CAABU condemns Blair’s failure to insist on a ceasefire

CAABU was deeply alarmed by the inadequate statement made by Prime Minister, Tony Blair to the House of Commons on 18th July regarding the escalating conflict in the Middle East. The only way out of this conflict is the immediate cessation of violence on all sides. In this light, it is disgraceful that the British Government has failed to join the majority of the international community in calling all sides to an immediate ceasefire.

This glaring omission in Blair’s statement could be seen as condoning the continued disproportionate use of force employed by the Israeli army and the collective punishment of both Lebanese and Palestinian civilians.

It effectively gives the green light to further killings of Arab civilians in far greater numbers. Not only that, but the Prime Minister’s analysis of the situation is deeply flawed as it ignores Israel’s role in this crisis, not least the huge numbers of Palestinian civilians they killed in Gaza before any Israeli soldier was kidnapped. Furthermore, by heavily targeting civilian infrastructure, the Lebanese army, and Christian areas of Lebanon, Israel has gone far beyond defending itself against Hizballah missile attacks.

Blair’s acquiescence of Israeli war crimes in Palestine and Lebanon will only harden the view that increasingly the British Government values Israeli lives more than Arab ones.

Whilst CAABU wants to see the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and full restoration of Lebanese sovereignty, there is no excuse for Israel’s continued violations of UNSCRs and this should also be clearly stated by the British Government.

Chris Doyle, Director of CAABU warns that “the outcome of all this will be hugely dangerous to British interests and security and could potentially unleash extremist forces far greater than already seen in this conflict.”

There is no excuse for delays in urgent and forceful diplomacy to bring about an end to this dangerous crisis.

CAABU’s co-chair John Austin said he was was deeply disappointed following a meeting with Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett on Tuesday 18th July. He said “The government’s failure to condemn Israel’s breach of the Geneva Conventions will be interpreted by Israel as approval of its actions and a green light to continue its bombardment of the civilian populations of Lebanon and Gaza”.

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