The world won’t memorize their names

Five civilians were kidnapped this afternoon by IDF forces at Aita al-Sha’ab. Their names were announced on Lebanese TV stations. Hours later, IDF confirmed the “detainment” of four people, insisting that they were armed.

A short report that appeared on Yediot Achronot’s news ticker hours after the kidnappings took place paraphrases the statement made by an army spokesperson: “the four were being questioned after surrendering to soldiers patrolling the village of Aita al-Shaab, near the Israeli border. There was no immediate word on their identities.” (emphasis mine)

There was immediate word on their identities, only that the IDF did not reveal their names because they were not HezbAllah members but civilians – like Hassan Deeb Nasrallah. Moreover, if these men were indeed armed, why would they have surrendered?

Another report on Yediot Achronot, which came much later, uses different wording: “A force of the Herev Battalion, which carried out an ambush in the area, was involved in Friday’s operation. During the ambush, the soldiers spotted four Lebanese men who endangered the force and decided to question them. They will apparently be released following the interrogation.” (Notice the difference in wording between the two reports: patrol vs. ambush)

Ha’aretz, on the other hand, reports that the army said that it arrested the men because they were “moving toward Israel” and points out that “[t]he military did not say where the incident occurred or whether the men were armed.” Can anyone see that the two reports are not merely dissimilar, but completely contradictory? Yediot Achronot claims, citing military sources, that the men were armed, while Ha’aretz insists that there is no word on that. Not only that, but Yediot Achronot insists that there was an operation/ambush set up by the IDF!! Very well, let us assume that Ha’aretz’s diluted version is the accurate one, how exactly is “moving toward Israel” defined? If I stand at a point in south Lebanon and start moving south from there, to visit, say, my aunt, what then? Can’t my movement be described as “moving toward Israel”? Sure it could. The Israelis can claim that I had other intentions, such as kidnapping Israeli soldiers. And to whom would I demonstrate that my objective was visiting my aunt? A world that wouldn’t even take notice of my kidnapping? Ah yes, that anti-Semitic world that bashes Israel at every opportunity. The folks over at Kishkushim insist that this is the case (I say, Judith Butler is excellent).

World media takes no notice of this either (how biased against Israel…). The world ignores it, or will in the future insist that this was a limited incident that threatens the fragile ceasefire (like the 100 sheep that the UN is still worried about). The world is busy hailing Israel’s generous dismantlement of the aerial and naval blockade, the first was already broken, the second was about to be broken. Olmert, for the first time since July 12 has acted wisely, albeit to cover up on his own stupidity. I am well aware that the IDF was against the lifting of the siege. I am wondering if the kidnappings were an attempt by the IDF leadership to seriously shake the ceasefire (which is not a two-way ceasefire to begin with, given Israel’s continuous movements and gaining of ground [that is the only way they can gain ground, when HezbAllah is not firing on them]) hoping that HezbAllah would respond; of course, this will not be interpreted as an instigation by those who insisted (under the cover of their alleged neutrality) that HezbAllah was the one to blame for this conflict since its kidnapping was an act of instigation (others obviously grasp Israel’s obsession with mass-murderer Ron Arad, but not HezbAllah’s obsession with Samir Quntar). If so, does this mean that in case HezbAllah responds by a Zilzal-1 in the heart of Tel Aviv, the blame will fall on Israel for starting the second round of fighting? Or will we be back, I wonder, to square one, insisting that since states have a monopoly on violence, no matter what Israel does in its alleged fight against a non-state actor, it is to be free of all blame? And how far will the state actor vs. non-state actor argument be stretched? It has so far been used against the Palestinians and HezbAllah, but how exactly can one apply that to Iran, for example?

In the meantime, the Lebanese government seems to take no notice of, for example, its own sovereignty, a word it uses only when there is talk about HezbAllah weapons (but not, for example, about Palestinian weapons – if this isn’t an indication that the Hariri/st bloc’s/government’s policy determinant isn’t the Sunni-Shi’ite competition/divide, I don’t know what is). It fails to realize that it has the right to reject troop pledges from certain countries (merely because the troops are to be deployed on Lebanese and not Israeli territory – but Israel of course has the right to act as the sovereign ruler of Lebanese territory, refusing the deployment of some countries’ troops because they do not recognize not Lebanon, but Israel), like Turkey, which has close military ties to Israel (Hitler’s Jewish victims are surely turning in their graves – but others will innocently insist that the alliance is a strategic necessity for “besieged” Israel, in order to prevent a second Jewish Holocaust – Israel needs military ties with Turkey to prevent such a thing? Mind-boggling).

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22 responses to “The world won’t memorize their names

  1. I believe that the paper you refer to is YNet News – Yedioth Ahronoth…

    Anyway, I don’t understand why you would immediately believe the Palestinian press as they have been shown to fabricate so much of what they report over the years. Also, as breaking stories are reported more information is usually given out, hence why some stories change over time. In addition, depending on the reporter, one may get more accurate information (i.e., one has an “inside contact” and the other speaks to the PR official…)

    I’m not saying that Israel or the West’s media don’t get it wrong, and are completely truthful. It seems “journalism”, at least how I was taught it should be, has gone down the tubes all over the world….

  2. UGH… my bad. I see you were speaking about the Lebanese press — the statements are probably still valid, although I haven’t run across blatant fabrication from the Lebanese press as I have with Palestine…

    My other comments about the evolution of news stories, and the state of journalism still stand though…

    Sorry for not reading you post better the first time!

  3. Where have you come across fabrications in Palestinian press?
    Also, Lebanese press is very diverse and is usually based on party politics. So LBC for example has obvious Lebanese Forces inclinations, Future TV is owned by the Hariri family and naturally is the mouthpiece of the Future Movement, Manar is owned and run by HezbAllah, NBN by Nabih Berri and therefore an Amal mouthpiece, and so on… so, if more than one TV station says it (and mind you, a number of non-Lebanese Arab stations also reported this story, and they have been far more reliable than Israeli media, even when it comes to events inside Israel, such as the Kfar Giladi rocket strike) then I think it’s pretty damn accurate.

  4. Ha’aretz has updated the number of kidnapped to FIVE, which was initially what the Lebanese media reported.

  5. The Ha’aretz news ticker says:

    “IDF troops seize one more person in southern Lebanon”

    Quite a fabrication, given that the number stood at 5 from the first minute of the report on the kidnapping.

    Meanwhile, the original article has been modified to say five kidnapped.

  6. I hope these civilians are released soon, and that IDF troops withdraw completely behind the blue line.

    Also, thanks for not putting a “health warning” on our blog yet.

  7. The number of kidnapped has risen to SIX – but Israeli media has been barely able to chew the FIVE so don’t expect them to raise the number any time soon… The sixth man, also a civilian, was kidnapped at Marwahine and transferred in a Hummer to Israel.

  8. Amos – moving blogs to the health warning section is based on careful observation for a number of months. One of the blogs that I moved to that section was initially placed in the first section, but during the war, I noticed a racist trend in her blog, and was quite digusted, to be honest, with the sick mentality which prompted her to deny that the massacres at Qana ever took place. So placing blogs in that section requires more than just me disagreeing with the opinions of the blogger in question.

  9. I just wanna say keep up the good work in getting the word out.

  10. Perhaps I’m too simple minded, but given there is a ceasefire, I do not believe either side should be kidnapping, detaining or whatever the wording, members of the other side. I believe it is an agressive act.

    If the people were armed, am I to understand that only Hezbollah members have guns? If there was something going on, patrol or ambush and someone grabbed a gun in case they needed to defend themself or their family, that still may not mean they are Hezbollah. Perhaps I’m too simple minded.

    I do not believe Hezbollah is a terrorist group. I believe they are a resistance group, which is out of step with many Americans. I believe some in Hezbollah believe in an extreme Islamic order that represents a danger to both Lebanon, the Middle East and to the world. Some may disagree.

    I do not believe all Hezbollah members believe in the style of Islam that advocates an Islam only world order. I am certain someone will believe otherwise.

    I believe that some in Israel embrace a dangerous form of Zionism, as dangerous as the extreme Islamic belief system. I believe some Christians embrace a form of Christanity that represents a danger to others, and I believe history shows all three of the belief systems have caused significant war and death throughout the ages.

    I believe Isreal needs to take serious steps to work toward peace instead of working at war. I believe they need to resolve ALL outstanding issues with all parties, not simply one or two issues. I do not believe they will have peace in doing so, but they will have the support of those who do not support extremist beliefs. I believe incidents related to extremists should then be resolved though diplomatic relations with neighboring nations, and the legal system. Again, I may be too simple minded.

  11. The kidnapping of yet more civilians in Lebanon by Israel is predictable. They are doing nothing less than carrying through and implementing their decade’s-long policy/attitude of – “We f***ing own you and we will do whatever we want with you”.

    I would just love to read the “media” reports if HezbAllah kidnapped 5 or 6 Israeli Jews – in Isreal – who were “moving towards” Lebanaon. All hell would break loose.

  12. RoxieAmerica,
    I, for one, don’t believe you’re being simple-minded at all. The problem is the intransigent beliefs of the power player. Israel, as time has shown, has never been interested in making peace. They have done all that they can to provoke war.

    If I were king of the world, the very first thing I’d do is abolish all religions. There have been more people killed in the name of religion than for any other cause. To me, religious belief is the single largest contributor to misery, and the perpetuation of misery on this planet. When people scorn China, for example, for arresting and deporting missionaries, I cheer.

  13. I just started to read the posts on this blog and I am amazed about how biased this blogger is. Also, I don’t think the word “kidnapping” is the correct term to be used. ‘Detanes’ is more of an appropriate word since Israel is a government. The Israeli soldiers that were kidnapped were taken by organizations that do not represent the country of Lebanon. It’s amazing how some people can twist things to make people think the way they want them to.

  14. Israel is also stealing water from the Wazzani river, but no one will take notice of it, neither the world media nor those who claim they want Lebanon to be free of Syrian/Iranian influence (but they never talk about Israeli or American influence… strange), nor in fact the Lebanese government will find this worthy of mention. A few days ago Israeli forces “fixed” a broken pipe and pump that was used to pump water from the Wazzani to Israel during the days of the occupation. They were also seen to be rebuilding an observation post on Lebanese land right next to the river, which HezbAllah had destroyed in 2005…

  15. Orangitan89 – it does not matter what entity carried out the act, what matters is WHO was captured. In international law and conventions, soldiers who are captured are referred to as POW (prisoners of war) and not “hostages”, and their taking is a capture and not a kidnapping. The case of civilians, however, is different. They are referred to as hostages and the act is called a kidnapping/hostage-taking.

    But I don’t expect you to understand such a simple concept as the differentiation between soldier and civilian. After all, Israel considers that attacks against its soldiers are the same as attacks against its civilians.

  16. I am amazed about how biased this blogger is. I don’t think the word “kidnapping” is the correct term to be used. ‘Detanes’ is more of an appropriate word since Israel is a government. The Israeli soldiers that were kidnapped were taken by organizations that do not represent the country of Lebanon. Comment by orangitan89 — September 9, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

    Holy buckets orangitan89! Hezbollah has seats in the Lebanon parliment. They are a political party in power in the region. They did kidnap the Israeli soldiers, but the idea that Israel does not kidnap people is pure nonsense. They have even kidnapped members of the Palestinean government. I do not believe using the term kidnap makes this blogger biased. Of course he is biased on the side of many in Lebanon, but not because he uses the word kidnap. The writer of this blog never promised to present fair-and-balanced opinions. Fox News promises to do that, but they lie and only present a republican view.

    If you disagree, then comment on the point. Discussion of bias is unproductive, as everyone has some type of bias.

  17. orangitan89,
    Playing the “biased” card is not very different from playing the “anti-semite” card. Any folks mentioning the crimes of the Israeli state must be made to shut up somehow, but we’re not supposed to talk about those, are we?

    You can play semantics with words and phrases all you want, but the fact of the matter is that the terror state of Israel is “disappearing” civilians from Lebanon and Palestine.

    And the word “detainee” is probably the worst word to use. This is how Bush and his neo-con tribe refer to the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay (and just why in the hell Cuba allows an American outpost in their country is completely beyond me, but that’s another topic). They are in jail, they are prisoners, they are not charged with any crimes. Call them whatever you want; it’s a criminal outrage.

  18. Chris, in the foreword to his book’s (The Gun and the Olive Branch) third edition, David Hirst discusses the various tactics used by pro-Israelis and THE lobby to denounce and defame those who are critical of Israel. Given that the anti-Semitic card does not work when the critics are Jewish, they have on more than one occasion, issued death threats to dissenting Jews, ruined their careers, forced them to move, threatened their families, and so on. You can see how desperate they are to maintain some form of control, at whatever cost.

  19. Anarchorev,
    Thanks for the book info. Haven’t read it but I do not doubt in the least the truth of those comments. Fascists, I tell you. Fascists.

  20. Israel isn’t stealing water from lebanon, not more then lebanon from syria and syria from turkey (the Euphrates). All three are downstream countries which have rights to get some of the water in these border rivers. Lebanon has been violating international water agreements, taking water from Israel (so has syria been taking water from lebanon and turkey from syria).

  21. All three are downstream countries which have rights to get some of the water in these border rivers.
    Actually, Israel has, on more than one occasion, deliberately diverted water from areas, knowing full well that others had the right to take water too. This was the prevalent policy in the 50s and 60s, and now it has shifted onto obvious stealing, and yes, taking water from Lebanese land IS stealing, I did not refer to just the water flowing FROM the Wazzani, but about where it was taken from, which was INSIDE Lebanese territory. Certainly no state has the right to send its soldiers into the territory of another state to pump water from INSIDE that state.

    Lebanon takes no water from Israel. Israel’s own water is not enough to cover its consumption. Lebanon has more water than it needs, and much of it is wasted. That does not make Israel’s theft, however, anything other than theft.

  22. The AP today reports on an Al-Jazeera inteview with Nashrallah where he says that there will be no deal without Samir Kuntar’s release. It goes on to call Kuntar the “longest held Hezbullah prisoner” or something like that. Is he considered a “Hezbullah prisoner?” It was pointed out that his attack was in 79, before Hezbullah “officially” appeared.

    Have the claimed him since for some reason? What is the connection?

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