On People and Ruins

I was talking with someone today about the current situation in Lebanon and Israel’s agendas. I mentioned how I thought Israel was attempting (or at least using this opportunity) to eliminate Lebanon as a touristic, agricultural, and (to a lesser extent) industrial rival. Then I said, I think they might also bomb the Roman ruins at Ba’albek. He looked at me for a brief second, then said, “nah, they can’t do that, it’s prohibited under international law because it’s a heritage site”. Good point, I thought for a split second. But then it occured to me (oh how easily it is forgotten these days!) that the massacre of civilians is also prohibited under international law. I was quick to remind him of it. He stared at me with a blank face for a few seconds, then nodded in approval, and with a dismissive gesture said, “ohh yeah, that!“. We both chuckled.

Occasionally we still need to remind ourselves that might makes right.


8 responses to “On People and Ruins

  1. Interesting theory I came across /// On a per capita basis, Israelis consume seven to ten times more water than do Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and approximately two to three times more than do their Lebanese and Jordanian neighbors. For the last five years, Israel has implemented water-rationing schemes that mainly affect the politically powerful farming sector, which consumes more than 70 percent of the country’s water supply. Because of current Israeli utilization of all its renewable water resources and the predicted annual water deficit of 600 to 800 million cubic meters.

    Now why are the Israelis are invading Lebanon up to and beyond the Litani River ?

    The average annual flow of the Litani River is estimated at 920 million cubic meters, of which an estimated 480 million cubic meters is measured at the Khardali Bridge near the westward bend of the stream. Before the river empties into the Mediterranean Sea, an estimated 125 million cubic meters of water is consumed in the Kasmieh irrigation project. Permanent occupation of southern Lebanon and continued access to the Litani could augment the annual water supply of Israel by up to 800 million cubic meters, or approximately 40 percent of its current annual water consumption. This volume is attainable only if Israel reoccupies the Karaoun Dam.

  2. Athol – yes that is a very well-known theory and indeed has been discussed in some sectors of Israeli policy-making. It’s highly probable that this is a major element in Israel’s attitude towards its neighbours (especially water-rich Lebanon)… though of course, that Israel has adopted such an objective does not mean it can ncessarily attain it. But food for thought: Such a theory would explain the attempts to drive out the civilian population and level entire villages…

  3. Solidarity rallies in Sweden

    As part of the global day of action against Israeli aggression yesterday, people took to the streets in all major cities in Sweden. The biggest rally was held in Stockholm, where approximately 4000 people (the estimates vary between 2500 and 5000) thronged a central square, then heading off for the Israeli and American embassies. The Lebanese and Palestinian communities made up the bulk of the crowd, waving their respective flags as well as banners expressing support for the Lebanese resistance. Outside the two embassies, emotions ran high and the situation got a little tense, and on their way back into the city centre the demonstrators were approached in a rough way by the police. Near a small park, one demonstrator was beaten up and arrested without apparent reason. There followed skirmishes in the park between the police and a crowd of demonstrators; some five more people were arrested and then de-arrested, until calm was restored. Swedish media used the incident to portray the demonstration as a “violent riot” – a clearly inappropriate term. However, in general the event was well covered by the media, and was deemed a success in the solidarity campaign for the people of Lebanon and Palestine. Other major rallies, gathering several thousands, were held in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city, and in Malmö, its third.

    For pictures of the demonstration in Stockholm, see



    Excerpts from the speech delivered by myself:

    It is said that Hizbollah’s border operation was a provocation. It is said that it was yet another act of fanatical Islamic terrorism, it is said that it constituted a breach of international law against which Israel is entitled to defend itself, but we ask: if Israel has carried out 650 000 acts of imprisonment – 650 000! – in the occupied territories since 1967, what would a proportionate response to that statistic look like? We say: if Israel has been in constant breach of Lebanese sovereignty, not only in the series of invasions and devastations and occupations from the late 1970s and onwards, but in the innumerable incursions into Lebanese air space and water, in the assassinations of activists on Lebanese soil, in the continued possession of Lebanese prisoners and Lebanese territory at the Sheba’a farms – what is an apprehension of Israeli soldiers? It is not terrorism. It is not terrorism Israel is responding to. …
    What do Gaza and Lebanon have in common? They are the only two corners of the Arab nation that have liberated themselves from Israeli occupation. They have, like no others, utilised a minimum of resources with a maximum of steadfastness. They have inflicted the two most ignominious defeats upon Israel in its entire imperial history…and all since, this very power has been ruling southern Lebanon and Gaza, unbroken, elusive: the resistance. For the resistance, Israel hates Lebanon and Gaza. For the resistance, Israel makes them both pay in their entirety: Israel is an anabolic muscle mass struck by insane aggression, Israel is an abusive man who reacts upon the smallest sign of provocation from his woman by crushing every bone in her body, Israel is randomly punching Lebanon with its fists, destroying everything it can reach…
    Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is right. The resistance will prevail. It will prevail, because it cannot be extinguished; it will prevail, because Israel is pumping new blood in its veins; it will prevail by merely continuing… In one and a half week, Hizbollah has torn apart the armour of Israel like never before…Make no mistake: Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is the greatest Arab leader since Jamal Abdel Nasser. He proves that resistance against the powers of imperialism is feasible, and that is precisely why he is feared and detested like a poisonous scorpion in the palaces of Saudi Arabia, of Jordan, of Egypt: Hosni Mubarak, ya haiwan, you know who is the real leader of your masses…
    Some of you might think: can we who are not Muslims, who are secular, who fundamentally oppose religion as a foundation of politics, can we really support the Hizbollah? Can we reach out in solidarity to a movement armed by Iran? I ask you: did you not support the partisans during the Second World War because they were Stalinists? Did you not support the FLN because it employed Islam to mobilise the people of Algeria? Did you not support the MPLA in Angola because it was backed by the Cuban dictatorship? Did you not support the FNL in Vietnam because it received its arms from Moscow? Do you not support the Zapatistas or the movement of the landless in Brazil because they profess Catholicism? Comrades in the Swedish solidarity movement: we cannot afford the luxury of secular Puritanism. We cannot turn our backs to the real political stakes on the ground in this battle, we cannot disqualify ourselves from every relevance in the eyes of the masses of the Middle East as they struggle for their freedom: when bleeding and oppressed peoples are fighting, our solidarity must be extended to them, and their struggle is no less worthy of our support because it has Islamic features. Comrades: support the Hizbollah. Comrades: see the larger picture in the Middle East, where people are slaughtered by Israeli and American war machines in Lebanon, in Palestine, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and soon perhaps in Syria and Iran as well, and realise that these people have no other option to pursue than the path of resistance.

  4. vive la resistance

  5. Lebanon is Water-rich maybe, but not Brain-rich 😉

  6. To say killing civilians is prohibited under international law is naive. The resitance might prevail, those few who survive, as usual only the ordinary people will suffer? The few crazies (both sides) will pay with the blood of innocents and continue to spit venom and claim victory. Sad state the humanity is in, not much has changed over the past 3000 years only we have more effective methods of killing

  7. If I might announce to yr readers (or at least those reading this comment) that I’ve launched an Israeli-Palestinian blog aggregator featuring 25 peace blogs written by Israeli & Diaspora Jews, Palestinians, Lebanese (specifically this blog), & Arab-Americans. I do this in the hopes of providing one place where progressives might come to find a broad cross-section of progressive blogging opinion about the conflict.

    I am open to featuring new blogs on this site & would welcome recommendations. The only criteria is that the blogs should endorse a a just and equitable resolution of the conflict that recognizes the rights of both parties to national self-determination.


  8. Lebanon is Water-rich maybe, but not Brain-rich
    Yup, not as brain-rich as a country that elects an idiot like Olmert, who goose-steps Israel into war (in Lebanese mud – don’t forget 2000).

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