Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Israel still holding Hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese Hostage

As aid and peacekeepers trickle into Southern Lebanon following the armed struggle between Hizbullah and the Israeli Defense Forces, hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese are still being held illegally by the Israeli government. US media has spoken about the capture of the Israeli soliders in Gaza and Southern Lebanon void of context to what truly sparked the recent border conflicts.

Since 2000, the United Nations has reported that the IDF has made hundreds, almost daily incursions, into Lebanese soil. Furthermore, Palestinians and Lebanese civilians, including women and children, have been held hostage by Israeli security forces during this same period of time. Currently, Israel is holding corspes of Lebanese men as a bargaining tool for calling for the release for three of their solidiers, which is in clear violation of the Geneva Convention Articles 118 and 119.

Below are comments from an anti-war rally, which took place in Ann Arbor, Michigan prior to the so-called cease fire agreement.


Locals protest war in Lebanon Hundreds march, listen to speeches in Ann Arbor
By Dan DuChene / Staff Writer

More than 325 people assembled in downtown Ann Arbor on Aug. 11 to protest U.S. involvement in the war in Lebanon and called for an immediate cease-fire in the region. The crowd assembled on the steps of the Federal Building, located at 200 E. Liberty St., at 4 p.m. The protesters yielded signs and chanted for an immediate cease-fire in the region. "Who is the terrorist?" someone said into a bullhorn. A group responded by shouting, "Israel!" Nazih Hassan of Ypsilanti was one of the organizers of the event. He said two hours after the protest, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel. The two were at war for several weeks this summer in southern Lebanon. "I thought that we conveyed the message that the cease-fire was needed immediately," Hassan said. "We hope that peace will return to the area." Hassan sits on the board of directors of an Ann Arbor-based organization called the Muslim Community Association. He said the cease-fire went into effect in Lebanon on Aug. 14, the Monday following the gathering. "We are here to shed light on what is really going on in Lebanon," Hassan said when he addressed the protesters. "The same genius who conceived the war in Iraq, unfortunately conceived this war," Hassan told the audience. "We all know how well the Iraq war went. "It's this same Orwellian principal that war is peace," Hassan said. "Self-defense is not a reason for the destruction of a whole country."

Five other speakers addressed the crowd at the protest. Representatives from the Council for American-Islamic Relations, Michigan Peaceworks, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Arab and Iranian Women Against War and the Muslim Students Organization all delivered speeches at the rally. Chuck Warpehoski is the executive director for the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. In his speech, Warpehoski said, "We are here to mourn the over thousand dead in Lebanon. We are here to mourn the dozens dead in Israel." He said the dead Israelites break his heart as well. He called for "humanity in front of racial and religious differences." "We ask the voices in the Jewish community who normally oppose war to oppose this war as well," Warpehoski said. After this statement, a member in the audience said, "We're here."

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council for American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, was another speaker at the protest. "It is American tax dollars being used to pay for those bombs that are killing innocent civilians in Lebanon," Walid said "We stand here as Americans to ask our administration to stop sending material-aid to this country," he told the protesters. "They even bombed the Parker Brothers building," Walid said, "The interests of the United States of America and the interests of Israel are not this." After the speeches were complete, the protesters then marched through the streets of downtown Ann Arbor.

During the march, the crowd chanted slogans and waved banners. Demonstrators shouted slogans like "Free, free Lebanon" as they marched along Liberty Street to Main Street and followed it to Huron Street. The march then proceeded down Huron Street to Division and onto Williams Street. They finished up the march by taking Williams Street to Main Street, then back to Liberty Street. The crowd re-assembled on the steps of the Federal Building. Hassan said the United Nations resolution also promised an international force to establish order and rebuild southern Lebanon. He said the resolution called for the disarmament of Hezbollah. "All of these are good," Hassan said. "I want Hezbollah to be disarmed." However, Hassan said the cease-fire has not been completely successful. Hassan said, "Israel's raid of Lebanon was a direct violation of the UN resolution." In spite of his opinion of the event that occurred after the cease-fire, Hassan said the cease-fire "seems to be holding up."

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