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
- Return of the 2 soldiers – Failed
- Pushing HezbAllah away from the border – Failed
- Delegitimizing HezbAllah in the eyes of Lebanese – Failed
- Forcing the Lebanese government to disarm HezbAllah – Failed
- Fomenting sectarian strife – Failed
- Hitting HezbAllah – Failed
- Eliminating HezbAllah – Failed
- Deterrance – Failed
- Safety for Israeli citizens – Failed
- Forcing unconditional surrender to its demands – Failed
- Pressuring the Lebanese people to stand up against HezbAllah – Failed
- UN SCR 1559 by force – Failed
- Portraying this as a Jews (good) vs Jihadists (bad) conflict – Failed
- Fooling the people of the world – Failed
- Bringing rocket fire as far south as Afula – Successful
- Stirring up and increasing feelings of hatred towards Israel – Successful
- Targeting and massacring civilians – Successful
- Targeting journalists – Successful
- Destroying civilian infrastructure – Successful
- 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?