News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Israel's Matrix Moment?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel's Matrix Moment?

There's a scene in the movie The Matrix where the hero Neo notices a black cat walk across his path twice--same black cat, same gestures. Neo mentions this to his compatriots who immediately recognize it as an indication that the Agents sent to kill them have found their position.

I've noted in a previous posting my memory of former Israeli prime minister Menahem Begin appearing on television and reassuring the world that his country's invasion of Lebanon in the 1980s would only last a few weeks. 10 years later, Israel finally did pull out of Lebanon. ...

In the recent Israeli invasion of Lebanon, we have heard similar assertions that Israel only plans to "defang" Hezbollah and then retreat behind its borders once again.

The Jerusalem Post, however, is reporting that this might not be the full story. Quoting the northern commander of Israeli operations in Lebanon, the Post reports:

OC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Udi Adam acknowledged in a briefing at Northern Command headquarters in Safed on Sunday afternoon that the commander of the IDF's civil administration unit had already begun preparations toward the possibility of instituting a military administration in areas captured by the IDF over the last week.

According to Adam, "Certain units who will give us breathing space have been called up, including the commander of that unit." The unit's activation, however, would only take place following comprehensive consultations, he said.

Adam denied reports that there were plans to set up a large prison camp for captured Hizbullah fighters, saying the measure would not be needed.
That last part is significant because there have been reports to the effect that Israel is setting up massive internment camps for captured Hezbollah fighters and its sympathizers.

The Matrix moment here, of course, is a bit of wordplay. We are dealing with real-time, real events here. In this context, I might not have to resort to irony to interpret and understand Israel's actions. According to numerous historical documents, some Israeli leaders have often asserted the desire to expand the state of Israel to include much of what is now known as Lebanon.

For example, Israeli founding father, Benjamin Disraeli, is quoted as saying:
"[T]o the north, the Litani river, to the northeast, the Wadi 'Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into Sinai at least up to Wadi al 'Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan." (Quoted, Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of "Transfer" in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948, 1992, p 87).
Update 1 After expanding its invasion deeper into Lebanon and carrying out a daring black ops attack in the heart of Hisbullah's stronghold, there's little reason to think that Israel is in this for the short haul. The Guardian reports:
An international drive for a ceasefire in Lebanon halted yesterday amid sharp differences at the UN security council, Israel's rejection of any truce in the near future and a Hizbullah warning that it would oppose the deployment of a multinational security force.

Amid undiminished outrage after the Qana tragedy and complaints that the UN was doing nothing, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said she was convinced a sustainable ceasefire could be achieved at the security council this week.

But Israel signalled dissent hours after she left Jerusalem for Washington. Ehud Olmert, its prime minister, shrugged off international pressure: "The fighting continues. There is no ceasefire and there will not be any ceasefire in the coming days.

"We are not fighting against the Lebanese people. We are not fighting against its government. We are fighting terrorism and we will not stop the fight against them until we push them away from our borders."
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