THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
July 13, 2006
Associated Press

Israel Intensifies Attacks Against Lebanon

by Sam F. Ghattas

Israel unleashed a furious military campaign on Lebanon's main airport, highways, military bases and other targets Thursday, retaliating for scores of Hezbollah guerrilla rockets that rained down on Israel and reached as far as Haifa, its third-largest city, for the first time.

The death toll in two days of fighting rose to 57 people, including 10 Israelis, with the sudden burst of violence sending shock waves through a region already traumatized by Iraq and the ongoing battles in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas. It shattered the relative calm in Lebanon that followed Israel's pullout from its occupied zone in south Lebanon in 2000 and the withdrawal of Syrian forces last year. . . .

Israeli analysts warned that Syria, which supports Hezbollah and plays host to Hamas' political leader Khaled Mashaal, could be Israel's next target.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said any Israeli attack against Syria would be an aggression on the whole Islamic world and warned of a harsh reaction . . .

Israel's offensive was among its heaviest in Lebanon since it invaded the neighboring country and occupied its capital 24 years ago. . . .

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UN Resolutions on Israel: 1955-1992

United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Lebanon

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004)

[The main thesis is that the desire to obtain additional water sources has been a primary influence on geostrategic interactions of Israel and its Arab neighbors. Israeli efforts to utilize the waters of the Litani help explain the establishment of the security zone in southern Lebanon. The apparent decision by Israel to retain access to the river makes it difficult for Lebanon to regain political stability and economic viability.--Hussein A. Amery, "THE LITANI RIVER OF LEBANON," Geographical Review, Jul93, Vol. 83 Issue 3, p229]

[Israel occupies southern Lebanon. Part of the Litani is located in this region. There are conflicting reports and conclusions over whether or not Israel is using the Litani. There is also a verbal struggle over which country needs the Litani more, could make best use of it, and who, therefore, should develop their use of the Litani. Although there is not an armed struggle over it now, it has been involved in armed struggles in the past (in the 1967 war, and in 1982) and it is conceivable that in the future the struggles over it may become armed.--Angela Joy Moss, "Litani River and Israel-Lebanon," American University, November 1997]

"Shebaa Farms: A Lebanese Land Occupied by Israel," Shebaa Farms Foundation, 2001

"Defense minister on the daily Israeli violation of Lebanon's sovereignty," arabicnews.com, November 24, 2005

Donald Neff, "Vetoes Cast by the United States to Shield Israel from Criticism by the U.N. Security Council," Washington Report, May/June 2005, page 14

Donald Macintyre, "Israeli Missiles Pound Gaza Into New Dark Age," Independent, June 29, 2006

[The Lebanese Hezbollah movement announced Wednesday the arrest of two Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon.--"Hezbollah arrests two Israeli soldiers," Bahrain News Agency, July 12, 2006]

"Middle East Crisis: Backgrounder," Stratfor, July 13, 2006

[Overnight Lebanon has been plunged into a role it endured for 25 years - that of a hapless arena for other people's wars--David Hirst, "Israel's monstrous legacy brings tumult a step closer," Guardian, July 14, 2006]

VIDEO: "Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East," LinkTV, July 14, 2006]

[In 1996, a group of pro-Israeli Americans - including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser - prepared a policy statement for then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that proposed a strategy of regime change as the only solution for Israel's growing encirclement and isolation. The main problem, they averred in "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," was Syria, and the troublesome border with Lebanon:

"Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which America can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon."

. . . Soldiers in wartime are captured, not "kidnapped." If Hezbollah has "kidnapped" those two Israeli soldiers, then how do we describe the jailing of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children, on the basis of their alleged sympathy for Hamas--Justin Raimondo, "Israel Crosses the Line," Antiwar.com, July 14, 2006]

[The right to defend a nation of people also applies to even the followers of Hezbollah trying to regain still-occupied territory and prisoners held illegally by Israel. . . .

There are real issues between Lebanon and Israel that should have been settled with the help of the United States long ago. Israel failed to keep her promise to make available maps of the 140,000 mines she left behind in Lebanon. Three small sectors of land overlooking the Litani River were retained by Israel and were the cause of complaints from the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, not just Hezbollah. The three Lebanese prisoners that were moved by Israel, contrary to the Geneva Convention prohibition against an occupying power transporting prisoners into its own territory, should have been returned long ago.--"A reality check: The three real issues between Israel and Lebanon," Council for the National Interest, July 14, 2006]

[The capture of three Israeli soldiers by the Lebanese resistance movement, Hizbullah, to bargain for prisoner exchange should come as no surprise - least of all to Israel, . . . The prisoners Hizbullah wants released are hostages who were taken on Lebanese soil. In the successful prisoner exchange in 2004, Israel held on to three Lebanese detainees as bargaining chips and to keep the battle front with Hizbullah open.

It is ironic, given Israel's bombing of civilian targets in Beirut, that Hizbullah is often dismissed in the west as a terrorist organisation. In fact its military record is overwhelmingly one of conflict with Israeli forces inside Lebanese territory.--Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, "The framing of Hizbullah," Guardian, July 15, 2006]

[But what would happen if the powerless Lebanese government had actually unleashed air attacks across Israel the last time Israel's troops crossed into Lebanon? What if the Lebanese air force then killed 73 Israeli civilians in bombing raids in Ashkelon, Tel Aviv and Israeli West Jerusalem? What if a Lebanese fighter aircraft bombed Ben Gurion airport? What if a Lebanese plane destroyed 26 road bridges across Israel? Would it not be called "terrorism"? I rather think it would. But if Israel was the victim, it would also probably be Word War Three.--Robert Fisk, "What I am watching in Lebanon each day is an outrage," Independent, July 15, 2006]

[THE REAL aim is to change the regime in Lebanon and to install a puppet government. . . . As in 1982, the present operation, too, was planned and is being carried out in full coordination with the US.--Uri Avnery, "The Real Aim," Gush Shalom, July 15, 2006]

Robin Wright, "Strikes Are Called Part of Broad Strategy: U.S., Israel Aim to Weaken Hezbollah, Region's Militants," Washington Post, July 16, 2006

[Iran's foreign ministry denies Israeli allegations that it supplied missiles to Hezbollah--"Deadly Hezbollah attack on Haifa," BBC News, July 16, 2006]

[. . . the countries remain officially in a state of war that has existed since 1948--"History of the Lebanese-Israeli Conflict," Associated Press, July 17, 2006]

[Lebanon received Mr Blair's suggestion of an intervention force with something approaching surprise. After all, isn't there already just such a force in the south right now, called the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon?--Robert Fisk, "'Blow up my city and I'll blow up yours'," Independent, July 18, 2006]

[First, Israel's actions in no way can be seen as a legitimate response to the small-scale attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah. . . .

Second, it's clear that Israel would never have launched this war without having made the calculation that it would win the support of the United States. The rest of the world is solidly aligned against Israel's outrageously disproportionate attacks, but none of that matters. . . .

Third, by invading and bombing Lebanon and acting brutally to crush the Palestinian Authority, Israel has created a unified field theory of the Middle East's crises, uniting the escalating world showdown with Iran, the unraveling civil war in Iraq, the crisis over Syria's role in Lebanon, and the Arab-Israeli conflict itself into one big tangle.--Robert Dreyfuss, "Neocons Rise From Mideast Ashes," tompaine.com, July 18, 2006]

[The Palestinian Red Crescent estimated that fourteen thousand people, mostly civilians, were killed and wounded in the first month of the operation.--James Bovard, "Israel's Prior Peacekeeping in Lebanon," lewrockwell.com, July 18, 2006]

Guy Dinmore, "Experts challenge White House line on Iran's influence," Financial Times, July 18, 2006

[Now, Israel's rampage against a defenseless Lebanon - smashing airport runways, fuel tanks, power plants, gas stations, lighthouses, bridges, roads and the occasional refugee convoy - has exposed Bush's folly in subcontracting U.S. policy out to Tel Aviv, thus making Israel the custodian of our reputation and interests in the Middle East.--Patrick J. Buchanan, "Where are the Christians?," WorldNet Daily, July 18, 2006]

Ewen MacAskill, Simon Tisdall and Patrick Wintour, "United States to Israel: you have one more week to blast Hizbullah: Bush 'gave green light' for limited attack, say Israeli and UK sources," Guardian, July 19, 2006

[The cold figures, combined with Israeli air attacks on civilian infrastructure like power plants, electricity transformers, airports, bridges, highways and government buildings, have led to accusations by France and the European Union, echoed by some nongovernmental organizations, that Israel is guilty of "disproportionate use of force" in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and of "collective punishment" of the civilian populations.--Steven Erlanger, "With Israeli Use of Force, Debate Over Proportion," New York Times, July 19, 2006]

[Yet, mindful of the decades-long fighting between Israel and Hezbollah - in which kidnappings of soldiers have been the rule rather than the exception - the assertion that Iran and Hezbollah aimed to draw Israel into a major war remains unconfirmed.--Trita Parsi, "It's not just about Hezbollah," Inter Press Service, July 20, 2006]

[ . . . they started this in the late '60s, when there was a couple Fatah guerrillas in South Lebanon. They bombed Beirut Airport in 1968 for the first time. Then what they got back was a much bigger Lebanese resistance, a leftist nationalist resistance, with the PLO. Then they went into Lebanon in the '70s, and then in '80 they occupied South Lebanon, and they reaped in return for that Hezbollah. And they went into Hezbollah in 1996.--Rami Khouri, "Israel Warns 300,000 Lebanese To Flee Homes as Ground Invasion Nears," democracynow.org, July 21, 2006]

[Israel's relationship with the United States is unique in a number of ways. And one of those ways is that essentially the United States provides 20% of the Israeli military budget on an annual basis, and then about 70% of that money that is given from the United States, from U.S. taxpayers, to Israel is then spent on weapons from Lockheed Martin and Boeing and Raytheon.--Frida Berrigan, "U.S. Arming of Israel: How U.S. Weapons Manufacturers Profit From Middle East Conflict," democracynow.org, July 21, 2006]

[Back to 1982, . . . the neo-cons who at that time had already crawled from the primal slime and were doing exactly what they are doing now: advising an American president to give Israel the green light to "solve its security problems" by destroying Lebanon.

In 1982 Israel had a problem. Yasir Arafat, headquartered in Beirut, was making ready to announce that the PLO was prepared to sit down with Israel and embark on peaceful, good faith negotiations towards a two-state solution.

Israel didn't want a two-state solution, which meant - if UN resolutions were to be taken seriously - a Palestinian state right next door, with water, and contiguous territory. So Israel decided chase the PLO right out of Lebanon. It announced that the Palestinian fighters had broken the year-long cease-fire by lobbing some shells into northern Israel.--Alexander Cockburn, "Hezbollah, Hamas and Israel: Everything You Need To Know," counterpunch.org, July 21, 2006]

Matthew Kalman, "Israel set war plan more than a year ago," San Francisco Chronicle, July 21, 2006

[Britain and the United States find themselves isolated in the UN Security Council in resisting calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the Middle East.--James Bone, "Britain and US block ceasefire calls," Times, July 21, 2006]

Patrick J. Buchanan, "No, This Is Not 'Our War'," antiwar.com, July 21, 2006

Tom, "Where exactly were those Israeli soldiers when Hezbollah captured them?," representativepress.blogspot.com, July 22, 2006

[Bush denounces Syria and Iran for allegedly arming Hezbollah, while he rushes more deadly weapons to Israel. . . .

Bush's war is not on terror. Bush's war is on Muslim states not ruled by American puppets. --Paul Craig Roberts, "US Complicit in Destruction of Lebanon," antiwar.com, July 24, 2006]

[Israel, since its inception, has never declared its borders. Its so-called borders are "armistice lines" which reflect the result of military conflict. The only reason, for example, that Israel's border with Lebanon is where it is, and not on the Litani river, is the dogged resistance of Hizbullah--Gabriel Ash, "Israel, Lebanon: Defense Against the Black Arts," dissidentvoice.org, July 24, 2006]

"Israel bans reporting of use of 'unique' weapons in Lebanon," Redress Information & Analysis, July 25, 2006

"The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil," Centre for Research on Globalization, July 26, 2006

Jonathan Cook, "Five Myths That Sanction Israel's War Crimes," antiwar.com, July 26, 2006

[Israel is now insisting on the implementation of 1559, whereas, as Nasrallah said, they ignored this earlier Security Council resolution demanding that they remove themselves from South Lebanon for 20 years--" Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah Talks With Former US Diplomats on Israel, Prisoners and Hezbollah's Founding," democracynow.org, July 28, 2006]

[According to Joseph Cirincione, an arms expert and the author of Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats, "The neoconservatives are now hoping to use the Israeli-Lebanon conflict as the trigger to launch a U.S. war against Syria, Iran or both."--James Bamford, "Iran: The Next War," Rolling Stone, July 2006]

VIDEO: CNN anchor questions Israeli Spokeswoman, CNN, July 30, 2006

[Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers on July 12 was a direct result of Israel's silent but unrelenting aggression against Lebanon, which in turn is part of a six-decades long Arab-Israeli conflict.

Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored "blue line" on an almost daily basis, according to UN reports. Hizbullah's military doctrine, articulated in the early 1990s, states that it will fire Katyusha rockets into Israel only in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians or Hizbullah's leadership; this indeed has been the pattern.--Anders Strindberg, "Hizbullah's attacks stem from Israeli incursions into Lebanon," Christian Science Monitor, August 1, 2006]

Salim El Hoss, "An open letter to the American president," Daily Star, August 1, 2006

"Israeli War Crimes in Lebanon," Human Rights Watch, August 3, 2006

[But the question of prisoners held by Israel - nearly all of them Palestinians - is the subtext of this crisis and likely to figure in its resolution. . . . The prisoners number about 9,700, about 100 of them women, according to a spokeswoman for the Israeli Prison Authority.--Craig S. Smith, "The prisoners that Hezbollah is fighting for," New York Times, August 4, 2006]

VIDEO: George Galloway on Lebanon, Sky News, August 6, 2006

[Now comes the war in Lebanon and proves that this was a mistake. Although the Syrians sat on the sidelines, the danger from that direction was not removed and the delusion that the Golan would forever remain in Israeli hands, without our being asked to pay for its occupation, is now slapping us in the face.--Gideon Levy, "The real estate war," Haaretz, August 7, 2006]

[Bodies with dead tissues and no apparent wounds; 'shrunken' corpses; civilians with heavy damage to lower limbs that require amputation, which is nevertheless followed by unstoppable necrosis and death; descriptions of extensive internal wounds with no trace of shrapnel, corpses blackened but not burnt, and others heavily wounded that did not bleed.--Paola Manduca, "New and unkown deadly weapons used by Israeli forces," GlobalResearch.ca, August 7, 2006]

[ . . . six Israeli civilians had been killed in the six years prior to the Israeli invasion - one by a falling anti-aircraft round fired at Israeli aircraft violating Lebanese airspace and five in an August 2002 Palestinian operation that was likely aided by Hezbollah. . . . roughly twenty Lebanese civilians were killed either by hostile action or by mines left behind by the IDF.

During the same period, 25 Israeli soldiers were killed in Hezbollah attacks; that number includes the eight soldiers killed in the July 12 incident that triggered the invasion.--Ken Silverstein, "Israel's March of Folly," Harpers, August 7, 2006]

[Israel's first leader, David Ben-Gurion, believed the natural border of the Jewish state should be Lebanon's Litani River, and this legacy has apparently guided the Israeli army ever since.--Ran HaCohen, "The End of Lebanon?," antiwar.com, August 8, 2006]

"Army Uses Israeli Arabs as Shield," Islamonline.net, August 8, 2006

[Since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, there have been hundreds of violations of the "blue line" between the two countries. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) reports that Israeli aircraft crossed the line "on an almost daily basis" between 2001 and 2003, and "persistently" until 2006. . . .

Israel's assault, then, was premeditated: it was simply waiting for an appropriate excuse.--George Monbiot, "Israel responded to an unprovoked attack by Hizbullah, right? Wrong," Guardian, August 8, 2006]

Anatol Lieven, "Help Israel abandon its failed strategy," International Herald Tribune, August 9, 2006

"SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR END TO HOSTILITIES BETWEEN HIZBOLLAH, ISRAEL, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1701 (2006)," United Nations, August 11, 2006

[ . . . control of water has long driven much of Israeli policy toward her neighbors. Many, including former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, have acknowledged the water origins of the Six Day War that brought Sheba'a Farms under Israeli control, and as recently as 2002 Israel almost declared war on Lebanon for diverting water from the Wazzani Springs to border villages.

Much of Mt. Hermon's snowmelt happens to feed into the Jordan River system. With concerns that the river could run dry within a few years because of overuse, control of all the headwaters becomes even more vital to Israel's interests. . . .

Regardless of whether Sheba'a Farms belongs to Syria or Lebanon, according to UN Resolution 242 (1967), Israel should have withdrawn long ago from this and other areas occupied after the Six Day War.-- Margaret Griffis, "Sheba'a Farms: Much Ado About Nothing?," antiwar.com, August 12, 2006]

Aluf Benn et all "U.S. assures Israel it will not be forced to withdraw from Shaba," Haaretz, August 13, 2006

Jafar Farah and Susan Nathan, "No Shelters, Sirens for Israel's Arab Citizens," democracynow.org, August 14, 2006

[Pulitzer Prize-winning US journalist Seymour Hersh writes that US President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced that a successful Israeli bombing campaign against Hezbollah could ease Israel's security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential US pre-emptive attack to destroy Iran's nuclear installations.

Citing an unnamed Middle East expert with knowledge of the thinking of the Israeli and US Governments, Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah - and shared it with Bush administration officials - well before the July 12 kidnappings.--Abraham Rabinovich, "US helped plan offensive, says New Yorker magazine," News.com, August 14, 2006]

[ . . . the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla army has, in effect, won this round of their war with Israel. . . . there is no more sign that Hizbollah intends to "disarm" under the terms of UN Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701 than Israel is prepared to abide by UN Security Council Resolution 242 and withdraw from Arab territories it occupied in 1967.--Robert Fisk "In the face of Bush's lies, it's left to Assad to tell the truth," Independent, August 16, 2006]

[This claim is made by citizens of a state who know very well where to turn off Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv to get to the security-military complex that is located in the heart of their civilian city; this claim is repeated by the parents of armed soldiers who bring their weapons home on weekends, and is recited by soldiers whose bases are adjacent to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and who have shelled civilian Palestinian neighborhoods from positions and tanks that have been stationed inside civilian settlements.--Amira Hass, "Nasrallah didn't mean to," Haaretz, August 17, 2006]

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon . . . plans to submit a report to the United Nations General Assembly at the end of the month, stating that damage Israel caused to the oil reservoir polluted Lebanon's coast, and that the pollution spread to neighboring countries, especially Syria.--Roee Nahmias, "Report: UN to demand Israel pay Lebanon $1 billion," ynetnews.com, September 6, 2008

Electronic Lebanon: An Electronic Intifada Project

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