Saturday, July 22, 2006

Alexander Cockburn

July 21, 2006

A perilous excursion into the distant past, starting seven whole weeks ago

Hezbollah, Hamas and Israel: Everything You Need To Know


As the tv networks give unlimited airtime to Israel’s apologists, the message rolls out that no nation, least of all Israel, can permit bombardment or armed incursion across its borders without retaliation.

The guiding rule in this tsunami of drivel is that the viewers should be denied the slightest access to any historical context, or indeed to anything that happened prior to June 28, which was when the capture of an Israeli soldier and the killing of two others by Hamas hit the headlines, followed soon thereafter by an attack by a unit of Hezbollah’s fighters.

Memory is supposed to stop in its tracks at June 28, 2006.

Let’s go on a brief excursion into pre-history. I’m talking about June 20, 2006, when Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an attempted extrajudicial assassination attempt on a road between Jabalya and Gaza City. The missile missed the car. Instead it killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15.

Back we go again to June 13, 2006. Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a van in another attempted extrajudicial assassination. The successive barrages killed nine innocent Palestinians.

Now we’re really in the dark ages, reaching far, far back to June 9, 2006, when Israel shelled a beach in Beit Lahiya killing 8 civilians and injuring 32.

That’s just a brief trip down Memory Lane, and we trip over the bodies of twenty dead and forty-seven wounded, all of them Palestinians, most of them women and children.

Israel regrets… But no! Israel doesn’t regret in the least. Most of the time it doesn’t even bother to pretend to regret. It says, “We reserve the right to slaughter Palestinians whenever we want. We reserve the right to assassinate their leaders, crush their homes, steal their water, tear out their olive groves, and when they try to resist we call them terrorists intent on wrecking the ‘peace process’”.

Now Israel says it wants to wipe out Hezbollah. It wishes no harm to the people of Lebanon, just so long as they’re not supporters of Hezbollah, or standing anywhere in the neighborhood of a person or a house or a car or a truck or a road or a bus or a field, or a power station or a port that might, in the mind of an Israeli commander or pilot, have something to do with Hezbollah. In any of those eventualities all bets are off. You or your wife or your mother or your baby get fried.

Israel regrets… But no! As noted above, it doesn’t regret in the least. Neither does George Bush, nor Condoleezza Rice nor John Bolton who is the moral savage who brings shame on his country each day that he sits as America’s ambassador (unconfirmed) at the UN and who has just told the world that a dead Israel civilian is worth a whole more in terms of moral outrage than a Lebanese one.

None of them regrets. They say Hezbollah is a cancer in the body of Lebanon. Sometimes, to kill the cancer, you end up killing the body. Or bodies. Bodies of babies. Lots of them. Go to the website and take a look. Then sign the petition on the site calling on the governments of the world to stop this barbarity.

You can say that Israel brought Hezbollah into the world. You can prove it too, though this too involves another frightening excursion into history.

This time we have to go far, almost unimaginably far, back into history. Back to 1982, before the dinosaurs, before CNN, before Fox TV, before O’Reilly and Limbaugh. But not before the neo-cons who at that time had already crawled from the primal slime and were doing exactly what they are doing now: advising an American president to give Israel the green light to “solve its security problems” by destroying Lebanon.

In 1982 Israel had a problem. Yasir Arafat, headquartered in Beirut, was making ready to announce that the PLO was prepared to sit down with Israel and embark on peaceful, good faith negotiations towards a two-state solution.

Israel didn’t want a two-state solution, which meant -- if UN resolutions were to be taken seriously -- a Palestinian state right next door, with water, and contiguous territory. So Israel decided chase the PLO right out of Lebanon. It announced that the Palestinian fighters had broken the year-long cease-fire by lobbing some shells into northern Israel.

Palestinians had done nothing of the sort. I remember this very well, because Brian Urquhart, at that time assistant secretary general of the United Nations, in charge of UN observers on Israel’s northern border, invited me to his office on the 38th floor of the UN hq in mid-Manhattan and showed me all the current reports from the zone. For over a year there’d been no shelling from north of the border. Israel was lying.

With or without a pretext Israel wanted to invade Lebanon. So it did, and rolled up to Beirut. It shelled Lebanese towns and villages and bombed them from the air. Sharon’s forces killed maybe 20,000 people, and let Lebanese Christians slaughter hundreds of Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Chatilla.

The killing got so bad that even Ronald Reagan awoke from his slumbers and called Tel Aviv to tell Israel to stop. Sharon gave the White House the finger by bombing Beirut at the precise times -- 2.42 and 3.38 -- of two UN resolutions calling for a peaceful settlement on the matter of Palestine.

When the dust settled over the rubble, Israel bunkered down several miles inside Lebanese sovereign territory, which it illegally occupied, in defiance of all UN resolutions, for years, supervising a brutal local militia and running its own version of Abu Graibh, the torture center at the prison of Al-Khiam.

Occupy a country, torture its citizens and in the end you face resistance. In Israel’s case it was Hezbollah, and in the end Hezbollah ran Israel out of Lebanon, which is why a lot of Lebanese regard Hezbollah not as terrorists but as courageous liberators.

The years roll by and Israel does its successful best to destroy all possibility of a viable two-state solution. It builds illegal settlements. It chops up Palestine with Jews-only roads. It collars all the water. It cordons off Jerusalem. It steals even more land by bisecting Palestinian territory with its “fence”. Anyone trying to organize resistance gets jailed, tortured, or blown up.

Sick of their terrible trials, Palestinians elect Hamas, whose leaders make it perfectly clear that they are ready to deal on the basis of the old two-state solution, which of course is the one thing Israel cannot endure. Israel doesn’t want any “peaceful solution” that gives the Palestinians anything more than a few trashed out acres surrounded with barbed wire and tanks, between the Israeli settlements whose goons can murder them pretty much at will.

So here we are, 24 years after Sharon did his best to destroy Lebanon in 1982, and his heirs are doing it all over again. Since they can’t endure the idea of any just settlement for Palestinians, it’s the only thing they know how to do. Call Lebanon a terror-haven and bomb it back to the stone age. Call Gaza a terror-haven and bomb its power plant, first stop on the journey back to the stone age. Bomb Damascus. Bomb Teheran.

Of course they won’t destroy Hezbollah. Every time they kill another Lebanese family, they multiply hatred of Israel and support for Hezbollah. They’ve even unified the parliament in Baghdad, which just voted unanimously -- Sunnis and Shi’ites and Kurds alike -- to deplore Israel’s conduct and to call for a ceasefire.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these little excursions into history, even though history is dangerous, which is why the US press gives it a wide birth. But even without the benefit of historical instruction, a majority of Americans in CNN’s instant poll –- about 55 per cent out of 800,000 as of midday, July 19 -- don’t like what Israel is up to.

Dislike is one thing, but at least in the short term it doesn’t help much. Israel’s 1982 attack on Lebanon grew unpopular in the US, after the first few days. But forcing the US to pressure Israel to settle the basic problem takes political courage, and virtually no US politician is prepared to buck the Israel lobby, however many families in Lebanon and Gaza may be sacrificed on the altar of such cowardice.


Blogger Scott said...

Your history lesson leaves out 1 very important time. UN res. 1559 of 2000 calls for withdrawal of foreign forces and Hezbollah to dis-arm. And that makes your lesson a mute! You can blame know one but the goverment of Lebanon (where the cowardice lies) and Hezbollah.

10:26 PM  
Blogger lens said...

Let's end the hypocrisy, shall we?
perhaps when israel chooses to implement one of the FORTY UN resolutions it has chosen to pointedly ignore, we can talk about frigging 1559.
This double standard for Israel vs. the rest of the world makes me want to retch.

11:06 PM  
Blogger dobegs said...

lens your words make me sick and also sad that you of all people on here can not be open minded and above this all... try and put yourself for once in theothers place the other shoes....

you dont have any significance when you respond like this to Scott.

your response is disapointing, childish immature and sad.

I just hope that one day you will actualy wake up and relalise that your are not god and far away from being perfect.

1:17 AM  
Blogger lens said...

dobegs, hon, what does my own "perfection" have to do with anything, anything i said above? it is stated fact. forty+ UN resolutions that Israel has refused to comply with. you want to implement international law, be my guest. let's just not be hypocritical about it.
and what do you want me to be "above", here?
the racist slaughter of civilians? the destruction of a country? the oppression and occupation and stripping away of dignity of the palestinian people?
is that what i should be open-minded about?
good god, this world has gone utterly mad.

2:27 AM  
Blogger dobegs said...

I wonder if Lens know what moliere said about Hypocracy.... ? or the meaning of the word "frigging"

seems like Lens really like using intersting and inteligent words.

as I said it is valid to voice pain and anger but it also a greaT shame THAT people like Lens are ONLY voicing their negative and booring views that lead to knowhere! seem like Lens prefer to voice his perfect view of the world.

Love to you Lens and to your frigging views based on distorted facts.

I wont respond to anything else from you on this blog as dont think its worth it as your views are clearly very open....(NOT!) but they are set in stone and only eager to confront others and not offer any reconciliation and leading to peace and tranquility.

God Bless you Lens. take care.

bye bye.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Todd said...

Lets take a true journey back into time. Since you seem to want to bring up the past. I believe the Jewish people had claims to this land quite early.

1230 BC : Joshua conquered parts of Palestine. The conquerors settled in the hill country, but they were unable to conquer all of Palestine.

1125 BC : The Israelites, a confederation of Hebrew tribes, finally defeated the Canaanites but found the struggle with the Philistines more difficult . Philistines had established an independent state on the southern coast of Palestine and controlled the Canaanite town of Jerusalem.

1050 BC : Philistines with there superior in military organization and using iron weapons, they severely defeated the Israelites about 1050 BC .

1000 BC : David, Israel's great king, finally defeated the Philistines, and they eventually assimilated with the Canaanites . The unity of Israel and the feebleness of adjacent empires enabled David to establish a large independent state, with its capital at Jerusalem.

922 BC : Under David's son and successor, Solomon, Israel enjoyed peace and prosperity , but at his death in 922 BC the kingdom was divided into Israel in the north and Judah in the south .

722-721 BC : When nearby empires resumed their expansion, the divided Israelites could no longer maintain their independence . Israel fell to Assyria.

586 BC : Judah was conquered by Babylonia, which destroyed Jerusalem and exiled most of the Jews living there. Nebuchadnezzar entered Jerusalem. The Temple was sacked and set fire to, and razed to the ground. The Royal Palace and all the great houses were destroyed, the population carried off in chains to Babylon. And they lamented on their long march into exile

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is stated fact. forty+ UN resolutions that Israel has refused to comply with.

yes but also it s stated facts that there is also law in case of non application of UN resolutions, further more the situation then are not the same as the situation now ...there is facts ...our prime did talk with Perez no ? when that happen in the past ???
hezb must be desarm ... for the sake of leb and the lebanese people ..if we do not pay attention to what is happening now we may risk loose every thing even leb

1:24 AM  
Blogger Mitch G said...

A walk down memory lane:

A list of UN Resolutions against Israel, 1955-1992:
* * Resolution 106: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for Gaza raid".
* * Resolution 111: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people".
* * Resolution 127: " . . . 'recommends' Israel suspends it's 'no-man's zone' in Jerusalem".
* * Resolution 162: " . . . 'urges' Israel to comply with UN decisions".
* * Resolution 171: " . . . determines flagrant violations' by Israel in its attack on Syria".
* * Resolution 228: " . . . 'censures' Israel for its attack on Samu in the West Bank, then under Jordanian control".
* * Resolution 237: " . . . 'urges' Israel to allow return of new 1967 Palestinian refugees".
* * Resolution 248: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for its massive attack on Karameh in Jordan".
* * Resolution 250: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem".
* * Resolution 251: " . . . 'deeply deplores' Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250".
* * Resolution 252: " . . . 'declares invalid' Israel's acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital".
* * Resolution 256: " . . . 'condemns' Israeli raids on Jordan as 'flagrant violation".
* * Resolution 259: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation".
* * Resolution 262: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for attack on Beirut airport".
* * Resolution 265: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for air attacks for Salt in Jordan".
* * Resolution 267: " . . . 'censures' Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem".
* *Resolution 270: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for air attacks on villages in southern Lebanon".
* * Resolution 271: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem".
* * Resolution 279: " . . . 'demands' withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon".
* * Resolution 280: " . . . 'condemns' Israeli's attacks against Lebanon".
* * Resolution 285: " . . . 'demands' immediate Israeli withdrawal form Lebanon".
* * Resolution 298: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's changing of the status of Jerusalem".
* * Resolution 313: " . . . 'demands' that Israel stop attacks against Lebanon".
* * Resolution 316: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for repeated attacks on Lebanon".
* * Resolution 317: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to release Arabs abducted in Lebanon".
* * Resolution 332: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's repeated attacks against Lebanon".
* * Resolution 337: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for violating Lebanon's sovereignty".
* * Resolution 347: " . . . 'condemns' Israeli attacks on Lebanon".
* * Resolution 425: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon".
* * Resolution 427: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to complete its withdrawal from Lebanon.
* * Resolution 444: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's lack of cooperation with UN peacekeeping forces".
* * Resolution 446: " . . . 'determines' that Israeli settlements are a 'serious
* obstruction' to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention".
* * Resolution 450: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to stop attacking Lebanon".
* * Resolution 452: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories".
* * Resolution 465: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's settlements and asks all member
* states not to assist Israel's settlements program".
* * Resolution 467: " . . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's military intervention in Lebanon".
* * Resolution 468: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to rescind illegal expulsions of
* two Palestinian mayors and a judge and to facilitate their return".
* * Resolution 469: " . . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's failure to observe the
* council's order not to deport Palestinians".
* * Resolution 471: " . . . 'expresses deep concern' at Israel's failure to abide
* by the Fourth Geneva Convention".
* * Resolution 476: " . . . 'reiterates' that Israel's claim to Jerusalem are 'null and void'".
* * Resolution 478: " . . . 'censures (Israel) in the strongest terms' for its
* claim to Jerusalem in its 'Basic Law'".
* * Resolution 484: " . . . 'declares it imperative' that Israel re-admit two deported
* Palestinian mayors".
* * Resolution 487: " . . . 'strongly condemns' Israel for its attack on Iraq's
* nuclear facility".
* * Resolution 497: " . . . 'decides' that Israel's annexation of Syria's Golan
* Heights is 'null and void' and demands that Israel rescinds its decision forthwith".
* * Resolution 498: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon".
* * Resolution 501: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to stop attacks against Lebanon and withdraw its troops".
* * Resolution 509: " . . . 'demands' that Israel withdraw its forces forthwith and unconditionally from Lebanon".
* * Resolution 515: " . . . 'demands' that Israel lift its siege of Beirut and
* allow food supplies to be brought in".
* * Resolution 517: " . . . 'censures' Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions
* and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon".
* * Resolution 518: " . . . 'demands' that Israel cooperate fully with UN forces in Lebanon".
* * Resolution 520: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's attack into West Beirut".
* * Resolution 573: " . . . 'condemns' Israel 'vigorously' for bombing Tunisia
* in attack on PLO headquarters.
* * Resolution 587: " . . . 'takes note' of previous calls on Israel to withdraw
* its forces from Lebanon and urges all parties to withdraw".
* * Resolution 592: " . . . 'strongly deplores' the killing of Palestinian students
* at Bir Zeit University by Israeli troops".
* * Resolution 605: " . . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's policies and practices
* denying the human rights of Palestinians.
* * Resolution 607: " . . . 'calls' on Israel not to deport Palestinians and strongly
* requests it to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
* * Resolution 608: " . . . 'deeply regrets' that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians".
* * Resolution 636: " . . . 'deeply regrets' Israeli deportation of Palestinian civilians.
* * Resolution 641: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's continuing deportation of Palestinians.
* * Resolution 672: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for violence against Palestinians
* at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.
* * Resolution 673: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to cooperate with the United
* Nations.
* * Resolution 681: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's resumption of the deportation of
* Palestinians.
* * Resolution 694: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's deportation of Palestinians and
* calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return.
* * Resolution 726: " . . . 'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of Palestinians.
* * Resolution 799: ". . . 'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of 413 Palestinians
* and calls for their immediate return.

2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes ...and ..beside what were doing the other parties involve?

its simple to vote a resolution....but even simple to destroy it

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beside those can you please for the sake of lebanese people name those that ONLY concern lebanon and only ...

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

go to website

Pass this information on to as many people as you can.


8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how nice of Shanti to pose as anonymous....
who cares anyway

2:33 PM  
Blogger Mitch G said...

Bottom line, here's the problem with war:

Excerpts copied with permission from a commentary by Steve Bhaerman, titled:

The Thin Line Between War and Genocide...
A Call For a Worldwide "Up-Wising"

July 25, 2006
by Steve Bhaerman

"Here’s the problem with war: It’s always justified. So let’s get it out of the way right now. The Israelis are justified for wanting to secure their borders from rocket attacks and homicide bombers. The Palestinians are justified in not wanting to live in refugee camps under the thumb of an occupying army. With the war fully “justified,” all sides then take the “logical” step of justifying whatever actions are necessary to win. Inevitably, every war starts out as a “just war,” and ends up as ... just war.

Scientific Proof That War is Stupid!

(Through research...)"I’ve come to respect the wisdom of the 50 trillion cell community we call the human body. In fact, all indications are that our cells are smarter than we are. One of the things I’ve been learning is the effect fear has on the body. When the body goes into fight or flight, blood leaves the frontal lobe and goes to the “reptile brain,” which is what we use for quick, “instinctual” reactions. The problem is, we lose access to our higher reasoning powers and greater intelligence. Put bluntly, fear makes us stupid. So no need to wonder why the more entrenched we get in a conflict, the more irrational our actions become".

"The other “secret” of war is that it is ultimately unwinnable. Sure wars are technically “won,” but they end up reincarnating as new wars to rebalance the imbalances created by the so-called “victory.” I am reminded of a key line from the 1980s film, War Games. Literally they are talking about tic-tac-toe, but metaphorically they are talking about war: “There is no way to win. The game itself is pointless!”

3:13 AM  
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