Wednesday, August 09, 2006


By Eleanor Arnason

I wrote to my US senators about the Israeli attack on Lebanon recently, saying that I was deeply disturbed and felt that the US should do whatever necessary to pull Israel back. (According to David Levy, in a recent essay in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Israel has always relied to the US to pull it back when it goes too far. But this time, the US has not stepped in, and Israelis are on their own in a really big mess.)

I got back replies that said this a complex and painful situation with deep historical roots, and we all hope it can be resolved. This sounded like waffling to me. I wrote the following letter back:
Thank you for your reply to my e-mail. My sense of what is happening in Lebanon is different than yours, and I place far more of the blame on Israel.
According to Israel, the incident that provoked the attack was a minor foray by Hezbollah against an Israeli military target. Such incidents have happened before and not led to war. In this case, the foray was probably caused by Israeli's brutal attacks on the Palestians in Gaza. The people there are imprisoned by Israel in a tiny, overcrowded area without adequate food, water, electricity or health care and subject to ongoing attacks by the Israeli armed forces. The UN has warned that this constitutes a humanitarian crisis. We know this situation -- lack of food, clean water, health care and electricity in a hot, dry region -- is going to kill people. We also know that Israeli bombs are killing people, mostly civilians, many of them women and children. I was especially horrified to discover that the Israeli air force regularly flies over Gaza during the night, creating sonic booms in an attempt to demoralize the people. Imagine being wakened by sonic booms over and over and over. This is torture, carried out against a population that is trapped and cannot escape the torture.
It is possible that Israel was frightened by Hezbollah's raid, which was well planned and carried out. When one lives amid a large, subjugated population, any evidence that the population is able to act for itself is terrifying.
There is also evidence that Israel had been planning to attack Lebanon for some time.

Whatever their reason for responding to this particular raid, the Israeli air force has destroyed the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon and made one fourth of the nation's people homeless. The southern part of the country is now cut off; and relief organizations cannot get in, nor can international observers. The UN observation post on the border has already been destroyed by Israeli bombs. Free from observation, the Israelis can do whatever they want to the land and farms and towns and people.
Hezbollah is a non-government organization based in Lebanon's Shia south. It was formed in opposition to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s. You can call it a resistance movement, a civilian militia or a terrorist organization. Whatever you call it, the Lebanese government cannot control it and is not responsible for its actions. Destroying Lebanon is not a response to Hezbollah, nor is it an act of self-defense. It is an aggressive war against a helpless government and people.

I believe the U.S. governmet should do whatever it can to stop Israel at once, and that includes threatening to stop all aid.
I also suggest you assign a staff member to find out more about what is happening in Israel and Lebanon. I recommend Informed Comment, a web log by Juan Cole, Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History at the University of Michigan. I have also found the following sources useful: the Lebanese newspaper Daily Star; the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz; the Israeli peace activist Uri Avery; statements from the American University in Beirut; the English journalist Robert Fisk, who is based in Lebanon; and the English journalist Jonathan Cook, who is based in Israel. It is easy to find all these sources on the Internet.

Thank you again for your reply to my e-mail.


Mike said...

Your commentary is very one-sided. What is happeneing in the Middle East is a complex issue, with atrocities committed by both sides. There is certainly room for plenty of legitimate criticism of Israel, but you seem to eschew this in favor of inflammatory and  hateful statements directed towards Israel and Jewish people. Calling Israel "racist" and making factually incorrect statements about Israel's actions and government, while apologizing for the terrorism of Hezbollah is not the statement of someone who is working towards peace.

The people of Lebanon do not deserve to suffer due to the actions of Hezbollah, and the civilians of Israel do not deserve to be targeted by rockets. Both Israel and the Palestinians deserve to live in peace in mutually recognized states. Peace can happen only when both sides recognize their own errors and the humanity of the other. Your post, sadly, doesn't help.

Michael Caddell said...

What a bunch of trash!

Israel's sweetheart deal i.e. 2 - 3 billion a year in "aid" from the U.S. then turnaround to purchase jets, bombs and helicopters from US arms manufacturers to bomb Palestians and neighbors.

It's been going on for twenty years you amnesiacs. Why do you think the arabs are so suicidal about this issue?

U.S. turns a blind eye to Isrealis nuke bomb facilities for over twenty years and then wants to bomb Iran for building a nuke power plant.

Who did and did not sign the non - proliferation treatises? And why? Israel has been a nuclear state for years, quit acting like they are some puny little U. S. territory. Does Puerto Rico get that kind of treatment? Hell no!

I refuse to subjugate "peace" to a dialogue with GWB and a Zionist lobby that has pumped millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of so many in this government since 1948. Democrat or Republican.

The language of "peace" should not be subjugated to a "dialogue" with war mongers who not only do not listen to those talking about "peace", but lie to us wanting that "dialogue" and arm the ones hoping to run the Palestinians out as fast as possible, before the world wakes up.

The world started waking up about Israelis Zionism back in the late seventies. America did not. A two state solution was worked out, even while all those damn settlers were pouring into the west bank and Gaza, Israel bought time enough to get through Clinton's administration. Now since GWB and his minions came in, Israel is ready for their final solution for the arab problem.

GWB can't authorize enough bombs to be shipped to them fast enough and Lockheed Martin can't make them fast enough for Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel.

We look like a bunch of redneck idiots. And we are ... until a regime change takes place in this country.

And BTW, since we are so generous, and peace loving why didn't we split the 3 billion a year to Israel with the Palestinians for all those years?

Americans refuse to think for themselves, possibly too poorly educated to think beyond their leaders' self interests.

Whatever the leaders say, rope a dope, duh, I believe it.

Instead of invading Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama we should have invaded Israel and the Palestinian occupied territories and settled this issue once and for all by enforcing, at the point of a gun, the agreed accords of Camp David (which were still outrageously slanted to the Zionists favor).

911 was all about Palestine, fools.

Not Saddam or the Taliban.

Osama knew GWB was too stupid to lead us to forcing a solution to the two state issue. Osama knew we would instead go after him and into all the countries we have went since 911.

Instead of asking the world's forgiveness after 911 for our lopsided inhumane policies around Israel we acted like a bunch of cowboys after the Indians.

Cut all aid, pull all the troops home, shut down all bases abroad, cancel all munitions contracts with everybody, close the borders and start energy rationing programs across the country.

We have screwed up the world enough, time to get our asses back home and quit sticking ourselves into every stink hole country in the world.

And impeach the chickenhawk bums and drive every incumbent out of office.

I appreciate more In This Moment for taking the time to write to their braindead reps, while so many in this country are glued to the television watching endless reruns of people pouring their "liquids" out before boarding aircraft.

Don't panic, it's Kansas on a national scale. And it's all about to change, for the worse.

Small and slow is better,
Shop local or die,
See you when your gas runs out.