Jul 24, 2006
On July 22, the Israeli military sent its tanks across the border with Lebanon. It had already pounded southern and eastern Lebanon by air, land and sea, killing and wounding countless numbers of people, turning cities and villages in southern and eastern Lebanon into rubble. The southern part of Beirut, the capital, was laid waste. Over half a million people are now refugees, with tens of thousands more abandoning their homes every day. When refugees poured in to the port city of Sidon, Israeli planes bombed that city too.
Israel’s pretext for all this violence was the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah, which is based in southern Lebanon. When Hezbollah responded to the first Israeli bombing with rocket attacks on Israel, that became the pretext for an all-out war.
Even some U.N. officials and European government spokespersons found Israel’s pretexts a little hard to swallow. They meekly protested that the Israeli “response” against the people of Lebanon was “not proportional.”
Not proportional? It has been an open secret that the Israeli government was planning to invade southern Lebanon, practically from the moment it had been forced to end its 22-year occupation in 2000. Last year, the Israeli military actually presented high-tech, Power Point demonstrations to reporters and diplomats, describing the very war that it is right now carrying out. Israeli generals bragged that their future invasion of Lebanon would be the best-prepared war in Israeli history.
All they needed was an excuse to go to war.
No, this war was not a “disproportional” response to a “kidnapping.” It is a continuation of what the Israeli Zionist regime has been doing since Israel was founded – pushing Israel’s borders further and further outward – through violence and terror against whomever happened to be in the way. The people of southern Lebanon have been treated to some of the same terror that the Israeli rulers meted out to the Palestinians for more than half a century. The minuscule and isolated territories in which 3.9 million Palestinians are jammed were little more than a prison for the Palestinians. Now, the Israeli military has been blowing that up and tearing it apart – with the people in them, using many of the same excuses.
For the Israeli people, Israel’s rulers have always justified this terrorist policy, saying it is the only way to be safe and secure. Decades and decades of wars and occupations later, this policy has turned the Israeli people into the hated oppressor of rest of the people of the region, created a deepening ditch of blood between the different peoples of the region. This policy holds the Israeli population hostage as well.
Yes, groups like Hamas and Hezbollah used terrorist methods and are the enemies of their own people, ready to impose a religious fundamentalist dictatorship if they had the chance. But they are not the ones primarily responsible for the carnage.
Israel is. And behind Israel stands U.S. imperialism.
Israel, a small country with the highest spending on the military in relation to its population of any country in the world, is merely an extension of the U.S. military. It is bought and paid for by the U.S. government. And U.S. industry supplies the F-15s, F-16s, Apache helicopters, Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles, along with their bombs and bullets. The U.S. rushed to resupply Israel as soon as it began to bomb Lebanon. These weapons are all “Made in the USA.”
And so are the wars. Israel is doing the dirty work for the U.S. in the Middle East, helping the U.S. to impose its control over the whole region, its people and resources. By sowing terror and violence, it ensures that a new crop of violence will be harvested over and over again – as the U.S.’s own bloody occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan prove.