Israel’s Objectives: An Assessment

So I was right. As I had predicted they hit the gas and fuel tanks in Dora in east Beirut (or what some still call “Christian east Beirut”). The airport was also hit again. The Israelis no longer make any secret of the all-out war against Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure. What else can you call the bombing of gas stations in the south, bridges all over the country, granaries (which would provide wheat and flour for an otherwise starving 4 million Lebanese), restaurants (for God’s sake, don’t tell me there were missile launch pads there too…), cars of fleeing refugees, schools, Mosques, graveyards? The Israelis have said they intend to push the refugees as far north as possible. As far north as possible? This means only one thing. That in the coming days the areas of Beirut where the refugees have flooded into, including west Beirut, will be bombed. It seems the Israelis have placed high bets on the dream of sectarian strife. The attempt is to push the predominantly Shi’ite refugees to the predominantly Christian, Sunni, and Druze areas of Lebanon, with the hope that this would pour fuel on the fire, stirring up much hatred among the latter towards the refugees. But not so. The people of all areas of Beirut have opened their doors to refugees, providing them with everything they need, from a roof over their heads, to blankets, to food, to milk for babies. With the passing of each day and the intensification of the strikes against civilians, the people rally more behind HezbAllah. This is not propaganda. This is the reality on the ground. Israel might complain about Katyushas, Fajrs, Ra’ads, and Zilzal’s, but the strongest weapon that HezbAllah has – and it has gained it recently – is widespread support and calls for further strikes. Amir Peretz just made a statement saying, we won’t stop fighting before we reach our objectives. So let us make an assessment of how many of the objectives Israel has achieved so far:

  • Israel’s Objectives
  1. Return of the 2 soldiers – Failed
  2. Pushing HezbAllah away from the border – Failed
  3. Delegitimizing HezbAllah in the eyes of Lebanese – Failed
  4. Forcing the Lebanese government to disarm HezbAllah – Failed
  5. Fomenting sectarian strife – Failed
  6. Hitting HezbAllah – Failed
  7. Eliminating HezbAllah – Failed
  8. Deterrance – Failed
  9. Safety for Israeli citizens – Failed
  10. Forcing unconditional surrender to its demands – Failed
  11. Pressuring the Lebanese people to stand up against HezbAllah – Failed
  12. UN SCR 1559 by force – Failed
  13. Portraying this as a Jews (good) vs Jihadists (bad) conflict – Failed
  14. Fooling the people of the world – Failed
  15. Bringing rocket fire as far south as Afula – Successful
  16. Stirring up and increasing feelings of hatred towards Israel – Successful
  17. Targeting and massacring civilians – Successful
  18. Targeting journalists – Successful
  19. Destroying civilian infrastructure – Successful
  20. Cutting off civilians from medical and food supplies – Successful

So Amir Peretz – the alleged dove – wants more of the above and less of peace and security for his citizens. Who cares about the lives of regular people anyway, when hegemony is at stake?

I will quote an excerpt from Ran HaCohen’s article which appeared on Electronic Intifada yesterday. Of course, no one has been talking about Israel’s clear violation of Lebanese sovereignty by the assassination of individuals on Lebanese soil. No one talks about the facts: that HezbAllah responded to this clear violation by attacking the Israeli military, to which Israel responded by attacking HezbAllah positions, and to which HezbAllah responded by kidnapping the 2 soldiers, in response to which the Olmert-Peretz axis of evil put into application the long-devised plan to destroy Lebanon and exact revenge for the massive humiliation it received at the hands of the Lebanese resistance movements. This is the plan, folks. You see it right in front of your eyes. Massacres in Tyre, and indeed all over South Lebanon. No, not just the South, but the North, East, and Center as well. No one is spared in this war being waged against the Lebanese people. To quote Halutz, “nothing is safe in Lebanon”. He meant, no one.

The background of Hezbollah’s illegitimate capture, however, is different: six weeks before (May 26), Israel assassinated a senior Jihad member, Mahmoud al-Majzub, by a booby-trapped car in Sidon. When Syria assassinates a political leader in Lebanon, the whole world is in an uproar; when Israel does the same, the only one daring to react is Hezbollah, by an attack on northern Israel, killing one soldier. There was nothing unusual about that either; the skirmish fell well within the quiet understandings. Very unusual was Israel’s disproportional response: “an exceptionally harsh Israeli reaction,” which the military explicitly described as “a change of policy” (Amos Harel in Ha’aretz, 29 May), hitting front-line Hezbollah bases all along the border. The Israeli army later boasted that Hezbollah was “caught by surprise” or had even “fallen into a trap,” and that it would now think twice before acting. Hezbollah, apparently, thought twice and thrice, and decided to make it clear that the rules of the game cannot be changed unilaterally.

The last point was of course reiterated by Nasrallah in his latest speech. He said, it is HezbAllah that chooses when, where, and how, rather than Israel doing so unilaterally. What has happened in Lebanon these past few days is not a passing clash. It will have profound effects on the face of the Middle East for years to come. If it is any indication, this is merely the beginning of things. A prelude for a bigger war, one that may signal the end of the era of Israeli hegemony if not existence. In light of Israel’s huge miscalculations and misinterpretations of facts on the ground vis-a-vis Lebanon, it is in Israel’s best interest that it withdraw to 1967 borders as soon as possible. Doing so might spare it from complete annihilation in the future. But postponing it indefinitely surely eliminates any chance for its survival. If not a decade down the road, then two. It seems, however, that successive Israeli governments have suffered and continue to suffer from shortsightedness.

Back to “our” Arab leaders though, and a word or two on the Saudi reaction to the events in Lebanon. New TV – which has been providing excellent coverage of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon despite the fact that many of its reporters have been injured since the beginning of the attacks – harshly criticized the Saudi line by mocking the $50 million dollar aid “donation”. The following calculations were pointed out:

  • The price of the barrel at the beginning of the attacks was $73. On the second day it had gone up to $75, and now stands at $78. Saudi Arabia is thus making money out of the massacre of Lebanese civilians.
  • Saudi Arabia produces and exports 9 to 11 million barrels per day.
  • It has a net profit of $5/barrel.
  • That amounts to net profits of at least $45 million/day.
  • Saudi Arabia will be increasing its production to 20 barrels/day. This would increase its profits to $100 million/day.
  • Saudi Arabia has offered to “help” Lebanon with $50 million, which is about what it has made in 1 day, and half of what it will be making in 1 day when it increases its quantity of production and export.

Hosni Mubarak of course is more concerned with Israeli interests than the massacre of Lebanese civilians. Hey, Arab people, these are your leaders. If we can say this much about the stupidity of Arab leaders, we can say twice as much about your stupidity. After all, aren’t you being ruled by these stupid, incompetent leaders? What does that say about you? Wake up, is there no honour left in your veins?

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25 responses to “Israel’s Objectives: An Assessment

  1. I agree w. everything you say about what Israel should do to guarantee its security & acceptance by its Arab neighbors. But I don’t agree that Israel’s existence is in jeopardy. I don’t yet see it as apocalytically as you do (not that you don’t have reason to see it that way considering the madness you’re presently going through).

    Just read at Haaretz that Tony Blair called for an “international deployment” to guarantee the peace on the border. ‘Bout time some outside government said something sensible aside from Condi’s unbelievably cynical statement that it’s not yet time to negotiate an end of the hostilities (i.e. “what Lebanon needs is a bit more war, please”).

  2. Yes indeed, I did hear about Blair’s statement and that of Kofi Anan as well, but I didn’t think either was worth mentioning. I don’t think anyone in Lebanon will believe anything the UN / UK / USA / France or any other country will say at this point. They all stood aside and watched civilians being massacred. Where were they when all this destruction of lives and infrastructure could’ve been stopped? And now they expect us to listen and accept? Why do they always think they can get away with it after all is said and done?

    As for Israel’s existence being in jeopardy, it might be a decade from now, if not more. But from what I can see of the situation in the region, things are not looking bright. Well, I don’t think Israel’s nuclear capabilities necessarily guarantee its survival.

  3. Wow. Does your mommy know you have a blog? Just two points, in case you actually want to consider the situation: (1) If Israel wanted to destroy Lebanon, do you really think there would only be 100 dead Lebanese after 2000+ air strikes? One night of air strikes by the Americans and the Brits in 1945 killed 100,000 Germans in Dresden. (2) Have you bothered to read the record of the past 58 years of conflict between Israel and the surrounding Arab “neighbours”? What happened between 1948 and 1967? When your “neighbours” want to see you wiped off the map, what exactly would your bargaining position be?

    There have been countless exercises in futility, aka “negotiations”, wherein the merest mention of even Israel’s right to exist is couched by hemming and hawing. Before 1967, there was no discussion: Israel needs to be destroyed. After 1967, year after bloody year, the official position of the Arabs has been: “Leave all occupied territories and, ahem, well, maybe, ahem, we’ll talk THEN.”

    Finally, Israel unilaterally withdraws from Gaza, and Hamas is democratically elected. Do they work to build a state in the way honest nation builders do? Heck, no. They boast, they threaten, and then build a tunnel into Israel so they can capture a soldier. Whoopty-do. How…civilized.

    Over on the other side, here comes Hizbollah. So to quote you, it’s because Israel attacked Lebanon that Hizbollah has been firing missiles? Have you got a clue? Have you noticed that they’ve been firing missiles since Israel unilaterally abandoned southern Lebanon? No? Didn’t think so.

    Read some history, Jack, hard as that may be. Then try bringing something to the blog party that smacks of intelligence.

    Cheers

  4. There is one thing abour the refugees on the anry arab blog he says he has contacts in leabnon who are saying the shia are being turned away from sunni and christian areas.And one other thing who are you kidding the christians hate the shia and they still do

  5. And one other thing here in london people really are no taking sides most are saying its hizbullahs fault for starting this

  6. Sometimes the best answer is not to answer, regarding hate comments.
    Both Lebanon and Israeli people are suffering, although the casualties are not comparable.
    Lebanon is divided among its citizens, and Israel was trying to make use of this further. There are christians and sunnis and druze and… who are aiding, and there are others who are not. It is also true that 5 days ago, many were against Hizballah, but as the days pass, people are lining with Hizballah. Yesterday, Nasrallah announced that Hizballah could’ve hit the nuclear/chemical stations in Haifa. Now that would open doors to further escalations, a regional war perhaps. I hope Hizballah won’t take that step, and they would not be forced to. I personally am stunned by Hizballah’s abilities, and I don’t think any of us knew about it.

  7. Some notes:
    1) Syria is filled with our tourists.
    2) Wikipedia has provided a space for this war
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Israel-Lebanon_crisis
    3) Al-Manar TV is broadcasting from somewhere else. Probably a hideout.
    4) Life in most villages in Mount Lebanon is almost ordinary, compared to other places.

  8. Ukase, Sachtein

    Anarchistian, “…try bringing something to the blog party that smacks of intelligence.”

  9. As’ad always claims he has contacts but sometimes he speaks out of his arse. I can claim I have “anonymous” sources in Lebanon too, to foment sectarian strife. At any rate, so far no such thing has been reported, a personal friend in west Beirut – which is not predominantly Shi’ite, btw, has told me that refugees are there already. Public schools have opened their doors to the refugees and volunteers from across the sects are rushing to provide whatever help is needed. So nice try, my friend. But we will not fall prey to your wet dreams.

    RC – I hope HezbAllah does strike the petrochemical facilities, because if anything will save Lebanon at this point, it is that. I disagree that such a strike would further escalate things. Israel has to know its limits, and it will have to do so the hard way.

  10. Man, something’s seriously wrong with that Wikipedia page. So HezbAllah has caused 500 injuries to mighty Israel (so much for deterrance, eh?) whereas Israel has only caused 382 injuries. Uff.

  11. There you go again – “RC – I hope HezbAllah does strike the petrochemical facilities,” What the hell is wrong with you ?!

  12. Well if the do escalte it futher then the israelis will be like mad dogs and you have to be stupidto think they would stepdown look at there history even if the lost 100000 they would go full force and they would absolutely make sure beirt would notexist anymore and they would kill your country off.One other thing about abukhali to say he is sectrain is rubbish you just have to read his blog he is a secular arab nationalist even a two year old would pick that up.Oh and dont bullshit me i know from personal experice that the maronites absolutely hate with a passion the muslims i even fucking been there and saw it myslef

  13. Hello again Anarchistian,
    I’m glad to see that you are still safe. We have heard from our friend in Beirut, and he is well and for the moment safe, and waiting for instructions from the American Embassy for evacuation. Once again, I thank you for your concern.
    I have been following all your posts since this conflict began, and the information I have learned here has been an eye-opener for me, to say the least. I mostly agree with your conclusions, although I think I must take exception with your statement about the annihilation of Israel, as I would about the annihilation of Lebanon, or any of the countries including my own, that are directly or indirectly affected by this situation. Would not the annihilation of Israel lead to the annihilation of some other country, which in turn which would lead to another, and another, and another–to what end? Even though I can understand why you would wish it, it seems unlikely that Israel would withdraw to any previous border, let alone the 1967 ones. I agree with you that I don’t think that Israel’s nuclear capabilities necessarily guarantee it’s survival, but the same could be said about our (the US) survival, or any other superpower nation that has those capabilities. A comment was made on this blog that if Israel, or Hezbollah for that matter wanted to completely destroy their respective countries, it would have happened already, and I’m sure that is so. I believe both factions have the capabilities to do just that. I think it’s criminal that both of them have decided to use your country as their battle ground, and this is as much a political battle as one of retaliation. What no one, besides you here on this blog, and a precious few others, have been able to effectively show the world, is the fact that at the end of those bombs and missiles is only horrific death and destruction, and for what? The world sits by and watches like it’s some kind of blockbuster movie, while real people on both sides of the conflict are being massacred, their lives never to be normal again. I sit here safely in my home and country, and I am horrified, not only by the war itself, but by my country’s leaders, and the world’s leaders inability to come to any kind of consensus or come up with any kind of clearheaded plan to help Lebanon and Israel end this insanity. Anarchistian, I know you said that the Lebanese people would not welcome the UN or the US’s involvement, and I myself don’t have any real faith in our current administration to offer any constructive solutions, but something must be done, don’t you agree? Right now, you are in the middle of an impossible situation, and you’re emotions are understandably ruling your thoughts. I hate what’s happening to you and your fellow citizens in Lebanon, but am I naive to hope that there is a better way than to fall in step with those factions in your country who are willing to sacrifice innocent lives for their own agendas. I apologise if my thoughts here are in any way offensive to you, they aren’t meant to be. As a pacifist at heart, I will always lobby for peaceful solutions to our world conflicts. And I sincerely hope that a peaceful solution to this war will show it’s face in the very near future. Simplistic maybe, and easy to say as I am not directly affected by the situation you and so many others are having to endure, but it’s what I hope for you. God speed, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  14. This post reminds me the former Iraqi foreign minister.
    He was reporting about great losses and failures to US forces up until the moment they arrived the capital and took it over with little to no resistance at all.

    Truth hurts doesn’t it?

  15. Anarchistian, what is happening today where you are? I don’t think we are getting accurate reports here in the states from our news media about the current situation. It’s been reported that Israel may be considering some sort of action against Syria, have you heard this?

  16. Hello Joellyn,

    I just updated the blog, so check out the new entry. Today mostly trucks carrying medicines/flour/cement were bombed, other than that nothing much.

    I heard a live Q&A session with Bush, he showed his nasty “I don’t care if civilians are being killed” grin and said that it seemed to him that this was all an attempt by Syria to get back into Lebanon… It seems the idea of “Zionist Conspiracy” that Arabs are so obsessed with is now being overshadowed by the “Syrian Conspiracy”. If Israel turns an entire country into an post-earthquake condition it must be Syria. If a fly drops dead in Israel, it must be Syria.

    I am still in shock. Neither at the bombs that were dropped a while ago, which shook the entire area, nor the extent of destruction. Rather, I am shocked that the most powerful nation today is governed by an idiot.

  17. Anarchistian, I want you to know that many millions of us here feel the same sense of shock. I personally feel like I am living a perpetual nightmare that I can’t wake up from. These are sad days for both of our countries, but Lebanon and it’s people don’t deserve the destruction that is being rained down upon them.
    Thanks for all your information, and I will read the new entry. Keep safe.

  18. And I completely forgot the lengthy comment you left! I apologize!

    About the annihiliation of Israel comment, I am against borders to begin with. Countries are artificial, borders are artificial. Whoever says people of different cultures, religions, languages, practices, cannot live together or get along is wrong. The primary evil today is the nation-state. It claims to speak on behalf of the majority, act on behalf of the majority, represent the majority, yet it lies and manipulates to achieve its ends. The annihilation of Israel and indeed of all states is necessary. As long as there are states and borders there will be wars. Paradoxically, wars must be fought to eliminate states. But whereas that is a one-time thing, the preservation of states merely maintains a constant state of warfare.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Israel left the Lebanese with any choice BUT to support HezbAllah.

  19. Your beliefs about borders are food for thought. I think the same could be said about faith and religion. More wars have been fought over the ages because of religion than anything else. As for supporting Hezbollah, Anarchistian, you always have a choice. Don’t you think that there is the possibility that they are using this situation to fan the flames of extremism, using your country and your peoples to wage their war in the name of Allah? Don’t you think that they are counting on the fact that their actions would result in the kind of retaliation that Israel took? Don’t you think that they are “lying and manipulating” to achieve it’s goals? Understandably, because your country and people are suffering the most you feel the need to focus blame on Israel, and you are justified to do so, but Hezbollah must absolutely share the blame for what’s taking place in Lebanon. They are counting on you and so many of Lebanon’s young citizens to have just the reactions you are, to bring you into their fold, to strengthen their ranks, to justify their actions. Anarchistian, you are obviously an intelligent person, and since you are right smack in the middle of this mess, hearing the bombs, seeing the carnage wrought on your country, it must be difficult to have any perspective other than the one you have described, but I ask you to please try to keep your mind open. I don’t think anyone knows what the outcome of this will be or when it will be, but I pray that the international community will be able eventually to intervene there to bring an end to the destruction and killing.

  20. They might be lying and manipulating for all we know, but fighting back and defending ourselves while being lied to and manipulated is better than sitting there and being bombed.

  21. The best way for the Lebanese people to defend themselves would have been to rid itself of Hezbollah when they had the chance. Hezbollah is using Lebanon as it’s war ground. They have no real regard for the innocents being killed, but they will be happy to use those dead as pawns to fuel the fires of their cause. Anarchistian you have a right to defend yourself, as does anyone who is in your position, but be certain you know who the real enemy is. Align yourself with the Lebanese army if you must, give your assistance to the United Nations special forces if they come in to Lebanon as I’ve heard they might. Try not to give yourself over to an ideal or group of people who do not have Lebanon’s best interests as their primary agenda. Fight for your country, your citizens, yourself, not for Hezbollah, for Hezbollah is not Lebanon.

  22. Alright, let us say you are right, that the Lebanese should’ve rid themselves of HezbAllah. How do you suggest that they should have done that??? Come on!! One of the world’s most powerful armies with significant aerial power is unable to disarm HezbAllah.

    Please! HezbAllah is our only real army in these times! The Lebanese Army is unable to do anything!!! They have been bombed time and again even though they are the official defense force and they have not been involved in the fighting!!!! I am sorry but I will not just switch my position just because people who are not even living in this country and seeing the monstrosity of the Israeli aggression do not wish me to fall prey to extremists’ agendas! Where is the international community?? If they genuinely cared about our sentiments they would not have punished 4 million people for the extremism of a few!

    We are talking about the destruction of an entire country. The massacre of civilians by chemical weapons. And people in the West keep saying: the Lebanese should not fall prey to the extremism of HezbAllah. So instead of stopping the Israelis from bombing us, you want US to stop from sympathizing with HezbAllah. How nice.

  23. first i would like to say my opinion what is goigning in middle east especially lebanese my own idea this is against human being what isreal done in that muslim country the past 9 days I don’t want say UN should take action against isreal but I say this is the last days of isreal in the region because every person has aday and this is the turn o muslims if they understand

  24. Oh, Anarchistian, of course I wish that the Israelis would stop bombing Lebanon. The amount of force which they have used against your country is unconscionable. I wish with all my heart that the Israelis and Hezbollah could have practised restraint in the beginning and not started the bombing at all. But what’s done is done, and it’s tragic for all of us, but mostly for Lebanon who is receiving the lions share of the destruction. Somehow, there has to be some leadership from some place, if not from Lebanon, then from the international community, or even the US if that is at all possible. My sympathies lie only with the innocent victims of this conflict, not with those on either side who have perpetuated the violence.

  25. OneVoice is a grassroots, non-partisan Israeli-Palestinian group working to empower moderates to stand up against extremism and seize back the agenda for conflict resolution. At a time when extremists are once again dominating the agenda, its need to exist and to deliver could not be more crucial.

    From OneVoice Youth Leaders, Saed Bilbeisi and Elad Dunayevsky

    Dear International Friends of OneVoice,

    There are rockets flying into Israel’s Northern towns as far down as Haifa as we write this, while the people of Gaza are in fear for their homes and lives, without electricity and running water. People are suffering, people are dying and people are afraid. It’s a crisis. We are writing to tell you though not to give up on us, or to give up on hope for an end to the conflict.

    The situation today makes it very difficult to talk about conflict resolution – to see an end to the conflict. Sometimes it is easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel, at the moment the tunnel is dark. But this crisis and this conflict will end, and we say that with sobriety and rationality. As much as we feel helpless today, as rational people we must see any crisis as an opportunity to rise up and overcome the reasons that brought that crisis.

    The situation will come to an end, when we do not know. In the meantime both people suffer so badly. Believe us that no-one is happy with this life. We want everyone around the world to know that we, and many friends and colleagues like us at OneVoice, are working to change this situation. We are ready. We are ready to do anything necessary to help end this situation. We have done so many activities and introduced so many people to OneVoice and it always gives them hope and energy. We can not and will not lose all of this however hard it is at this moment. We will strive to improve this life.

    A resolution to the conflict may seem like a dream, but let us dream it and keep helping us do whatever we have to do to make it a reality. The day will never come when Israelis and Palestinians are prepared to accept living with this situation. How far we are from the day when we have a situation we will accept is hard to say, but we will work for it, even as the fighter jets and rockets go overhead, we will work for it.

    Thank you,

    Saed and Elad

    Saed has been involved with OneVoice for around a year. He visits the OneVoice office to meet with other youth leaders and staff at least once a week and has even pioneered his own workshops on OneVoice in Ramallah, which have recruited many new volunteers. He spoke about OneVoice in Synagogues, community centers and campuses during OneVoice’s International Education Program tour to Canada.

    Elad has also been volunteering for around a year. He uses his Arabic and Hebrew language skills to speak with both Arabs and Jews about the work of OneVoice and has served to educate and recruit activists in the Region and also in the US, where he spoke at over 10 venues on behalf of OneVoice during their International Education Program tour to New York.

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