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Thread: Voices of oppostion from Israel

  1. #1
    Partridge Guest

    Voices of oppostion from Israel

    With news outlets reporting that within Israel support for the Israeli bombarbment is running at somewhere between 80%-95% (hardly surprising given that I've heard that Israeli TV has become basically a stomping ground for generals and warmongers to wax lyrical on the greatness of the IDF and the menace of Hezbollah - think FOX during the first stages of the Iraq invasion) - I think its important for us to remember the critical voices within Israel itself. The voices we never hear about in the West - either on this issue, or any other.


    The turnabout will come quickly
    By Meron Benvenisti (former deputy mayor of Jerusalem)

    No one can predict when the reversal will come, when all the experts will begin competing for first place in revealing the failures of the war: mistaken strategy, political dilettantism and shooting from the hip; the weakness disguised as courageous determination; the illusions, arrogance and boasting; the addiction to an impulse of revenge; the cruelty and the lack of moral inhibitions.

    But the manipulators and the self-declared heroes should not delude themselves, nor should the naive, or those who are drunk with patriotism or those who consider themselves experts: the moment will arrive more quickly than they imagine and within a short while everyone will be hiding behind the pose of "we told you so" when they know which way the wind is blowing.

    That is when all the declarations, the assessments and the excuses - that could be uttered and written only in an atmosphere of lack of critical skepticism that prevails when a "state of war" is declared - will be revealed.

    It is only in an atmosphere of this kind that serious people can justify the destruction of a country on the grounds that they "are helping its government in this way" to gain the upper hand over Hezbollah - a kind of variation on the theme of "the raped woman actually enjoyed herself." It is only in an atmosphere of this kind that a well-bred person can be glad that the lack of American pressure to stop the bombings makes it possible to continue the killing and destruction.

    Only reliance on patriotic emotions, which cloud any rational thinking, makes it possible to state without shame - after many days of multi-casualty pounding and the inexplicable destruction of an airport, highway interchanges, power stations and entire neighborhoods - that actually this activity was in vain, since it was known in advance that the bombs could not achieve their objectives and that a massive ground invasion was unavoidable.

    Only people who unabashedly exploit primitive urges allow themselves to personalize the war and focus it on the annihilation of their enemy, Hassan Nasrallah. Only those who are convinced the war will bring down a smoke screen over any cynical or hypocritical act can brag that they are assisting in an international humanitarian activity after they themselves brought about the catastrophe.

    No one is able to predict the minute when the opposition to the war and the bloodshed turns from an act of betrayal into a legitimate and even correct stance; when a moral condemnation of the war's evil effects becomes acceptable from a patriotic point of view and when slogans like "uprooting terror," "a war for our homes," "an existential struggle" and their like, turn from resonant war-cries into empty rhetoric.

    No one can predict this, but experience teaches us that the turnabout from patriotic criticism to rational behavior based on moral norms occurs sooner or later, sometimes within weeks or months and sometimes after a generation. It seems that in the current outbreak of violence, the change will come very quickly; its conduct, objectives and results do not encourage too much enthusiasm and it has not even been granted the title of "war" since those who waged it are not sure if they want to commemorate it among the state's official wars or if they believe it would perhaps be better to forget it.

    They cannot allow themselves to think that all should know their assessments were incorrect, and therefore they will seek a "victory" that will justify all the loss of life and destruction, and the very need for such a victory will merely prolong the suffering and bereavement. The public that supports them will have difficulty demanding soul-searching of them since the tribal solidarity will protect the political and military leaders.

    Very soon everything will return to what it was before - apart from those who sacrificed their lives and those who were killed in the shellings and bombings. And the major loser will be the people of Israel who, by an unmeasured reaction to a provocation, established their position as a foreign element in the region, as the neighborhood bully, the object of impotent hatred.

  2. #2
    Partridge Guest
    Morality is not on our side

    By Ze'ev Maoz

    There's practically a holy consensus right now that the war in the North is a just war and that morality is on our side. The bitter truth must be said: this holy consensus is based on short-range selective memory, an introverted worldview, and double standards.

    This war is not a just war. Israel is using excessive force without distinguishing between civilian population and enemy, whose sole purpose is extortion. That is not to say that morality and justice are on Hezbollah's side. Most certainly not. But the fact that Hezbollah "started it" when it kidnapped soldiers from across an international border does not even begin to tilt the scales of justice toward our side.

    Let's start with a few facts. We invaded a sovereign state, and occupied its capital in 1982. In the process of this occupation, we dropped several tons of bombs from the air, ground and sea, while wounding and killing thousands of civilians. Approximately 14,000 civilians were killed between June and September of 1982, according to a conservative estimate. The majority of these civilians had nothing to do with the PLO, which provided the official pretext for the war.

    In Operations Accountability and Grapes of Wrath, we caused the mass flight of about 500,000 refugees from southern Lebanon on each occasion. There are no exact data on the number of casualties in these operations, but one can recall that in Operation Grapes of Wrath, we bombed a shelter in the village of Kafr Kana which killed 103 civilians. The bombing may have been accidental, but that did not make the operation any more moral.

    On July 28, 1989, we kidnapped Sheikh Obeid, and on May 12, 1994, we kidnapped Mustafa Dirani, who had captured Ron Arad. Israel held these two people and another 20-odd Lebanese detainees without trial, as "negotiating chips." That which is permissible to us is, of course, forbidden to Hezbollah.

    Hezbollah crossed a border that is recognized by the international community. That is true. What we are forgetting is that ever since our withdrawal from Lebanon, the Israel Air Force has conducted photo-surveillance sorties on a daily basis in Lebanese airspace. While these flights caused no casualties, border violations are border violations. Here too, morality is not on our side.

    So much for the history of morality. Now, let's consider current affairs. What exactly is the difference between launching Katyushas into civilian population centers in Israel and the Israel Air Force bombing population centers in south Beirut, Tyre, Sidon and Tripoli? The IDF has fired thousands of shells into south Lebanon villages, alleging that Hezbollah men are concealed among the civilian population. Approximately 25 Israeli civilians have been killed as a result of Katyusha missiles to date. The number of dead in Lebanon, the vast majority comprised of civilians who have nothing to do with Hezbollah, is more than 300.

    Worse yet, bombing infrastructure targets such as power stations, bridges and other civil facilities turns the entire Lebanese civilian population into a victim and hostage, even if we are not physically harming civilians. The use of bombings to achieve a diplomatic goal - namely, coercing the Lebanese government into implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1559 - is an attempt at political blackmail, and no less than the kidnapping of IDF soldiers by Hezbollah is the aim of bringing about a prisoner exchange.

    There is a propaganda aspect to this war, and it involves a competition as to who is more miserable. Each side tries to persuade the world that it is more miserable. As in every propaganda campaign, the use of information is selective, distorted and self-righteous. If we want to base our information (or shall we call it propaganda?) policy on the assumption that the international environment is going to buy the dubious merchandise that we are selling, be it out of ignorance or hypocrisy, then fine. But in terms of our own national soul searching, we owe ourselves to confront the bitter truth - maybe we will win this conflict on the military field, maybe we will make some diplomatic gains, but on the moral plane, we have no advantage, and we have no special status.

    The writer is a professor of political science at Tel Aviv university.

  3. #3
    Partridge Guest
    Report of anti-war rally in Israel
    From the Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) website

    They came from all over the country, Jews and Arabs, from the air-raid shelters of Haifa and Nazareth and the still safe neighborhoods of metropolitan Tel-Aviv.

    The third demonstration against the war in Lebanon attracted much greater numbers than the first ones. While the first had 100 participants and the second reached already about 1000, this time (July 22) some 5000 took part.

    "Olmert get out of Lebanon -- the war is a disaster!" the protesters shouted. "We hall neither die nor kill - in the service of the USA" "Peretz, Peretz beware - in The Hague they are waiting for you! "Olmert, Olmert resign - you are not wanted anymore" "All the cabinet ministers are war criminals" and more.

    After marching from Rabin Square to Cinemateque Square, the protesters held a rally that filled the square and flowed over into the neighboring streets.

    The first speaker was former minister and Israel-Prize laureate Shulamit Aloni, who condemned the war in the harshest terms. She was followed by former MK Issam Makhoul for Hadash, former MK Uri Avnery for Gush Shalom, Youth movements' representative Yael Leirer, Yishai Menuhin for "Yesh Gvul", Awad Abd-al-Fatah for Balad, and Abeer Kopti for the Haifa group "Women Against War". The rally was conducted by Huloud Badawi of Ta'ayush and Jana Knofowa of the "Women's Coalition for Peace".

    All speakers demanded an immediate end to the war and the start of negotiations, before we get sucked into the Lebanese quagmire the same way as in last war.

    Click here to see more photos from the demo

  4. #4
    Partridge Guest
    Burning Lebanon: Israel's New Middle East
    Counterpunch - Tanya Reinhart in Tel Aviv

    Beirut is burning, hundreds of Lebanese die, hundreds of thousands lose all they ever owned and become refugees, and all the world is doing is rescuing the "foreign passport" residents of what was just two weeks ago "the Paris of the Middle East". Lebanon must die now, because "Israel has the right to defend itself", so goes the U.S. mantra, used to block any international attempt to impose a cease fire.

    Israel, backed by the U.S., portrays its war on Lebanon as a war of self defense. It is easy to sell this message to mainstream media, because the residents of the North of Israel are also in shelters, bombarded and endangered. Israel's claim that no country would let such an attack on its residents unanswered, finds many sympathetic ears. But let us reconstruct exactly how it all started.

    On Wednesday, July 12, a Hezbollah uni! t attacked two armored Jeeps of the Israeli army, patrolling along Israel's border with Lebanon. Three Israeli soldiers were killed in the attack and two were taken hostage. In a news conference held in Beirut a couple of hours later, Hezbollah's leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah explained that their aim was to reach a prisoner exchange, where in return for the two captured Israeli soldiers, Israel would return three Lebanese prisoners it had refused to release in a previous prisoner exchange. Nasrallah declared that "he did not want to drag the region into war", but added that "our current restraint is not due to weakness ... if they [Israel] choose to confront us, they must be prepared for surprises." [1]

    The Israeli government, however, did not give a single moment for diplomacy, negotiations, or even cool reflection over the situation. In a cabinet meeting that same day, it authorized a massive offensive on Lebanon. As Ha'aretz reported, "In a sharp departure from Is! rael's response to previous Hezbollah attacks, the cabinet session una nimously agreed that the Lebanese government should be held responsible for yesterday's events." Olmert declared: "This morning's events are not a terror attack, but the act of a sovereign state that attacked Israel for no reason and without provocation." He added that "the Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is a part, is trying to undermine regional stability. Lebanon is responsible, and Lebanon will bear the consequences of its actions." [2]

    At the cabinet meeting, "the IDF recommended various operations aimed at the Lebanese government and strategic targets in Lebanon", as well as a comprehensive attack on southern Lebanon (where Hezbollah's batteries of rockets are concentrated). The government immediately approved both recommendatons. The spirit of the cabinet's decision was succinctly summarized by Defense Minister Amir Perertz who said: "We're skipping the stage of threats and going straight to action."[3]

    At 21.50 that same day, Ha'aretz internet edition reported that by that time Israel had already bombarded bridges in central Lebanon and attacked "Hezbollah's posts" in southern Lebanon. [4] Amnesty International's press release of the next day (13 July 2006) stated that in these attacks "some 40 Lebanese civilians have reportedly been killed... Among the Lebanese victims were a family of ten, including eight children, who were killed in Dweir village, near Nabatiyeh, and a family of seven, including a seven-month-old baby, who were killed in Baflay village near Tyre. More than 60 other civilians were injured in these or other attacks."

    It was at that point, early on Wednesday night, following the first Israeli attack, that Hezbollah started its rocket attack on the north of Israel. Later the same night (before the dawn of Thursday), Israel launched its first attack on Beirut, when Israeli warplanes bombed Beirut's international airport and killed at least 27 Lebanese civilians in a series of rai! ds. In response, Hezbollah's rocket attacks intensified on Thursday, w hen "more than 100 Katyusha rockets were fired into Israel from Lebanon in the largest attack of its sort since the start of the Lebanon War in 1982". Two Israeli civilians were killed in this attack, and 132 were taken to the hospital [5]. When Israel started destroying the Shiite quarters of Beirut the following day, including a failed attempt on Nasrallah's life, Hezbollah extended its rockets attacks to Haifa.

    The way it started, there was nothing in Hezbollah's military act, whatever one may think of it, to justify Israel's massive disproportionate response. Lebanon has had a long-standing border dispute with Israel: In 2000, when Israel, under Prime Minister Ehud Barak, withdrew from Southern Lebanon, Israel kept a small piece of land known as the Shaba farms (near Mount Dov), which it claims belonged historically to Syria and not to Lebanon, though both Syria and Lebanon deny that. The Lebanese government has frequently appealed to the U.S. and others fo! r IsraelĂ^s withdrawal also from this land, which has remained the center of friction in Southern Lebanon, in order to ease the tension in the area and to help the Lebanese internal negotiations over implementing UN resolutions. The most recent such appeal was in mid-April 2006, in a Washington meeting between Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and George Bush.[6] In the six years since Israel withdrew, there have been frequent border incidents between Hezbollah and the Israeli army, and cease-fire violations of the type committed now by Hezbollah, have occurred before, initiated by either side, and more frequently by Israel. None of the previous incidents resulted in Katyusha shelling of the north of Israel, which has enjoyed full calm since Israel's withdrawal. It was possible for Israel to handle this incident as all its predecessors, with at most a local retaliation, or a prisoner exchange, or even better, with an attempt to solve this border dispute once! and for all. Instead, Israel opted for a global war. As Peretz put it : "The goal is for this incident to end with Hezbollah so badly beaten that not a man in it does not regret having launched this incident [sic]."[7]

    The Israeli government knew right from the start that launching its offensive would expose the north of Israel to heavy Katyusha rockets attacks. This was openly discussed at this first government's meeting on Wednesday: "Hezbollah is likely to respond to the Israeli attacks with massive rocket launches at Israel, and in that case, the IDF might move ground forces into Lebanon".[8] One cannot avoid the conclusion that for the Israeli army and government, endangering the lives of residents of northern Israel was a price worth paying in order to justify the planned ground offensive. They started preparing Israelis on that same Wednesday for what may be ahead: "'We may be facing a completely different reality, in which hundreds of thousands of Israelis will, for a short time, find themselves in danger from Hezbollah's! rockets', said a senior defense official. 'These include residents of the center of the country.'" [9] For the Israeli military leadership, not only the Lebanese and the Palestinians, but also the Israelis are just pawns in some big military vision.

    The speed at which everything happened (along with many other pieces of information) indicates that Israel has been waiting for a long time for 'the international conditions to ripen' for the massive war on Lebanon it has been planning. In fact, one does not need to speculate on this, since right from the start, Israeli and U.S. official sources have been pretty open in this regard. As a Senior Israeli official explained to the Washington Post on July 16, "Hezbollah's cross-border raid has provided a 'unique moment' with a 'convergence of interests'."[10] The paper goes on to explain what this convergence of interests is:

    For the United States, the broader goal is to strangle the axis of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran, which the Bush administration believes is pooling resources to change the strategic playing field in the Middle East, U.S. officials say.[11]

    For the U.S., the Middle East is a "strategic playing field", where the game is establishing full U.S. domination. The U.S. already controls Iraq and Afghanistan, and considers Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and a few other states as friendly cooperating regimes. But even with this massive foothold, full U.S. domination is still far from established. Iran has only been strengthened by the Iraq war and refuses to accept the decrees of the master. Throughout the Arab world, including in the "friendly regimes", there is boiling anger at the U.S., at the heart of which is not only the occupation of Iraq, but the brutal oppression of the Palestinians, and the U.S. backing of Israel's policies. The new axis of the four enemie! s of the Bush administration (Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran) are bodies viewed by the Arab world as resisting U.S. or Israel's rule, and standing for Arab liberation. From Bush's perspective, he only has two years to consolidate his vision of complete U.S. control of the Middle East, and to do that, all seeds of resistance should be crushed in a devastating blow that will make it clear to every single Arab that obeying the master is the only way to stay alive. If Israel is willing to do the job, and crush not only the Palestinians, but also Lebanon and Hezbollah, then the U.S., torn from the inside by growing resentment over Bush's wars, and perhaps unable to send new soldiers to be killed for this cause right now, will give Israel all the backing it can. As Rice announced in her visit in Jerusalem on July 25, what is at stakes is "a new Middle East". "We will prevail" - she promised Olmert.

    But Israel is not sacrificing its soldiers and citizens only to please the Bush administration. The "new Middle East" has been a dream of the Israeli ruling military circles since at least 1982, when Sharon led the country to the first Lebanon war with precisely this declared goal. Hezbollah's leaders have argued for years that its real long-term role is to protect Lebanon, whose army is too weak to do this. They have said that Israel has never given up its aspirations for Lebanon and that the only reason it pulled out of Southern Lebanon in 2000 is because Hezbollah's resistance has made maintaining the occupation too costly. Lebanon's people know what every Israeli old enough to remember knows - that in the vision of Ben Gurion, Israel's founding leader, Israel's border should be "natural", that is - the Jordan river in the East, and the Litani river of Lebanon in the north. In 1967, Israel gained control over the Jordan river, in the occupied Palestinian land, but all its attempts to establish the Litani border have failed so far.

    As I argued in Israel/Palestine, already when the Isra! eli army left Southern Lebanon in 2000, the plans to return were ready.[12] But in Israel's military vision, in the next round, the land should be first "cleaned" of its residents, as Israel did when it occupied the Syrian Golan Heights in 1967, and as it is doing now in southern Lebanon. To enable Israel's eventual realization of Ben Gurion's vision, it is necessary to establish a "friendly regime" in Lebanon, one that will collaborate in crushing any resistance. To do this, it is necessary first to destroy the country, as in the U.S. model of Iraq. These were precisely Sharon's declared aims in the first Lebanon war. Israel and the U.S. believe that now conditions have ripened enough that these aims can finally be realized.

    Tanya Reinhart is a Professor of Linguistics at Tel Aviv University and the author of Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948 and The Roadmap to Nowhere. She can be reached through her website:

  5. #5
    Partridge Guest

    [1] Yoav Stern, 'Nasrallah: Only deal will free kidnapped soliders,' Ha'aretz July 13, 2006.

    [2] Amos Harel, Aluf Benn and Gideon Alon, 'Gov't okays massive strikes on Lebanon,' Ha'aretz, July 13, 2006.

    [3] Ibid.

    [4] Amos Har'el, 'Israel prepares for widespread military escalation', Ha'aretz internet edition, Last update - 21:50 12/07/2006.

    [5] Amos Harel, Jack Khoury and Nir Hasson, Over 100 Katyushas hit north, Ha'aretz July 14, 2006.

    [6]'Lebanese PM to lobby Pres. Bush on Israeli withdrawal from Shaba', by Reuters, Ha'aretz, April 16, 2006 :
    "Lebanon's prime minister [is] asking U.S. President George Bush to put pressure on Israel to pull out of a border strip and thus enable his government to extend its authority over all Lebanese land... 'Israel has to withdraw from the Shaba Farms and has to stop violating our airspace and water,' Siniora said. This was essential if the Lebanese government was 'to become the sole monopoly of holding weapons in the country'.., he added. 'Very important as well is to seek the support of President Bush so that Lebanon will not become in any way a ball in the courtyard of others or... a courtyard for the confrontations of others in the region,' Siniora said. Lebanon's rival leaders are engaged in a 'national dialogue' aimed at resolving the country's political crisis, the worst since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. One key issue is the disarming of Hezbollah... The Shi'ite Muslim group says its weapons are still required to liberate Shaba Farms and to defend Lebanon again! st any Israeli threats."
    [7] Amos Harel, Aluf Benn and Gideon Alon, 'Gov't okays massive strikes on Lebanon', Ha'aretz, July 13, 2006.

    [8] Ibid.

    [9] Ibid.

    [10] Robin Wright, 'Strikes Are Called Part of Broad Strategy', Washington Post, Sunday, July 16, 2006; A15.

    [11] Ibid.

    [12] Tanya Reinhart Israel-Palestine - how to end the war of 1948, Seven Stories press 2002, 2005, p. 83-87. See 'How Israel left Lebanon' (Media articles section, as of Thursday).

  6. #6
    Partridge Guest
    Leaflet (translated from Hebrew) against the Olmert government's war plans, issued by the Ma'avak Sozialisti (Socialist Struggle) organisation in Israel.

    Stop the second Lebanon war!

    'The politicians and generals are dragging us into the quagmire'

    The current war is not intended to secure the release of the captured soldiers or to bring security to the northern settlements. The generals and politicians cannot endure the damage done to their prestige in the attacks where soldiers were killed and captured in Keren Shalom and in the northern border, and for this reason they are sending ordinary soldiers to fight and telling over a million workers and their families to "absorb the blows quietly".

    The brave politicians and generals are prepared to fight till the last drop of blood - not their own blood but the blood of thousands of ordinary people, both Israeli and Lebanese...

    The politicians told us that that aerial bombardment would "crush Hezbollah", and that turning hundreds of thousands of Lebanese into refugees will put pressure on the Lebanese government who will force Hezbollah to surrender.

    None of these things has happened. The massive bombardment has harmed workers more than it has harmed Hezbollah - which is dragging the [Israeli] army into the trap it has prepared in South Lebanon.

    And now, after having promised us that there will be no need for a land invasion and a re-occupation of South Lebanon, the politicians and generals are sending the ordinary soldiers to do exactly these things.

    In the meantime, in the North, street cleaners in Nahareeya are being forced to continue working cleaning the empty streets - otherwise they will be sacked and will lose their derisory salary.

    The fires which are caused by missile strikes are extinguished by firemen who have not received their wages for two months. Hundreds of thousands of residents of the North understood that the government was incapable of defending them and moved southwards - and the people left behind are those who have no relatives who can put them up in the centre of the country and who have no money for hotel bills, in other words poor workers.

    The government does not care about the residents of the north, neither those who left nor those who remained.

    The capitalist system which in normal times is incapable of providing us with a decent living, health, decent education and affordable housing, is also incapable of providing security and is leading us into a new quagmire in Gaza, the West Bank and in Lebanon.

    The capitalists who profited from the privatisations and the [previous economic] boom, will also be compensated for their war losses, and we will be forced to pay the price, in blood and poverty.

    Only we, millions of workers and youth, can put a stop to this - in a mass campaign of demonstrations and strikes.

    • A mass struggle of Israeli workers and Youth to stop the bombing of Lebanon and to withdraw the Army from Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.
    • Temporary state funded housing for workers who have been forced to leave their homes
    • Immediate payment of all salaries which have been withheld. Payment of Salaries to workers in Haifa and the North without their having to risk their lives to get to work. Forbid the sacking of workers
    • No to putting the price of the war on the backs of the working class. No cuts in social spending
    • For the building of a a mass workers party armed with a socialist programme, the only alternative to the Capitalist system which creates wars and poverty

  7. #7
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    Five Myths That Sanction Israel's War Crimes: Primetime Lies from the American Media
    By Jonathon Cook in Nazareth

    This week I had the pleasure to appear on American radio, on the Laura Ingraham show, pitted against David Horowitz, a "Semite supremacist" who most recently made his name under the banner of Campus Watch, leading McCarthyite witch-hunts against American professors who have the impertinence to suggest that maybe, just maybe, Arabs have minds and feelings like the rest of us.

    It was a revealing experience, at least for a British journalist rarely exposed to the depths of ignorance and prejudice in the United States on Middle East matters -- well, apart from the regular whackos who fill my email in-tray. But five minutes of listening to Horowitz speak, and the sympathy with which his arguments were greeted by Laura ("The Professors -- your book's a great read, David"), left me a lot more frightened about the world's future.

    Horowitz's response to every question, every development in the Middle East, whether it concerns Lebanon, the Palestinians, Syria or Iran, is the same: "They want to drive the Jews into the sea". It's as simple as that. Not even a superficial attempt at analysis; just the message that the Arab world is trying to finish off the genocide started by Europe. And if Laura is any yardstick, a lot of Americans buy that stuff.

    Horowitz is keen to bang the square peg of the Lebanon story into the round hole of his claims that the "Jews" are facing an imminent genocide in the Middle East. And to help him, he and the massed ranks of US apologists for Israel -- regulars, I suspect, of shows like Laura's -- are promoting at least four myths regarding Hizbullah's current rockets strikes on Israel. Unless they are challenged at every turn, the danger is that they will win the ground war against common sense in the USThe first myth is that Israel was forced to pound Lebanon with its military hardware because Hizbullah began "raining down" rockets on the Galilee. Anyone with a short memory can probably recall that was not the first justification we were offered: that had to do with the two soldiers captured by Hizbullah on a border post on July 12.

    But presumably Horowitz and his friends realized that 400 Lebanese dead and counting in little more than a week was hard to sell as a "proportionate" response. In any case Hizbullah kept telling the world how keen it was to return the soldiers in a prisoner swap.Hundreds of dead in Lebanon, at least 1,000 severely injured and more than half a million refugees -- all because Israel is not ready to sit down at the negotiating table. Even Horowitz could not "advocate for Israel" on that one.

    So the chronology of war has been reorganized: now we are being told that Israel was forced to attack Lebanon to defend itself from the barrage of Hizbullah rockets falling on Israeli civilians. The international community is buying the argument hook, line and sinker. "Israel has the right to defend itself", says every politician who can find a microphone to talk into.But, if we cast our minds back, that is not how the "Middle East crisis", as TV channels now describe it, started. It is worth recapping on those early events (and I won't document the long history of Lebanese suffering at Israel's hands that preceded it) before they become entirely shrouded in the mythology being peddled by Horowitz and others.

    Early on July 12 Hizbullah launched a raid against an army border post, in what was in the best interpretation a foolhardy violation of Israeli sovereignty. In the fighting the Shiite militia killed three soldiers and captured two others, while Hizbullah fired a few mortars at border areas in what the Israeli army described at the time as "diversionary tactics". As a result of the shelling, five Israelis were "lightly injured", with most needing treatment for shock, according to the Haaretz newspaper.

    Israel's immediate response was to send a tank into Lebanon in pursuit of the Hizbullah fighters (its own foolhardy violation of Lebanese sovereignty). The tank ran over a landmine, which exploded killing four soldiers inside. Another soldier died in further clashes inside Lebanon as his unit tried to retrieve the bodies.Rather than open diplomatic channels to calm the violence down and start the process of getting its soldiers back, Israel launched bombing raids deep into Lebanese territory the same day. Given Israel's world view that it alone has a right to project power and fear, that might have been expected.

    But the next day Israel continued its rampage across the south and into Beirut, where the airport, roads, bridges, and power stations were pummelled. We now know from reports in the US media that the Israeli army had been planning such a strike against Lebanon for at least a year.

    In contrast to the image of Hizbullah frothing at the mouth to destroy Israel, its leader Hassan Nasrallah held off from serious retaliation. For the first day and a half, he limited his strikes to the northern borders areas, which have faced Hizbullah attacks in the past and are well protected.

    He waited till late on June 13 before turning his guns on Haifa, even though we now know he could have targeted Israel's third largest city from the outset. A small volley of rockets directed at Haifa caused no injuries and looked more like a warning than an escalation.

    It was another three days -- days of constant Israeli bombardmeent of Lebanon, destroying the country and injuring countless civilians -- before Nasrallah hit Haifa again, including a shell that killed eight workers in a railway depot.

    No one should have been surprised. Nasrallah was doing exactly what he had threatened to do if Israel refused to negotiate and chose the path of war instead. Although the international media quoted his ominous televised message that "Haifa is just the beginning", Nasrallah in fact made his threat conditional on Israel's continuing strikes against Lebanon. In the same speech he warned: "As long as the enemy pursues its aggression without limits and red lines, we will pursue the confrontation without limits and red lines." Well, Israel did, and so now has Nasrallah.The second myth is that Hizbullah's stockpile of 12,000 rockets -- the Israeli army's estimate -- poses an existential threat to Israel. According to Horowitz and others, Hizbullah collected its armoury with the sole intent of destroying the Jewish state.

    If this really was Hizbullah's intention in amassing the weapons, it has a very deluded view of what is required to wipe Israel off the map. More likely, it collected the armory in the hope that it might prove a deterrence -- even if a very inadequate one, as Lebanon is now discovering -- against a repeat of Israel's invasions of 1978 and 1982, and the occupation that lasted nearly two decades afterwards.

    In fact, according to other figures supplied by the Israeli army, at least 2,000 Hizbullah rockets have already been fired into Israel while the army's bombardments have so far destroyed a further 2,000 rockets. In other words, northern Israel has already received a fifth of Hizbullah's arsenal. As someone living in the north, and within range of the rockets, I have to say Israel does not look close to being expunged. The Galilee may be emptier, as up to third of Israeli Jews seek temporary refuge in the south, but Israel's existence is in no doubt at all.

    The third myth is that, while Israel is trying to fight a clean war by targeting only terrorists, Hizbullah prefers to bring death and destruction on innocents by firing rockets at Israeli civilians.

    It is amazing that this myth even needs exploding, but after the efforts of Horowitz and co it most certainly does. As the civilian death toll in Lebanon has rocketed, international criticism of Israel has remained at the mealy-mouthed level of diplomatic requests for "restraint" and "proportionate responses".One need only cast a quick eye over the casualty figures from this conflict to see that if Israel is targeting only Hizbullah fighters it has been making disastrous miscalculations. So far some 400 Lebanese civilians are reported dead -- unfortunately for Horowitz's story at least a third of them children. From the images coming out of Lebanon's hospitals, many more children have survived but with terrible burns or disabling injuries.

    The best estimates, though no one knows for sure, are that Hizbullah deaths are not yet close to the three-figures range.

    In the latest emerging news from Lebanon, human rights groups are accusing Israel of violating international law and using cluster grenades, which kill indiscriminately. There are reports too, so far unconfirmed, that Israel has been firing illegal phosphorus incendiary bombs.

    Conversely, the breakdown of the smaller number of deaths of Israelis at the hands of Hizbullah -- 42 at the time of writing -- show that more soldiers have been killed than civilians.

    In fact, although no one is making the point, Hizbullah's rockets have been targeted overwhelming at strategic locations: the northern economic hub of Haifa, its satellite towns and the array of military sites across the Galilee.

    Nasrallah seems fully aware that Israel has an impressive civil defense program of shelters that keep most civilians out of harm's way. Unlike Horowitz I won't presume to read Nasrallah's mind: whether he wants to kill large numbers of Israeli civilians or not cannot be known, given his inability to do so.

    But we can see from the choice of the sites he is striking that his primary goal is to give Israelis a small taste of the disruption of normal life that is being endured by the Lebanese. He has effectively closed Haifa for more than a week, shutting its port and financial centres. Israeli TV is speaking increasingly of the damage being inflicted on the country's economy.Because of Israel's press censorship laws, it is impossible to discuss the locations of Israel's military installations. But Hizbullah's rockets are accurate enough to show that many are intended for the army's sites in the Galilee, even if they are rarely precise enough to hit them.

    It is obvious to everyone in Nazareth, for example, that the rockets landing close by, and once on, the city over the past week are searching out, and some have fallen extremely close to, the weapons factory sited near us.

    Hizbullah seems to have as little concern for the collateral damage of civilian deaths as Israel -- each wants the balance of terror in its favour -- but it is nonsense to suggest that Hizbullah's goals are any more ignoble than Israel's. It is trying to dent the economy of northern Israel in retaliation for Israel's total destruction of the Lebanese economy. Equally, it is trying to show Israel that it knows where its military installations are to be found. Both strategies appear to be having an impact, even if a minor one, on weakening Israeli resolve.

    The fourth myth is a continuation of the third: Hizbullah has been endangering the lives of ordinary Lebanese by hiding among non-combatants.

    We have seen this kind of dissembling by Israel and Horowitz before, though not repeated so enthusiastically by Western officials. The UN head of humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, who is in the region, accused Hizbullah of "cowardly blending" among the civilian population, and a similar accusation was leveled by the British foreign minister Kim Howells when he arrived in Israel.

    In 2002 Israel made the same charge: that Palestinians resisting its army's rampage through the refugee camps of the West Bank were hiding among civilians. The claim grew louder as more Palestinian civilians showed the irritating habit of getting in the way of Israeli strikes against population centres. The complaints reached a crescendo when at least two dozen civilians were killed in Jenin as Israel razed the camp with Apache helicopters and Caterpillar bulldozers.

    The implication of Egeland's cowardly statement seems to be that any Lebanese fighter, or Palestinian one, resisting Israel and its powerful military should stand in an open field, his rifle raised to the sky, waiting to see who fares worse in a shoot-out with an Apache helicopter or F-16 fighter jet. Hizbullah's reluctance to conduct the war in this manner, we are supposed to infer, is proof that they are terrorists.

    Egeland and Howells need reminding that Hizbullah's fighters are not aliens recently arrived from training camps in Iran, whatever Horowitz claims. They belong to and are strongly supported by the Shiite community, nearly half the country's population, and many other Lebanese. They have families, friends and neighbors living alongside them in the country's south and the neighbourhoods of Beirut who believe Hizbullah is the best hope of defending their country from Israel's regular onslaughts.

    Given the indigenous nature of Hizbullah's resistance, we should not be surprised at the lengths the Shiite militia is going to ensure their loved ones, and the Lebanese people more generally, are not put directly in danger by their combat.

    If only the same could be said of the Israeli army and airforce. One need only look at the images of the victims of its strikes against residential neighborhoods, car, ambulances and factories to see why most of the dead being extracted from the rubble are civilians.And finally, there is a fifth myth I almost forgot to mention. That people like David Horowitz only want to tell us the truth.

    Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His book "Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democatic State" is published by Pluto Press.

  8. #8
    Partridge Guest
    Some 1,500 participants in 'Women Against the War' march carry signs
    inscribed with slogans such as: 'Prisoner swap better than body bags'
    and 'Stop killing, start talking'; spokeswoman of the Coalition of
    Women for Peace: Every general or colonel in reserve duty sets the
    policy, and we, as women, only lose. [Partridge: Needless to say, Condi Rice didn't take part!]
    Moran Rada,7...283241,00.html

    Former Member of Knesset Tamar Gozansky, who participated in the
    left-wing demonstration against the war in Lebanon on Saturday, said
    "War has been and will remain a man's issue. We denounce the
    conception that everything must be solved through force."

    Some 1,500 demonstrators marched from Rabin Square to King George
    Street in Tel Aviv carrying signs inscribed with slogans such as:
    "Prisoner swap better than body bags" and "Stop killing, start
    talking NOW" and "If we want, there is someone to talk to."

    Ten women's organizations were behind the organization, under the
    banner "Women Against the War," espousing the outlook that "women
    don't gain from war, but men do. Every general or colonel in reserve
    duty sets the policy, and we, as women, only lose." Adi Dagan,
    spokeswoman of the Coalition of Women for Peace, said "We as women
    have more motivation for the war to end."

    Gozanksy explained, "If you check thoroughly you will see that among
    the powerless victims there are a lot of women and children. Women
    are an exploited, degraded, and oppressed population that pays the
    price of her weakness even after the war. I'm sure that after this
    war we will hear of many women who were fired and whose rights were
    not upheld because they couldn't get to work. The public did not vote
    for the parties so that they would support war."

    Not just for women

    At the demonstration, not a small number of men were present. Dan
    Yahav explained, "I think that this is one of the stupidest wars
    ever. The captive soldiers were not the trigger for the war. One must
    coldly think what the real reasons that caused the government to go
    to war."

    He believes some potential reasons could be "the arrogance and the
    lack of preparedness to compromise, especially on territory. This is
    also the main reason for the lack of peace with Syria. Similar to the
    first Lebanon War, the goal is to rearrange Lebanon, to change the
    ethnic balance in Lebanon according to the vision of the West - that
    is the US. The leaders want to prove themselves."

    Matti Shmuelaf, a poet and editor, joined the protestors claiming, "I
    came to demonstrate because I think a fateful mistake has been made
    that is exacting an enormous price on the periphery, on the soldiers,
    and on Lebanon and Gaza. Hundreds of people are dying. I think we are
    a pioneering army in the true camp of peace."

    Economic security beyond borders

    Yaheli Hashash of Haifa, a member of the Ahoti (My Sister) movement
    said that she came to the demonstration "because our security in
    Israel is first and foremost economic security. The economic security
    of women has deteriorated in the last 15 years. The achievements of
    the social welfare movements in the last elections have been thrown
    out the window with the grinding down of entire populations in the
    north. Who will compensate women in the north who receive hourly or
    daily wages? The money that is invested now in supposedly saving us
    from Katyushas was supposed to save us from unemployment and a lack
    of economic security. Beyond the border there also needs to be
    economic security, because that is our security also."

    Neta Rotem of Jerusalem, a member in the Anarchist Group, said that
    in her opinion the war must stop immediately. "Our voice calls out to
    stop thinking that to every problem there is a violent solution, a
    competitive solution, a solution in which one side has to lose and
    the other side has to win. The aggression of Israel and the Hizbullah
    cannot bring about a decisive victory to one side, or a decisive loss
    to the other side. The solution must be an agreement between the two
    sides from which everyone will benefit, and won't die from."

    Dagan called the Government of Israel to respond to offers of an
    immediate ceasefire, to prisoner exchange, and to diplomatic

    "We believe that this war will not achieve security for the residents
    of Israel, only negotiations and peace agreements with Lebanon,
    Syria, and the Palestinian Authority will. We women are always
    politically active for the end of the occupation, and equality for
    women and minorities, and therefore we were the first to organize
    against the war."

  9. #9
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    The lady in the brown tank top looks really hot. Nice hips too.

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