Saturday, August 12, 2006
Today, August 11, the Israeli army and Border Police brutally prevented Bil’in’s weekly non-violent demonstration, by firing rubber bullets and sound grenades on protestors as they marched through the village on their way to the Apartheid wall. Fourteen people from Bil’in, Israelis and internationals, have been injured, including an Israeli, Lymar, in critical condition who was shot on neck and just above his right ear with 3 rubber bullets at close range. He has had surgery at Tel Hashomer hospital to remove a rubber bullet that was lodged in his skull. Currently he is in a medical induced coma in moderate but stable condition, but has sustained brain damaged of unknown severity. Continued.
Since becoming a born-again Zionist after the June 1967 war Dershowitz has justified each and all of Israel's egregious violations of international law. In recent years he has used the "war on terrorism" as a springboard for a full frontal assault on this body of law. Appearing shortly after the outbreak of the second intifada, his book Why Terrorism Works (2002) served to rationalize Israel's brutal repression of the uprising. In 2006 Dershowitz published a companion volume, Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways, to justify Israel's preventive use of force against Iran. It is painfully clear from their content that Dershowitz possesses little knowledge or for that matter interest in the timely political topics that purport to be the stimuli for his interventions. In reality each book is keyed to a current Israeli political crisis and seeks to rationalize the most extreme measures for resolving it. If Why Terrorism Works used the war on terrorism as a juggernaut to set back the clock on protection of civilians from occupying armies, Preemption uses the war on terrorism to set back the clock on the protection of states from wars of aggression. Dershowitz's current missives from Martha's Vineyard take aim at the protection of civilians in times of war. Continued.
By Mike Whitney
|"March on Lebanon and also on Gaza with ploughs and salt. Destroy them to the last inhabitant…. Save your people and make bombs, and rain them on villages and towns and houses till they collapse. Kill them, shed their blood, terrify their lives, lest they try again To destroy us…. Whoever scorns a day of bloodshed, He should be scorned. Save your people, and make war." Ilan Shenfeld; Israeli poet, Ynet, July 30, 2006 |
“The raw logic of Israel’s distorted self-image and racist doctrines is exposed beyond confusion by the now-stark reality: the moonscape rubble of once-lovely Lebanese villages; a million desperate people trying to survive Israeli aerial attacks as they carry children and wheel disabled grandparents down cratered roads; limp bodies of children pulled from the dusty basements of crushed buildings. This is the reality of Israel’s national doctrine, the direct outcome of its racist worldview.” Virginia Tilley “The Case for Boycotting Israel” Counterpunch
Ideas have consequences, and the effects of a racist ideology are suffering and destruction. The growing similarity between the debris-strewn Levant and the Gaza Strip are not accidental; they are the predictable results of a world-view which places the value of one people above another. In Israel, there is a two-tiered system of justice; one for Jews and another for non Jews; full-citizenship for Israeli-Jews and “Jim Crow” for Arabs.
Is that acceptable?
Property rights, marriage, citizenship and nearly every other area of legal protection are corrupted by the effects of institutionalized racism.
We believe that there are no “second class” citizens, that every man deserves equal protection under the law. That is the fundamental principle of democracy.
Israel calls itself a democracy, but its prevailing ethos of Zionism precludes an evenhanded application of the law. This explains why Zionism was denounced in United Nations Resolution 3379 (vote 72 to 35) in 1975 which stated:
“Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.”
The resolution has since been repealed due to the persistent efforts of the US, but the effects are not so easily erased.
There cannot be a second set of laws for minorities; that is racism pure and simple.
The abhorrent treatment of Palestinians is the most striking example of Israeli chauvinism, but the current aggression in Lebanon is equally revealing. The massive ethnic cleansing of 750,000 mostly poor Shia Muslims in the south of Lebanon carries the same racist overtones as Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories.
When the heart of government is poisoned by prejudice, it expresses itself in erratic convulsions of violence. So it is with Israel. Zionism is not simply repressive for its victims in the territories, but also, for those who stand in the way of its territorial ambitions. Currently, Lebanon is in the crosshairs, but next year it will be Syria or Iran. Racism is a disease which radiates outwards always seeking new objects of abuse. It allows governments’ to rationalize their perverse addiction to power by demonizing the imaginary enemies of the state.
The term “Zionism” confuses many Americans and obscures the deeper issues.
Are we against discrimination and bigotry in all its forms or are we not?
Are we against territorial expansion that violates internationally accepted borders or are we not?
If we are, (and the vast majority of Jews are as well) then we are anti-Zionist. This means that we are committed to universally accepted standards of human rights and national sovereignty.
How can we watch the relentless humiliation of the Palestinians day after day and fail to identify the root cause? This is not a relationship between equals, but the cruel and disdainful behavior of people who believe they are inherently superior to their victims.
Jews would never treat other Jews in the manner they have treated the Palestinians.
Occupation breeds contempt; it is a spawning ground for racism.
How could Israel plunge 1 million Palestinians into darkness, cut off medical and food supplies, block all financial aid, and kill nearly 200 people in their scattershot military operations if they had the slightest regard for them as human beings.
Bigotry strips men of their dignity and humanity; leaving them at the mercy of the wealthy and powerful.
Isn’t that what we’re seeing in Palestine?
The Palestinians have become prisoners of a twisted dogma that is as real as the walls and checkpoints that encircle their Bantustans.
The West Bank and Gaza have become a farrago of gulags stitched together by “Jewish-only” roads where generation after generation languishes in unemployable misery.
These are the inescapable effects of endemic racism.
In America, the same cancer has infected all parts of the body-politic creating a vast network of Muslim-only concentration camps at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram Air Force Base, and countless other spots across the globe. The war on terror has become the flimsy curtain that barely conceals the monster of xenophobia and racial hatred.
The real measure of a nation’s commitment to principle is seen in the way it treats the most vulnerable people. What does this say about Israel, where fully one-half of the population are locked behind a monolithic wall which protects the racial purity of the powerful.
Those who live beyond the wall are not people at all, but a “demographic threat” posing a numeric challenge to the untainted pedigree of the overlords.
Even the biological exigencies of procreation are seen as a threat to the Jewish state.
How much crazier can it get?
What used to be disparaged as “apartheid” is now revered as “democracy”, a bizarre Orwellian interpretation of discriminatory practices which justify the ongoing subjugation of 4 million people.
When prejudice is enshrined in the law, the results are invariably disastrous. The same rule applies to Israel as it did to South Africa and the United States.
The world provided a loophole for Israel because of the genocidal persecution the Jews faced during the WW2. But, how has that worked out? 60 years of nonstop conflict with no hope of peace in the near future and the looming prospect of a region-wide conflagration.
Is that a sign of success?
Perhaps, there’s a better way. Israel should consider the same path that every other democratic, pluralistic society has taken; tear down the walls, amend the laws so that everyone’s rights are respected equally, and move towards an integrated, multi-ethnic society.
As a practical matter, the model of the Jewish state has failed. It has become a paranoid, war-mongering menace to itself and its neighbors. Israel’s abortive offensive in Lebanon only accentuates this point.
Israelis are less safe today than anytime in their history; their dogma-driven aggression has brought the entire Middle East to the brink of Armageddon.
The expansionist adventurism of their Prime Minister and the ideologues that surround him, are placing Israel at greater and greater risk all the time. Non-state actors, guerilla militias and terrorists are proliferating at a rate that was unimaginable just 6 years ago. Their means of lashing out grows more sophisticated and lethal all the time. Neither Israel nor the US is prepared for the generational war they are inciting by their reckless belligerence.
Nations, like people, can change their behavior if they see it is in their own best interests. No one wants their children to grow up in fear of random violence. There’s a path away from the two-tiered, discriminating legal system to equal protection, due process, and social justice. But the walls will have to come down, the dialogue will have to begin, the grievances will have to be addressed, and the state will have to de-militarize. Israel’s 200 nuclear missile-arsenal and high-tech war machine haven’t produced a day of peace since the inception of the state.
It’s time to abandon the demographic warfare, the discriminatory laws, and the expansionistic dream of Greater Israel. The road to peace and security must be built on a foundation of evenhandedness and fair play. There has to one law for everyone, Christian, Muslim, and Jew.
SO WHAT has happened to the Israeli army?
This question is now being raised not only around the world, but also in Israel itself. Clearly, there is a huge gap between the army's boastful arrogance, on which generations of Israelis have grown up, and the picture presented by this war.
Before the choir of generals utters their expected cries of being stabbed in the back - "The government has shackled our hands! The politicians did not allow the army to win!
The political leadership is to blame for everything!" - it is worthwhile to examine this war from a professional military point of view. Continued.
24 troops killed in day of battles
By Robert Fisk
"I'm sure our readers will join me in watching how many of the suspects--or "British-born Muslims" as the BBC defined them in its special form of "soft" racism (they are surely Muslim Britons or British Muslims, are they not?)--are still in custody in a couple of weeks' time.
I was amused to see that Bush--just before my electricity was cut off again--still mendaciously tells us that the "terrorists" hate us because of "our freedoms". Not because we support the Israelis who have massacred refugee columns, fired into Red Cross ambulances and slaughtered more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians.
Take yesterday morning. On day 31of the Israeli version of the "war on terror"--a conflict to which Paul and the lads in blue apparently subscribe by proxy--an Israeli aircraft blew up the only remaining bridge to the Syrian frontier in northern Lebanon, in the mountainous and beautiful Akka district above the Mediterranean. With their usual sensitivity, the pilots who bombed the bridge--no terrorists they, mark you--chose to destroy the bridge when ordinary cars were crossing. So they massacred the 12 civilians who happened to be on the bridge. In the real world, we call that a war crime. Indeed, it's a crime worthy of the attention of Paul and his lads. But alas, Stephenson's job is to frighten the British people, not to stop the crimes that are the real reason for the British to be frightened.
Personally, I'm all for arresting criminals, be they of the "Islamic fascist" variety or the Bin Laden variety or the Israeli variety--their warriors of the air really should be arrested next time they drop into Heathrow--or the American variety (Abu Ghraib cum laude) and indeed of the kind that blow out the brains of Tube train passengers. But I don't think Paul Stephenson is. I think he huffs and he puffs but I do not think he stands for law and order. He works for the Ministry of Fear which, by its very nature, is not interested in motives or injustice. And I have to say, watching his performance before the next power cut last night, I thought he was doing a pretty good job for his masters."
As of this writing, neither the Lebanese government nor Hizbullah has announced its position on this resolution. These observations are therefore being made without the benefit of knowing the official Lebanese position.
To start with, it is rather surprising how very little of substance was actually changed from the earliest drafts. One was led to believe, after all the meetings and wrangling of the mighty and powerful, the supposed split between France and the US, the sending of the Arab delegation to New York to support the Lebanese position, the visits of David Welsh to Beirut and his meetings with the Lebanese PM and indications of Russian impatience that Usrael was actually forced to see the light and make substantial changes to produce a balanced resolution. Far from it. It is clear that all the maneuvering was to create the illusion of balance and that the US was "taking into account" the Lebanese objections, while in reality insisting on and ramming through a resolution that was basically written in Tel Aviv.
Contrary to the view often expressed that Israel and the US were looking for a way out, since Israel was defeated militarily, and that this resolution is only to save face for both of them, I am of the opinion that far from it, this resolution is a win-win for Usrael and that is why it was adopted unanimously and accepted almost instantly by Olmert (hard to reject something you authored yourself). Let me explain.
From the Lebanese side it is a trap, either way. If Hizbullah accepts it (which I doubt), it would be political suicide. It would make no sense after the strong military performance of Hizbullah to accept disarming and the presence of a large international occupation force on Lebanese soil. This would make Hizbullah no better than one of the Iraqi political parties under the wings of the US occupation and Hasan Nasrallah would not even have the stature and the power of Muqtada As-Sadr. On the other hand if the Lebanese government accepts it (and it probably will based on the last meetings of Welsh and Saniora) and Hizbullah rejects it, then this would be the first major crack on the way to a full civil war.
From the Usraeli viewpoint, if Lebanon rejects it then it would "legitimize" the continuation and expansion of the invasion (which I still think is the plan and objective) and would get the US off the hook by showing (to Arab puppet leaders) that the US is "interested in peace" but it is the "Islamic Fascists" of Hizbullah who reject peace. On the other hand, if Lebanon accepts it (with or without the approval of Hizbullah) then this resolution establishes the "legitimacy" of a de facto occupation of Lebanon, the strengthening of a puppet Lebanese government and ceding control of the south of Lebanon (or a part of it) to Israel.
Regardless of the political decisions, I see no end to fighting. The Usraeli goal remains the same: subjugation of Lebanon and the rest of the Arab and Muslim worlds by force. One way or another, Hizbullah will go on fighting either in the current form with the backing of most Lebanese and the Lebanese government, or as an underground resistance movement (as in Iraq) fighting a puppet government supported by foreign military occupation.
Friday, August 11, 2006
"Washington’s foreign policy elite is engaged in a bitter tussle between “neoconservatives” and “realists” seeking to influence George W. Bush’s stance on the Israel-Lebanon crisis. The neocons increasingly have the upper hand.
Former and current administration officials say that George W. Bush feels more strongly and is more engaged in support of Israel’s military assault on Hizbollah than on any other question. They say Mr Bush feels passionately that the US should support Israel in what he sees as the frontline in the global battle between democracy and terrorism.
Over the past four weeks, Mr Bush’s language has toughened from talking about the “war on terror” to stronger terminology in which he refers to the war against “Islamic fascists” and “Islamofascism” – terms long in currency among neoconservatives. "
THE SECURITY COUNCIL, ...
Determining that the situation in Lebanon constitutes a threat to international peace and security;
1. Calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hizbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations;
2. Upon full cessation of hostilities, calls upon the government of Lebanon and UNIFIL (The U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon) as authorized by paragraph 11 to deploy their forces together throughout the south and calls upon the government of Israel, as that deployment begins, to withdraw all of its forces from southern Lebanon in parallel;
3. Emphasizes the importance of the extension of the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1559 (2004) and resolution 1680 (2006), and of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, for it to exercise its full sovereignty, so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon;
4. Reiterates its strong support for full respect for the Blue Line (separating Israel and Lebanon);
5. Also reiterates its strong support, as recalled in all its previous relevant resolutions, for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders, as contemplated by the Israeli-Lebanese General Armistice Agreement of 23 March 1949; 6. Calls on the international community to take immediate steps to extend its financial and humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people, including through facilitating the safe return of displaced persons and, under the authority of the government of Lebanon, reopening airports and harbors, consistent with paragraphs 14 and 15, and calls on it also to consider further assistance in the future to contribute to the reconstruction and development of Lebanon; 7. Affirms that all parties are responsible for ensuring that no action is taken contrary to paragraph 1 that might adversely affect the search for a long-term solution, humanitarian access to civilian populations, including safe passage for humanitarian convoys, or the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons, and calls on all parties to comply with this responsibility and to cooperate with the Security Council;
8. Calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent cease-fire and a long-term solution based on the following principles and elements:
— full respect for the Blue Line by both parties,
— security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani River of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11, deployed in this area,
— full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state,
— no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government,
— no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government,
— provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel's possession;
9. Invites the Secretary-General (Kofi Annan) to support efforts to secure as soon as possible agreements in principle from the government of Lebanon and the government of Israel to the principles and elements for a long-term solution as set forth in paragraph 8, and expresses its intention to be actively involved;
10. Requests the secretary-general to develop, in liaison with relevant international actors and the concerned parties, proposals to implement the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), including disarmament, and for delineation of the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including by dealing with the Shebaa farms area, and to present to the Security Council those proposals within thirty days;
11. Decides, in order to supplement and enhance the force in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operations, to authorize an increase in the force strength of UNIFIL to a maximum of 15,000 troops, and that the force shall, in addition to carrying out its mandate under resolutions 425 and 426 (1978):
a. Monitor the cessation of hostilities;
b. Accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the south, including along the Blue Line, as Israel withdraws its armed forces from Lebanon as provided in paragraph 2;
c. Coordinate its activities related to paragraph 11 (b) with the government of Lebanon and the government of Israel;
d. Extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons;
e. Assist the Lebanese armed forces in taking steps towards the establishment of the area as referred to in paragraph 8;
f. Assist the government of Lebanon, at its request, to implement paragraph 14;
12. Acting in support of a request from the government of Lebanon to deploy an international force to assist it to exercise its authority throughout the territory, authorizes UNIFIL to take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind, to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council, and to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers, and, without prejudice to the responsibility of the government of Lebanon, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;
13. Requests the secretary general urgently to put in place measures to ensure UNIFIL is able to carry out the functions envisaged in this resolution, urges member states to consider making appropriate contributions to UNIFIL and to respond positively to requests for assistance from the force, and expresses its strong appreciation to those who have contributed to UNIFIL in the past;
14. Calls upon the government of Lebanon to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel and requests UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11 to assist the government of Lebanon at its request;
15. Decides further that all states shall take the necessary measures to prevent, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft,
(b) the provision to any entity or individual in Lebanon of any technical training or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of the items listed in subparagraph (a) above,
except that these prohibitions shall not apply to arms, related material, training or assistance authorized by the government of Lebanon or by UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11;
16. Decides to extend the mandate of UNIFIL until 31 August 2007, and expresses its intention to consider in a later resolution further enhancements to the mandate and other steps to contribute to the implementation of a permanent cease-fire and a long-term solution;
17. Requests the secretary-general to report to the council within one week on the implementation of this resolution and subsequently on a regular basis;
18. Stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
19. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
The survey in the Haaretz newspaper found only 48 percent of Israelis were satisfied with Olmert's performance compared with popularity ratings of more than 75 percent in polls taken in the early stages of fighting against the Lebanese group.
Public support for Defence Minister Amir Peretz fell from 65 percent to 37 percent, the survey showed.
Israeli bombing has knocked out irrigation canals supplying Litani River water to more than 10,000 acres of farmland and 23 villages in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, raising accusations here that Israel is using its war on Hezbollah to lay claim to Lebanon's prime watersheds.
Heavy fighting and a series of targeted strikes on open water channels and underground water diversion pipes has effectively suspended much of Lebanon's agricultural use of the Litani River along the coastal plain and in parts of the Bekaa Valley near Qaraon dam, according to water engineers who have surveyed the south.
The damaged or broken facilities include a pump station on the Wazzani River, whose inauguration by Lebanon in 2002 prompted Israel to threaten military action because it diverted waters only a few hundred meters from the Israeli border, in a watershed that feeds the Jordan River, officials here said. At the time, Hezbollah vowed to defend the facility.
The strikes went largely unnoticed by the outside world in the nearly monthlong air assault on Hezbollah guerrilla strongholds in southern Lebanon. But Lebanese point to the extensive damage to their irrigation and drinking-water system as evidence that border security and water issues remain intertwined in a region short on both.
"Whenever Israel throughout history has thought of its northern border, they don't talk, for example, of the mountains as a border. They always think of the valley of the Litani," said Mohammed Shaya, dean of the college of social sciences at Lebanese University.
(The writer is a former Ambassador of the Arab League to London )
"In the past, every foreign force that has come in to Lebanon to "keep the peace" has left with its tail between its legs - and there is no reason to believe that the putative "multinational force" will fare any better. Beyond Lebanon, however, is the feeling that is spreading like wildfire across the entire Arab and Muslim worlds. It is the feeling of empowerment created by the legend of Bint Jbeil and other battlegrounds that have already entered popular folklore.
It is an empowerment that eventually could seal the fate not only of Israel but of those governments of Arab countries who are seen by their people as having, for too long, "sold" them the false idea of Arab impotence in order to hide their own inadequacies and corruption.
Those in Washington dreaming of a new Middle East will indeed be witnessing the birth pangs of such an offspring. They will be well-advised, however, to consider the shape and nature of this new creation. If they truly believe that it will fit the image of their fantasy agenda, they are indeed inhabiting a wonderland. From today on, it will be difficult - and lonely - to be a moderate voice in the Middle East!"
يستند هذا التقدير «العربي» إلى «تحليل» يعتبر أن المنطقة مهددة بمشروع إيراني لا بمشروع ترعاه واشنطن وتشاركها تل أبيب في تنفيذه. وليس سرّاً أن هذا هو «التحليل» الأميركي ــ الإسرائيلي. كما ليس سراً أن هناك، في لبنان، من يتبنّاه.في ذلك الوقت، أي قبل حوالى شهر، خرج من يتحدث عن «المغامرة» و«المحاسبة». وكان في الظنّ أن الجيش الإسرائيلي هو الأداة التنفيذية لصدّ «الهجوم» القادم من الشرق. وبما أن التنفيذ إسرائيلي فإنه، بالضرورة، تنفيذ سريع.كانت المفاجأة أن صموداً حصل وأن قتالاً أفسد الحسابات. ثم كان ما كان من انفلات الوحش الإسرائيلي من عقاله، وانقضاضه على المدنيين، وتهديده بالقضاء على لبنان كله وصولاً إلى مقاومته.شهدنا تدريجاً، وبفعل الصمود، انزياح الموقف العربي المشار إليه نحو نقطة وسطية، وهو انزياح لم يحصل إلا تحت غطاء تلعثم في الخطاب الفضائحي ومداراة لغضب ملموس عبّر عنه الرأي العام. انتقل الموقف العربي نحو تبنّي سياسة الحكومة اللبنانية وهي سياسة «أرقى» من سياسات بعض العواصم نتيجة الحسابات الداخلية الدقيقة.
There we go again; yet another story of alleged plot by British Muslims to blow up a total of 10 commercial jets en route between the UK and the US. No one has been charged, mind you, all those arrested will be questioned. If the past is any guide, they will probably be released, without any charges or trial. However, the intended effects are produced regardless of whether this was a real terror plot or not.
I am very skeptical for many reasons. First and foremost is the timing. It just so happened right when Tony Blair is facing a revolt among the British public, the Parliament and his own party over his criminal support of Israeli and American attacks on Lebanon and the war crimes committed there daily. I have also noticed that the announcement (even though US officials were briefed about the case about a week earlier) was made only one day after the defeat of Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic primary and Cheney's statement that this showed the Democrats were weak on fighting "terror."
There is a good chance that the UK government itself is continually fabricating such plots, since the case was "uncovered" by a government undercover agent who plotted with this group of British Pakistanis for about 6 months. Apparently the "plot" was only in the talking stage. Is it not conceivable that the whole "plot" was initiated by the government agent?
This "plot" was "discovered" just four weeks before the 9/11 anniversary; how convenient! The US and the British public have to be frightened periodically to keep them quiescent and to reduce opposition to the US-UK occupation of Iraq. The most recent surveys show up to 60% of the US public favor an end to that occupation and withdrawal of US troops within a year.
Equally important is that this "plot" comes at a time when Usrael is attacking and destroying yet another Arab country, Lebanon, and is preparing to attack two other countries, Iran and Syria. The US and UK propagandists need to keep linking all these endless wars and their frightening war crimes of terror to 9/11 and the "continuing terror threat." The announcement of the "plot" has allowed the Decider and the War President to strut around and to link it to what he called his war on "Islamic fascists." Big words Mr. Decider! He always likes to portray himself as the modern Churchill saving Western civilization and defeating the powers of the Axis.
This will not be the last "plot" to be "discovered." As the preparations for the attacks on Iran and Syria get into high gear, expect the propaganda machine to get equally feverish.
Fascist Christian Militia With History of War Crimes Consulting With Fascist Israeli Occupation Army Also Guilty Of War Crimes
Gen Anton Lahad assumed control of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) in 1984 - two years after it was implicated in the massacre of up to several thousand Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.
Now he says that Israel is tapping into his expertise in secret meetings.
Now the fascinating part to me is not that one fascist likes to consult with another fascist... no, no the absolutely fascinating part to me is the fact that the Christian fascists have absolutely no dignity or pride. Who can forget the images of the SLA standing at the border between "Israel" and Lebanon begging--yes, literally begging and pleading to be let into Israel when Israel was run out of Southern Lebanon by Hezbollah? I certainly won't forget it:
"Oh please let us in Israeli masters, we are more like you than we are like them. We won't cause any problems, we'll just lick your boots clean and we'll wash dishes at your restaurants, pleaseeeeee!"
The Israelis gave them a swift kick in the ass and sent back to Lebanon.
So you can understand why I am so fascinated by the "consultations" between one set of fascists with the other.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 — Israel has asked the Bush administration to speed delivery of short-range antipersonnel rockets armed with cluster munitions, which it could use to strike Hezbollah missile sites in Lebanon, two American officials said Thursday.
The request for M-26 artillery rockets, which are fired in barrages and carry hundreds of grenade-like bomblets that scatter and explode over a broad area, is likely to be approved shortly, along with other arms, a senior official said.
But some State Department officials have sought to delay the approval because of concerns over the likelihood of civilian casualties, and the diplomatic repercussions. The rockets, while they would be very effective against hidden missile launchers, officials say, are fired by the dozen and could be expected to cause civilian casualties if used against targets in populated areas.
"It's more the sense that the growing number of crises in the "new Middle East," proudly midwifed by the administration of President George W. Bush, is rapidly spinning out of control with potentially catastrophic consequences for the entire region and beyond.
The ongoing war between Israel and Hezbollah—not to imminent expansion of Israel's invasion of southern Lebanon if it does not get a United Nations Security Council resolution to its liking—has, by virtually all accounts, inflamed and radicalized the Islamic world and rendered a larger regional conflagration much more likely.
That Rice may now find herself in a similar position, having to contend with a resurgent Cheney-led coalition of hawks who are not so much complacent about the course of current events in the Middle East as convinced that their strategy of regional "transformation" by military means will be vindicated, is what is perhaps particularly alarming about the present moment.
"This whole business is nuts -- unless, of course, you believe what the rumor-mongers are beginning to pass around," wrote Wilkerson in reference to the Lebanon war in an email exchange with IPS. "(T)hat this entire affair was ginned up by Bush/Cheney and certain political leaders in Tel Aviv to give cover for the eventual attack by the U.S. on Iran. At first, I refused to believe what seemed to be such insanity. But I am not so certain any longer.""
One of the most determined, courageous and influential opposition groups in Israel, now and in the past, is called Yesh Gvul; it represents and assists those bold Israelis who are taking a stand against their country's and government's war crimes: they refuse to serve in the Israeli army, preferring instead to go to prison in support of their refusal to kill and destroy. About 2000 Israelis have already taken this position, despite the almost hysterical support the Israeli public gives its leadership in most military adventures, and especially during the latest and worst atrocities in Gaza and Lebanon. Between them, small group that they are, those Israelis represent what little is left of the Israeli moral and principled stance. Continued.
"There was no resistance, only open fields, and we weretold via loud speaker to evacuate our home," said Salan makeshift tent along his family of seven with no access to food or water. The Red Cross was trying to make its wayinto Rafah Saturday with emergency supplies for refugees. Continued
"As we approach the fifth official anniversary of the "war on terror", the foiled UK "terror plot" has neatly provided George W Bush, the "leader of the free world", with a chance to remind us of our fight against the "Islamic fascists". But what if the war on terror is not really about separating the good guys from the bad guys, but about deciding what a good guy can be allowed to say and think?
What if the "Islamic fascism" President Bush warns us of is not just the terrorism associated with Osama bin Laden and his elusive al-Qaeda network but a set of views that many Arabs, Muslims and Pakistanis -- even the odd humanist -- consider normal, even enlightened? What if the war on "Islamic fascism" is less about fighting terrorism and more about silencing those who dissent from the West's endless wars against the Middle East?
Sitting in London or New York, the news that Gaza lost 151 souls, most of them civilians, last month to Israeli bombs and bullets passes us by. It is after all just a number, even if a high one. At best, a number like that from a place we don't know, suffered by a people whose names we can't pronounce, makes us pause, even sigh with regret. But it cannot move us to anger.
The horror stories sound so much less significant, the need for action so less pressing, when each is unrelated to the next. Were we to watch the Arab channels, where all the blood and suffering blends into a single terrible Middle Eastern epic, we might start to make connections, and maybe suspect that none of this happens by accident.
This is something President Bush and his obedient serf in Britain, Tony Blair, need to learn. But of course, they do not want to understand because they, and their predecessors, are responsible for creating those patterns and for writing that epic tale in blood. Bush and Blair and their advisers know that the plan is far more important than the rage, the "red" alert levels at airports, or even planes crashing into buildings and plunging out of the sky.
And to protect that plan -- to preserve the Middle East as a giant oil pump, cheaply feeding our industries and our privileged lifestyles -- those who care about the suffering, the deaths and the wars must be silenced. Their voices must not be heard, their loyalty must be questioned, their reason must be put in doubt. They must be dismissed as "Islamic fascists"."
"The truth behind the diplomatic efforts to stop the fighting in Lebanon, a truth which also lies behind Israel's threat to expand the war if it is not satisfied with the outcome, is that everything now revolves around an attempt to save Israel's face. The Olmert government has to be given a chance to climb down without looking too much like a loser and allowing Israeli forces to stay in Lebanon for a while may, at least in Israel's estimation, meet that requirement. That is why the powers are working hard at the United Nations and elsewhere to persuade the Arab countries to soften their position on a continued Israeli presence. It is not so much that the Israeli Defence Forces want to stay so they can continue hammering Hizbullah, they are being told, but that the Israeli government wants them to stay on to give the Israeli public the feeling that "we showed them". Those are the words of the liberal writer Meron Benvenisti, one of numerous commentators in the Israeli press underlining the many faceted foolishness of the Lebanon operation.
The growing realisation that the Lebanon operation was a mistake and that it has ended in failure is putting the government under increasing strain. Wednesday's six-hour cabinet meeting was punctuated by angry arguments and personal abuse. The veteran Israeli radical Uri Avnery predicted a few days ago that "the politicians will blame each other. The generals will blame each other. And, most of all, the generals will blame the politicians"."
"In Iraq and Afghanistan, the "Coalition's" defeats continue slowly to unroll. In Lebanon, it appears Hezbollah may win not only at the moral and mental, strategic and operational levels, but, astonishingly, at the physical and tactical levels as well. That outcome remains uncertain, but the fact that it is possible portends a revolutionary reassessment of what Fourth Generation forces can accomplish. If it actually happens, the walls of the temple that is the state system will be shaken worldwide.
Israel can hit anything it can target, but against a Fourth Generation enemy, it can target very little. The result not only points to a battlefield change of some significance, it also raises the question of who is the real "terrorist." Terror bombing by aircraft is still terror.
Washington, which in its hubris ignores both its friends and its enemies, refusing to talk to the latter or listen to the former, does not grasp that if the flanks collapse, it is the end of our adventures in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It is also, in a slightly longer time frame, the end of Israel. No Crusader state survives forever, and in the long term Israel's existence depends on arriving at some sort of modus vivendi with the region."
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Known in the West mostly for suicide bombings and kidnappings, Hezbollah has emerged as the largest relief provider in war-ravaged Lebanon. Its efforts dwarf those of the government and international aid agencies, and they're cementing its role as Lebanon's leading social-welfare organization. Continued.
Iraq: Amnesty International greatly concerned by rising toll of civilian killings, including for discriminatory motives
According to a recent UN report, 5818 civilians were killed and at least 5762 wounded in May and June 2006. Today 35 people were reportedly killed in a suicide bomb attack in the southern city of Najaf. Further, scores of people, mostly young or adult men, have been abducted and murdered; often, their hands had been tied and they appear to have been tortured before death. Continued.
However, one thing should be clear: If Olmert runs away now from the war he initiated, he will not be able to remain prime minister for even one more day. Chutzpah has its limits. You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power. You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month, wear down deterrent power, bring the next war very close, and then say - oops, I made a mistake. That was not the intention. Pass me a cigar, please.
There is no mistake Ehud Olmert did not make this past month. He went to war hastily, without properly gauging the outcome. He blindly followed the military without asking the necessary questions. He mistakenly gambled on air operations, was strangely late with the ground operation, and failed to implement the army's original plan, much more daring and sophisticated than that which was implemented. And after arrogantly and hastily bursting into war, Olmert managed it hesitantly, unfocused and limp. He neglected the home front and abandoned the residents of the north. He also failed shamefully on the diplomatic front.
Still, if Olmert had come to his senses as Golda Meir did during the Yom Kippur War, if he had become a leader, established a war cabinet and called the nation to a supreme effort that would change the face of the battle, a penetrating discussion of his failures could be postponed. But in blinking first over the past 24 hours, he has become an incorrigible political personality. Therefore, the day Nasrallah comes out of his bunker and declares victory to the whole world, Olmert must not be in the prime minister's office. Post-war battered and bleeding Israel needs a new start and a new leader. It needs a real prime minister.
"And it should be said that the Israeli army are not winning their war in southern Lebanon. Within two kilometres of their own border, they lost their 15 soldiers on Wednesday. Many others were wounded. The furthest the Israelis could reach in an armoured column yesterday was the edge of Khiam, the site of their own notorious torture prison from 1978 to 2000. It is still only two miles from the border and they are fighting a far more determined and disciplined enemy than in 1982, when their "incursion" took them as far as Beirut.
Hizbollah is a different enemy, one which turns the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert's, claims that he is pursuing the same "war on terror" as George Bush into dust. The Hizbollah is officered by men who spent 18 years fighting Israeli occupiers, and who learned the hard way that improved weaponry and iron discipline are more important than nationalist rhetoric. Since the Israeli retreat in 2000, they have had six years to bury their arms caches underground amid extraordinary secrecy."
NEW YORK A new Gallup poll finds that many Americans -- what it calls "substantial minorities" -- harbor "negative feelings or prejudices against people of the Muslim faith" in this country. Nearly one in four Americans, 22%, say they would not like to have a Muslim as a neighbor.
While Americans tend to disagree with the notion that Muslims living in the United States are sympathetic to al-Qaeda, a significant 34% believe they do back al-Qaeda. And fewer than half -- 49% -- believe U.S. Muslims are loyal to the United States.
Almost four in ten, 39%, advocate that Muslims here should carry special I.D.
That same number admit that they do hold some "prejudice" against Muslims. Forty-four percent say their religious views are too "extreme."
In every case, Americans who actually know any Muslims are more sympathethic.The poll was taken at the end of July and surveyed 1,007 adult Americans.
The Israeli-American adventure in Lebanon has badly backfired. Condi’s “birthpangs” have led to a still birth. Israel has been exposed as a giant with feet of clay. A serious and concerted effort will eliminate this cancer from the Muslim body. Even Americans will now realise that their pampered gangster is unable to deliver the job it is pampered for and showered with highest per capita military and civil American aid: to ensure the submission of the Arab countries and to facilitate the plunder of their resources. America will soon realise that it is always better to deal with the people of the region in a humane and equitable manner. By supporting the illegitimate Zionist project in Palestine America and west have forfeited the support and respect of Muslims and peace- and justice-loving people all over the world.
With the defeat of the Israeli Goliath at the hands of the present-day David, the Israeli-American project of a “New Middle East” is buried deep in the sands of Arabia. It is exactly the same project of subjugation, Balkanisation and plunder for which a similar invasion was launched by the war criminal Sharon in 1982. That adventure, which soon brought many western forces to support the Israeli project, led to the emergence of Hizbullah in order to resist foreign occupation. Hizbullah slowly forced the umpteen occupation forces to withdraw from Lebanon. The Israelis, who had colluded in such historical crimes as murder of hapless Palestinian men, women and children in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, too had to withdraw to south Lebanon until they were finally driven away unconditionally in May 2000 - the first such achievement by any Arab force since the emergence of Israel in Palestine. Popular and committed resistance succeeded where a plethora of Arab armies had failed since 1948.
Hizbullah is a genuine and legitimate resistance movement. It is well-respected in its own country. It has representatives, including a Christian, in the Lebanese parliament and two members in the Lebanese council of ministers. It takes part positively in the Lebanese politics as a serious and responsible force. The Lebanese government and people are thankful that Hizbullah has been able to drive the foreign occupation forces out and is now fighting to keep Lebanon free. To call it “terrorist” is a travesty of the truth. It is like our own Azad Hind Fauj and the European resistance forces during the Nazi occupation.
Now that the myth of Israeli invicibility built on unlimited American support even during the present war just as during the Ramadan war of 1973, has been exposed, it is time to call Israel’s bluff. Israel must be made to pay for the damages it has inflicted on Lebanon and elsewhere and made to exist in the Middle East not as a gangster but as an ordinary state subject to approval by the Palestinian victims of the Zionist project. The Palestinian refugees must be allowed to return to their homes in realisation of the solemn pledges made by Israel when it was accepted as a member of the UN in 1949. Israel must be demilitarised as its continuation in its present shape as a military base threatnes all countries in the Middle East and North Africa. There is no solution to the Arab-Israeli problem other than forcing Israel to exist as an ordinary state, not as a mafiosi and street gangster.
Even as Israel continues to pound Beirut's southern suburbs, and agreed Wednesday on plans to expand its four-week-old offensive as far as 18 miles into southern Lebanon, many here increasingly blame the US for its extensive military and political support for the Jewish state.
"Israel wants to stop the war, but America orders them to continue," the sheikh asserted later in an interview. "This is the American freedom?" Continued.
Well gee, it sure seems like it would be hard to argue with them when you have lunatics like Pat Robertson praying for more dead Lebanese.
"I am here to say I love Israel and that Christian Evangelicals in America stand with Israel in its struggle for freedom against Islamo-fascism, which is directed against Israel and all civilized nations of the world" Robertson said at a Jerusalem press conference during his 96-hour lightning solidarity trip.
Also see: Hungry For World War III
"Field reports from the AP and Jane’s Defense Weekly suggest that, most of the estimated 75 Israeli soldiers, including the elite troops from the Golani brigade were killed in their Merkava tanks by Hizbullah’s sophisticated missiles. Hizbullah’s tactics in utilizing the Metis and Milan anti-tank missiles, has answered the query as to why Israel had to delay its ground offensive. "
"Journalist: How will the deaths of Israeli soldiers today affect your plans?
Israeli Army Spokesman: You saw that massacre of 12 Israelis .. it will ...
Journalist: Massacre you said? But those were soldiers and this is war.
Spokesman: No, it was a massacre because the people who fired the missiles weren't targeting soldiers. They were targeting Israeli civilians but killed the soldiers by accident.
Journalist: But you also committed massacres in Qana and elsewhere.
Spokesman: No, there was no massacre in Qana. Hizbullah fighters were the targets of the bombardment but civilians were hit by accident.
This nightmarish gibberish, which would make any journalist quit his job, a spectator smash his TV screen and a dialogue participant abandon his faith in dialogue, is not from Alice in Wonderland. It is an excerpt taken verbatim from an interview on an Arab satellite station with a young spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces.
Now, when Israeli soldiers die it's a massacre, whereas the wiping out of entire families in the course of the aerial bombardment of their homes and villages doesn't rate the term. That's not a massacre but an "accident" or, in the euphemistic jargon of the science of the war against terrorism, collateral damage."
" Hizbullah isn't looking for peace with Israel. Nor is it interested in receiving brownie points for being "enlightened" or "moderate". It sees its own enlightenment, as Israel sees hers, in its rationalisation and organisational strength. Ideologically, morally and in its origins, Hizbullah is founded within the Palestinian historical narrative, related by Palestinian refugees to the farmers and poets of Lebanon ever since catastrophe brought the poor of the Lebanese south and Palestinian refugees together in the same saga. Hizbullah will not lend itself as fodder to the "dialogue and coexistence industry". It is too deep for that. It is too busy writing a hands-on theology for the wretched of the Arab earth. This leaves very little opening for opportunist intellectuals to sell Hizbullah to the West. Hizbullah is not concerned with "the recognition of Israel" and, unlike the PLO and others, it refuses to engage in a discourse that involves using basic principles as bargaining chips. Hizbullah thrives on fighting as an equal, not on being compensated for its absence in the field by a false equality around the negotiating table. Hizbullah is not in the business of selling souvenir pictures of Nasrallah or in the business of courting the admiration of others. Hizbullah simply doesn't act like racists think a Muslim or Arab should act. The Muslim or Arab, according to the common racist assumption, will either sell out his principles and identity, toe the moderate line, live in peace as an inferior and ingratiate himself to his superiors or he will recoil into a nihilistic hatred and rejection of the other and of the West, thereby confirming his backwardness and the racist assumptions."
A great article by Azmi!
(Jennifer Loewenstein is a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford University's Refugee Studies Centre. She has lived and worked in Gaza City, Beirut and Jerusalem and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, where she has worked as a free-lance journalist and a human rights activist)
"They tell you that a Jewish state is democratic but a Muslim state is evil; that Palestinians living in Palestine have no rights and no state but Jews living in the rest of the world can ‘return’ and live there as rights’-bearing citizens; that Jesus wants you in Palestine unless you are a Palestinian or a Muslim; that Washington, London and Tel Aviv can produce nuclear warheads but that Tehran is a global threat for daring to enrich uranium; that legitimate resistance is terrorism but state terrorism is “self-defense”; that the desert state of Syria is Nasrallah’s courier and puppeteer but that Washington is an honest broker and a partner for peace; that Iran is a rogue state for arming Hizbullah but that America is freedom-loving for arming Tel Aviv; that we cannot talk to Damascus or Tehran unless they ! renounce themselves out of existence first; that expansionism and regime change are necessary for American and Israeli national security but that the Arab and Muslim winners of free and fair democratic elections should be arrested in the middle of the night and imprisoned in secret police detention centers for attempting to rule.
Don’t count the blackened bodies of the peach farmers of Qaa laid out in the afternoon sun along the roadside. Don’t weep for the petrified, death-stolen children under the concrete rubble of Qana. Don’t suffer the incinerated of Marwaheen, the blasted of Srifa and Khiam and Tibnine. Don’t list the villages lost or the homes destroyed; don’t number the dead of Beirut and Tyre. Don’t listen to the wailing on the beaches of Gaza. Don’t mourn the lost lives of Khan Yunis or Beit Hanoun, people of the sand and the dust; of corrugated iron and uprooted orange groves. Don’t number the fallen in Nablus or Jenin: the old shepherds, the young rebels, the pregnant wives and weary husbands, the somber schoolgirls and the angry boys in the lost alleys of the camps. We will hear all of their voices again; see their likenesses in the shattered streets of the Levant. They will gather beneath the cedar and the minaret; carry with them the kuffiyeh and the Qur’an; they will speak the language of the resistance that we have breathed into them like fire."
"According to Israeli sources, Olmert and Bush agreed at the May 23 summit to make 2006 the year for neutralizing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, while deferring a border settlement with the Palestinians until 2007.
Provoking a wider regional conflict also revived hopes among Bush’s neoconservative advisers that they might yet create a “new Middle East” that would be amenable to U.S. and Israeli desires and interests.
Israeli sources indicate that Bush gave Olmert a green light for the conflict at the May 23 summit. The sources said Bush has even encouraged Israel to expand the war by attacking Syria, although Israeli leaders balked at that recommendation because they lacked an immediate justification.
One Israeli source said some Israeli officials considered Bush’s interest in an attack on Syria “nuts” since it would have been viewed by much of the world as an act of overt aggression. Bush, however, is said to still hold out hope that reactions by Syria or Iran – such as coming to the aid of Hezbollah – could open the door to a broader conflict.
Many American observers believed that the disaster in Iraq would tamp down Bush’s ambition to remake the region. However, with Olmert’s ascension to power in Israel in 2006, Bush saw a kindred spirit who believed that military force was the only way to get Islamic adversaries to make necessary concessions."
Hell broke loose, a clash of civilizations was threatened.
Trade, tourism, cultural and economic relations with Israel and the US were not affected.
Furious protests in the streets, attacks on some westerners.
Even though killed by American missiles, not one US ambassador was expelled.
Apology was demanded from the Danish government.
Not a single Israeli ambassador was expelled from an Arab capital.
Danish and American products were boycotted.
After months of this in Gaza the Arabs can't even open the crossing from Gaza into Egypt.
Danish embassies were attacked, diplomatic envoys recalled, apologies demanded.
After a month of this, Arab foreign ministers asked Israel for permission to fly to Beirut for a meeting.
A billion people were outraged; from Indonesia to Morocco hundreds of thousands were in the streets.
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Indeed, several months prior to Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon in May 2000, Nasrallah publicly announced, in a leading Arab magazine, that if Syria struck a deal with Israel which ensured a full Israeli withdrawal from all Lebanese territory, "Hizbullah would relocate in the South, but [would] not have any form of security force, since it is a resistance movement whose goal is the liberation of land and not an alternative to the government." In a subsequent interview, Nasrallah added, "We are convinced that the signing of a peace agreement will be a victory for the resistance and the rationale of resistance."
In planning for the destruction of most of Hezbollah's arsenal and prevention of any resupply from Iran, Israel appears to have hoped to eliminate a major reason the George W. Bush administration had shelved the military option for dealing with Iran's nuclear programme -- the fear that Israel would suffer massive casualties from Hezbollah's rockets in retaliation for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
One leading expert on Israeli national defence policy issues believes the aim of the Israeli campaign against Hezbollah was to change the Bush administration's mind about attacking Iran. Edward Luttwak, senior adviser to the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, says Bush administration officials have privately dismissed the option of air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities in the past, citing estimates that a Hezbollah rocket attack in retaliation would kill thousands of people in northern Israel.
But Israeli officials saw a war in Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah's arsenal and prevent further resupply in the future as a way to eliminate that objection to the military option, says Luttwak.
"The White House, and in particular White House advisors who belong to the neoconservative movement, allegedly encouraged Israel to attack Syria as an expansion of its action against Hizbullah, in Lebanon. The progressive opinion and news site ConsortiumNews.com reported Monday that Israeli sources say Israel's "leadership balked at the scheme."
One Israeli source said [US President George] Bush's interest in spreading the war to Syria was considered "nuts" by some senior Israeli officials, although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has generally shared Bush's hard-line strategy against Islamic militants.
In a July 30 story about Israel being prepared for a possible attack by Syria in response to its attacks in Lebanon, The Jerusalem Post noted the White House interest.
The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] was also concerned about a possible Syrian attack in response to the ongoing IDF operations in Lebanon. It was also known that Syria had increased its alert out of fear in Damascus that Israel might attack.
Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria."
By JONATHAN COOK
(Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel)
"What I have argued instead is twofold. First, we cannot easily know what Hizbullah is trying to hit because Israel has located most of its army camps, weapons factories and military installations near or inside civilian communities. If a Hizbullah rocket slams into an Israeli town with a weapons factory, should we count that as an attack on civilians or on a military site?
The claim being made against Hizbullah in Lebanon -- that it is “cowardly blending” with civilians, according to the UN’s Jan Egeland -- can, in truth, be made far more convincingly of the Israeli army. While there has been little convincing evidence that Hizbullah is firing its rocket from towns and villages in south Lebanon, or that its fighters are hiding there among civilians, it can be known beyond a shadow of a doubt that Israeli army camps and military installations are based in northern Israeli communities.
At the very least, we should concede to Hizbullah that it is not always targeting civilians, and very possibly is not mainly targeting civilians, which might in part explain the comparatively low Israeli civilian casualty figures.
Like every army in a war, Hizbullah may not acting in a humane manner. But it is demonstrably acting according to the same standards as the Israeli army -- and possibly, given Israel’s siting of military targets in civilian areas, higher ones. The fact that the contrary view is almost universally held betrays our prejudices rather than anything about Hizbullah’s acts. "
A man carries the body of a baby ,killed during an Israeli raid on Monday, during the funeral held in Beirut August 9, 2006. REUTERS
Lebanese civilians chant slogans during a funeral held for victims killed when their building was hit by an Israeli raid on Monday, in Beirut August 9, 2006. REUTERS
A Lebanese boy salvages a blanket from the rubble of a building wrecked by an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut's southern suburbs August 9, 2006. (Sharif Karim/Reuters)
Relatives of victims, who were killed when their building was hit during an Israeli raid on Monday, mourn during their funeral in Beirut August 9, 2006. REUTERS
A young Lebanese mourns over the bodies of his relatives, draped in Lebanese flags, at a funeral house of the Shaheedein cemetery in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006
"The second claim, that Israel strives to obtain high-tech (American) weapon technology to minimize civilian casualties, is also fraudulent. Once again, the numbers indicate the precise antithesis; denoting that either the "fifth strongest army in the world" is so horribly inept, that most of its military strikes result in blunders, or that the killing of civilians is in reality part and parcel of Israel’s military strategy. This latter assertion, in my opinion, is the true objective; but why?
Israeli officials may parrot to the media that Hezbollah (like Hamas) is an outsider force that holds no legal legitimacy, and that its true strength arises from its terrorist links to Iran and Syria. Conversely, Israeli conduct on the ground gives evidence to a different conviction: punishing the true party — ordinary Lebanese — that provide Hezbollah with the needed support to sustain such costly military confrontations with Israel, or ordinary Palestinians who elected Hamas to power.
The Israeli tactics, however, are reaping a conflicting outcome, as both Hezbollah and Hamas are emerging more powerful than ever before, widely viewed as the only defenders of Lebanon and Palestine, as conventional Arab governments have finally declared, and without reservation, their military impotence and political bankruptcy.
Regardless of its media utterances, Israel has committed yet another colossal strategic error, comparable in magnitude and consequence to the American debacle in Iraq. Indeed, both governments are fighting two impossible wars, where civilians are killed with extraordinary "precision." "
"Israel may have the most on its post-war menu. The war has shaken the foundations of matters once taken for granted. It has underlined that Israel's security cannot be guaranteed by military superiority alone, even with unlimited support from a superpower. Even the growing trend, over recent decades, of Arab recognition of the Jewish state and the formal agreements with a few Arab states may now have to be gradually downgraded. Israel cannot expect the so-called peace process to move any further with so much more innocent Arab blood spilled by its new massacres in Palestine and Lebanon. The Israeli apartheid system has totally and finally disqualified itself from ever becoming part of this region.
Time is also running out for the Arab regimes who have for so long ignored the feelings of their people, building up layers of humiliation, anger and disgust as a result of defeatism, corruption, incompetence, hypocrisy and oppression. If they have managed so far to dismiss the rising forces of resistance and rejection as extremist trends of terrorism, this may not be possible any more. The victory of the resistance in Lebanon is going to change the equation drastically and it will gradually weaken Arab officialdom as outdated and defeated.
And for the so-called "international community," which trailed blindly behind the forces led by US and Israeli thinking, justifying all their injustices and rationalisations of lawlessness, it is time to realise that the victims of the prevailing chaos will not for long remain restricted to Arabs and Muslims, so easily demonised as "terrorists." The precedents tested on Arab and Muslim peoples and countries will soon be used elsewhere, and no one will be spared the consequences of America and Israel's, with European collaboration, undoing of all the achievements in international law and human rights since World War II. All of us must stand up to the horrors being committed in the name of this "war on terror," a war of the rich against the poor, of the privileged against the disenfranchised, of the white North against people of colour in the global south, if we are to stop the flames from leaping higher and engulfing us all."
"WASHINGTON - Israel has argued that the war against Hezbollah's rocket arsenal was a defensive response to the Shi'ite organization's threat to Israeli security, but the evidence points to a much more ambitious objective - the weakening of Iran's deterrent to an attack on its nuclear sites.
In planning for the destruction of most of Hezbollah's arsenal and prevention of any resupply from Iran, Israel appears to have hoped to eliminate a major reason the US administration had shelved the military option for dealing with Iran's nuclear program - the fear that Israel would suffer massive casualties from Hezbollah's rockets in retaliation for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
It seems likely that Olmert discussed Israel's plans for degrading Hezbollah's missile capabilities as a way of dramatically reducing the risks involved in an air campaign against Iran's nuclear sites, and that Bush gave his approval. That would account for Olmert's comment to Israeli reporters after the meeting, reported by ynetnews but not by US news media: "I am very, very, very satisfied."
Bush's refusal to do anything to curb Israel's freedom to cause havoc on Lebanon further suggests that he encouraged the Israelis to take advantage of any pretext to launch the offensive. The Israeli plan may have given US Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld new ammunition for advocating a strike on Iran's nuclear sites. "
"When you are in Syria or, I suspect, in most Arab states today and utter the words "terrorist organization", it doesn't even occur to people that Hezbollah might be the topic of conversation. They take it for granted that you're referring either to Israel or the United States.
When this war finally ends, the societal, economic and environmental destruction will undoubtedly be staggering - it already is - as well as long-lasting; but it will pale in comparison to the psychological damage that has already been done. Rather than sowing the seeds of a future peace, it's painfully clear to an observer that the seeds of everlasting bloodshed, resentment and resistance are now sprouting amid the ruins.
Arab leaders continue to earn the scorn of their populations for not putting their all into stopping the Israeli campaign against Lebanon. Meanwhile, Hezbollah appears committed to doing so until the very end - and, based on what I saw in my days in Lebanon, that "end" of mutual destruction seems all that is left on the minds of those involved.
The Israelis, overvaluing the technology of war and, in particular, of air power (as so many have done before them), began their campaign against Lebanon by using perfectly real bombs and missiles to achieve largely psychological ends - the humiliation of Hezbollah in the eyes of the Lebanese population. As it turns out, they have indeed changed the psychology of Lebanon - and possibly of the region. Just not in ways they ever imagined. As Tarad Hamade, the Lebanese minister of labor and official representative of Hezbollah, told me in Beirut recently, "We might not be as powerful as the Israeli army, but we will fight until we die." "