Lebanon: Socialist Party oppose sending Irish troops as part of UN force

By Joe Higgins, TD

In the Dáil today, the Government put forward a motion to send Irish troops to the Lebanon as part of the UNIFIL Force. Joe Higgins T.D. was the only member of the Dáil to oppose this motion.

Joe Higgins (Socialist Party): The United Nations has no credibility as a champion for the people of Lebanon. Resolution 1701 blatantly understates the criminal slaughter of more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians by the Israeli armed forces. The barbaric destruction of huge swathes of infrastructure in Lebanon and the massacre of the innocents was carried out using armaments, planes and bombs supplied to Israel by two of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, namely the United States and Britain. Germany has just given Israel three nuclear-powered submarines in the wake of the slaughter. This is the body to which the Government and others now look to resolve the problems of the people of Lebanon.

Many well-meaning people in Ireland, including ordinary Irish soldiers, believe that United Nations troops will help to bring peace to the Lebanon. Unfortunately, they will be disappointed. Members should consider the disaster that recently befell the Timorese people when, under the very eyes of the United Nations forces, that country split apart. In reality, the terms of this deployment are dictated to the United Nations on Israel's behalf by the United States. Irish soldiers risk being caught in a murderous conflict between the Israel Defence Forces, IDF, and the Hizbollah.

If the United Nations considers a buffer zone to be necessary in southern Lebanon - in reality it is to protect the IDF - why does it not maintain a buffer zone in the south of Israel to protect the long-suffering Palestinian people of Gaza, who are now corralled and slaughtered weekly, in what is the greatest concentration camp in the world? The solution to this crisis is not more United Nations forces. It lies in the hands of the working people and peasants of the Lebanon, the Palestinian people and the Israeli working class. It does not lie in the hands of the United Nations imperial powers, the Israeli ruling class, the inept Lebanese Government or any such force. Moreover, it does not lie in the hands of Hizbollah either, which is a right-wing fundamentalist force.

On the basis of a democratic and socialist Middle East, in which its resources are used for the benefit of the people of the region, the peoples can come together, work out a peace solution and live in peace. This is the way forward rather than another short-term United Nations so-called solution, which will undoubtedly end in failure. As a Socialist Party Deputy, I am the only Member to oppose this motion. Unfortunately, under the rules of the House, this means there will be no division. However, I believe this opposition will be vindicated by future events.



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