Friday, July 28, 2006

Anger in the Arab World

Rashid I. Khalidi in the nation

In what passes for analysis of the war involving Israel, Lebanon and Palestine in US and Israeli government circles, in the well-oiled PR machine that shills for them, and in much of the US media, we are told about a struggle against terrorism by a state under siege. The basic argument is that Israel is "responding to terrorist violence," and that the only real question is, How soon will Israeli force, backed by American determination, prevail? But this scenario has little to do with reality in the Middle East.

There will be no "destruction" of Hezbollah, and no "uprooting" of its infrastructure or that of Hamas, whatever the results of Israel's siege of Gaza and its merciless attacks against Lebanon. The rhetoric about "terrorism" has mesmerized those who parrot it, blinding them to the fact that Hezbollah and Hamas are deeply rooted popular movements that have developed as a response to occupation--of the West Bank and Gaza for nearly forty years, and of southern Lebanon from 1978 to 2000. Whatever one might say about the two movements' callousness in targeting civilians (a subject on which Israel's defenders are hardly in a position to preach), both have won impressive victories in elections and have provided social services and protection to their people.

The Lebanese government will not do Israel's bidding in south Lebanon. The deep divisions in Lebanon over Hezbollah's military presence before Israel's blitz began are rapidly disappearing. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri, Saad Hariri (son of assassinated Prime Minister Rafik Hariri), Gen. Michel Aoun, President Émile Lahoud and other major leaders of the country of all sects and all political persuasions and Lebanese public opinion have been horrified at Israel's ravaging of their country's infrastructure and its defenseless civilian population, yet again. Few indeed will be the Lebanese voices to support the Israeli-US position as this savaging of Lebanon goes on--and just because it is largely absent from US television does not mean that it is invisible to the rest of the world. (read more)


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