News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Random Thoughts on Lebanon Apocalypse

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Random Thoughts on Lebanon Apocalypse

Somewhere amid the flurry of commentators on the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, yesterday I heard someone say that it is somewhat hypocritical of the US or others to accuse Lebanon of failing to abide by UN resolution 1559.

By including Hezbollah in the government, the Lebanese government has gone some way in meeting the demands of the resolution. Yet, unless Lebanon courts another civil war, it does not have the manpower to disarm Hezbollah nor the leverage to do so. ...

Thanks to Bushco, Syria was knocked out of the picture--and it was Syria that policed Hezbollah and restrained its more extremist elements. Of course, the US could have done something, but it was bogged down in Iraq and is so now.

So the Bush plan to democratize the Mideast is seen to be a paper tiger--when people do democratically elect governments such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the new governments are attacked and their governing abilities severely curtailed.

There's a solution to the Mideast problem, one that would make most everybody but those in power happy. Helena Cobban writes about this today:

(1) The vast majority of the peoples of Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine all want exactly the same thing-- which is to be able to live their lives in safe and flourishing communities that are not plagued by war. Olmert's speech in the Knesset was long on expressing this with regard to the Israeli people but absolutely devoid of any recognition that this is exactly what the majority of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples also want; and

(2) The outlines of how such a peace might be drawn up are fairly well known by now: Israeli withdrawals from just about all of the lands seized by military force from their neighbors in 1967, and the establishment of full relations of normal peace between Israel and all its neighbors. If such a peace were indeed built, the support for militant irredentists in the Palestinian, Lebanese, Jewish-Israeli, and other communities of the region would go down to very low and absolutely manageable levels... Most people would be too busy celebrating and building upon the newfound regional peace.
That pre-1967 border issue alludes to the only international document that Israel has signed. But it has never abided by its signature to return behind those internationally accepted boundaries. Instead, it has steadily expanded its territory, as well as perpetrated immense harm and suffering to generally defenseless others like the Palestinians who have despairingly retaliated using the only means available, as horrendous as those are; a means, by the way, that Israel’s own founders and former Prime Minister employed to establish the state of Israel. (I speak of terrorism and Menahem Begin’s role in an act of terrorism that some consider the inception of the modern terrorist methodology for gaining political recognition).

Since we are counting UN resolutions that Lebanon has not fulfilled, how many UN resolutions has Israel simply disregarded? Let us not mention the many times that Israeli actions have gone to the Security Council but have never been condemned because of US vetoes.

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Hezbollah is much more than a militia. It now represents the 12er Shiite population in Lebanese government. Most Lebanese 12ers identify with Hezbollah and its agenda and goals. As a recent report on NPR showed, in fact, Nasrallah, Hezbollah's chief, has perhaps a greater following outside Lebanon as he does inside the country. If you want to eradicate Hezbollah, it is my guess you'll have most if not all of that 40 percent of the population against you.

How do you "eliminate" 40 percent of the population of Lebanon? Do you really think that there won't be others to rise in their stead? Unless you want to commit genocide, you will not get rid of the Moslems in these countries. I doubt that you will get them to heel like dogs at your feet either.

Maybe it's just the stress of battle. Maybe it's just a bit too sensitive hair-trigger. I do not think that many people want to kill innocent civilians--except perhaps out of blind rage and desire for vengeance, as Hezbollah's actions could be interpreted. That is, they wish to avenge the many, many Palestinians who've recently been killed in Gaza. It could also be the many, many civilians recently killed in Lebanon, who knows?

I do agree with Juan Cole when he says that the deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians by Hezbollah is a war crime.

Yet, what about that Lebanese family of nine fleeing in their car that was burned alive by an Israeli bomb? They probably had a Katyusha rocket in the trunk.

Some commentators inside and outside of Israel have noted that the Israeli invasion is an attempt to inflict communal punishment--not just on Hezbollah but on the Lebanese as well. Unfrotunately, we'll have to wait to watch whether or not civilians were indeed deliberately targeted by Israel be swept under the rug.

Juan Cole reports:
If the reports coming out of Lebanon can be believed, the Israelis are only sometimes striking known Hizbullah safe houses or facilities or missile emplacements. A lot of their bombardment appears aimed at punishing civilian populations and forcing them north to Beirut. Such an approach would help explain the high number of civilian casualties. That is, there may be an element of ethnic cleansing in Israeli tactics. [my emphasis]
This invasion must stop now. It is very simple for Israel to stop the paranoia and terrorism. Sit down at the table, respect the Palestinians as human beings... that'll be a start at least. Recognize that Israel's leaders have made some very bad decisions re: the Palestinians that'd be a second step. Stop Israel's leaders from bullying everyone through excessive use of force to impose its will.

Israel must bend so it doesn't break through paranoia, become a country of paranoid schizophrenics. Jews co-existed with Arabs and Moslems for over a millennium. Why's it so hard to do so now?

Israel says that Arabs want to destroy it. Perhaps they did, but I think many have conceded the fact that Israel is here to stay and they are willing to bargain. Look at Egypt as an example. But what happens when real Israeli leaders try to make peace with arabs? They're assassinated like Rabin. You can blame Arabs and Palestinians all you want but I think internal Israeli ideologies and hatred of Arabs are more of a roadblock to Mideast peace than the Arabs are.

Israel should get its own house in order before it sets out to shame others into submission for being hate-mongers. There's more than enough of that to go around inside Israel itself.

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[xposted at Unclaimed Territory Comments]

2 comments:

Ozzie said...

Israel says that Arabs want to destroy it. Perhaps they did, but I think many have conceded the fact that Israel is here to stay and they are willing to bargain. Look at Egypt as an example. But what happens when real Israeli leaders try to make peace with arabs? They're assassinated like Rabin. You can blame Arabs and Palestinians all you want but I think internal Israeli ideologies and hatred of Arabs are more of a roadblock to Mideast peace than the Arabs are.

So many things to comment on but I'll only focus on one.

The charters of Hamas and Hezbollah both call for the destruction of Israel.

If you follow what the Imams say in the mosques you'll see that Israel has not found acceptance yet.

BTW, UN Res 242 does not require a complete withdrawal from all the land acquired in '67

the cynic librarian said...

On UN 242 see Key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the viewpoint ....

On Hamas and Hezbollah. Hamas was on the verge of recognizing Israel's right to exist before the recent invasion of Gaza. There are some who see this invasion as an attempt to undermine Hamas' peace overture, which itself would delegitimize many of Israel's reasons for refusing to negotiate with Hamas.