The ‘Times’ smooths the path to the next Lebanon war

Should another war break out between Israel and Lebanon, who would be at fault: the nation that actually commences bombing and invasion, backed by the full diplomatic and military support of the most powerful country in the world? Or the country that is bombed and invaded, along with its quasi-ally that provides a small fraction of such assistance?

An article in Wednesday’s Times answers that question in typical fashion. The guilty party would be Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah party, and its main offense would be Hezbollah’s supposedly provocative preparation of a Lebanese defense to an Israeli attack. The article, authored by Thanassis Cambanis, is written as if the reporter were “embedded” with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In July, 2006, Israel launched a bombing campaign and invasion against Lebanon that caused widespread destruction and loss of life similar in scale to its subsequent attack on Gaza. More than 1000 Lebanese lost their lives and whole villages and neighborhoods were destroyed. Yet many Israelis considered the “war” a failure, since Hezbollah not only survived the conflict but also inflicted enough damage on the invading Israeli Army and on communities in northern Israel to force withdrawal before Israel had accomplished its objective, presumably the destruction of Hezbollah. Since then, many Israelis have been itching to resume the fight, just as they were for six war-free years after Israel finally ended its two-decade long occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000.

Now, the Times reports that Hezbollah is provoking the Israelis by preparing for the possibility, or likelihood, of the next Israeli war. It is precisely this defensive buildup that Israel is using as a potential casus belli to justify a new war.

Amazingly, the argument that a military attack is necessary to defeat those who are preparing to defend themselves from that military attack is not dismissed as a transparent absurdity. (In fact, it is the general assumption underlying all the war talk about Iran as well.)

From the very start, Cambanis uses loaded language to convey his message. “Hezbollah instigated its war with Israel in 2006.” It is true that a border raid on an IDF position was the catalyst for the Israeli attack, but the word “instigate” implies that Hezbollah intentionally provoked the “war.” Israel’s war preparations already were in full swing, and the decision to respond with a full-scale bombing and ground invasion was purely Israel’s.

Subsequently, Hezbollah chief Nasrallah has claimed, quite credibly, that he would not have launched this border operation had he known the Israelis would use it as an excuse to retaliate so destructively. Saying that Hezbollah “instigated its war” is similar to saying that Herschel Grynszpan “instigated” Kristallnacht, or that Princip & co. “instigated” World War I.

Similarly, Hezbollah is cast as the aggressor in the next war: “Hezbollah appears to be, if not bristling for a fight with Israel, then coolly prepared for one. It seems to be calculating either that an aggressive military posture might deter another war, as its own officials and Lebanese analysts say, or that a conflict, should it come, would on balance fortify its domestic political standing.”

In other words, while Hezbollah may say that its arms buildup is for deterrent purposes, Times reporter Cambanis knows better, and suspects that Hezbollah actually hopes to provoke a war for craven political purposes.

And wait. Let’s not depict Hezbollah as the sole villain here, when we can blame Iran as well. The Times: “because of the party’s ties to Iran and its powerful militia, Hezbollah officials say they are ready to fight even if a war would do widespread damage.”

In addition to implicating bete noire Iran, the article suggests that Hezbollah’s vow to resist a foreign military invasion is responsible for the destruction Israel would wreak; if only Hezbollah declared it was unwilling to repel an Israeli attack, the danger of “widespread damage” would dissipate.

Continuing with the Iranian theme: Hezbollah is “emboldened” because its “patrons in Iran appear to have regained control” after post-election challenges to its authority. The article also lays the groundwork for Israel’s inevitable wholesale attacks on civilian areas that characterized its previous attacks on Lebanon and Gaza:

“Hezbollah appears to have retained the support of the Shiite Muslims in southern Lebanon. ‘Hezbollah is not a foreign body. It is an organic, natural part of every house, village,’ said Hussein Rumeiti, an official in Burj Qalaouay.”

The message is clear: If Israel should again decimate entire villages and neighborhoods, we should not weep for the civilians killed in the rubble. They are inextricably intertwined with Hezbollah and therefore appropriate targets for Israeli attack.

In reality, Israel will bomb and invade Lebanon if it feels like it. As in 2006 and 2008-2009, its indiscriminate death machine will receive the full backing of its American sponsors, regardless of who is the dog and who is the tail. Israel requires no provocation by Hezbollah, and if ready to go, it will invent an excuse, or magnify a relatively minor incident.

In 1982, Israel’s pretext was the assassination attempt on its ambassador in London, and in 2006, it was the border raid. For the next round, it appears to be Hezbollah’s stockpiling of missiles to use in case of an Israeli attack that perversely justifies that attack, and don’t forget Iran pulling the strings behind the scene.

The Times article does not mean war is inevitable, but it does construct a framework to justify military action by Israel. Does the Israeli government bestow honors upon foreign reporters? If so, Thanassis Cambanis deserves top awards.

About David Samel

David Samel is am attorney in New York City.
Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , ,

{ 53 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. ish says:

    That Times article was such a shoddy piece of propaganda!

  2. James North says:

    Another point to add to David Samel’s excellent post. Cambanis has just published a book on Hezbollah, called A Privilege to Die. I bought it; I haven’t started it; I would like to know what people who know Lebanon think of it.
    It might turn out to be excellent. But surely the Times editors might sense a potential conflict of interest? Cambanis may, even unconsciously, play up Hezbollah’s dangerous side to draw interest to his book. It looks like he worked long and hard on it. So if he goes out and reports ‘all quiet on the northern front,’ will it reduce attention?
    Reporting assignments are supposed to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. The Times failed here, I think.

    • Avi says:

      James North,

      The title, “A Privilege to Die”, speaks volumes about the book and its author. The spin and propaganda in this NYT article alone is a sufficient indictment of Cambanis’ journalistic (or lack thereof) standards. What we have here is a budding follower of the likes of Efraim Karsh and Daniel Pipes, an orientalist who peddles propaganda on behalf of the Zionist lobby.

      And as irony would have it, he’s a “teacher” at Columbia University . It seems Columbia hires any obscure run-of-the-mill journalist to “teach” about the Middle East.

      • Egbert says:

        May I suggest an autobiography title: “A Privilege to Lie”

        • RE – A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel By Thanassis Cambanis

          Journalist and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs teacher Thanassis Cambanis discusses A Privilege to Die, his revealing new book that seeks to bring a murky organization out of the shadows.
          My book is on sale in bookstores. You also can order it on Amazon.

          “Brilliant and revealing. It positively frightened me. Cambanis tells an important story with emotional power.”
          –Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations

          “A gripping, street-level view of Hezbollah. Cambanis brings Hezbollah out of the shadows to show how it has become the world’s most sophisticated resistance group.”
          – Richard Engel, Chief Foreign Correspondent, NBC News, author of War Journal and A Fist in the Hornet’s Nest.

          “No book I know does a better job in getting inside the thought-world of Hezbollah’s followers. Nuanced, textured, and brutally honest.”
          – Noah Feldman, Harvard Law, author of Scorpions and The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State

          WEBSITE – link to thanassiscambanis.com

    • David Samel says:

      James, I had no knowledge of the book. The fact is, there was even much more in this article I did not comment on, for the sake of keeping my piece at a reasonable length. One of those passages was at the very end, which you may not have seen. Cambanis describes a Muslim resident of a southern Lebanon village named Jamil who was still rebuilding his house destroyed by Israel in 2006. He continues: “A Christian friend from the neighboring village who sheltered Mr. Jamil’s family during the 2006 bombing, and who subsequently lost a leg to a cluster bomb, visited on a recent Sunday and denounced the war talk.” My comments: 1) Interesting how the Israelis bombed the Muslim village but allowed the Christian village to be unscathed. 2) There’s no discussion of the reason the cluster bomb was there – Israel saturated southern Lebanon with millions of bomblets in the waning days of the war, just prior to the cease-fire, and many of the clusters remained unexploded, making the return of refugees exceedingly dangerous. Dozens have been killed and apparently this Christian friend lost his leg. The dropping of cluster bombs was so clearly aimed at the civilian population that it earned the condemnation of Dershowitz himself, an almost impossible feat! (Eventually, Israel conducted an internal investigation and concluded that it did nothing wrong – no joke – so Dersh may have changed his mind.) Anyway, the final kicker in the article is this:

      “’We don’t want to die,’ the [Christian] friend said.

      Mr. Jamil rebuked him. ‘Our destiny is to die,’ he said.”

      That’s it, James. The last line of Cambanis’s article bears an uncanny resemblance to the title of his book, A Privilege to Die. This is not just an appearance of conflict of interest.

  3. RoHa says:

    That article isn’t in The Times.

    It is in The New York Times.

    • potsherd says:

      This is Phil’s doing, not Samel’s.

    • Donald says:

      Which is frequently called “The Times” in the US. When people in the US want to refer to the London paper, they will usually say “The Times of London” or “The London Times”, since otherwise people here will probably assume “The Times” means the NYT.

      • RoHa says:

        “Which is frequently called “The Times” in the US. ”

        I know. But this blog is published and read internationally (by the nature of the internet), and internationally “The Times” means The Times.

  4. Keith says:

    “Israel requires no provocation by Hezbollah, and if ready to go, it will invent an excuse, or magnify a relatively minor incident.”

    Well said! The one thing that I would add, however, is the extent to which the US is involved in the decision making process. I have read several accounts that indicate that the 2006 invasion of Lebanon was pushed upon a reluctant Israel by the US, which desired the destruction of Hesbollah as a precondition for the remaking of the Middle East per neocon stratagems. Anyone who thinks that the Jewish neocon elites take their marching orders from Israel needs to rethink their position. To repeat myself: the spiritual center of Zionism is Israel, however, the center of Zionist power is the US.

  5. syvanen says:

    Samel’s essay clearly describes the dilemma that any country or group faces if it opposes American or Israeli policy. Basically if a country or national liberation movement defies the US or Israel they are by definition the enemy. If they prepare military defenses then by definition they are aggressors and therefore susceptible to attack under the principle of preemptive attack.

    We used this pretext to attack Panama in the late 80′s and we used it in part to attack Iraq in 2003. Today Israel is applying this principle against Lebanon and the US and Israel is applying it against Iran. Big message: submit or suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, neither Lebanon nor Iran are willing to submit. This could lead to more war.

    Mondoweiss has had numerous discussions recently on non-violent resistance. I happen to be on the side of using the tactics of non-violence. I think both the Lebanese (Hezbollah) and the Iranians would be much better off if they would just accept the tactics of nonviolence. Their continuing defiance of American and Israeli might is only going to lead to more destructive war and we know who will suffer the most from those wars.

    At some point it is only prudent to accept who the super powers are in this game of domination.

    • David Samel says:

      syvanen, two points. First, thanks for pointing out other examples of attacking those who have the audacity to prepare defenses to an attack. My earliest recollection of this rationale is 1981 Nicaragua. I distinctly recall watching Nightline and seeing a report about how the US was training a Nicaraguan army to invade (from Honduras, I think). Then Koppel questioned US Ambass to the UN Kirkpatrick, who explained that Nicaragua was a bad country because it was busy arming itself. I believe Koppel asked her, what do you expect, given the reports of a impending invasion. I remember thinking this woman is crazy – blaming a country for preparing for a well-publicized invasion.

      My other comment to you involves disagreement with your statement: I think both the Lebanese (Hezbollah) and the Iranians would be much better off if they would just accept the tactics of nonviolence. Their continuing defiance of American and Israeli might is only going to lead to more destructive war and we know who will suffer the most from those wars. Of course, it’s no secret which side I was on in the recent debate on non-violent resistance, but I don’t see the same considerations here. I don’t think Lebanon or Iran should make any aggressive move toward Israel, but both countries would be crazy not to prepare to resist and deter an attack that has been repeatedly threatened. As I already said, Israel does not need any provocative action – it will invent one if need be. Neither country has a chance of actually prevailing in a war with Israel, but both can inflict enough damage that Israel might weigh the risks of attack and find them unacceptable. There is a huge difference between unnecessarily killing settlers, even really bad settlers, and preparing a defense to potential large-scale military aggression.

      • Avi says:

        Mondoweiss has had numerous discussions recently on non-violent resistance. I happen to be on the side of using the tactics of non-violence. I think both the Lebanese (Hezbollah) and the Iranians would be much better off if they would just accept the tactics of nonviolence. Their continuing defiance of American and Israeli might is only going to lead to more destructive war and we know who will suffer the most from those wars.

        At some point it is only prudent to accept who the super powers are in this game of domination.

        syvanen,

        Sovereign states have a right to defend themselves from external threats. You’re confusing resistance to occupation with state sovereignty.

        Don’t take this personally as it is not meant to be a jab, but merely an observation. The naive view that both Lebanon and Iran would be safe if they only rolled over and played dead is detached from reality. Nations have an inherent right to self-determination. In the absence of current excuses, both the US and Israel would find new excuses and reasons to invade and expand. And assuming what you say were to happen, the question becomes When does it end? At which point is that expansionism and subjugation enough?

    • seafoid says:

      Israel would never have left Southern Lebanon in the absence of Hezbollah. Israel attacks Lebanon about once every 7 years and the next war will be the 8th attack on Lebanon since 1948 but the Israelis have no answer to the question- you got in, how will you get out ?

  6. eljay says:

    >> The message is clear: If Israel should again decimate entire villages and neighborhoods, we should not weep for the civilians killed in the rubble. They are inextricably intertwined with Hezbollah and therefore appropriate targets for Israeli attack.

    It makes sense. I mean, after all, Iraq was tied to terror…I mean, Al Qaeda…I mean, Saddam…I mean…uhhh…”San Dimas High School football rules!”
    (with apologies to Bill & Ted)
    And if we can’t feel good and righteous about the mass murders committed there (should “mass murders” be capitalized?), then what on e(E)arth *can* we feel good about?

  7. Chaos4700 says:

    Can we just come out and say it? Israelis hate it when Christians and Muslims can actually coexist in the same country. That’s what they’re so eager to bomb.

    • yonira says:

      So is America next to be bombed by the evil Zionist empire Chaos? How about Europe? There are Christians in Jordan (although the numbers are dwindling) will Israel bomb them next?

  8. Shingo says:

    Yes, Hebollah is a theat to Israel because Israel wants to attack it. Orwell had nothing on these lunatics.

  9. yourstruly says:

    No surprise this article. After all when has there been a war in which MSM didn’t initiate the drum beat that rallied Americans to the cause? Brrump bump bump, brrump bump bump, it’s off to war we go. Except once again U.S.-backed Israel is going to be whipped. Why? Because same as in 2006, Hezbollah’s warriors are willing to die, Israel’s are not.

  10. Sumud says:

    [Lots here, some of it kinda off-topic, sorry David Samel ~ but I found it interesting and wanted to share]

    We still don’t know Israel’s intentions re: the extremely large fuel purchases that were proposed and reported a few months ago:

    Israel in early August ordered 284 million gallons of JP8 aviation fuel, a special kerosene-based jet fuel suitable for military use only, plus 100 million gallons of diesel fuel and 60 million of unleaded gasoline, also for military use. The total bill is expected to reach US$ 2 billion.

    … By comparison, the last fuel order the State of Israel placed with the United States was on 15 July 2008, when it ordered 186 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel, 54 million gallons of diesel fuel and 28 million gallons of unleaded gasoline at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion.

    Before that, on 24 August 2007, Israel had ordered 90 million gallons of JP-8 fuel and 42 million gallons of diesel fuel, for an estimated cost of US$ 308 million. Further back, on 14 July 2006, it had ordered an unspecified amount of JP-8 fuel, for an estimated cost of US$ 210 million.

    The increase in US fuel supplies to Israel is plain for all to see, between 2006 and 2010 it went up tenfold.

    The Asia News conclusions (“tenfold” increase in fuel supplies) are an exaggeration given that the 2006 order doesn’t include diesel or unleaded, and the frequency of orders is different now than in 2006/07, but still, the order is out-of-the-ordinary large and suggest somethings in the works.

    The Australian aeronautical engineer who originally publicised the fuel purchase proposals (disclosed by law by the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency) mentions that jet fuel has a limited shelf life, and goes on to say that shelf life is about six months under normal handling conditions.

    The US DSCA disclosure doesn’t mention a delivery schedule, since the notice is of an intention to purchase, rather than a confirmation of sale, but assuming the fuel order is real (not psy-ops), it would likely be used in the next year or two. That so much diesel and unleaded is ordered suggest Israel is planning a ground invasion (Lebanon) rather than/in addition to large scale air strikes (Iran/Lebanon/Syria). I mention Syria as Richard Silverstein points to a Haaretz article on Israei plans to attack Hezbollah weapons depots in Syria when he wrote about the fuel purchases a few weeks ago.

    Now I detour for a moment and mention Gaza is starved of fuel (and electricity), and this is one of the reasons that, despite the “easing” of the blockade, the economy in Gaza won’t even begin recover in the near future. In the midst of the Gaza Massacre Salon examined the United States’ role in supporting the attack: in the five years leading to 2009 the US government gave Israel $1.1 billion dollars in fuel. This is on top of the annual $3 billion of military aid already gifted to Israel. Israel receives more free fuel from the US than all other nations combined. In the same article they also touch on the role energy/electricity consumption play in economic development, and how the Gaza Strip uses the least amount of electricity* than any other nation or territory on earth. It infuriates me that this situation is entirely man-made, and approved of by Obama.

    *Some of the CIA figures on energy consumption that Salon refers to on electricity consumption per nation have been updated for 2009. The good news: Gaza is no longer last, a small Pacific island of 50,000 uses less electricity than Gaza.

    Making some per capita comparisons reveals some astronomical disparities. The siege of Gaza is not only economic warfare, it’s energy warfare:

    Gaza – 202,000 kilowatt hours (kwh)
    per capita: 0.13kwh

    West Bank – 3,265,000,000 kwh
    per capita: 1327 kwh

    Israel – 46,380,000000 kwh
    per capita: 6412 kwh

    Australia (my own country) – 222,000,000,000 kwh
    per capita: 10,441 kwh

    United States – 3,873,000,000,000
    per capita: 12,607 kwh

    Some simple math tells me I use 80,000 times more electricity that someone in Gaza. For those of you in America, you’re using 97,000 times more electricity than someone in Gaza. Again, this siege is a man-made policy that my government (and many others in the “civilised” world) also approves of.

    It’s barbaric.

    After the flotilla raids Max Ajl and Matthew Taylor wrote a series of articles on Mondoweiss on non-violent versus violent resistance. One of Max’s points was that it’s very easy to condemn violence from the comfort of our [energy-rich] living rooms and studies. His rage at western complacency and complicity was obvious. I do think that tactically, violent resistance will retard the growth of BDS and conversely, non-violent resistance will accelerate it’s growth. Legally, rocket attacks are wrong. But do we really comprehend how desperate the situation is in Gaza? I don’t think we do.

    • Sumud says:

      A little more on that fuel purchase. I wrote that whatever Israel had planned to do with that fuel would occur in the next year or two.

      Looking at the previous fuel order from July 2008, we know that planning for the Dec. 2008/Jan. 2009 Gaza Massacre started more than 6 months before the war began. So the July 2008 fuel order was placed several months into the planning process for the attack on Gaza.

      If a similar schedule is followed now, whatever Israel is planning will occur by January 2011.

    • David Samel says:

      Sumud, this massive fuel purchase is just another reason to fear the worst in Israeli intentions. Perhaps the NY Times can a run a story on its implications. Perhaps not.

      I do share your sentiments regarding the outrage of this man-made humanitarian disaster in Gaza and the desperation that inevitably results. I also am acutely aware that I spend a very small percentage of my time empathizing with the victims of this rottenness, and that my life is infinitely more comfortable than theirs.

      My position on the Ajl-Taylor debate was that Taylor inappropriately applied non-violent resistance theory to the Mavi Marmara disaster, but Ajl’s position that “violence works” seemed to be a blanket endorsement of things I would rather condemn. I later tangled with Ajl on the planned killing of four settlers by Hamas, which I thought was quite different from the flotilla raid and somewhat different from the Gaza rockets. I do want to repeat that all of this Palestinian/Hezbollah violence pales in comparison to the Israeli violence which is far more destructive and nefarious in intent, and the root cause of it all.

      • Walid says:

        Calling Israel’s acquisition of jet fuel from the US a “purchase” is somewhat misleading in light of these acquisitions being made free of cost to Israel. It’s no wonder these guys are joy-riding all over Lebanon’s skies every day since they don’t have to pay for the gas. But what is most horrible about this freebie is that Israel produces jet fuel at Haifa that it sells to other countries while it continues leeching jet fuel off American taxpayers. This taken from Salon last year:

        “… It’s well known that the U.S. supplies the Israelis with much of their military hardware. Over the past few decades, the U.S. has provided about $53 billion in military aid to Israel. What’s not well known is that since 2004, U.S. taxpayers have paid to supply over 500 million gallons of refined oil products — worth about $1.1 billion –- to the Israeli military. While a handful of countries get motor fuel from the U.S., they receive only a fraction of the fuel that Israel does — fuel now being used by Israeli fighter jets, helicopters and tanks to battle Hamas.

        According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, between 2004 and 2007 the U.S. Defense Department gave $818 million worth of fuel to the Israeli military. The total amount was 479 million gallons, the equivalent of about 66 gallons per Israeli citizen. In 2008, an additional $280 million in fuel was given to the Israeli military, again at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. The U.S. has even paid the cost of shipping the fuel from U.S. refineries to ports in Israel.

        In 2008, the fuel shipped to Israel from U.S. refineries accounted for 2 percent of Israel’s $13.3 billion defense budget. Publicly available data shows that about 2 percent of the U.S. Defense Department’s budget is also spent on oil. A senior analyst at the Pentagon, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, says the Israel Defense Force’s fuel use is most likely similar to that of the U.S. Defense Department. In other words, the Israeli military is spending about the same percentage of its defense budget on oil as the U.S. is. Therefore it’s possible that the U.S. is providing most, or perhaps even all, of the Israeli military’s fuel needs.

        What’s more, Israel does not need the U.S. handout. Its own recently privatized refineries, located at Haifa and Ashdod, could supply all of the fuel needed by the Israeli military. Those same refineries are now producing and selling jet fuel and other refined products on the open market. But rather than purchase lower-cost jet fuel from its own refineries, the Israeli military is using U.S. taxpayer money to buy and ship large quantities of fuel from U.S. refineries.

        The Israeli government obtains the fuel through the Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, and pays for the fuel and the shipping with funds granted to it through Foreign Military Financing (FMF), another Defense Department program. (In 2008, Congress earmarked $2.4 billion in FMF money for Israel, and $2.5 billion for 2009.) The dimensions of the FMS fuel program are virtually unknown among America’s top experts on Middle East policy. For his part, the Pentagon analyst was surprised to learn that FMS money was even being used to supply fuel to Israel. “That’s not the purpose of the program,” he says. “FMS was designed to allow U.S. weapons makers to sell their goods to foreign countries. The idea that fuel is being bought under FMS is very, very odd.”

        link to salon.com

    • RoHa says:

      “I use 80,000 times more electricity that someone in Gaza. ”

      Turn your TV off at the wall switch, instead of leaving it on standby.

      • Sumud says:

        If only it were that easy RoHa.

        But seriously, I can’t even begin to comprehend life on 1/80,000 the amount of electricity we currently use.

  11. I found this “reporting” as well to be literally hopeless and frankly, ignorant.

    There is no question that Israel is conducting activities that could be construed as provocative, war-mongering.

    And, there is no question that Hezbollah in Lebanon is conducting activities that can be construed as provocative, war-mongering.

    If you are actually interested in the civilians in the area, then the most rational approach would be efforts to reconcile.

    • Walid says:

      RW, no reconciling is possible with Israel and you are wrong about Hizbullah being war-mongering; it has its hands full chasing down Israeli spies running all over Lebanon as well as internal problems. Civilians have never stood in the way of Israel’s lust for land and water as it has already killed over 30,000 of them in Lebanon.

      • yonira says:

        Yes, the great lust for land. That is why they withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and didn’t hold any land after Lebanon II.

        I love how Hizbullah can do no wrong, but Israel is the ultimate evil. If an outsider (ie a non-Israel hater) would visit this site (not sure this ever happens) they’d laugh at your one-sided appraisal of the situation.

        This Arab states can do no wrong, Israel can do no right mentality is a God-send for Israel in this conflict. It allows outsiders to see how insane you all really are. It makes people question why this conflict is so important when there is much worse atrocitities happening else where.

        Witty, myself, and the majority of the pro-Israel posters can admit Israel is in the wrong, a lot, we know things aren’t perfect. Our hopes for a solution is clear, a 2SS solution with both sides having a right to live in peace and prosperity, your side is quite cloudy though.

        • Keith says:

          YONIRA- “Yes, the great lust for land. That is why they withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and didn’t hold any land after Lebanon II.”

          You are tireless in your dissemination of fact-free Israeli apologetics. Are you seriously suggesting that Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and 2006 out of goodwill? Did Hezbollah have anything to do with either decision? Did Israel return the Sinai out of goodwill, or did the 1973 war influence the decision? Does not Israel’s Zionist ideology require it to “redeem” the Biblical land of Israel if able to do so? And to not allow the land to be “unredeemed.”

        • There you go again Yonira…

          No one claimed that Hezbollah can do no wrong.

          No one claimed that the Arab states can do no wrong.

          Nor has anyone ever claimed that Israel is the only human rights violator on the planet or the worst human rights violator.

          These are all arguments that you’ve created and rebutted on your own. If you want to argue with yourself, please spare the rest of us.

          Witty, myself, and the majority of the pro-Israel posters can admit Israel is in the wrong, a lot, we know things aren’t perfect.

          Then do something about it. If you genuinely cared you would be putting pressure on Israel to end the occupation, lift the blockade, and end settlement construction (all things that are destroying a peace deal and a 2 state solution).

          Instead you sit here whining about how the Palestinians don’t want peace whilst the IDF mercilessly drops 2000 pound bombs on residential neighborhoods, kills scores of civilians, and goes out of its way to destroy Palestinian infrastructure, and steal what little resources (water, arable land, etc) the Palestinians have left.

          Our hopes for a solution is clear, a 2SS solution with both sides having a right to live in peace and prosperity, your side is quite cloudy though.

          Unfortunately, none of you Pro-Israeli posters has ever posited a clear way of attaining this goal. None of you do anything, nor have any real plans for stopping settlement growth (the main impediment to the 2SS).

          Meanwhile, the rest of us are simply asking that Israel become a Democracy in which all the people under its jurisdiction are afforded equal rights under the law. Right now half the people under Israeli jurisdiction either have limited rights or ZERO civil rights. And that is the crux of the issue.

          For some reason this is anathema to you “Pro-Israeli posters” who honestly believe that advocating for equal rights is tantamount to the destruction of an entire people.

          Think about that for a second. Thank about what you’ve become in your zealous pursuit of an ethnically pure state at the expense of the indigenous people.

        • Shingo says:

          “Yes, the great lust for land. That is why they withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and didn’t hold any land after Lebanon II”

          That’s because they got their ass kicked both times, not because they were being considerate.

          “I love how Hizbollah can do no wrong, but Israel is the ultimate evil.”

          Hizbollah can not and has not invaded, attacked or occupied anyone.

          “If an outsider (ie a non-Israel hater) would visit this site (not sure this ever happens) they’d laugh at your one-sided appraisal of the situation.”

          By outsider, I presume you are referring to the Fox News audiences who wouldn’t be able to find Israel on a map.

          “This Arab states can do no wrong, Israel can do no right mentality is a God-send for Israel in this conflict.”

          The Arab states have all signed a peace offer that Israel has repeatedly rejected since 2003.

          ” It makes people question why this conflict is so important when there is much worse atrocitities happening else where.”

          There have ben worse attrocities than 911. Does that mean we should gave ignored it?

          There were worse serial killers than Charles Manson. Does that mean we should have let him off on good behavior?

          “Witty, myself, and the majority of the pro-Israel posters can admit Israel is in the wrong, a lot, we know things aren’t perfect”

          Your idea of admitting Israel is in the wrong is like a rapist admitting the crime, but insisting the victim gave gumbo choice.

          “Our hopes for a solution is clear, a 2SS solution with both sides having a right to live in peace and prosperity, your side is quite cloudy though.”

          You claim to hope for a 2ass, while resisting all measures that would lead to it.

        • The emphasis of the article was that “Hezbollah can do no wrong”.

    • Donald says:

      “I found this “reporting” as well to be literally hopeless and frankly, ignorant.”

      Whose reporting? It’s impossible to tell from your comment. If you meant David (and since you usually attack posters here that’s a reasonable guess) then you’ve got the responsibility to explain why it’s hopeless and ignorant. Make the better argument, don’t just rant.

      If you are agreeing with David, then fine, because he’s already explained his position adequately and you’re allowed to chime in and say you agree without repeating what he’s said. But if you oppose what he said, insulting him provides us with no reason to think he’s wrong and you’re right.

  12. It is possible Israel will use the pretext of the Hariri investigation conclusion to launch an attack. Hezbollah has accused Israel of spying and planning assassinations in Lebanon (which would be nothing new), and Israeli agents were found in Lebanon, as well as penetration of Lebanon’s telecomms (again a familiar pattern, as they have reportedly done in the US). As you point out, the absurdity of Israel’s claims is plain to see, attacking someone for having the gall to defend themselves is a sign of the supremacist thinking prevalent inside Israel – which somehow gives the ‘right’ to attack anybody at any time. Then they will tell us they want to be treated like any other country and that they want peace. Right.

    • Walid says:

      David Samel, there is more to this than a simple propaganda piece. Going back in time without minimizing Israel’s mad hegemonic mania and lust for Lebanon’s land and water, it has to be said that the 2006 war had been ordered up by Bush and Co and kept going for 33 days at America’s insistence eventhough Olmert appeared to have wanted to walk away from it 6 days into the war. After both sides had agreed to a cease-fire, Israel maintained its bombing of Lebanon for over a week while Bolton stalled with the wording of the UNSC resolution in the hope Hizbullah would be defeated before the resolution would be passed. It was during these stalling tactics after the ceasefire was announced that the 2 million cluster bombs were dropped. The game plan had been for some of the Sunni and Christian anti-Hizbullah militia forces in Lebanon to join the battle to help finish off Hizbullah, which of course didn’t happen as 80% of the country rallied behind Hizbullah and the Christian northern population actually helped by sheltering a good part of the million or so Shia refugees that had fled the Israeli carpet bombing.

      All this to say that the same game plan is back on with the same players. The US is still intent on eliminating Hizbullah because it stands in its way between it and its “new Middle-East” and because Hizbullah’s endurance is inspiring the restless populations of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The totality of Lebanon would have to be reduced to rubble to defeat Hizbullah and most probably this is what Israel and the US and their allies are up to. Israel knows that Hizbullah has no wish to cross into Israel to liberate Palestine but this doesn’t mean it won’t cross over if Iran is attacked since Iran and Hizbullah are considered by the US and Israel as a package deal and both would be attacked simultaneously. The US is more preoccupied with safeguarding the survival of the neighbouring countries’ regimes than it is about Israel’s that’s not in any need of safeguarding.

      This June, Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman announced at a senate subcommittee hearing that the US in the last 3 years spent $500 millions in Lebanon to “sway Lebanon’s youth away from Hizbullah”; you can guess what this money bought. In last year’s national elections, it was estimated that the pro-US group spent over $600 millions (same as for Obama’s election) in influencing the country’s one million voters to vote against Hizbullah and its political allies and in spite of this astronomical budget, the pro-US group barely won the Parliament by a few seats. The elections money reportedly came from the US and the Saudis and was separate from the $500 million youth-swaying fund discussed by Feltman. In the war that is appearing inevitable, Lebanon would be very badly hurt but so would Israel. The article you discussed is part of the PR preparatory groundwork leading up to the event. Yesterday’s Israel’s odd declaration in Haaretz that its satellite “spotted” Hizbullah men training at a Damascus scud base is another. Maybe Israel made them out because they were wearing bright yellow jerseys with a huge “H” on their backs. The politically-driven Special (UN) Tribunal for Lebanon investigating the Hariri assassination that had been accusing Syria for 4 years did a 180 this year and declared Syria innocent, is now set to indict members of Hizbullah on circumstantial evidence next month is yet another of the preparatory work intended to light up the area.

    • MHughes976 says:

      I’m inveterately sceptical of the idea that another Lebanese War is planned. This time I don’t at all want to be proved wrong.
      If Israel had been looking for a pretext for another war, extending to Iran if wished, the Battle of the Tree was there – but the chance was not taken.

  13. ” It is true that a border raid on an IDF position was the catalyst for the Israeli attack”

    If that could provide justfication for all out war against civilians, then Syria has every rightnto inflict same for 1-airspace violation
    2-attacks on “nuclear facility”

    and Lebanon has every right to attack Israel (and its own choosing of the time) merciless destruction of Isreali lives and infrastructures for continued violation of its airspace by Israel since 2000AD as was periodically raised by UN and for stealing of cattles,and kidnapping of farmers.

    • David Samel says:

      train, I used the word “catalyst” as a neutral word, an event that sparked another, and certainly did not imply that it was justification for Israel’s response. In fact, I said the opposite, that in 2006, Israel’s “pretext” for attack was the border raid; moreover, I said that “Israel requires no provocation by Hezbollah, and if ready to go, it will invent an excuse, or magnify a relatively minor incident.” Perhaps I share the blame for your misinterpretation, but it is a misinterpretation nevertheless.

      However, you are absolutely correct that if Israeli excuses and justifications for military attack were deemed legitimate, there would be numerous hypothetical attacks on Israel, by Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and Palestinians, that would be far more justified.

    • Sumud says:

      I have wondered why Lebanon and Syria don’t shoot down the IAF planes violating their airspace. Is it logistically difficult to do, or has a decision been made by politicians to ignore it?

      Israel wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if they retaliated.

      • potsherd says:

        I believe they do try, but Israel makes sure they don’t have the weaponry to do it. Many of the rockets that fell on Lebanon during the midcentury were in fact aimed at overflying aircraft.

        And Israel would certainly take shootning down one of its aircraft as a casus belli, and the US Congress would urge them to attack Lebanon in retaliation.

      • Avi says:

        Sumud October 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm

        I have wondered why Lebanon and Syria don’t shoot down the IAF planes violating their airspace. Is it logistically difficult to do, or has a decision been made by politicians to ignore it?

        Israel wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if they retaliated.

        Sumud, the answer is that it’s a combination of several factors. On the one hand Syria fears shooting down an Israeli jet lest that be used as a pretext for a large scale attack. Syria’s air force is in shambles as is Syria’s economy (For various reasons). On the other hand, Syria does not have the advanced targeting systems required for such a task.

        A third factor, one which sometimes plays a role, has to do with Israeli jets flying ‘below the radar’, so to speak. Thus, they avoid detection by Syria’s radar stations and defenses. Depending on the terrain, an airplane can usually fly below 1000 feet undetected.

        There have been several instances in the past in which Israeli jets violated Syrian airspace, often ‘buzzing’ Damascus, too. In those instances, the Syrians communicated with the Israelis on an international frequency and ordered them to exit the airspace. Needless to say, such orders aren’t always heeded.

      • I have wondered why Lebanon and Syria don’t shoot down the IAF planes violating their airspace. Is it logistically difficult to do, or has a decision been made by politicians to ignore it?

        From what I understand the reasons are multi-fold.

        1) Hezbollah does not have the means to shoot down an Israeli F-16. The only anti-air weapon Hezbollah possesses are the SA-7 (strella) which are portable hand held anti-aircraft weapons (and even the existence of these weapons is not completely confirmed).

        The SA-7 is incapable of reliably shooting down an Israeli F-16.

        They can however shoot down Israeli helicopters.

        Furthermore, the likelihood of Hezbollah ever obtaining the Russian S-3000 anti-aircraft defensive missile system is completely out of the question. The size of this weapon system and the infrastructure needed to properly use it automatically precludes it from being a part of the Hezbollah arsenal (never mind the fact that the Iranians are struggling to obtain this system).

        2) If Hezbollah did have the ability to shoot down an F-16 they would most likely save it for an actual conflict so that the Israelis wouldn’t be able to prepare themselves for it.

        Whatever ability Hezbollah would have to shoot down an F-16 in flying at several times the speed of sound would most likely be a one time deal that would have to be used at the most opportune time.

        I believe its worth remembering that despite how highly military strategists and historians view Hezbollah, its still a small militia group (in the 2006 conflict there were only 2000 regulars) armed with an assortment of WW2 weaponry (Katuysha rockets), AK-47′s, Rocket Propelled Grenades, and an assortment of cold war era anti-tank rockets.

        While they may have far greater discipline, training, and weaponry than say Hamas, its not saying much considering that their adversary is one of the most powerful military machines the world has ever known.

        • Avi says:

          1) Hezbollah does not have the means to shoot down an Israeli F-16. The only anti-air weapon Hezbollah possesses are the SA-7 (strella) which are portable hand held anti-aircraft weapons (and even the existence of these weapons is not completely confirmed).

          The SA-7 is incapable of reliably shooting down an Israeli F-16.

          Great background info on Hezbollah, James.

          Just to expand a little on what you have already written, I would say that the other difficulty involved is that the risk factor of giving away their locations could very well outweigh the probability of successfully hitting an F-16 with said crude weaponry. It bears mentioning the fact that the SA7 is a heat-seeking missile, a fact that renders it useless against basic countermeasures such as flares.

      • Shingo says:

        “I have wondered why Lebanon and Syria don’t shoot down the IAF planes violating their airspace. Is it logistically difficult to do, or has a decision been made by politicians to ignore it?”

        Today’s modern aircraft are practically untouchable by all excelt for the most advanced anti aircraft weaponry, which is why the Israelis were so desperate to block the sale of Russian S300 aa misiles to Iran.

      • Sumud says:

        Thanks folks.

  14. potsherd says:

    “(Only) Israel has the right to defend itself.”

  15. David Samel

    Sorry Mr Samel.
    I never was even entertaining the idea that you would or were supporting Israeli incursions in neighbouring territories. It was more of a reminder to some ( past and current administration officials and columnist and talking head in msm and to those who try to muddy the discussion here ) who bring this historical facts to justify Israeli attacks on lebanon and Syria and Gaza.