News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Israelis Spread Democracy Into Beirut

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Israelis Spread Democracy Into Beirut

America now has something to take its mind off of the impending theocracy in the works by the Bush administration and the expanding civil war it set off in Iraq. The invasion and subsequent dismantling of Lebanon by Israel gives many Americans something by which to cheer for (if you're awaiting the Rapture) or to watch the pretty bombs go off as the silly ragheads cry and weep over their dead. ...

There are many reasons bandied about by commentators on Right and Left about the rationale behind Israel's invasion. Inside Israel itself, polls show that 9 in 10 Israelis support the invasion and its purported strategy of eradicating the Islamic extremist organization Hezbollah.

What criticism of the invasion, which can make its way past the censors, from inside Israel appears to come from the extreme Left. Many Israeli leftists, in fact, are cheering the invaders and spreading petals of victory along the trail of blood leading to Beirut.

Yitzhak Laor expresses despair and hope in his appeal for some sense of perspective on the part of Israelis. They must, after all, live with their neighbors some day, unlike Americans who will simply establish outposts in the region to ensure the flow of oil does not stop.Laor writes:

The director of the American Jewish Committee's Israel/Middle East Office, Eran Lerman, is already recommending going to war against Syria. Anyone who is listening to talk about the need to attack Syria (in the name of "strategy") realizes that for those people, "strategy" means enlarging the circle of hostilities, including harming civilians. What Israel's "strategists" have to offer is the destruction of yet another country. Let us set aside the generation that is growing up in front of the television. Let us set aside the horrors that are being carried out in the name of all of us. It is enough to see the destruction of Iraq and its results. The Americans do not intend to live in this region, but we do live here. And did the trigger finger in the North think about the victims in the North, about the fate of the captives? No. This trigger finger thought in terms of "who will stick more to whom." Who can restrain the army? Only Israeli opposition. The heads of the army are even warning of such opposition. That is, it is not yet too late.
One can only hope on bended knee that Laor's prayer comes bears fruit. Unfortunately, the present push by the Israeli army seems bent on taking Beirut (and here) and bringing about some form of attitude adjustment on the part of the nascent Lebanese democracy.

That is, the Israelis want to teach not only Hezbollah a lesson but the Lebanese people as well. Using a somewhat warped sense of behavioral modification technique, they apparently reason that if they beat the Arab dog enough, it will eventually come and lick the Israeli stick.

Reporting from Beirut, Hannah Allam provides some background to how this strategy of divide and conquer might play itself out on the streets of Lebanon. Allam writes:
At sundown, locals arrived to gawk at the charred shells of the trucks, but no one could figure out what threat two vehicles in a back lot posed. Israel's precision with weapons is well known here, so few were willing to believe that the trucks' drills had been mistaken for rocket launchers.

A more sinister notion emerged - that Israel deliberately struck a Christian neighborhood to cause a backlash against Hezbollah and its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
Allam adds the kicker near the end of the article:
Two friends who arrived on a motorbike to survey the damage snapped photos of the burned trucks with their cell phone cameras and tried in vain to figure out why the trucks had been attacked.

Charbel Oueiss, 24, is Christian and has reservations about Hezbollah. On the same bike was a pro-Hezbollah Muslim friend who declined to give his name.

"We live in Achrafieh, so why? This is Christian country," Oueiss said. "Maybe it's because two weeks ago, Hassan Nasrallah was on TV and said . . ."

His friend interrupted: "Don't you say anything about Nasrallah. My love is Hassan Nasrallah."

Oueiss started to answer, but his friend cut him off again. "Criticize him and I'll fire a Katyusha rocket at you!"

The friends laughed, climbed back on their motorbike and left for home.
Two friends--one Christian, one Moslem--ride the wind free and care-free into an ominous future; one that perhaps will see them turn against each other and thirst for their friend's blood.

Jerusalem, why have you chosen death? Return to the truth of the prophets you slew with so much zeal:
Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? (Mal 2:10)
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