and cede power to pro-American politicians who succeeded in winning
a parliamentary majority in 2005.

But there are growing indications that the attempts by the Bush administration 
to turn Lebanon into a key theater for prosecuting its ³global war on 
terrorism,² with Hezbollah, Syria and Iran all as targets, are exacerbating 
deep-going social and political tensions in Lebanon. The US strategy is 
threatening to unravel the country¹s frayed political power-sharing agreement 
between Maronite Christian, Sunni and Shia political forces and reignite the 
civil war that ravaged the country for 15 years beginning in 1975.

Popular protests over social conditions by the country¹s predominantly 
working-class and poor Shia population have met with increasing repression. 
Early last month, a protest against power cuts in a Shia neighborhood in Beirut 
turned into a full-blown confrontation with the army that left seven unarmed 
demonstrators dead. The weeks since have seen repeated exchanges of gunfire 
between rival militias affiliated to either government of opposition parties.

Meanwhile, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, a prominent member of the ruling 
coalition, used a televised February 10 speech to issue a bellicose challenge to
the opposition: ³You want disorder? It will be welcomed. You want war? It will 
be welcomed. We have no problem with weapons, no problem with missiles. We will 
bring them to you.²

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal warned recently that Lebanon was 
³on the verge of civil war.²

Washington has a long and bloody history of military intervention in Lebanon¹s 
internal affairs, having acted repeatedly to bolster the political power of 
pro-Western parties and to suppress opposition from the country¹s oppressed.

In 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower sent some 14,000 soldiers and Marines into 
Lebanon to prop up the rightist regime of President Camille Chamoun‹who enjoyed 
financial backing from both the CIA and the oil companies‹against mounting 
opposition from predominantly Muslim Arab nationalists.

Some 25 years later, US Marines were sent into Lebanon again in the wake of the 
Israeli invasion of the country, only to be withdrawn after the bombings of 
their Beirut barracks left 241 Marines and 58 French troops dead. Then, as now, 
US warships were dispatched to the Lebanese coast, bombarding Shia and Druze 

The other broader context of the US naval deployment is the mounting threat of 
renewed Israeli military offensives, both in southern Lebanon and in the Gaza 
Strip. Israel has carried out repeated air strikes against Gaza since Wednesday,
killing at least 35 Palestinians, including a six-month-old baby and four 
children struck down as they were playing football.

The Israeli government said that the bombardment was a response to the firing of
rockets from Gaza into southern Israel. Meanwhile, senior government officials 
have warned that an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza is virtually inevitable.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai employed the Hebrew word for Holocaust to 
describe the retaliation that is being prepared. He told the Israeli Army Radio 
Friday that the Palestinians would ³bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because
we will use all our might to defend ourselves.²

Meanwhile, Israeli forces have also recently conducted war games on the northern
border with Lebanon in apparent preparation for another war. In 2006, Israel 
launched a war against Lebanon, including massive bombardments that left over 
1,000 civilians killed and much of the country¹s infrastructure in ruins.

Nonetheless, the 34-day war was a defeat for Israel, leaving Hezbollah 
strengthened. A report issued recently by an Israeli commission formed to 
investigate the conduct of the war described it as ³a serious missed 

The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may well seek to reverse this 
failure with a new act of military aggression. The recent ³targeted 
assassination² of Hezbullah¹s senior military commander Imad Mugniyah in 
Damascus is widely seen in the region as a deliberate Israeli provocation aimed 
at provoking the Shia movement¹s retaliation and thereby providing the pretext 
for another Israeli war in Lebanon. Such a project would almost certainly enjoy 
the backing of the Bush administration, providing it with its own pretext for 
targeting Iran and Syria as the supposed state sponsors of terrorism and 
instability in the Middle East.

The dispatch to the eastern Mediterranean of the USS Cole, a ship which has been
identified with the US ³war on terror² since it was attacked by a suicide bomber
in Yemen in 2000, losing 17 sailors, constitutes a stark warning that US 
imperialism is preparing to follow up its invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan with
the unleashing of even greater armed terror against the peoples of the region.

See Also:
Political tensions in Lebanon threaten civil war
[2 October 2007]

Humanitarian disaster looms as Lebanese attack on Palestinian camp continues

[5 June 2007]
The Qana massacre: Slaughter of innocents in Lebanon
[31 July 2006]
The assassination of Rafiq Hariri: who benefited?
[17 February 2005]

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