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