[News] Debunking Israeli myths about its war on Lebanon

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jul 26 12:38:08 EDT 2006


Debunking Israeli myths about its war on Lebanon

By Daoud Kuttab

PNN, Wednesday, 26 July 2006

It is an accepted theory that truth is the first casualty of war. In 
the present Israeli war on Lebanon spin is certainly the first 
victor. The misinformation and the disinformation put out by the 
Israelis and often picked up by the western media have become to 
accepted realities.

One of the most extreme myths put out by Israelis is that the war 
Israel is now involved in is an existential defensive war. This has 
been stated by non other than Israeli noble peace winner and deputy 
Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

It is not clear what is the best way to debunk this myth. On the one 
hand Israelis consider every war, an existential one, but if they 
think that this particular encounter is more existential than 
Israel's war of independence, or the 1967 June war or the 1973 War, 
then the answer is clearly negative. The Israelis are destroying an 
entire country and are on the receiving end of low quality, difficult 
to direct katysha rockets which all Israelis can avoid simply by 
going into their shelters. There is no five Arab armies as in 1948, 
or Abdel Naser's Egypt in 1967 or the Soviet Sam missiles in 1973. To 
call this an existential war is nothing more than a cheap media tactic.

Israel is reportedly united in this particular war (they are usually 
united in their wars) because this time, sovereign Israeli 
territories were breached and therefore as President Bush has 
proclaimed, they have the right to defend themselves.

It is true that after 22 years of Israel occupying Lebanon and 
defiance of UN Security Council resolution 425 the Israelis withdrew 
to the blue line without releasing Lebanese prisoners including a 
number of Hizbullah leaders literally kidnapped from Lebanon. Israel 
also has and continues to refuse to hand to the Lebanese government 
the map of land mines planted in south Lebanon.

Furthermore Israeli has continued after its withdrawal to violate the 
air, water as well as (at times) the land sovereignty of Lebanon. The 
Israeli withdrawal was also questionable regarding the Sheba Farms, 
which the Lebanese and Syrians say is Lebanese territory. If Israel's 
sovereignty was infringed with this cross border attack, what can be 
said now of the Lebanese sovereignty and that of Gaza and Syria, not 
to mention the 39 violation of the sovereignty of the Palestinians of 
the West Bank.

The Israelis insist that what they consider an unprovoked attack on 
their sovereignty has dragged them to a war that they don't want. It 
is strange because Hizbullah also declares that they were dragged 
into this war. Let us look at the facts. Ever since the post Harrii 
elections, the new Lebanese government (which Hizbullah has two 
ministers) has stated within its publicly declared government 
guidelines that they will commit to work on liberating the Sheba 
Farms and releasing the 300 remaining Lebanese prisoners. While the 
government did not specify how it will do so, it didn't rule out 
force. Prime Minister

Foad Siniora did forcefully raise these issues during his White House 
visit but to no avail. Nasrallah seeing that diplomacy was not 
producing results made a promise last April to the family of Samir 
Qintar that their son would be released this year. He has publicly 
said on numerous occasions that if the Israelis don't agree to 
release the Lebanese prisoners, Hizbullah would be forced to do so by 
capturing Israeli soldiers. For years this has been the only 
effective way to have prisoners released. Jordan a US ally and only 
one of two Arab countries who have a peace agreement with Israel has 
not been able to diplomatically have their 30 prisoners, some held 
since before the Jordan-Israel Agreement, released.

Within 24 hours of capturing the two Israeli soldiers the Hizbullah 
leader publicly stated that they are ready and willing to begin 
negotiations to have them released as part of a prisoner swap. In 
fact, as Nasrallah said later in the first interview with Al Jazzera, 
Hizbullah understood that the Israeli army's pride might be hurt and 
therefore they held their fire when the Israelis made their initial 
revenge attack. But when it became clear that the Israelis were 
carrying a scorched earth policy, Hizbullah began responding. And 
even then, Hizbullah threatened the Israelis that if you attack 
Beirut we will attack Haifa, the Israelis ignored the threat and 
Hizbullah retaliated.

Not only has Israel widened the scope of military activities 
following the capture of their soldiers but the continued Israeli 
refusal to cease fire, as Hizbullah has said it is willing to do, 
shows that the Israelis were not dragged to war but have been waiting 
for a chance to do what they have been doing in Lebanon.

What the Israelis have been doing in Lebanon is certainly and clearly 
disproportionate. Not only are the numbers of deaths and injuries so 
disproportionate but the amount of destruction of Lebanese 
infrastructure certainly has no justification. Targeting bridges, 
ports, airports, electric stations, TV stations, cell phone antennas, 
civilian convoys, a mosque and a residential area, can't be justified 
as measured. The number of independent and credible organizations, 
governments and individuals insisting on the disproportionality makes 
Israeli attempts to deny it or justify it, meaningless.

Perhaps the biggest myth of all has been the claim that Hizbullah is 
nothing but a puppet in the hands of Iran. To prove this myth, 
Israelis note the visit two days earlier of the chief Iranian 
negotiator to Damascus, the fact that the G8 summit (to be held a few 
days after the capture) was supposed to deal with Iran's nuclear 
aspirations. Other than this time-related circumstantial evidence 
this myth has not been supported by any concrete proof.

The fact is that Hizbullah has been threatening to capture Israelis 
for some time now. At least two attempts were recorded this year. 
This myth also denigrates Nasrallah's Lebanese allegiance and puts 
the allegiance to a non Arab country ahead of that of his own 
country. Nasrallah, whose rise to popularity in recent years has been 
due in part to his honesty answered this question directly in his on 
camera interview following the beginning of the war. This claim is 
not only untrue, he said but a humiliation to us and our allegiance, 
he said. Nasrallah who Israelis say they trust more than their own 
leaders gave the following explanation. We in the leadership of 
Hizbullah have become homeless, our lives and those of our loved one 
are in jeopardy, would we do all that to please a foreign country.

Nasrallah scoffed at the connections with the nuclear issue. Do you 
think that the world will simply forget about it once war starts. 
This war will soon be over, they will go back to Iran and deal with 
it, he said.

Israel and its western allies have used various ways to justify this 
unjust war against a country and a population. The real aim of the 
Israeli response goes way beyond retaliation or attempting to avenge 
the attack on their tanks and the killing and capture of its 
soldiers. The long term aims of Israel and its strong US ally have 
become clear now in regards to the region are becoming clear. Spin 
like lies are short lived. Sooner or later the real intentions become 
clear and the myths discredited. Until such time that these myths are 
debunked yet more and more innocent people will have to die.

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and the director of the 
Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Ramallah. He is 
also the founder of the Arab world's first internet radio AmmanNet. 
He can be reached at www.daoudkuttab.com

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