The Deadly US-Israeli Shell Game at the UN
By JONATHAN COOK
"If there were any remaining illusions about the purpose of Israel's war against Lebanon, the draft United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a "cessation of major hostilities" published at the weekend should finally dispel them. This entirely one-sided document was drafted, the Hebrew-language media have reported, with close Israeli involvement. The top adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, talked through the resolution with the US and French teams, while the Israeli Foreign Ministry had its man alongside John Bolton [yet another of Israel's men, Eds ] at the UN building in New York.
The reason for Israel's barely concealed pleasure is that Hizbullah now faces an international diplomatic and public relations assault in place of the unsuccessful Israeli military one. Israel, and the United States, are trying to set a series of traps for Hizbullah -- and Lebanon too -- that will justify Israel's reoccupation of south Lebanon, the further ethnic cleansing of the country, and a widening of the war to include Iran, and possibly Syria.
Israel and Washington, however, may hope that, given time, they can break that national solidarity by provoking a civil war in Lebanon to deplete local energies, similar to Israel's attempts at engineering feuds between Hamas and Fatah in the occupied Palestinian territories. Certainly, it is difficult to make sense otherwise of Israel's bombing for the first time of Christian neighborhoods in Beirut and what looks like the intended ethnic cleansing of Sunni Muslims from Sidon, which was leafletted by Israeli war planes at the weekend.
Not only will Washington and Israel blame Hizbullah for refusing to agree to the ceasefire but they will seek to use any retaliation against Israeli "defensive" aggression -- including, presumably, further invasion -- as a pretext for widening the war and dragging in the real target of their belligerence: Iran.This subterfuge was voiced at the weekend by Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, who told the BBC that if Hizbullah fired at Tel Aviv -- which it has threatened to do if Israel continues attacking Beirut -- this would be tantamount to an "act of war" that could only have been ordered by Iran. In other words, at some point soon Israel may stop blaming Hizbullah and turn its fire -- defensively, of course -- on Iran.
So in the coming days, in the wake of this US-Israeli concoction of an impossible peace, we are going to be hearing a lot more nonsense from Israel and the White House about Iran's role in supposedly initiating and expanding this war, its desire to "wipe Israel off the map" and the nuclear weapons it is developing so that it can achieve its aim."