World protests over Israeli assault

Demonstrations against Israel’s war on Lebanon and its continuing assault on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip took place in at least 15 countries and in scores of cities on July 22-23.

In Tel Aviv, up to 5,000 Israelis, Jewish and Arab, marched July 22 under the slogan, “End the war, end the occupation.” Some signs read, “Listen up soldier — it’s your duty to refuse,” urging Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to commit war crimes. Another said, “Exchange prisoners of war — bring the soldiers home!”

In London, some 30,000 marched, mobilized by the Stop the War Coalition and the Muslim Association of Britain. A few days prior to the London march, Alan Simpson, a leader of the Labour Party’s left wing, said, “The bombing of Lebanon and the incursions into Gaza have nothing to do with the rescue of captured soldiers. They are part of a wider plan to destabilize the Palestinian Authority, turn Lebanon into a puppet state and pave the way for the next wars on Iran and Syria.”

On July 25, 63 communist and workers parties, including the Communist Party USA, released a statement “strongly condemning all aggressive acts by the Israeli army in Gaza and Lebanon” and condemning U.S. and Israeli government threats toward Syria and Iran. The statement said the raids in Gaza and Lebanon were part of a new drive to establish a “Greater Middle East” under U.S. and NATO tutelage, and called for (1) an immediate cessation of the attacks and withdrawal of the Israeli army, (2) respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and against any imperialist intervention under any pretext, (3) the immediate release of political prisoners, and (4) the complete dismantling of settlements and the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the territories occupied in 1967, the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, alongside Israel, and a just solution to the refugee question, according to UN resolutions.