www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> Antidote 4
JSalloum on Mon, 8 Mar 1999 12:16:45 +0100 (CET)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Antidote 4


> > Robert Fisk - For Lebanon, Read Vietnam
> >
> >            The Palestinians used to promise that Lebanon
> >            would be Israel's Vietnam. The Israelis laughed at
> >            this, invaded Lebanon in 1982 (for the second time
> >            in four years), drove the PLO from Beirut and - by
> >            the sheer ferocity of their assault - created
> >            Hizbollah. And Hizbollah has now fulfilled the
> >            Palestinian prediction. Not only has Israel lost the
> >            Lebanon war - it has been comprehensively
> >            defeated by one of the world's most professional
> >            guerrilla armies - but America's ally in the Middle
> >            East does not frighten the Lebanese any more.
> >
> >            Last week, it was an Israeli colonel and two of his
> >            soldiers who were killed in occupied southern
> >            Lebanon; this week it is a general and three of his
> >            soldiers, all ambushed inside an area which the
> >            Israelis still, incredibly, call their "security zone".
> >            And what was the Israeli response? The same
> >            rhetoric from the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin
> >            Netanyahu, about "striking at terrorism" that the
> >            Lebanese have been hearing for more than 20
> >            years.
> >
> >            The vacuity of Israel's much trumpeted "revenge"
> >            was all too evident in the name it chose for its latest
> >            retaliation into Lebanon: "Operation Land, Sea and
> >            Air." The pitiful truth is that not a single Israeli
> >            soldier dare any longer stray outside the occupation
> >            zone; not one Israeli soldier will advance on foot or
> >            even with tanks to attack Hizbollah guerrillas. So
> >            much for the "land" element of the operation. There
> >            will be no armoured land assault. The usual artillery
> >            bombardments will be fired into Lebanon and in the
> >            past 48 hours, we've witnessed the usual air attacks
> >            - around 23 raids, bringing the total number of air
> >            strikes on Lebanon in the past 12 months to close
> >            on 1,400. And the little Hetz-class gunboat banging
> >            away at the old Palestinian camp at Nahme south of
> >            Beirut - at a target that has not the slightest
> >            connection with Hizbollah - is not going to worry
> >            the men who are destroying the Israeli army in
> >            southern Lebanon.
> >
> >            Needless to say, the Americans - for the 23rd time
> >            in 20 years, by my count - have called on both
> >            sides "to exercise restraint". And, as usual, Israel's
> >            friends have been telling the story from Israel's point
> >            of view. CNN told its viewers of the Israeli civilians
> >            close to the Lebanese border who had to spend the
> >            night in bomb shelters for fear of a Hizbollah attack
> >            that never came. There was, of course, no report of
> >            the Lebanese civilians who had to spend the night
> >            under real Israeli attack.
> >
> >            In reality, Hizbollah has assiduously copied Israel's
> >            old tactics - and turned them against the Israeli
> >            army. When Israel began using analogue-system
> >            detonation for bombs hidden in rocks to ambush
> >            Hizbollah, the guerrillas duplicated the Israeli
> >            technology and added booby traps of their own.
> >            When the Israelis dressed their great Merkava
> >            tanks in armour to prevent rocket attacks, Hizbollah
> >            learned to fire missiles between the plating. When
> >            the Israelis boasted of their intelligence prowess in
> >            southern Lebanon, Hizbollah suborned or
> >            blackmailed Israel's Lebanese collaborators and
> >            forced them to betray the Israelis.
> >
> >            The two most recent ambushes - like the
> >            destruction of an Israeli commando unit at
> >            Aansariyeh last year (itself on an ambush mission) -
> >            were all set up by Hizbollah with the help of men
> >            inside Israel's occupation zone, some of them
> >            members of Israel's own proxy South Lebanon
> >            Army gunmen. This was the very ramshackle militia
> >            to which General Erez Gerstein, Israel's latest victim
> >            in southern Lebanon, was the liaison officer - so no
> >            wonder Hizbollah knew his route and the time of his
> >            arrival. Some of the bombs which killed him were
> >            even hanging from the branches of trees, just like
> >            the explosives which killed the Israelis at
> >            Aansariyeh.
> >
> >            But Hizbollah has copied another, far more
> >            devastating tactic of the Israelis. In the past, it was
> >            Israeli policy to make the Lebanese civilian
> >            population pay for the presence of guerrillas in
> >            southern Lebanon. The idea was simple: so greatly
> >            would the civilians suffer that they would force the
> >            Lebanese government to disarm the guerrillas - and
> >            save Israel the hard fighting involved in crushing the
> >            guerrillas themselves. But now it is Hizbollah that is
> >            threatening to fire salvoes of rockets into Israel if
> >            the Israelis do not cease their attacks. And it is the
> >            Israelis who are pleading with their government - to
> >            withdraw Israeli troops from southern Lebanon.
> >
> >            And here lies the beauty of the whole morass for
> >            the Lebanese and for Hizbollah's Syrian and Iranian
> >            allies. Syria wants the return of the occupied Golan
> >            Heights; and the continuation of Hizbollah's war
> >            against the occupation of southern Lebanon is the
> >            one bloody pressure that Damascus can apply on
> >            Israel to leave Golan. Israel, say the Lebanese, can
> >            withdraw from southern Lebanon under UN
> >            Security Council resolution 425 of 1978 which it
> >            has flouted for 21 years. When Mr Netanyahu lists
> >            his own conditions for a retreat - which include
> >            absorbing his old SLA collaborators into the
> >            Lebanese security forces - he is told to get lost.
> >            Obey the
> >
> >            UN resolution, he is told, which calls for "total and
> >            unconditional withdrawal". But the Lebanese are in
> >            no hurry to see the Israelis go, because the Syrians
> >            are prepared to watch Hizbollah keep killing the
> >            Israelis for staying.
> >
> >            Desperately, Israel is trying to find a way of
> >            minimising its military presence in southern
> >            Lebanon. Gun batteries which should contain a
> >            minimum of 10 Israeli soldiers often contain only
> >            four or five. So fearful are they of roadside bombs
> >            and missiles that can even penetrate Merkava tanks
> >            that Israeli soldiers now walk home on leave to the
> >            Israeli frontier at night, up to 12 miles of rough
> >            hiking across the open countryside of southern
> >            Lebanon. The Israelis are planning the possible
> >            abandonment of the finger of mountain territory they
> >            control up to the town of Jezzine above Sidon; a
> >            withdrawal here would reduce casualties on the
> >            single road connecting Marjayoun with Jezzine on
> >            which more than 30 Israelis have been killed. But
> >            this would also allow Hizbollah to concentrate their
> >            attacks onto a smaller area of southern Lebanon.
> >
> >            Of course, the Vietnam parallels can be taken too
> >            far. The war in southern Lebanon is not on the
> >            awesome scale of the conflict in South-east Asia.
> >            Deaths on both sides are running at a maximum of
> >            only a dozen a week. Israelis are not deserting en
> >            masse in order to avoid soldiering in southern
> >            Lebanon. And Hizbollah is not going to pour over
> >            the border into Israel in the event of an Israeli
> >            retreat.
> >
> >            The similarities are closer to Shimon Peres's
> >            torment three years ago. Anxious to prove he was
> >            "tough on terrorism" before an Israeli election, he
> >            launched a bombardment against Hizbollah in which
> >            Israeli artillerymen massacred 106 refugees in a UN
> >            camp in a bloodbath at Qana and which brought
> >            down more rockets in retaliation on northern Israel
> >            than the total in the last 40 years.
> >
> >            Mr Netanyahu now also faces an election in 10
> >            weeks and also wants to prove that he is "tough on
> >            terrorism". Already he is speaking of revenge for
> >            "the criminal attacks on our towns and villages" - a
> >            meretricious statement (unchallenged, of course, by
> >            CNN) that totally avoids the truth: that the Israeli
> >            general and his comrades were killed not in Israel
> >            but in Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon.
> >
> >            But the Israeli public is not so easily fooled. The
> >            growing movement of Israeli mothers demanding an
> >            end to this pointless, hopeless occupation is larger
> >            now than it was when Peres was prime minister.
> >            Will Mr Netanyahu listen to these voices? Or will
> >            he stick to the old, brutal policies pursued with such
> >            ferocity almost two decades ago by his current
> >            foreign minister, Ariel Sharon. An eye for an eye, a
> >            tooth for a tooth, Israeli leaders use to threaten.
> >            Now, however, that is Hizbollah's motto.
>
> **********************************************************************
---
#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} desk.nl and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner {AT} desk.nl