Volume 7, No. 7,
Israeli Zionists Get a Bloody Nose in Lebanon
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
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.
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.