Talking Points for the UN Security Council draft resolution


Dear US Campaign members

As you plan actions this week to demand an emergency ceasefire there are likely to be many questions about the draft resolution at the UN Security Council. As it stands today, the draft will bring neither justice nor peace. Indeed, it will prove impossible to implement. We need to keep calling for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire. The talking points below can be used to explain why:

1. The resolution requires Hezballah to "cease all attacks" while Israel is only required to cease "all offensive military operations". Thus the resolution is not a ceasefire at all, but a one-sided call for Hezballah to stop.  Israel could continue its devastating attacks on Lebanon's infrastructure as "defensive" measures - and no peacekeeping forces will want to venture into such dangerous terrain.

2. The resolution does not call for Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory. It ignores the 7-point program presented by the Lebanese government, which is backed by a national consensus, including Hezballah. That would include an immediate ceasefire, Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon, monitoring of the withdrawal by UNIFIL (the UN's peacekeeping forces in Lebanon), and putting the Lebanese army in control of the southern part of the country.

3. The resolution reinforces the claim that the "root cause" of the violence was the capture by Hezballah of Israeli soldiers on 12 July 2006.  In fact, there have been countless violations of the blue line established on the Lebanese-Israeli border after Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. UN peacekeepers have documented 10 times as many violations by Israel as by Hezballah in the past six years.  The broader context - including the fact that Israel holds several Lebanese prisoners as well as nearly 10,000 Palestinian prisoners - is ignored.

4. The language equates deaths and destruction of civilian infrastructure "on both sides." It ignores the disproportionate civilian deaths and destruction of infrastructure caused by Israeli bombings. Well over 90% of all civilian deaths, combined with nearly a million Lebanese displaced are all a result of Israeli attacks.  Whole neighborhoods, roads, the airport and ports, bridges, power plants, milk factories, and grain silos have all been decimated. Deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian targets on this scale are crimes against humanity.  See Human Rights Watch recent 50 page report: "Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon"

5. The resolution calls for the unconditional release of the two Israeli soldiers, only "encouraging" the release of the Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails.

6. The resolution provides for international forces only on the Lebanese side of the border, whereas Israel has invaded Lebanon repeatedly in the past, most notably in 1978 and 1982, and has continued to violate its territory and airspace, with some estimates placing Israeli over-flights at as many as 11,000 since 2000.

7. Finally, the resolution makes no mention of the real root causes of the Arab-Israeli conflict: the continued occupation by Israel of the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem and its siege of Gaza, the continued Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights, and the denial of the right of Palestinian refugees to return and compensation, rights upheld by international law.