Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Greater The Lie...

The greater the lie, the more people will believe it.
Israel maintains and perpetrates several fictions to keep the world blind to its aggressive behaviour.
  • The first fiction is that they are facing an EXISTENTIAL threat from groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas. The reality is clearly very different. While these groups do pose a threat to the lives of Israeli citizens, they lack the capacity to significantly threaten the existence of Israel as a state. Though they may claim that this is their aim, it is a wild exaggeration to suggest that they have the means to achieve it. A Hamas legislator admitted as much in an interview with CNN after the Palestinian elections. Israel maintains this illusion of threat so it can avoid negotiations on a final and comprehensive peace and instead have a free hand to unilaterally impose a solution. This is evident in their proceding with the West Bank wall (which is really a land grab), their initially cool reception of the "Road Map" proposal and their rejection of the Arab offer in 2003 of a full peace in return for Israeli evacuation of occupied Arab land.
  • Another fiction is that this is a war of necessity. After the capture of Gilad Shalit in Gaza, Israel says it had no option other than to bomb the Palestininans and their infrastructure. The same argument is put forward to justify its actions in Lebanon. This is patently untrue. Previous Israeli governments have negotiated prisoner exchanges with Hizbollah. This include the governments of Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon. However, to quote the Lebanese PM, "historic times call for historic men". Ehud Olmert is definitely not one such. He is encumbered by the fact that he was essentially elected as a stand-in for the ailing Ariel Sharon and he lacks lacks the military credentials of many of his predecessors. This war is a war of choice conducted mainly to secure such credentials. The Hizbollah offered to negotiate a prisoner exchange immediately after capturing the Israeli soldiers. Ironically, Israel holds thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners whom she has herself kidnapped from Lebanese and Palestinian soil.
  • A third fiction is the claim to be defending against numerous indiscriminate Hizbollah rocket attacks over the last six years. But the Washington-based lists no rocket attacks against civillian areas of Israel between 2000 and the beginning of the present conflict. In fact, during that period Hizbollah only fired on Israeli MILITARY positions during the fighting in Nov. 2005. The Hizbollah rockets are deployed as a deterrent against Israeli aggression and the figure of 1000s of rockets fired at Israeli cities is disingenuous as these have been fired in response to Israeli shelling of Lebanese cities. As the same source goes on to say, "in early 2001 it was reported that Hizballah had set up a belt of mobile multi-barreled rocket launchers and truck-mounted missiles along Israel’s northern flank ready to go off the moment Israel launched a large-scale military offensive against Lebanon (my italics)."
  • Finally, the Israelis and the West have until recently refused to acknowledge that the Arabs have genuine and legitimate grievances that need addressing. The issue of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners has been swept under the carpet as have the numerous outstanding UN Security council resolutions against Israel pertaining to its invasion and continuing occupation of Arab land.
As for the way forward, I think the Lebanese proposals provide a framework for a final settlement. They call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, prisoner exchange, Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Shaaba farms, an international force to police the border
with Israel, the deployment of the Lebanese army to the south and the gradual integration of Hizbollah into it.
According to CNN, Israel is open to all these save for the first. It has even stopped calling for the dissolution and disarming of Hizbollah as a precondition to a ceasefire and now admits that it cannot disarm the militants -evidence that its military campaign has failed. So why continue the bombing?

1 comment:

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