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Nature of the Zionist Beast

Israel's interest in pursuing an assault on Lebanon may have stemmed from desired gains both in Palestine and regionally. In the former, colonisation continues unhindered and in the latter, Israel walks hand in hand with the US in search of economic, and thus political, supremacy over a scorched and potentially "reconstructed" west Asia.

Nature of the Zionist Beast

Lebanon, Palestine and Israel’s Scorched Earth Policy

Israel’s interest in pursuing an assault on Lebanon may have stemmed from desired gains both in Palestine and regionally. In the former, colonisation continues unhindered and in the latter, Israel walks hand in hand with the US in search of economic, and thus political, supremacy over a scorched and potentially “reconstructed” west Asia.

GABRIELA BECKER

E
ven with talk that Israel’s attack on Lebanon is a proxy one, conducted on behalf of US imperialism, Israel’s interest to pursue an assault on Lebanon may have stemmed from desired gains both in Palestine and in the region. In the former, its colonisation continues unhindered, and in the latter Israel walks hand in hand with the US, in search of economic (and thus political) supremacy over a scorched and potentially “reconstructed” west Asia.

The growing occupation of Palestinian land, beginning before 1948 and accelerating in massive proportions since the signing of the so-called “peace” accords in 1993, has meant that Israel has increasingly attempted to annihilate the Palestinian national struggle, this time under slogans of “negotiations” and “statehood”. As the wheels of this alien colonial entity churn, we are reminded of its core make-up comprised of the triad of military might and suppression, economic control and expansion, and political acceptance based on regional normalisation.

For Lebanon, the Israeli onslaught by air, land and sea is not one that is on an equal footing or even a “war,” just as the occupation of Palestine is not a “conflict”. The current realities in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank (as well as for Palestinians inside the Green Line) highlight the belligerent and power-inequitous relationship between the colonial power and what it sees as its subjects and/or the brunt of its policy. The near obliteration of Lebanon in just over one month amid US-British slogans of “democracy” and “sovereignty” is completed by way of Israeli missiles, tanks, and “smart bombs”, reaffirming what Palestinians and Arabs already know: the inherent tendency of the Zionist beast to execute ethnic cleansing whenever possible. This threat not only looms eternally but is the daily reality of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation for nearly 60 years.

Long Time in the Making

While Israel sporadically returns to its “freeing of the soldiers” party line that seems to have a Pavlovian effect on its (and the American) public, Israeli and American military analysts (and all who know Israel) have not shied away from presenting Israel’s preparedness for invading Lebanon, beginning July 12, as a long time in the making.

However, in the one month of its attacks on Lebanon, Israel modified its rhetoric around goals and targets – Hizballah, Nasrallah, Syria, Iran, the Litani River, “security zones,” international forces, NATO, disarmament, etc, – perhaps keeping consistent only in its large-scale targeting of civilians and infrastructure. After one month, close to 1,200 Lebanese were massacred (5 per cent of whom were resistance fighters), and thousands seriously injured, one million people were expelled from their homes, forced north of the Litani and into schools, public buildings and parks. Not pursuing a scorched earth policy only for the entire south, Israel also obliterated a number of neighbourhoods in the southern part of Beirut as well as the eastern Bekaa Valley, while Israeliperpetrated massacres ran from the northern border with Syria southwards. To date, Israel has destroyed over 80 bridges in addition to all main roads and power generators, rendering cities and villages without electricity, water, power supply, medicine, etc. Hospitals were also targeted, as were convoys of people fleeing their bombarded homes. People escaping Israeli

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Economic and Political Weekly August 26, 2006 attacks were often forced to leave loved ones trapped under the rubble, and then they too were attacked during their hurried escape northwards. No one was safe, and everyone was a target. Although we are describing southern Lebanon, we could well be speaking of Rafah or Jabaliya Refugee Camp, Nablus or Jenin.

To further put reality into perspective, the nearly 4,000 Lebanese resistance rockets that hit. northern and central Israeli settlements were not very different in terms of number (but no doubt lesser in terms of destructive capacity) to what Israel dropped on one single village (attacking tens daily) of Eita Shaab in the south in one single day! Many of the larger attacks by Israel actually came later as it hoped to ensure final obliteration of village homes and infrastructure, a policy much like the one executed by the Zionist movement and its terrorists in Palestine between 1947 and 1949.

Cynical Humanitarianism and Growing Regional Schisms

The parallels between the past month of attacks on the Lebanese people and those on Palestine seem endless. In the same way, the failure of the “international community” to defend innocents against aggression continues to be a mainstay of international relations. The various governments’ involvement in after-the-fact “actions” in Lebanon and Palestine seem to take place as a quest for absolution from having to take a position against belligerence.

In this way, we see a long list of foreign governments jumping on the humanitarian bandwagon, going so far as to coordinate with Israelis so that its war ships off the coast of Lebanon step aside as goods are delivered, and then hurriedly escaping as the war ships return again to assault. But in the Arab world, the greatest popular anger has been in regard to the role of Arab governments, who continue in their bankrupt policies amid close-knit ties with the US and Israel.

Just days after calling Hizballah a bunch of “adventurers” and refusing to support the Lebanese resistance even in word, the Saudi as well as other Gulf governments began pledging humanitarian aid. Television stations launched telethons to raise funds despite their continued verbal attacks that Hizballah was an Iranian conspiracy, conveniently creating a diversion from their own collaborative links with the US and Israel. In an interview with Al Jazeera, the Qatari foreign minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani confirmed that a number of governments from the Gulf region had been in touch with Israel just after the commencement of its invasion and that at least one had stated to Israel “go ahead, finish off the problem” in reference to Hizballah. Israel, of course, did not need the approval.

Few among those following the region closely would be surprised that the first plane to land in Beirut airport belonged to Jordan’s king Abdullah. When asked by the BBC about the aid and whether direct coordination with Israel took place, king Abdullah responded affirmatively, pushing forward a larger agenda that part of this coordination was with the Lebanese government as well (and not Hizballah), thus supporting the notion of normalisation.

Even the US sent its share of aid to the people it sought to annihilate; planes and ships carrying humanitarian aid came in as people were forced to flee their homes and bury their dead. The same airport that was one of the first targets by Israel for destruction became, via an Israeli green light, the landing pad for aid planes to arrive and deliver goods. Needless to say, the food and medical supplies rarely arrived at the needed destination due to destroyed roads and bridges and unending threats of targeted Israeli attacks, even during the so-called 48-hour ceasefire. After all, the goal was the photo opportunity of boxes of assistance being offloaded, while Israel enjoyed coordinating with international governments thanks to an international system that frowns upon real opposition to powerful states’ aggressions.

In Palestine: Accelerated Occupation Brutality

If media coverage or international outcry were indicators of crimes committed, then one would think things have been quieter in Gaza and the West Bank. In reality, the situation in the 1967 occupied territories of Palestine is the same as it was before the start of the Israeli onslaught on Lebanon beginning July 12. In fact, the occupation has (expectedly) been using to its expansionist advantage the massacres in Lebanon to continue, if not speed up, its long-standing plans for Palestine. In the least, Israel has managed to divert attention away from what it is doing in the West Bank and Gaza, and at the worst, it has raised the bar for the magnitude and speed with which it can implement future plans.

Some two weeks prior to the start of the onslaught on Lebanon, Israel’s cynically termed “Summer Rain” operation was launched. Israel would once again escalate its attacks, this time through the addingon of occupation tanks, to enter the north and south of the strip. Under the pretense of targeting resistance fighters and rocket launches, Israel continued its killing and demolition spree, this time seeking to

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Economic and Political Weekly August 26, 2006

cleanse the very same areas previously occupied by settlements, looking to wipe out the villages, refugee camps and agricultural lands in these areas for the creation of “security zones”. This only further proves that the so-called “disengagement” from Gaza one year ago was nothing more than a public relations ploy.

But preceding the occupation tanks’ penetration into Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya, and Rafah, were months of US, European and internationally sanctioned punishment of the Palestinian people for their choice at the ballot box earlier in the year. Under the usual pretense of targeting Hamas, funds were prevented from entering the West Bank and Gaza as hundreds of thousands of people continued for months on end not to receive salaries. The turning on and off of the aid faucet was always a looming threat for Palestinians, built into the Oslo structure as a way of ensuring cooperation with Israeli and western policies. Israel targeted Gaza not only with closure and aerial attacks, but also by destroying its central power generator and with it, the main source of electricity for the strip. Israel also sealed shut an already closed off Gaza Strip, worsening the yearslong policy of preventing trade and agriculture production. Even aid trucks were prevented from entering with little EU pressure as international organisations stood by and watched until they acquired an “ok” from Israel to enter Gaza and deliver food and fuel. Israel also managed to close off the Rafah crossing, thus sealing Gaza from the border with Egypt and its only opening to the world. Thousands were stuck on the Egyptian side, a number of whom died while waiting in the heat and in poor health to return home. As if this was insufficient, Israel began kidnapping Hamas PLC members, not surprising considering that Israel never once stopped infiltrating Palestinian cities and villages and arresting tens of people and activists on a daily basis, with the number of prisoners today reaching over 10,000.

While house demolitions, massacres, and assassinations by the Israeli occupation forces have been a mainstay of its policy since 1948 (and before), reality continues to worsen for the Palestinian people. Today, incursions into West Bank cities – Jenin, Nablus, Qalqiliya, Tulkarem and Ramallah

– continue unabated. The wall, which runs some 700 kilometres, nears completion as the Israeli high court, always sensitive to western public opinion, was keen in the past weeks to finalise pending cases related to the Wall and confer its final stamps of approval, given the lack of media attention during the time. In Jerusalem, for over two months running, the occupation has continued to seal shut the old city and thus Al Aqsa during Friday prayer, all the while facilitating settler colonisation and movement in the area. Since the 1993 closure policy, Israel has prevented West Bank and Gaza ID holders entrance to this core Arab City, thus limiting entry only to Jerusalemites and pushed forward its project of judaising Jerusalem.

In the past weeks, like in Lebanon, scenes of Palestinians fleeing their homes in northern Gaza and being forced to take shelter in UNRWA schools meant that by August 5, some 1,400 people were living in UN schools. Together with Israel’s usage of new (and internationally banned) weapons and the setting up, in its rhetoric and policy, of a linkage between what it imposes on Hizballah and Hamas, there is dire fear of what further awaits Palestinians. While there is no doubt here in Palestine of the outstanding Hizballah victory, one wonders whether Israel has learned a lesson or whether it will be more determined than ever to settle the score.

New West Asia or Unrelenting ‘Peace’ Process

Thanks to the Oslo Accords, Israel would be able to implement long-standing plans to take over most of the West Bank, and put Palestinians into a ghetto called a state. This while seeking to eliminate once and for all the Palestinian right of return and national cause through peace-frenzy diversions, implementation of an economic and military siege, checkpoints and wallencircled closures (a k a “borders”), a profiting Palestinian Authority assisting occupation through handshakes, and international funding meant all along to depoliticise and control.

In 1993, in jump-starting the signing of the Oslo “Peace” Accords, Israeli “dove” (and 1996 butcher of Qana and father of the Israeli nuclear programme) Shimon Peres published a book called The New Middle East. In it, he celebrates the prospects of regional cooperation stating that economics and the opening of the region’s markets to Israel is the cornerstone of “peace” by way of normalisation.

But, normalisation did not move as quickly as Israel had hoped. While Egypt and Jordan were quick to jump on the bandwagon – thus becoming the biggest recipients after Israel of US funds – and Gulf states overtly pursued economic and other ties, a number of other countries, while acquiescing to opening Israeli embassies, found that on a popular level the Oslo sham meant public unwillingness to collaborate with the occupation along with growing frustration with governments.

In this way, the Israeli “peace camp” played a crucial role in pushing forward normalisation, which is vital for propagation of the notion that “normal” relations exist and work. It has looked to overshadow Israeli policy (and thus beautify it) under the argument of rising above it and created a lethal diversion to the worsening reality on the ground and the inherent power discrepancies. While the “peace camp” itself is small, it does not reflect a political position very different from the Israeli mainstream. The infrequent demonstrations that took place in the past month were not only minute in scale (most in the tens and most included Palestinian citizens of Israel) but a repeat of the same old “peace” camp slogans of “negotiations” that have always backed the Oslo Accords and thus, among others, the negation of the Palestinian right of return. Calls to “bring the boys home” or concern for Israelis in shelters were far more common than fury against the butchery of Lebanese and Palestinians.

Perhaps through UN Resolution 1701 Israel is hoping that soon enough Israeli-Lebanese coordination (under the guise of the UN) will ensue and signify the breakthrough Israel has been looking for almost 60 years. Coordinating committees, telephone calls, meetings – anything that could lead to the institutionalisation of ties with the Jewish state, could then mark the Palestinian struggle and the voices opposed to occupation for even greater marginalisation.

We can expect that, in conspiring with the US, EU and UN to re-package and redefine slogans in order to safeguard existing policy, Israel will protect if not nurture one of its greatest tools, that of the schism between rhetoric and reality. This would involve mobilising Israeli and western approval to facilitate the continuation of brutal measures on the ground, and their advancement. In the face of goals not met, Israel and the US may be more determined than ever to stake their claims of supremacy through a continued aggressive pursuit of a “new”, “reborn”, “greater,” “democratic” or “free” west Asia or for that matter an

Economic and Political Weekly August 26, 2006 intensified targeting of the Palestinian resistance under continued slogans of “fight against terror” and “democracy building”. Sadly, we can expect that both Seniora in Lebanon and Abbas in Palestine will be more than willing to continue as “peace partner” amid the onslaught, thus playing the role Israel and the US seek in acting as distractions. “War against terror”, “new west Asia”, “comprehensive solutions”, regional “negotiations”, or “peace process” – they are all one and the same.

As Questions Persist, So Does the Colonisation of Palestine

Looking at US plans in the region, especially Iraq, and in global economic and military industrial terms, one could argue that, integral to its plans for a “reborn” west Asia, is the attempt to purposefully obliterate countries. They are being made into a ‘tabula rasa’ (i e, ethnic cleansing) in order to force a new political structure and reality on the ground and to create a new market for corporations and western economies. “Reconstruction” means big business, which is why we can understand the rush of countries such as France to become more involved for fear of missing out on potential benefits.

While many have argued that Israel has since 1948 given up the Zionist dream of controlling all lands from the Nile to the Euphrates, its invasion of Lebanon and relationship with imperial US in its west Asia plans raises once again this question, if only to highlight that control can come in forms other than colonial settlement, such as economic dominance.

Israel and the US may not have expected the perseverance, determination, and military capability of the Lebanese resistance, as well as the Lebanese (and Arab) public support for it, which is usually divided (and which, sadly, may return to its divisions). All in all, Israel failed to reach its immediate goals as the resistance inflicted real casualties on occupation soldiers in spite of Israel’s technologically dominant weaponry.

Today, we can speak of a regional reality where Nasrallah is not only the symbol of a true Arab and Muslim leader, but where other leaders are viewed more than ever as his exact opposite. Even more so, being anti-resistance is becoming ever more clearly to mean pro-US. People are remembering the good old days of Arab unity, revolution, dignity, and non-sectarianism, as Lebanese Marcel Khalifa, singing Palestinian Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry, can be heard in the streets, on TV, at home, and in the heart.

In the face of the Zionist behemoth of aggression, which is a coward able to handle far less damage than it imposes on its targets, the Lebanese resistance’s winning of the southern Lebanon military battles speaks of unparalleled triumph. This is even as we look with despair and rage at the destruction imposed by Israel on Lebanon and its people.

And in Palestine, the reality does not change, it only worsens, even with sporadic international aid crumbs meant only to silence opposition and resistance. Israel is moving forward with its plans, of which the annihilation of Lebanon was a part. It is seeking to affirm its ability to bombard, massacre, starve, and open the gates of expulsion, all of which it prepares to implement regardless, all of which has been a long time in its making.

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Email: gabibecker02@yahoo.com

Economic and Political Weekly August 26, 2006

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