American support for Israel's unwinnable aim of destroying Hizbullah only boosts its support in Lebanon and beyond
By Noam Chomsky
"Let's describe the current crisis for what it is: a US-Israeli invasion of Lebanon, with only a cynical pretence to legitimacy. Amid all the charges and counter-charges, the most immediate factor behind the assault is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
US-Israeli rejectionism is not only in words but, more importantly, in actions. With decisive US backing, Israel has been formalising its programme of annexation, dismemberment of shrinking Palestinian territories and imprisonment of what remains by taking over the Jordan valley - the "convergence" programme that is, astonishingly, called "courageous withdrawal" in the US.
In consequence, the Palestinians are facing national destruction. The most meaningful support for Palestine is from Hizbullah, which was formed in reaction to the 1982 invasion. It won considerable prestige by leading the effort to force Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000. Also, like other Islamic movements including Hamas, Hizbullah has gained popular support by providing social services to the poor.
To US and Israeli planners it therefore follows that Hizbullah must be severely weakened or destroyed, just as the PLO had to be evicted from Lebanon in 1982. But Hizbullah is so deeply embedded in society that it cannot be eradicated without destroying much of Lebanon as well. Hence the scale of the attack on the country's population and infrastructure.
The dynamics are familiar. Rami Khouri, an editor of Lebanon's Daily Star, writes that "the Lebanese and Palestinians have responded to Israel's persistent and increasingly savage attacks against entire civilian populations by creating parallel or alternative leaderships that can protect them and deliver essential services".
Such popular forces will only gain in power and become more extremist if the US and Israel persist in demolishing any hope of Palestinian national rights, and in destroying Lebanon."