13 July, 2006

Israel attacks the people of Gaza and now Lebanon

This is a letter I wrote to Kevin Rudd MP, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia:

Dear Kevin Rudd

I am writing to express my alarm and extreme concern regarding the present military activities being undertaken by the Israeli armed forces in both Gaza and Lebanon. My concerns in no way condone violence by Hamas, Hizbulah or other armed groups. It is the disproportional nature of the Israeli military attacks.

If we only concern ourselves with Lebanon we have to see that nation as one that is struggling to establish democratic institutions, yet the Israeli air force has destroyed all transport infrastructure, including the Beirut International Airport. Not only does Lebanon not pose any meaningful threat to Israel, They have very little defence against this kind of aggression. According to Global Security http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/lebanon/airforce.htm Lebanon's air force and ground defences are no match for the sophisticated and lethal Israeli Air force. It is obvious that these attacks were planned long ago, including the targeting of the airport runway, roads to Damascus and power stations.

As Global Security put it:

"Today, the Lebanese Air Force has no real fixed wing capability. The few fighter aircraft they possess are old and outdated planes that have no combat value. Instead the Air Force has invested in helicopters with limited firepower and survivability. These aircraft are also bound to fair weather conditions because of their limited capability. Their continued operations are still heavily concentrated on domestic operations, primarily narcotics trafficking and other criminal violations.

Lebanon received much of its modern equipment at a discount from the United States and continues to purchase new systems from the U.S. as well. France also represents a large portion of Lebanon’s imports. In 2000, there were only approximately 800 active personnel in the Air Force".

I am outraged by this aggression and believe that the Australian government and opposition should condemn this and the loss of lives (so far reported at 53) and that this condemnation should be of a higher order than that which was given to North Korea for that country's recent missile tests. I am sure that you are aware that the USA, (The Age 12 July 2006) and India (Sydney Morning Herald 10 July 2006) have both conducted recent missile tests for which we should voice our concerns.

At least Australia should express concern to the UN Security Council regarding Israel's aggression in Lebanon, better if Gaza was included in this resolution. This country needs to have a morally defensible foreign policy that is differentiated from that of the United States. The time for this must be now.