Lies and Realities of Israel's Aggression in Lebanon
By Dr. Maher Hathout, Senior Advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council
History is written not so much to understand the past but to shape the future. This premise usually holds when addressing the reporting about events in the Middle East. Most textbooks, for example, indicate that the Six-Day War was initiated by the Arabs and Israel pounded them in retaliatory strikes. But the late Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, said: In June 1967 we...had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him. (New York Times, August 21, 1982). The same misconception in reporting is used today to justify Israels destruction of Lebanon. Furthermore, six lies are spinning the news in Israels favour to justify her aggression in Lebanon:
Lie 1: This war is between Hizbollah and Israel.
Reality: Hizbollah members are not suffering any casualties. This is a war directed against the people of Lebanon. It is designed to break the infrastructure of Lebanon and destroy her peoples spirit. On April 19, 1996, the New York Times wrote: Israels goal has been to create an unmanageable number of refugees in Lebanon... to restrain Hizbullahs attacks. If the definition of terrorism is to attack civilian targets to achieve a political goal, then Israel is guilty of hi-tech terrorism.
Lie 2: Israel is retaliating against Hizbullah Katyusha rocket attacks into Northern Israel.
Reality: According to a fact sheet from the Reuters News Agency; Israel was the first to attack civilians on March 30 and April 8 1996. The three Hizbollah attacks on March 4, March 10 and March 14 targeted Israeli occupying soldiers inside Southern Lebanon. Prior to Israels attack of these civilians, both parties were abiding by the 1993 US-brokered agreement that only military sites could be targeted. Only after Israel massacred civilians in refugee camps did Hizbollah start firing Katyusha rockets into Northern Israel on April 9. The Israeli bombing of refugee camps, power plants, water reservoirs throughout Lebanon commenced on April 11.
Lie 3: Israel is acting in self-defense.
Reality: The source of the conflict is the occupation of Southern Lebanon by Israel, a violation of international law. Resolution 425 of the UN Security Council, passed immediately after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, calls for Israel to leave Southern Lebanon and the replacement of Israeli forces with Lebanese government forces.
Lie 4: Israel is intervening because the Lebanese Government is unable to control the situation.
Reality: If Israel leaves, Lebanese officials have stated that they will send 35,000 troops to Southern Lebanon to keep the border secure and calm.
Lie 5: Israel claims it was unaware of the presence of civilians in a U.N. shelter it bombed near Tyre (Qana).
Reality: The UN had informed Israel repeatedly about the presence of its shelter for Lebanese refugees.
Lie 6: Israel claims it needs to create a Security Zone in Southern Lebanon...
Reality: The reason Israel is in Southern Lebanon is to siphon off the water of the Litani river. According to a United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Israel was using water from the Lebanese Litani River, by means of an 11 mile tunnel it had drilled, as well as from Lebanons Wazzani springs. (United Press International, June 1, 1994) In Middle East politics, water has now become more valuable than oil.
These lies are generated by pro-Israeli propagandists for the sole purpose of influencing American public opinion. Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Israeli Likud Party and Israel´s Prime Minister, said, ...an integral part of making a decision is addressing the question of how it will affect public opinion and what needs to be done to make its message more palatable and effective to international audiences... If public opinion was of decisive importance in shaping political outcomes during the first half of the century, it is now, as the close of the second half of the century, assuming an importance not even imaginable thirty or forty years earlier. (A Place Among Nations: Israel and the World, p. 386) The consequence of state-sponsored public relation campaigns like Israels is articulated best by author Henry Miller: The history of the world is the history of a privileged few.