Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Key Distinctions Between Israel's Action in Lebanon and the Busheviks' Support of it

There is a distinction between Israel's aggressive response to Hezbollah's July attack and the subsequent, unequivocal support it's received from the United States. It's also important to understand how the crisis in the Middle East has put American partisan politics under a microscope, not just pitting Democrat against Republican, but Republican against Republican and Democrat against Democrat.

To begin with, we must separate the policies and goals of the war-mongering Bush administration from any intelligent, objective discussion about Israel's right to defend herself, and how far she could or should go in this defense. The two are mutually exclusive, yet the issue has been clouded by many who see the two as one and the same. We've seen how the Busheviks, who after 9/11 marched into Afghanistan to weed out al Qaeda and the Taliban, could be just in their military actions. Yet we've also seen how the Busheviks, with blind, reckless ambition and supreme arrogance, could unjustly thrust the U.S. into Iraq, resulting in the worst military debacle in our nation's history. And then lie, cover-up and commit criminal acts to protect their self-interests. In short, there's no rhyme or reason to how Bush engages our military, or whether or not these actions are justified on the basis of national security. But let's not let this irresponsible, reckless foreign policy wield undue influence over how we view the situation with Israel, or with each other.

Yes, as an American, it is possible to support Israel's actions without being a Republican, a conservative, a neo-con and/or a hypocrite. The fact is, Israel was attacked in July by both Hezbollah and Hamas in an unprovoked act of war, killing and kidnapping its soldiers in what is likely a mission planned, supported and funded by Iran. We won't further the debate here on what is or should be Israel's "proper/appropriate" response to this aggression. That's for Israel to decide. When and if the U.S. is attacked again, then we here can choose the "proper" response. (As an historical aside, Americans on both sides of the aisle were solidly behind Bush's retaliatory invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. Remember how every car was adorned with an American flag? Remember the chants of "USA, USA, USA" at every sports event? Let us not forget how quickly and fiercely we wanted revenge against those who attacked us).

There are many who think the Busheviks are nothing but war-mongering ideologues hellbent on world domination who'd throw their full support to any nation engaged in a bloody "good vs. evil" battle. That the U.S. is strongly supporting Israel does not mean the U.S. is right, even if we believe Israel is. That the U.S. strongly supports Israel does not mean that those of us who also support Israel must therefore be closeted Bushevik neo-cons. Whether you agree with Israel or not, there's no denying its actions are rooted in its national defense. That the U.S stands on the sidelines shouting "Kill 'em, kill 'em" neither legitimizes Israel's actions or makes Bushevik foreign policy any more just. The real crime here is how the Bushies are co-opting the Israel/Lebanon crisis to further their own insane Middle East vision. On the same issue therefore, Israel can be right while the U.S. is wrong.

Lastly, there's an amazing political divide in this country that's occurred over the Middle East conflict. The Israeli/Hezbollah war has become the dividing line between many Democrats and progressives, as well as between hard-line and moderate Republicans. On the Democratic side, many are having a hard time accepting a pro-Israel position from a typically liberal Democrat. Sadly, many Democrats have come to expect from each other the very same myopia they vilify Republicans for. What ever happened to taking a stand on the merits of an issue, rather than basing that stand purely on partisan ground? Must we all march in lock-step on every single issue because we're Democrats or Republicans? The U.S. has become so politically divided along party lines that most Americans have put party before country; party before issue. Party before what's right and wrong.


Anonymous said...

If you exclude Republicans, conservatives, and neo-cons, the only people who can buy your twisted arguments are: (i) people directly linked to Israel, (ii) uneducated, ignorant of the history of the Middle East conflict and its root causes, (iii) brainwashed/TV stoned who repeat the mantra like parrots, or (iv) disciplined Democratic party followers too lazy for independent thinking. As for the tale of Israel just responding to umprovoked act of war, read this article published by the Christian Science Monitor, I mean the Christian Science Monitor, not the Iran press.

Anonymous said...

Who are ou trying kid? You are blind! You're absolutely blind to any wrong-doing that Israel can do & they can do whole lot of it, as all objective observers throughout the World, even in Israel itself, can see been wrought against Lebanon. It is clear that the this invasion of Lebanon is not in self-defense, it is the wanton, savage destruction of a burgeoning democracy that the extremist right-wing Likud Israel regime has been planning for some time.

Let's recap: Hezbollah rockets were fired in response to the Israeli invasion, but both the US & Israeli administrations insist on trying to use this as a pretext for this massive bombardment invasion. So really the only valid excuse for the Isreaeli Defense Force initiating their savagery was the kidnapping of their soldiers. The Israel soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah in solidarity with the Hamas kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in the south, which was in response to Israeli bombing a family of Palestinians of on a Gaza beach, which is never, never mentioned. Furthermore cross-border incursions to kidnap opposing soldiers is a common strategy employed by both sides along Israeli's disputed borders. Besides how will the systematic destruction of a country & Hezbollah sites, where the very soldiers that they are professing to free, help to secure their release? Clearly the recovery of their soldiers is a ruse.

But what is it a ruse for? Don't forget that Bush was much inspired by ex-Likud leader Sharon & his way of thinking on his visits to Israel. Clearly they both see might as right. Clearly both the Bush & Likud Regime believe in consoring & manipulating the media so that their public is unaware of the murderous implications of their nefarious policies. And if you do object to Bush policies, it's unAmerican. If you object to Likud policies, you're anti-Semitic or a self-hating Jew. And they both want to get at Iran. They're doing their best to provoke a desperate & furious Arab country so that this offensive can be extended, the hope being that it will eventually lead to an attack on Iran.

These are bleak times we live in. It's distressing enough to see the US on the wrong side of history. More distressing is that Israel appears to be on the same page as them, committing similar acts of outrage & aggression.

It's time you pulled your head out, Andy, your blog postings are becoming increasingly ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Or, you can read this in the Christian Science Monitor

Anonymous said...

> Sadly, many Democrats have come to expect from each other the very same myopia they vilify Republicans for.
> Party before what's right and wrong.
How Ironic! You're looking damn foolish, Ostroy! You're one who's blind to the evil that Israel is perpetrating.

Anonymous said...


Thursday, August 03, 2006

HRW: Israel Guilty of War Crimes

Human Rights Watch, after extensive investigation, has concluded that the Israeli military is guilty of war crimes. HRW says:

Israeli forces have systematically failed to distinguish between combatants and civilians in their military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said in report released today. The pattern of attacks in more than 20 cases investigated by Human Rights Watch researchers in Lebanon indicates that the failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be blamed on wrongful Hezbollah practices. In some cases, these attacks constitute war crimes.

The 50-page report, “Fatal Strikes: Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon,” analyzes almost two dozen cases of Israeli air and artillery attacks on civilian homes and vehicles. Of the 153 dead civilians named in the report, 63 are children. More than 500 people have been killed in Lebanon by Israeli fire since fighting began on July 12, most of them civilians.

“The pattern of attacks shows the Israeli military’s disturbing disregard for the lives of Lebanese civilians,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Our research shows that Israel’s claim that Hezbollah fighters are hiding among civilians does not explain, let alone justify, Israel’s indiscriminate warfare.”

HRW's investigations do not bear out the excuse that the high civilian casualty rate is because of Hizbullah hiding among civilians:

' Human Rights Watch researchers found numerous cases in which the IDF launched artillery and air attacks with limited or dubious military objectives but excessive civilian cost. In many cases, Israeli forces struck an area with no apparent military target. In some instances, Israeli forces appear to have deliberately targeted civilians.

In one case, an Israeli air strike on July 13 destroyed the home of a cleric known to have sympathy for Hezbollah but who was not known to have taken any active part in the hostilities. Even if the IDF considered him a legitimate target (and Human Rights Watch has no evidence that he was), the strike killed him, his wife, their 10 children and the family’s Sri Lankan maid.

On July 16, an Israeli aircraft fired on a civilian home in the village of Aitaroun, killing 11 members of the al-Akhrass family, among them seven Canadian-Lebanese dual nationals who were vacationing in the village when the war began. Human Rights Watch independently interviewed three villagers who vigorously denied that the family had any connection to Hezbollah. Among the victims were children aged one, three, five and seven.

The Israeli government has blamed Hezbollah for the high civilian casualty toll in Lebanon, insisting that Hezbollah fighters have hidden themselves and their weapons among the civilian population. However, in none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in the report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah was operating in or around the area during or prior to the attack. '

Anonymous said...

Exactly! the CSM article you (anonymous 3:14 PM) referred to, was written by Alan Morton Dershowitz, a well known Zionist (I am not using this term disrespectfully, he self-defines as a Zionist) He falls within the category "(i) people directly linked to Israel"

Anonymous said...

Robert Scheer: Israel’s Dependency on the Drug of Militarism

Posted on Aug 1, 2006

By Robert Scheer

Those who mindlessly support Israel, right or wrong, from President Bush on through the cheerleaders in Congress and the media (& Andy Ostroy), betray the security of the Jewish state. They are enablers who have encouraged Israel’s dependency on the drug of militarism as a false escape from the difficult accommodations needed to bring peace to the Middle East.

For too many pundits ( such as Andy Ostroy) and politicians, bombing just seems so much simpler — until, as happened in Qana, Lebanon, on Sunday, those bombs blow up to your nation’s disgrace, slaughtering scores of innocents, whose only crime was to be in the crossfire. The alternative to such excessive violence—an authentic peace process—had been supported by every American president since Harry Truman. Yet it was abruptly abandoned, indeed ridiculed, by the Bush administration, which bizarrely believes it can re-create the Middle East in a more U.S.-friendly form. The president has framed this process with a simplistic good-versus-evil template, which has the Christian West and Jewish Israel on an unnecessary collision course with the Muslim world.

Israel foolishly jumped at the tempting opportunity presented by Bush, who believes all the complex issues dividing the Middle East can be neatly summarized as the choosing of sides in a playground game called “the post-9/11 war on terror.”

Meanwhile, Israel, with U.S. support, has ignored what it had learned through its occupation of Palestinian territories and previous disastrous attempts to subdue Lebanon: Compromise from a position of strength is more effective than seeking a pyrrhic total victory. Not only has each attempt to crush local resistance begat more radical and disciplined enemies, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, but the likelihood of rage-fueled “blowback” is exponentially increased.

It goes on... but the message is clear & I concur, as does the whole WORLD outside of the US & Israel, whose populations are largely misinformed or brain-washed.

Anonymous said...

Check out Yirmiyahu Yovel's piece in Ha'aretz. It is critical of the Israeli response to Hezbollah rockets, while allowing that there was a correct and legitimate military response to the provocation:

It is perfectly reasonable to come out against the way a country or group decides to respond to an attack. Did the killing of the Palestinian family justify the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldiers? Did 9/11 justify the ousting of the Taliban? While the Israeli government can decide to respond to Katyushas however it wants, Democrats and people everywhere can and should consider whether the response was correct, just, proportional and so on. Lieberman is threading the same needle with Iraq, asking that Democrats ignore the man behind the curtain. On Iraq and Israel or any other issue it is perfectly legitimate to take issue with how fellow democrats, americans, and human beings stand. This is a healthy debate.... however, It may hurt the Demo's chances of retaking Congress.

Anonymous said...

Andy, you are correct, Israel should and must decide whether their response is appropriate. However, I would hope that you (and anyone else) will allow me to determine whether Israel has fucked up. I think she has.

Not only do I believe that Israel has made matters much, much worse than they need be, but also it has changed my own perspective of Israel. If the kidnapping of soldiers justifies the killing of children, then fuck Israel. And to compare 9/11 with the kidnapping of soldiers is insulting to my (our) intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Illogical, illegal and ill-fated

By Nasim Zehra

08/02/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- Continuing with her theme on the pangs of birth of a new Middle East the US Secretary of State aboard her plane en route to Asia tried to downplay the expectations of a quick fix in Lebanon or the Middle East. "I am a student of history, so perhaps I have a little bit more patience with the enormous change in the international system and the complete shifting of tectonic plates, and I don't expect it to happen in a few days or even a year," she said. Clearly it's the neo-con mindset that must inspire such grandiose, if dangerously naive, statements. The student of history in Ms Rice should be saying "what we are doing in the Middle East alone out does the natural disasters that have befallen the earth in recent years." So dark is the outcome of US policy. The combined devastation of sheer force, convoluted logic and tormented soul out does powerful earthquakes and the unstoppable tsunamis.

Doesn't the secretary know the world is not clamouring for instantaneous change? Instead it is clamouring against a US policy that is illogical, illegal and ill-fated.

How so? Here is the illogical part. Washington's stated goals are the same as Israel's; to disarm if not destroy the Hizbollah , neutralise Iranian and Syria influence in the region and to strengthen the Lebanese government. Israel's security context has not improved. Instead in perception and in reality the 'threats' are ever-expanding. At the core of these threats is simultaneously Israel's aggressive search for security and the unresolved Palestinian issue. Both facilitate accentuated intra-state rivalries promoting political extremism and spawning off armed militias across South West Asia. Ironically a nuclear-armed Israel called a Middle Eastern 'superpower' still remains insecure.

How is the policy illegal? It works to selectively implement Security Council resolutions. While it awards a carte blanche awarded to Israelis to pursue their security as they consider fit, at a practical level it remains indifferent to the creation of a Palestinian homeland. US policy has enabled the Israeli state to violate legally laid down parameters of state behaviour. It remains a state that refuses to lay down its borders. Israel occupied Lebanese territory for two decades and continues to occupy Syrian territory. Its gross and systematic violation of Palestinian rights and occupation of their homeland continues. It terrorises the Palestinians at will; all in the name of self-defence.

The media tells thousands of stories of the atrocities committed by Israel. In cyberspace there are endless postings of the tormented and tortured Lebanese and Palestinians. Even Israeli citizens, opposed to the state policy are boldly critiquing it. These dispatches from the killing fields of Lebanon and Gaza are being read daily by millions and millions. Endless articles report Israeli violation of the ICRC, preventing water and electricity supplies to Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli state terrorism needs no formal branding of illegality. Read the endless UNSC and UN resolutions that Israel, supported by the US, has violated.

And finally for the future of US policy, it is ill-fated. The time between policy implementation and its abysmal failure is now shrinking. First Iraq and now Lebanon. Bush is following a strategy used by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. This is to line up elite Arab support against all the elements within the Arab world that threaten Israel's security. And the rest will follow.

Kissinger in the seventies opted for the 'salami tactic'. Then US policy went in with its weapons supplies, exploited existing cleavages within the Arab governments and also their growing discomfort with continuous support of the Palestinian cause. The governments concluded there was an internal and external cost for providing genuine political support for the Palestinians. The inter-play between this, the US pro-Israeli policy and the US advocacy of Israel within the Arab world, created a shared objective, that of containing the Palestinian problem but not actually working to resolve it. Alongside this containment the US worked for Israeli security; and the yield of this policy was an insecure and aggressive nuclear state in the heart of the region fighting to kill the spirit of the Palestinians. But the message of the Palestinian struggle is unambiguous: never give up.

On this latest round. Within less than three weeks the White House must be reassessing its policy. The policy was articulated as one that would work for "a sustainable peace." Its primary objective was to ensure Israeli security by destroying the Hizbollah . For long the suffering of the dispossessed people of Palestine has become a secondary objective. Washington's support for Israel's endless destruction of the Palestinian people and of Hamas was viewed by the US as a means for fighting "terrorism" and "Islamic extremism".

The outcome has instead been Hizbollah 's increasing popularity among the Arab public cutting across all religious and sectarian divides, an increase in anti-American sentiment, Arab governments' forced review of their policy on Lebanon and muting of their criticism of Hizbollah , as well as an increase in Lebanese support for Hizbollah , and an increase in Israel's siege mentality.

Now the US is doing the exact reverse of what it did in Bosnia. Then it ended the killings. Now it is facilitating the killings. Then it intervened to uphold principles, now to violate principles of law, humanity and even self-interest.

The Arab hostility towards Israel was inevitable given that its creation was at the cost of the Palestinian homeland. But instead of neutralising the Arab hostility by working for a Palestinian homeland Washington has sought to wean away the Arab regimes from the Palestinian cause. With a festering Palestinian wound, the undying resistance and an aggressive and insecure Israeli state, a stable Middle East will be an illusion.

But will this ever change? The juxtaposition of an illogical, illegal and ill-fated policy and the Washington mindset leaves little hope for imminent change. The Washington mindset is best described in this week's Newsweek. "Bush thinks the new war vindicates his early vision of the region's struggle: of good versus evil, civilisation versus terrorism, freedom versus Islamic fascism. Yet he still trusts his gut to tell him what's right and he still expects others to follow his lead. For Bush diplomacy is not the art of a negotiated compromise. It's a smoother way to get where he wants to go."

Nasim Zehra

Anonymous said...

I can read on this article
"...we, the Jewish community..."
" our friends in Israel..."
"...As supporters of Israel..."
and so on.
Therefore, still category "(i) people directly linked to Israel"

Anonymous said...

US-Israeli war aim is to annihilate Lebanon

5 August 2006

The sharp escalation of the attacks against Lebanon Friday have made it abundantly clear that the objective of this US-Israeli war of aggression is to demolish Lebanon as an independent and sovereign country.

The war is aimed at transforming the country into an occupied territory controlled by the US and Israel, perhaps through the medium of a NATO “peacekeeping” force. The destruction of Lebanon is being carried out quite deliberately, and with very definite designs. For Israel, it is yet again a matter of annexation of more territory. And for Washington, it is the preparation of new and even bloodier wars, directed in the first instance against Syria and Iran.

The pretense that this war is being waged to defend Israel from terrorism or even to destroy the Shiite Hezbollah movement is belied by the Israeli bombing campaign that is now striking targets and claiming victims far from the Shiite centers of south Lebanon and the southern suburbs of Beirut.

In one of the worst atrocities since the war began, an Israeli air strike claimed the lives of over 33 farm workers, blown to pieces as they loaded plums and peaches onto trucks at a farm warehouse in the far north of the Bekaa Valley, near the Syrian border. At least another 20 people were wounded in the attack. Most of the victims were Syrian Kurds. They were taken across the border to Syrian hospitals, because previous bombing raids had demolished roads leading to hospitals in Lebanon itself.

This massacre of farm workers followed airstrikes that systematically demolished bridges on the main coastal highway linking Beirut and the Lebanese south to the northern half of the country. Marking the first major attacks on the predominantly Christian North, these attacks served to cut the country in two and to cut off the sole remaining lifeline for relief supplies from abroad. At least five people were killed in these bombings, which were conducted during the morning rush hour, including motorists who were crushed to death as the bridges were bombed from beneath them.

In the south of Lebanon, near the Israeli border, yet another horror was reported Friday, after Israeli airstrikes demolished two homes where civilians were apparently seeking refuge from the military offensive. According to Lebanese officials some 57 people were trapped beneath the rubble of the buildings, and it was unknown how many were dead and if there were survivors.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes have resumed their bombings of the urban Shiite neighborhoods of southern Beirut, demolishing apartment buildings, roadways and other structures. Planes have dropped leaflets demanding that all residents of the crowded urban districts flee for their lives.

After nearly four weeks of Israeli attacks, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora declared in a speech broadcast to an emergency session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference convened in Malaysia, that 900 civilians have been killed in Lebanon, 3,000 wounded, and more than one million, a quarter of the Lebanese population, have been turned into internal refugees. A third of the dead, he said, were children under the age of 12.

The Israeli campaign to cut Lebanon off from the outside world while severing one part of the country from another is threatening to create a humanitarian catastrophe that could cause even more deaths than the bombs and shells being dropped on the country’s civilian population.

Israel has been enforcing a total air and sea blockade of Lebanon since mid-July. As a result, fuel supplies are running critically low, threatening to plunge the country into darkness. Fuel tankers have been turned away by Israeli warships. The most immediate catastrophic impact is that major hospitals, including ones that remained open during the civil war of the 1970s, are being forced to close because of lack of fuel and medicine, as well as the inability of staff to get to work. Medical personnel have warned that critical patients will likely die as a result of the blockade.

Throughout Beirut and the rest of the country, power outages are becoming commonplace, with some areas getting only two hours of electricity a day. Meanwhile, stores are running out of essential foodstuffs.

Lebanon’s President Emile Lahoud issued a statement accusing Israel of waging a “war of starvation” against the Lebanese people. “It is an aggression that has exceeded Israel’s declared objectives. Israel has now decided to destroy Lebanon,” he said.

The effect of Friday’s bombing of the key bridges linking the north and south of the country is to accelerate this destruction by cutting off the last route for aid entering the country.

The deliberate sabotaging of any attempts at relieving the suffering of the Lebanese people threatens to have catastrophic consequences. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that the contamination of drinking water due to the destruction of infrastructure and the cutoff of fuel supplies threatened south Lebanon and its displaced population in particular with the outbreak of deadly epidemics.

Lahoud’s statement is not merely an emotional denunciation of the savage Israeli attack on Lebanon, but rather an accurate appraisal of the real objectives of this war.

The Bush administration in Washington and the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Israel, have launched a war whose aim it is to smash Lebanon as a country, using mass terror to expel entire populations and to reduce the nation as a whole to the status of a semi-colonial protectorate, wholly subordinated to the interests of Washington and the Zionist regime.

Annexation and “regime change”

The war aims are emerging out of the barbaric methods that are being employed against the people of Lebanon. For Israel, it appears increasingly likely that the objective is the annexation of a significant portion of Lebanese territory, after it has been emptied of its civilian population through the means of massacres and terror. Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz has ordered the military to prepare to drive all the way to the Litani River, 15 miles north of the border. The control of this river has been a strategic objective of the Zionists since before the founding of the Israeli state.

The experience of the last 40 years have demonstrated that Israel is a state without fixed borders. The momentum of each new war expands its control over new territory to meet its supposed security needs. In Lebanon, the Israeli state is pursuing the equivalent of what was referred to under Hitler’s Third Reich as lebensraum—the killing or expulsion of populations viewed as inferior in order to repopulate their land.

For Washington, the Israeli offensive has a far broader significance. The destruction of Lebanon is seen as a stepping stone to the launching of new aggressive wars aimed at achieving “regime change” in Syria and Iran. The unconditional US support for Israel’s criminal war against the Lebanese people is driven most fundamentally by US imperialism’s strategic goal of establishing its undisputed domination of the Middle East and its oil wealth.

This was undoubtedly the same goal that motivated US support for last year’s so-called “Cedar Revolution.” That this event and the elections that followed only served to strengthen Hezbollah’s political influence was seen by Washington as an intolerable impediment to its aims, best remedied through the use of murderous military force.

The naked aims of US imperialism found expression in a column published Friday by Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, one of the most consistent proponents of the Bush administration’s policy of militarism in the Middle East. “America’s green light for Israel to defend itself is seen as a favor to Israel,” he wrote. “But that is a tendentious, misleadingly partial analysis. The green light—indeed, the encouragement—is also an act of clear self-interest. America wants, America needs, a decisive Hezbollah defeat.”

Krauthammer criticized Israel not for the murderous character of its war against the Lebanese people, but rather for failing to utilize even greater force. Washington, he wrote, had “counted on Israel’s ability to do the job. It has been disappointed. Prime Minister Olmert has provided unsteady and uncertain leadership. Foolishly relying on air power alone, he denied his generals the ground offensive they wanted, only to reverse himself later.”

These are the real sentiments within the Bush administration. It wants Israel to get on with the business of mass killing in Lebanon, bringing the casualties into the tens if not hundreds of thousands to achieve US objectives.

That the brutality of this strategy is provoking massive upheavals throughout the Middle East is beyond dispute. Much of it is directed against the abject hypocrisy and criminality of the American role in planning and supporting this bloody enterprise. It should be recalled that not too many years ago official Washington and the American mass media was waging a massive campaign invoking “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo as a pretext for war in the Balkans. Now it is rushing bombs and missiles to Israel in order to facilitate the rapid cleansing of south Lebanon of its entire Shiite population through the indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas.

Over 100,000 marched in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad on Friday denouncing Israel and the US for the war in Lebanon and vowing to fight the US occupation. Right-wing Arab regimes such as in Jordan and Egypt have been forced to distance themselves from Washington.

And the Beirut newspaper Daily Star warned in an editorial on Friday that the war is exacerbating “the conspicuous disenchantment of large segments—perhaps majorities—of Arab public opinion with their own government policies.” It added, “The consequences are ominous in a region with so much of the world’s energy reserves, and so many governments and ordinary citizens willing to use the most awful kind of violence to achieve their goals. The signs of radicalization that continue to manifest themselves in various Arab countries, as a consequence of the war between Lebanon and Israel, must not be ignored.”

The Bush administration seems oblivious to this apparently sound advice. Having led the country into the disastrous quagmire of Iraq, it is welcoming the possibility of new wars and new terrorist attacks as a means of reinvigorating its flagging “global war on terrorism.”

The growth of mass opposition to the policies of Israel and Washington will be attributed to “terrorism,” and the pretexts will be found for new and even more terrible wars.

The ostensible opposition party in Washington, meanwhile, is vying with the administration over which of them is the most enthusiastic supporter of the Israeli war on Lebanon.

Representative of this party is Hillary Clinton, the Democratic senator from New York and leading candidate for the party’s presidential nomination in 2006.

Speaking in Buffalo, New York on Tuesday, just days after scores of people, the majority of them children, were massacred in the village of Qana, Clinton reiterated her unconditional backing for the Israeli state. The US, she said, “needs to take the lead in protecting Israel. It has to guarantee Israel’s security...whether that means putting troops in or not, I don’t know.”

Not a word of sympathy or concern for the bleeding Lebanese population passed Clinton’s lips. This attitude is not the exception, but the rule, for the entire American political establishment as well as the mass media. Atrocities that recall nothing so much as the crimes of German and Italian fascism in the 1930s—Ethiopia, Guernica, the Blitzkrieg against Poland—are treated as perfectly acceptable and understandable acts of Israeli “self-defense.”

Underlying this utter lack of morality lie the class interests of America’s ruling oligarchy, which has determined that its global interests can best be furthered through the utilization of unrestrained militarism.

In the end, American working people will be forced to pay the price for this seemingly insane policy. The costs of US militarism will be increasingly felt in the destruction of living standards and what little remains of social services for working people at home.

Moreover, the ever-widening war in the Middle East cannot be sustained much longer without the imposition of the military draft. It is highly probable that once the 2006 midterm elections are over, a bipartisan effort will be mounted—no doubt spearheaded by the Democrats—to resurrect the dragooning of American youth into the expeditionary forces that are being prepared to wage the so-called “long war” for US imperialist hegemony.

Dave Splash said...

To all you anonymous posters, when you stop quoting pro-Hezbollah sources like Human Rights Watch and starting reading Moderate Muslims like Nonie Darwish a Muslim raised in Gaza), I will take you seriously.

The core of the problem is the ridiculous and destructive position that Israel should not exist. When the Muslim world gets over Israel being there, peace might actually have a chance. Read this (from

Arabs today are at a critical crossroads. They must decide whether to live in a constant state of war and terror or to denounce their own terrorists. Terrorists are working to prevent moderate Arabs from making the right choice. Terrorist groups rely on a tribal culture and the sympathies and emotions of the Arab street whenever they get into trouble. Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda get recruits and support only by provoking hostilities with Israel and other parts of the world, and creating crises wherever they can.

Hamas's and Hezbollah's unprovoked attacks on Israel from the two areas Israel withdrew from -- and no longer occupies -- illustrates how this happens. Israel responded and two weeks later we all saw the particularly horrifying images from Qana, Lebanon on our television screens. But responsibility for this terrible tragedy must be laid at the feet of the people who deliberately hide among civilians in order to fire rockets and missiles at Israeli civilians. Hezbollah and its supporters are responsible for those deaths. Only the Jihadists benefit from the deaths of innocent civilians benefit, not Israel.

Despite initially blaming Hezbollah, the Arab street's sympathies have now shifted to Hezbollah. Terror groups count on that support. People in the West do not understand why the silent Muslim majority stays silent. The reason can be found in the old Arab saying, "My brother and I against our cousin, but my cousin and I against a stranger." Supporting fellow Muslims, right or wrong, is a fundamental cultural obligation among Arab society, which is tribal Arab radicals exploit this powerful cultural motivation time and time again.

I was a child in Gaza in the 1950's, when Gaza was in Egyptian hands. Gaza's infrastructure and economy were neglected while the land became a launching pad for terror attacks on Israel. Fifty years later, the two areas evacuated by Israel - Gaza last year and Lebanon six years ago -- are used for the same purpose, and everything is being sacrificed by Arabs in order to kill Jews. The hatred of Jews by Arabs in the areas surrounding Israel is more important than a mother's love for her children.

In 1955, an intifada broke out in Gaza. But it was not against Israel; it was against the oppressive rule of Egypt's President Nasser. To divert attention from this uprising, the Egyptian government intensified the fedayeen operations against Israel under the command of my father, Lt. Colonel Mustafa Hafez. Israel's defense against the fedayeen, including their killing my father, ended the intifada. This pattern of Arabs increasing terror attacks against Israel as a way of dealing with threats to their governments continues until today. The fedayeen of the 1950's became the model for today's terror organizations.

However, it is time for the Arab street to get smart. The terror groups' have distracted Arabs from solving their real human challenges while bringing them humiliating defeats. Arabs must join the world community and turn away from self-destructive patterns and tribal obligations. They must come to understand there is more pride in protecting their homes, families and society than in having fake pride by supporting reckless terror groups and attacks against Israel. Otherwise, Arab society is doomed to destruction, terror and despair.

Every moderate Muslim must be appalled by the likes of Hezbollah, which means the party of Allah. Hezbollah is desecrating God's name and is destroying the lives of Muslim men for a promise of heaven with 72 virgins. Religious leadership has failed Muslim young men, who must be taught that they are needed right here on earth to help make it a better place.

We Arabs must abandon this obsession to destroy Israel and tend to more important issues, such as honor killing of Muslim girls, stoning of Muslim women, killing and torturing of gays, amputation of limbs of criminals, female genital mutilation, the murder of apostates who leave Islam, polygamy and its devastating effects on family relations, and the imprisonment of Arab reformists and writers and cutting the tongues of those who speak out. We must speak out against the self-anointed and hateful Ayatollahs and Sheikhs who incite violence, rage and anger from the pulpits of mosques. They are condemning the beautiful Middle East society to a permanent condition of war, terror and jihad.

No longer do we want to hear our religious leaders proudly curse non-Muslim infidels and Jews in Friday prayer sermons, calling them "apes and pigs" and "enemies of God." We are all God's creation. The Arab street must not sympathize with Hezbollah. The silent Muslim majority must abandon its silence and "dark-age mentality." We must join the 21 st century's civilization.

Anonymous said...

Howard, interesting you label Human Rights Watch (HRW) as pro-Hezbollah. By the same token I guess you would label terrorist simpatizers Amnesty International or the Red Cross as well. You sound strangely close to a Bushevick, mmmh, I wonder... By the way, if you go to the HRW website you may be surprised to find their recent article/statement "Israel/Lebanon: Hezbollah Must End Attacks on Civilians: Rocket Attacks on Civilians in Israel Are War Crimes"
In any event, I guess you would agree that killing 1,000 Lebaneses and and displacing 1,000,000 (besides being a crime) is not exactly the receipe to help bolster Arab moderates' standing.

Anonymous said...

Israel responded to an unprovoked attack by Hizbullah, right? Wrong

The assault on Lebanon was premeditated - the soldiers' capture simply provided the excuse. It was also unnecessary

By George Monbiot

08/08/06 "The Guardian" -- -- Whatever we think of Israel's assault on Lebanon, all of us seem to agree about one fact: that it was a response, however disproportionate, to an unprovoked attack by Hizbullah. I repeated this "fact" in my last column, when I wrote that "Hizbullah fired the first shots". This being so, the Israeli government's supporters ask peaceniks like me, what would you have done? It's an important question. But its premise, I have now discovered, is flawed.

Since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, there have been hundreds of violations of the "blue line" between the two countries. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) reports that Israeli aircraft crossed the line "on an almost daily basis" between 2001 and 2003, and "persistently" until 2006. These incursions "caused great concern to the civilian population, particularly low-altitude flights that break the sound barrier over populated areas". On some occasions, Hizbullah tried to shoot them down with anti-aircraft guns.
In October 2000, the Israel Defence Forces shot at unarmed Palestinian demonstrators on the border, killing three and wounding 20. In response, Hizbullah crossed the line and kidnapped three Israeli soldiers. On several occasions, Hizbullah fired missiles and mortar rounds at IDF positions, and the IDF responded with heavy artillery and sometimes aerial bombardment. Incidents like this killed three Israelis and three Lebanese in 2003; one Israeli soldier and two Hizbullah fighters in 2005; and two Lebanese people and three Israeli soldiers in February 2006. Rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel several times in 2004, 2005 and 2006, on some occasions by Hizbullah. But, the UN records, "none of the incidents resulted in a military escalation".

On May 26 this year, two officials of Islamic Jihad - Nidal and Mahmoud Majzoub - were killed by a car bomb in the Lebanese city of Sidon. This was widely assumed in Lebanon and Israel to be the work of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. In June, a man named Mahmoud Rafeh confessed to the killings and admitted that he had been working for Mossad since 1994. Militants in southern Lebanon responded, on the day of the bombing, by launching eight rockets into Israel. One soldier was lightly wounded. There was a major bust-up on the border, during which one member of Hizbullah was killed and several wounded, and one Israeli soldier wounded. But while the border region "remained tense and volatile", Unifil says it was "generally quiet" until July 12.

There has been a heated debate on the internet about whether the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah that day were captured in Israel or in Lebanon, but it now seems pretty clear that they were seized in Israel. This is what the UN says, and even Hizbullah seems to have forgotten that they were supposed to have been found sneaking around the outskirts of the Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab. Now it simply states that "the Islamic resistance captured two Israeli soldiers at the border with occupied Palestine". Three other Israeli soldiers were killed by the militants. There is also some dispute about when, on July 12, Hizbullah first fired its rockets; but Unifil makes it clear that the firing took place at the same time as the raid - 9am. Its purpose seems to have been to create a diversion. No one was hit.

But there is no serious debate about why the two soldiers were captured: Hizbullah was seeking to exchange them for the 15 prisoners of war taken by the Israelis during the occupation of Lebanon and (in breach of article 118 of the third Geneva convention) never released. It seems clear that if Israel had handed over the prisoners, it would - without the spillage of any more blood - have retrieved its men and reduced the likelihood of further kidnappings. But the Israeli government refused to negotiate. Instead - well, we all know what happened instead. Almost 1,000 Lebanese and 33 Israeli civilians have been killed so far, and a million Lebanese displaced from their homes.

On July 12, in other words, Hizbullah fired the first shots. But that act of aggression was simply one instance in a long sequence of small incursions and attacks over the past six years by both sides. So why was the Israeli response so different from all that preceded it? The answer is that it was not a reaction to the events of that day. The assault had been planned for months.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "more than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to US and other diplomats, journalists and thinktanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail". The attack, he said, would last for three weeks. It would begin with bombing and culminate in a ground invasion. Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University, told the paper that "of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared ... By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board".

A "senior Israeli official" told the Washington Post that the raid by Hizbullah provided Israel with a "unique moment" for wiping out the organisation. The New Statesman's editor, John Kampfner, says he was told by more than one official source that the US government knew in advance of Israel's intention to take military action in Lebanon. The Bush administration told the British government.

Israel's assault, then, was premeditated: it was simply waiting for an appropriate excuse. It was also unnecessary. It is true that Hizbullah had been building up munitions close to the border, as its current rocket attacks show. But so had Israel. Just as Israel could assert that it was seeking to deter incursions by Hizbullah, Hizbullah could claim - also with justification - that it was trying to deter incursions by Israel. The Lebanese army is certainly incapable of doing so. Yes, Hizbullah should have been pulled back from the Israeli border by the Lebanese government and disarmed. Yes, the raid and the rocket attack on July 12 were unjustified, stupid and provocative, like just about everything that has taken place around the border for the past six years. But the suggestion that Hizbullah could launch an invasion of Israel or that it constitutes an existential threat to the state is preposterous. Since the occupation ended, all its acts of war have been minor ones, and nearly all of them reactive.

So it is not hard to answer the question of what we would have done. First, stop recruiting enemies, by withdrawing from the occupied territories in Palestine and Syria. Second, stop provoking the armed groups in Lebanon with violations of the blue line - in particular the persistent flights across the border. Third, release the prisoners of war who remain unlawfully incarcerated in Israel. Fourth, continue to defend the border, while maintaining the diplomatic pressure on Lebanon to disarm Hizbullah (as anyone can see, this would be much more feasible if the occupations were to end). Here then is my challenge to the supporters of the Israeli government: do you dare to contend that this programme would have caused more death and destruction than the current adventure has done?

Anonymous said...

Hezballah simply miscalculated. They thought they could cross the border, kill some Israelis...and then take some prisoners to swap for captured terrorists tried and convicted and residing in Israeli jails.The back and forth attacks have been the rule since before 1948, when the UN partitioned Mandatory Palestine..Hezballah Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Iran have never accepted the establishment of the State of for them it is OK to spend hundreds of millions of Iranian oil dollars to stockpile 12000 rockets, state of the art anti-tank missiles. What were these for...self-defense...these are offensive missiles.They are designed to kill blindly and indiscriminately.

Occupied Syria and Palestine??? Woah nellie, you have a very limited memory. I guess you are referring to the Golan heights, the area that Syria used to fire into Israel, the area that was won by Israel in 1967..after Syria attacked Israel along with Egypt and Jordan....remember that little attempt to destroy Israel??Well they were the aggressor, and THEY LOST. The Israelis have and are willing to negotiate with Syria, but that regime also wants the destruction of Israel...are you not aware of that.
As for the"occupied" palestinian land, I hope you are not referring to the entire land of Israel but to the west bank and gaza.After the Oslo accords,Arafat had control of all of Gaza, and all cities in the west bank, an army of 50000 and helicopters, and international acceptance. Clointon and Barak gave him the chance for a state on 95% of the requested land....Dennis Ross and others have debunked the bantustan and non-contiguous B.S. Arafat couldn't accaept it and instead started the intifada 2...a disaster for the Palestinians.. They HAD their state..there would have been no killing they would have been prosperous and free.There would have been no re-occupation.
Please have some respect for historical facts