Peter Beaumont in Kfar Kila
Sunday August 6, 2006
"But nothing appears to spook Yahia. A member of Amal, the group fighting alongside Hizbollah in the Islamic Resistance, he barely flinches as the Israeli shells crash in. The streets are open on one side to observation from the gunners around Metula. 'If they want to come, they'll come,' he said sombrely, showing off the rubble in his parents' house, where a shell had punched a hole through the wall. 'Then we will fight them.'
'I won't fight without a reason. But because I have a reason I will fight. Because this is my land, I am prepared to die for it. How could you stay silent when you see your land burn and your children get killed? The whole population here is now resisting.'
It is something that strikes you forcefully when you reach the front line of this war. In these villages that form the strongholds of the Islamic Resistance, the men - many of them obviously fighters out of uniform - do not talk much in terms of ideology or religious fanaticism. They are not the zealots and jihadis that Israel claims. Instead, they talk about their damaged property and their livestock scattered by the shelling on the mountains. They talk about family who have fled and those who have stayed. And all the time they carefully skirt talk of the fighters. If they do talk politics it is sometimes with an unexpected spin. Several say that it is not so much the Israelis they blame for this - indeed, who they suggest would agree to a truce - but US President George Bush, who they claim is the real force behind the war."