News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Israeli Propaganda Talking Point 08/8/06

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Israeli Propaganda Talking Point 08/8/06

Juan Cole continues to document the apparent contradiction between Israeli assertions that it's only targeting Hizbullah and its strongholds and the facts on the ground. Cole presents numerous instances where Israel is targeting Lebanese Christian neighborhoods, as well as civilian homes in poor Shiite neighborhoods and towns where people are often too poor, elderly, or infirm to leave. ...

For Cole and others, there's no explanation for the contradiction between Israeli assertions facts other than the conclusion that Israel has meant to punish the Lebanese people as a whole, whether they are aligned with Hizbullah or not.

The following quote from GIYUS seems to support the view that Israel sees Lebanon as a whole responsible for what Hizbullah extremists are doing. According to GIYUS:

Please choose one of the following links to talkback and support Israel and the US on their cease fire requirements - request a full deployment of international forces prior to Israel's withdrawal, [b]explain Lebanon is a part of this conflict since it enabled Hezbollah to grow stronger and build its weapon arsenal on Lebanese ground endangering civilian population and threatening Northern Israel[/b]. Expecting those who nurtured the beast (e.g. Hezbollah) will now tame it is unrealistic to say the least.
There are two prevalent explanations for this strategy. One is that Israel hopes to divide the Lebanese population, which is comprised of several ethnic and religious groups. As the civil war in the 1980s between these groups proves, the divisions are deep and very difficult to put back together should they have reason to hate each other.

It is conceivable that Israel hopes to foment such another civil war, as it did by supporting Maronite Christians in the previous civil war. This interpretation is a bit extreme and probably reflects a last-ditch alternative, should the Lebanese government and its army be incapable of imposing order on southern Lebanon and disarming Hizbullah.

Yet, the ferocity of the attacks on Lebanese civilians can only create resentment and hatred of Israel. It might create fear, but the fear factor seems overrated in this situation. It may have worked in the past, but at the moment fear is bringing the Lebanese together, it seems. Of course, there's little in the news media that might reflect the Lebanese people's true sentiments, so conjecture about how that fear will be channeled if Israeli terror from the skies continues is tentative at best.

Perhaps the short time that Lebanon has been able to experience limited democratic freedoms has solidified the social bonds of brotherhood and tolerance to a much stronger degree than Israeli military analysts have estimated. If so, it might take some time before those bonds are shredded to such a point that the Lebanese will turn on each other.

I am not willing to give up my overall thesis that Israel invaded Lebanon to provoke Syria and Iran into a much wider conflict that would suck in the US. Just yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told reporters:
Israel's Prime Minister has given his country's troops his full support and backing for the duration of the military offensive in Lebanon. On a morale-boosting visit to a command post near the Lebanese border, Ehud Olmert confirmed that the fighting will not cease until Hizbollah's rocket launchers are disabled. Later, speaking on television, he added that the Lebanese militant group was not the only enemy:

"I know you all think we are fighting against Hizbollah, but let's face it, the state of Israel is fighting against the Iranians and the Syrians, who are using Hizbollah in order to attack Israel from the North."
Still the short version of today's Israeli propaganda talking point seems to be: All Lebanese are responsible. Kill them all. When the dust settles they will rip each other's hearts out.

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