Volume 7, No. 7, August-September-October, 2006


Israeli Zionists Get a Bloody Nose in Lebanon


After devastating Gaza, the Israeli marauders have now turned their venom on Lebanon. In this one month since the July 12th incident when the Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers, they have devastated Lebanon displacing one-fourth of its population and killing 845 of which 743 were civilians and over 4000 wounded. Already Lebanon, a country of just 3˝ million people has suffered damage of $ 9.4billion (a gigantic Rs.45,000 crores). 15,000 homes have been destroyed and over 75% of the population has no jobs because of the Israeli ravage.

Earlier these same marauders devastated Gaza (after they evacuated it); and also kidnapped 26 Hamas parliamentarians. In June Israeli bombing killed 50 Palestinians and injured 200. The capture of two Israeli soldiers came in the wake of Israel’s "Operation Defence Shield" against the hapless residents of Gaza. It was the biggest military operation undertaken since 2002 against the Palestinians.

Since Israel withdrew from Gaza its army has fired between about 9,000 artillery shells on the territory. This was planned well before the much-publicised withdrawal. The only power plant in Gaza, which supplies electricity for its 1.5 million people, was destroyed on the very first day Israel launched the attack. At the best of times, Gaza has been an impoverished city. It is also the most densely populated area in the world. Since the last week of June, Gaza has been without electricity and water. Hospitals and other essential services have closed down. Lack of sanitation has led to a public health crisis. Raw sewage has clogged many of the streets. The almost round-the-clock military raids, coupled with the sight of Israeli tanks rumbling on the streets of Gaza, have traumatized the people, especially the children. The state of Israel has kidnapped half the elected government of Palestine. And ever since the Hamas got elected the EU have cut off all aid to Palestine on which the government, to a large part, depended for its survival.

In the last decade Lebanon emerged painfully from the rubble of the 1980s war. More than one lakh Lebanese perished as a result of the Israeli occupation in the 1980s. It is once again being pushed to the wall. But as earlier the Lebanese people are not so easily cowed down and they are giving the Israelis a serious fight. In this battle they have killed 158 Isralis, of which 119 have been from their military.

The Hezbollah (Party of God) though Islamic, arose as a national force against Israeli aggression. The background to the rise of Hezbollah can be traced to the repeated aggression on Lebanon. In 1958 US marines landed on Lebanon; Israel aggressed twice — in 1978 and 1982. It was in 1978 that Israel first captured a large swath of territory in the predominantly Shia region of southern Lebanon, until the Hezbollah put an end to that occupation, except for a mountainside at the point where Israel and Syria meet with Lebanon, known as Shebba farms. Hezbollah itself came into existence some four years after the invasion of 1982, when Israel occupied about half of Lebanon, destroyed much of Beirut and oversaw the infamous massacres of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila camps. Until 2000 it was devoted to almost exclusively fighting the Israeli occupiers. After evicting the Israelis from virtually the whole of Lebanon, it entered Lebanese politics as a party and now has 12 members of Parliament and two in the Cabinet Its own list of candidates include not only Shias but also Christians and Druze. The Hezbollah has never been a sectarian force and has built it popularity amongst all sections. In fact as per a study of the 41 suicide bombers of the Hezbollah only 8 were Islamist and as many as 27 were from Leftist political groups like the Lebanese Communist Party and the Arab Socialist Union; three were Christians, including a women secondary school teacher with a college degree — all Lebanese. It, of course, has the tacit backing of both Syria and Iran.

As for the incident of July 12th which is said to have provoked Israel into attacking Lebanon, the primary fact is that Israel holds in its prisons hundreds of Lebanese nationals, whom they do not even acknowledge for well over a decade — not to speak of some 10,000 Palestinians who are currently in Israeli prisons. The Hezbollah seeks to exchange the Israeli prisoners for Lebanese.

Behind the present attacks on Gaza and Lebanon is the "New Middle East" that Condoleeza Rice now mentions in every speech she delivers on the affairs of the region. Risen from the corporate offices of Chevron and serving as secretary of State, she dismisses all the destruction as the "birth pangs of the New Middle East". As late as July 23, when a sixth of the Lebanese population had been rendered homeless, she opposed the idea of a cease-fire saying "we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the New Middle East, not going back to the old one".

The "New Middle East" plans to reverse the whole history of oil nationalization and transferring all oil assets into the direct control of the giant oil TNCs, with Israeli "energy security" guaranteed. Moreover, the water and land resources of Palestine shall come under permanent Israeli control, and the water resources of Lebanon may also be partially diverted to Israel. Various military arrangements are envisioned for the realization of this project.

And to realize this dream of Empire besides the continuing devastation in Lebanon, a dozen or more keep getting killed in Palestine and a hundred in Iraq every day. But in Lebanon the guerrilla forces have been beating back the Israeli offensive heroically.

Merely for the capture of two Israeli soldiers which were demanded for exchange of Lebanese prisoners, Israel began its devastating attack. It bombed the three runways and fuel depots of the Beirut international airport, all the country’s seaports, most highways and roads connecting various parts of the country and also those leading to Syria, tends of bridges in Lebanon’s South and East, factories, army bases, trucks, ambulances, hospitals, schools, television transmitters, the whole of southern Beirut, Sidon, Tyre, Baalbek, other towns, other villages. Within a fortnight one out of five Lebanese citizens had been rendered homeless. But all this destruction could not stop the counter-attack.

Hezbollah rocket attacks started after Israeli forces entered Lebanese territory and its air force began its carpet bombing. They have hit as deep as the town of Haifa and a large number of Israeli soldiers have been killed. For the first time Israel is panicky. They are not sure when and where the next rocket will hit them. They expected that with the extensive attack they would wipe out the guerrillas but they do not seem to have been significantly touched as the retaliation continues. It is because of this resistance now the US has brokered a ceasefire through the UN which they had vehemently opposed earlier. ]

Such brazen acts by the US-Israel-British Axis are to roundly condemned by the people throughout the world. The Indian government has given a cautious statement condemning both Israel and Lebanon. Can the capture of two soldiers be equated to the devastation of the Israeli forces? It is nothing but hypocrisy and amounts to tacit support to Israel. And of course the BJP is silent, being in full support of the Zionists. But the people of India stand by the people of Lebanon and Palestine and strongly condemn the Zionists and their US sponsors. No doubt the deeper they get entrenched in conflicts in West Asia, it will act to tighten the knot around their necks.

Meanwhile, as we go to the press, it is reported the Israelis/US have accepted the cease-fire that they first refused. This is in words, as Israeli attacks continue in Lebanon. They first said that nothing but the destruction of the Hezbollah and their disarming would be agreed to. The heroic resistance of the Lebanese and Palestinian people has not only forced this ceasefire but has also forced the Zionists to negotiate for the release of some political prisoners. The struggle of the people of West Asia is an important part of the overall anti-imperialist/anti-US struggle in the world today.




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