According to the Guardian UK “Israel held on to three Lebanese detainees as bargaining chips and to keep the battle front with Hizbullah open.”
This, along with the continued occupation of parts of Southern Lebanon, did not sit well with the militant group as FOX news reported:
At a mass rally in Beirut that Hezbollah staged to welcome the freed Arabs, the group's leader warned it would kidnap more Israelis to use as bargaining chips if necessary to secure the release of Lebanese prisoners.There are still some interesting controversies about the July 12 incident that have not been investigated. Hezbollah and Lebanese policies contend that Israeli soldiers crossed over to Lebanese territory, which sparked the battle. Asia Times noted this a few days after the incident:
To them, it is legitimate self-defense. They back this argument by saying that Israel still controls the Sheba Farms, which are part of Lebanon, and still has Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails. Also, they add that the Israeli tank destroyed by Hezbollah, and the soldiers captured and killed on July 12, had trespassed into Lebanon's side of the border with Israel.However, the above Guardian article also noted that Hezbollah’s leader declared they had planned for five months to capture soldiers for their cause.
To make things more interesting, Farid Abboud, the Ambassador for Lebanon, told Jim Lehrer:
The ambassador was later “recalled to Beirut” for his comment.
We did not declare any war. It was declared on us when our country was occupied by the Israelis, when prisoners were taken from Lebanon into Israel, and when Palestinian refugees were pushed inside Lebanon.
We did not occupy Israel; we did not declare war; we didn't do anything. We don't want any escalations.
At this juncture, if there is any solution to be found, it should be around a negotiating table. And there should be negotiations to the withdrawal of the Israelis from the Lebanese-occupied territories and to the release of Lebanese prisoners. That's the only solution that will, you know, be feasible.
I'm not sure where the location of the attack took place. I understand that there was another battle, also, where during which the Israelis crossed Lebanese soil and that the casualties that fell then were inside Lebanon territory.
But that's not very relevant. The issue is now that there are prisoners of Lebanon, detained by Israel, and there are Israeli prisoners in Lebanon, and there should be an exchange of prisoners.
We do not want any escalation, and I don't think we have ever attacked Israel. I mean, Israel has always occupied our territory, and we have always defended ourselves. Our position has always been very reactive, defensive.
One thing is sure. Israel has no moral or legal ground to stand on. They continue to occupy parts of Lebanon in defiance of UNSC resolution 509, which clearly stated that the council:
Demands that Israel withdraw all its military forces forthwith and unconditionally to the internationally recognized boundaries of Lebanon.So long as Israel keeps Lebanese prisoners as “bargaining chips” and continues to violate international law and Lebanese sovcreignty, we cannot expect a “feasible” solution.
I happen to strongly agree with Abboud, the two states should return to a negotiations table (along with other regional states since this conflict is not just about these two states, but more to do with Israel’s actions and policies in the region as a whole), release all their prisoners to each other and Israel should end its occupation of Southern Lebanon (and Palestine) for the assurance of an end to hostilities towards Israel.
But of course, such an idea has been offered numerous times in recent decades and Israel rejects.
So what do we want: a continued escalation of violence where militants fight to do what citizens of the “free societies” - referring to US and Israel - refuse to do or will we take non-violent - and preferably legal - measures and demand an end to injustices and a “feasible” solution to materialize into reality?
I opt for the later.
What about You?