The International Conference in Solidarity with the Lebanese Resistance against Imperialist aggression was held at the UNESCO Building in Beirut on November 16-19. Lal Khan, Pakistani Marxist, had been officially invited to speak and here we provide a summary of his speech.

The failure of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon was a major setback not only for the Israeli state but for all the Western Powers - particularly the United States and France. This failure will further aggravate the difficulties US imperialism faces in the Middle East.

In spite of the claims of Israeli government ministers and top army generals, Israel did not win the recent war in Lebanon. It is Hezbollah that has emerged enormously strengthened, as the 800,000 strong rally the other amply proved. All this is forcing the imperialists to rethink their strategy in the region.

The Israeli government and military failed in their declared objectives in the recent conflict in Lebanon. Israeli society is under shock as a result. Now while they say a new war needs to prepared, the government is preparing vicious attacks on social spending. This will inevitably prepare class conflict at some stage. Meanwhile on the Arab street the desire for a genuine left alternative is becoming evident.

The Israeli aggression against Lebanon ended in defeat. None of the objectives set by the Israeli Government were attained. The position of the Israeli ruling class has been weakened at home and abroad. The result of the conflict is also a setback for American Imperialism – as well as for French Imperialism – and has strengthened the position of the Hezbollah, Iran and Syria.

Immediately following the ceasefire the government of Israel attempted to convince the Israeli population, and its friends abroad, that Israel had ‘won the war'. Now they are forced to beat a hasty retreat from such declarations, as no-one in Israel is stupid enough to swallow them.

The imperialists have been trying to force Lebanon to accept a diplomatic victory for Israel precisely because Israel cannot win this war by military means. The Israeli war cabinet on Wednesday gave approval in principle to the generals' plan for an expanded ground operation, but delayed its implementation in order to give a chance to the UN Security Council to draft a resolution that fits the rulers of Israel as a condition to end the crisis.

Lebanon has a long history, being one of the cradles of early civilisation, but it has been occupied by many different powers, the last being Isreal and Syria. Last time Israel occupied it it was eventually defeated and forced to leave because of the guerrilla war led by Hezbollah. It was Israel’s Vietnam. This is still a factor in understanding what is happening today.

On Wednesday serious land operations commenced in southern Lebanon. The Israeli army has met severe resistance from the Hezbollah guerrillas. The longer this drags out the greater will be the political consequences for the Israeli ruling class.

The air strikes against Lebanon continue, as do the rockets being fired on Israel. The responsibility for the bloodshed and suffering of this new conflict lies first and foremost with the Israeli ruling class, who had clearly been preparing for such a scenario for some time.

Today we spoke with Yossi Schwartz in Haifa, one of the cities hit by Hizbollah rockets. Below we are providing the text of a conversation with him in which he describes the mood in the country and looks at the possible scenario that may unfold over the next few days.

We received this article yesterday evening. It was written as the situation between Israel and Lebanon was escalating. The Israeli ruling class has decided on war to "solve" its problems. In reality it is opening up even greater problems destabilising the situation even further. The crisis of Israeli capitalism is dragging the peoples of the region to fratricidal war.


Four months after it was formed and two weeks after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri the pro-Syrian government of Omar Karami has resigned. The right-wing opposition that brought down the pro-Syrian government headed by Karami is focused on the removal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon.

Anyone who examines the situation of the Middle East, not in each country separately but as a whole, must come to the conclusion that the days of social and economic stability are definitely over. Instead of economic stability we have crisis. Instead of peace we are caught in the crossfire between the imperialists’ state terror and the individual terror of the Islamic fundamentalists.

Yossi Schwartz looks at the real reasons behind the recent exchange of prisoners between Israel and Hezbollah.

If one were to search for the simplest example of lack of coverage of an important labour movement event by the international media of the capitalists, Lebanon is the most recent case. A 24 hours general strike took place in Lebanon last week but it was hardly reported outside of Lebanon. The Daily Star reported, "Preparations for Thursday’s all-out strike were under way on Wednesday as the General Labor Confederation (GLC) urged the Labour Ministry to be alert for complaints about employers who refuse to give their staff a paid day off during the walkout. Labor unions and teachers’ leagues called for a one-day strike to protest the 2004 draft budget. Unpopular items include Article 12,


In 1943 a revolt of the Lebanese erupted against French imperialism. While oppressing their own colonies, the British cynically supported the Lebanese as a means of weakening De Gaulle and French imperialism. De Gaulle drowned the rebellion in blood refusing to accept the position of puppet of Anglo-American imperialism. Thus the British and French imperialists competed for spheres of influence while Arab blood spilled onto the streets.

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