Thursday, August 03, 2006

Darkness At The End Of The Tunnel

A couple of years before the inception of the Jewish state, the British were controlling Palestine under a mandate. Their headquarters were in the King David hotel in Jerusalem. On July 22nd, 1946 the wing of the hotel housing the British Secretariat was demolished by 6 bombs placed there by a militant Zionist organization, Irgun. The attack was denounced by the British government and mainstream Jewish organizations as "a terrorist attack" and Irgun and Haganah (the group Irgun splintered from) were outlawed as terrorist organizations.

The leaders of these groups, Menachem Begin and David Ben-Gurion, went on to become 2 of Israel's most revered Prime Ministers and when the Jewish State was created in 1948, the members of these groups became the core of Israel's national army.

Ironic isn't it? One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.

The devastation being visited upon Lebanon is nothing short of biblical. I was here in '82 when the Israelis came all the way to Beirut and I was here during the worst times of the civil war and I have never seen such destruction and death. The disproportionate retaliation by the IDF surely steps outside the limits of any rules of engagement. But for all their talk of securing their national safety, the Israelis seem to have underestimated Hezbollah.

I disagree with what Hezbollah stands for and with what it did to start this. I stand against their gangster tactics with the Lebanese government and their holding hostage of the entire country, but I am impressed that they have kept the mighty Israeli army at bay and even sent shivers down their spines. The Israeli military seems to view all Arabs as second-class humans. They like to point to Israeli Arabs as evidence against this but they only tolerate them inside their borders because they can control them better there.

The IDF will never beat Hezbollah, not from the air and not from the ground, and even their staunchest ally, the USA, is starting to think twice about what they have got themselves into. Israel knows this too. By doing what they are doing, the way they are doing it, they are only perpetuating (if not fermenting) the hatred of all Arabs towards them. You want a war, then fine, have your war but keep the innocents away from it - and I'm talking about both sides here.

I hope I'm just passing through a phase of pessimism. I've been reading a lot of other blogs and just reeling from some of the attitudes, bigotry and sheer ignorance in the comments sections.

MacDara has gone home to Ireland, sent back by the company he works for to wait for better times. Yet upon arriving home, the first thing he did was organize a protest.

Lebanon Profile has left as well. It is such a shame that the country is losing people like him, moderate, intelligent, educated and clear-thinking. But what have they got left to stay for?

Even Jamal has shifted his unique turn of phrase and point of view towards the war.

The only way out of this is through diplomacy and negotiation but in the end, the only loser will be Lebanon whatever the outcome. Our country has been bombed backwards some 20 years in terms of infrastructure and economy.
Hezbollah will only become stronger after this and make Lebanon an even worse place to live than it is at this very moment. Non-Shia's will find it less and less to their liking and the already weak government won't have much of a say in it. Moderates who just want to live their lives peacefully and prosperously will be outvoiced and outmuscled by militancy and the wonderful Beirut of last summer won't be seen again.
No, instead we'll be starting out in the era the Israelis have bombed us to and where Hezbollah wants us to be - the Stone Age.

Be safe.


Jonathan, Tel Aviv said...

Lebanon had an illusion. Its people thought that they could have anarchy in the border with Israel and prosperity in the capital city.

That illusion has faded away. In my opinion, for us, the Israelis, that fact is much more important
than HA's popularity.

Every bomb of IAF tells you one simple thing:
No country can permit the existance of an armed militia and go away with it. It must be clear that weakness is not an execuse. If Lebanon can't cope with a rebellious milita, It has no right to exist as an independent state. Let Syria take control.

ghassan said...

It is not too early to ask the question: "WHO LOST LEBANON?"

My suggestions: Lahoud, Nasrallah and the Siniora cabinet.

JoseyWales said...

The only way out of this is through diplomacy and negotiation

Maybe Dez, but before diplomacy we must find sanity and courage which are sorely lacking.

Bingo Ghassan. Add Aoun to the trio from Hell and every apologist for Hezbo then, and NOW.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jonathan,

It might seem that someone who lives in a country that exists because it has successfully disposessed an entire people of their ancestral home would be eminently qualified to make suggestions about what nation state should surrender its sovereignty and to whom.

Luckily, no one really cares what you think. Even if they did, your suggestion that Lebanon surrender itself to Syria, one of the countries that helped create this situation by propping up and then arming to the teeth the 'rebellious' militia in quesion is bizarre, to say the least. What IS in that water you are drinking, Darling?

Tell you what though, you go back to bullying the Palestinians, a job you and yours perform with such admirable efficiency and we'll promise not to remind you too often that the only illusion that has faded of late is that the IDF is either invincible or is pure of arms.

1067 Lebanese civilians dead. 30% children. That light unto the nations is looking a little faded these days, eh Boychik?