Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Will Robert Fisk tell us the whole story?

Time For a Champion of Truth to Speak Up


"But possibly in an attempt at even-handedness, Fisk has also muddied the picture in relation to the actions of Hizbullah and thereby contributed towards the very mythical narratives he seeks to undermine.

Hizbullah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, deserve the fairest hearing we can give them, especially as their voices are systematically excluded from a Western press that identifies with Israel.

The implications of these comments are serious, and deserve to be set out clearly and transparently by a reporter who consistently makes them. And yet Fisk has not produced any evidence, let alone reasoned argument, to suggest that Syria, through Hizbullah, planned a war that would offer Israel the chance to destroy Lebanon. I am not saying Fisk is wrong, but I would like to know the basis for his grave claims.

What makes his comments all the more strange is that Fisk seems to be at least aware that, quite unrelated to the capture of the two Israeli soldiers, Israel had planned its assault on Lebanon for some time:

Most noticeable is that, in constantly castigating Hizbullah for “starting” the war, Fisk entirely ignores the background to the confrontation: that Israeli war planes and spy drones were almost daily violating Lebanese air space and sovereignty, as well, of course, as the issues of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails, Israel’s refusal to hand over the maps of the minefields it laid during its two-decade occupation, and its continuing refusal to negotiate over the land corridor known as the Shebaa Farms.

A separate factor may help to explain how Fisk’s judgment may have been clouded. He often mentions in passing his close relations with the family of the late Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed by a car bomb more than a year ago that was widely blamed on Syria. Hariri, a millionaire Sunni businessman, was responsible for much of the private investment in Lebanon that led to its reconstruction and which Israel has now destroyed."

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