By Franklin Lamb – Beirut
With daily demonstrations being held in Beirut and across Lebanon, this item just in from the morning papers (January 1) here in Beirut: ‘United States Advises its Citizens in Lebanon to Avoid Demonstrations in Support of Gaza.’
"The American embassy in Beirut, sent an email to its citizens informing them that several protests had occurred "with little or no warning in Lebanon" and that they should "exercise extreme caution."
"Americans are advised that even the most peaceful assembly can quickly turn violent against them. Americans should avoid areas where protests and demonstrations are occurring," the warden’s message said.
Demonstrations have been ongoing on a daily basis since last Saturdays events at various Lebanese regions protesting the Israeli military operation on Gaza. A demonstration also was held outside the Egyptian embassy last Sunday that developed into an ugly confrontation between protesters and security forces that resulted in some minor injuries, the Embassy announcement stated. The government of the United States of America will continue its tireless efforts to achieve a sustainable, respected ceasefire and urges Hamas to cease terrorist rocket attacks against Israel."
Does AIPAC write the Beirut Embassy US Citizen ‘Warder Warnings"?
Dutifully, the Beirut Embassy distributes the latest musings of White House spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, who rung in the New Year by reporting that Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Mr. Olmert had "assured President Bush that Israel is taking every appropriate step (!) to avoid civilian casualties" in Gaza. In addition, Mr. Johndroe was pleased to report that, the Israeli leader told Mr. Bush that Israel was "targeting only Hamas operatives and those affiliated with Hamas. They discussed prospects for a cease-fire — what steps could lead to a cessation of violence", Mr. Johndroe said — "but could not get into specific timetables… The onus is on Hamas."
The Embassy joined Johndroe in praising the diplomatic efforts of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, but denounced Iran and Syria, saying they had supplied weapons to terrorist groups. "Neither Iran nor Syria is playing a helpful role. They’re not playing a constructive role in this current crisis, which is pretty typical for their actions with regard to Hamas and Hezbollah."
Could someone please inform Ms. US Ambassador that many Americans here in Beirut are honored to attend demonstrations in support of Gaza and Palestine? And given that the US weapons the Embassy helps funnel to Israel are used against civilians, feel it’s their duty to help organize them?
No personal offense intended but given that the Pirates of the Mediterranean have returned with the Israeli ramming the Gaza relief boat, Dignity, Monday morning, will our Ambassador here in Lebanon join the next freegaza.org mercy boat to Gaza?
-Franklin Lamb, an international lawyer and researcher, currently based in Beirut, drafted, for HOKOK, the International Coalition against Impunity, its Complaint/Submission filed, on December 10, 2008, the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the Internationally Criminal Court in The Hague. The Case charges Israel with continuing Rome Statue International crimes in Gaza and throughout Occupied Palestine. In January 2009 HOKOK will petition the ICC to include Mohammad Hosni Mubarak as an additional defendant in the Case. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.