In reply to Israelâ€™s rationale for going to war with Hezbollah, I would like to argue that while Israel claimed that the abducted Israelis soldiers provoked its disproportionate response to Lebanon, it was used as an Arab cover for war against Hezbollah. A war with Hezbollah, according to some experts, was simply a matter of time. The sooner the better. It is forgotten that Israel has an ugly history of regularly kidnapping and incarcerating Palestinian civilians without due legal process. On the contrary, the main provocation for any war against Israel is Israelâ€™s continued illegal and brutal occupation and colonization of the Palestinian lands. Plus, it should be remembered that Israel illegally holds thousands of Arab prisoners without charges in their jails. Many of these prisoners were illegally captured during Israelâ€™s illegal invasion and occupation of Lebanon (1982-2000).
It is revealing to see how much detail the Israeli regime goes into explaining the number of Israelis deaths, but fudges on the number of Lebanese casualties as the direct result of its indiscriminate and deliberate targeting of the Lebanese civilian population and infrastructure. After all the disfigured, charred, and mangled bodies have been pulled out of all the concrete rubble and devastation in Lebanon, the Israeli military has killed more than 1,200 Lebanese–85% being civilians, non-military combatants. Furthermore, over 20,000 Lebanese have been seriously injured and more than 1 million Lebanese were displaced by the Israeli bombing. As for the Lebanese infrastructure, the disproportionate response has caused 6-10 Billion US dollars in damages to property, roads, bridges, hospitals, electrical plants and so forth. Of course, these figures donâ€™t take into account the massive ecological devastation caused by bombed oil tankers near the Lebanese coastline, which as caused untold disaster on the ecosystem.
Experts predict that this clean-up will take many years and Israel will not be held accountable for this devastation. Unfortunately, Israelis are more concerned with the very minimal ecological damage caused by rockets burning a few trees here and there. If the Israeli regime was to make an honest comparison, in terms of civilian deaths, property damage, and ecological ecocide, they must admit that Lebanon has suffered far more than Israel. While it is very sad to see Arabs or Israelis witness property damage and loss of life, Israelis have minimal problems in returning to their intact homes, buildings; walking on their slightly damaged streets; and swimming on their pristine beaches, but the Lebanese have no streets, homes or buildings to return to as theyâ€™ve been obliterated by Israelis 500-1000lbs American made precision guided bombs, let alone swim in an oil saturated beach. Why does the Israeli government take such great pains in explaining the relatively low but tragic Israelis death toll and property damage compared to the far greater losses in Lebanon? The answer: Israelis blood is more valuable than Arab blood.
It is also interesting to note that the Israeli regime claims that Hezbollah are Iranian agents. So? What is the state of Israel? They forget that Israelâ€™s 18 year illegal invasion and occupation of Lebanon was and is the main reason for Hezbollahâ€™s existence. These are Lebanese freedom fighters, not Iranians. Every single Hezbollah fighter is a native from Lebanon, not Iran. It may be true that Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy, but what is the relationship between Israel and the US? Isnâ€™t Israel an American proxy and an extension of the US military in the Middle-East? Protecting USâ€™s oil interests? It needs to be remembered that even though Israel has one of the highest GDP rates ($24,000 per person) in the world, it annually receives 3-5 billion dollars from the US (Third of US Foreign Budget) in economic and military aid. Lebanon only receives 60 million in US annual aid. Hezbollah rockets may indeed come from Iran, but where does Israel get its state of the art warplanes, precision guided missiles and nuclear weapons that can reach any major city in the Middle-East? From the US. In fact, as soon as the war began, the US had no qualms in a rush delivery of hundreds of precision guided missiles to Israel. All this military power assisted by the US against a nation that cannot defend itself, against a nation that has no warplanes is simply immoral and a racist double-standard.
Contrary to some inaccurate Israelis explanations, the war didnâ€™t begin simultaneously with hundreds of Hezbollah rockets being fired into Northern Israel and the abduction of Israelis soldiers. That is simply a distortion of the historical timeline. Even the Israeli regime isnâ€™t this ingenious. While it is true that Hezbollah has sporadically fired rockets into Israel over the past few years, it was only after Israel began indiscriminately targeting and bombing civilians in Southern Beirut did Hezbollah retaliate in firing hundreds of rockets at Israel targets. Israel started targeting civilians first, not Hezbollah. In fact, contrary to Israel, Hezbollah targeted and killed mostly Israeli soldiers (90% Military Targets), not Israelis civilians. More than 100 Israelis soldiers were killed in hostilities, but Israel killed more civilians than Hezbollah fighters.
After all the dust has settled, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) are accusing the Israelis military and Hezbollah for committing war crimes against humanity. HRW and AI suggest the UN conduct an investigation into these war crimes. Regardless of all the unproven Israelis claims that Hezbollah uses human shields, (HWR and Labanese civilians refute this idea that Hezbollah uses human shields, but point out that Israelâ€™s military has been guilty of using Palestinians has human shields) regardless of the leaflets warning of Israelis bombings, HRW and AI have accused Israel of war crimes. In fact, HRW indicates that the Israelis government and military, regardless of the civilian presence, treated Southern Lebanon as a Free-Fire Zone.
In conclusion, â€œthere will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel,â€ according to Jimmy Carter, â€œis violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy and the international “road map” for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians. Except for mutually agreeable negotiated modifications, Israel’s official pre-1967 borders must be honored. As were all previous administrations since the founding of Israel, U.S. government leaders must be in the forefront of achieving this long-delayed goal.â€
Alden C. Mayfield,
Seoul, South Korea.