The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

This isn’t the first intervention in Lebanon

Jul 24, 2006

Israel has long used an old trick to discredit its opponents, labeling them “terrorists.” Hezbollah and Hamas – with their policies – may not deserve our sympathy, but the terrorism of the State of Israel, which bombs workers’ neighborhoods, massacring men, women and children, is totally revolting.

This is the logic of all imperialist armies, which are ready to level a city to eliminate their opponents.

And this isn’t the first time Israel has decimated Lebanon.

A power struggle inside Lebanon over which clans and groups would control the country grew into a full-scale civil war. Taking advantage of that civil war, in March 1978 Israeli troops invaded Lebanon for the first time and imposed an occupation zone. Israel ran the zone jointly with Christian militias from the Lebanese reactionary right.

Four years later, the Israeli military launched a full-scale invasion of Lebanon, advancing to Beirut. For three months it laid siege to the city and bombarded it extensively. Upon ending the siege in September 1982, Israel acted as the accomplice of the Christian militias, which massacred more than 2,000 Palestinian men, women and children in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. The Israeli troops made sure that no refugees could escape and that no friendly forces could come to their aid. In June 1985, Israel set up what it called a “security zone” in southern Lebanon, jointly controlled with Christian militias. In other words, it continued to occupy part of Lebanon.

Today Israel is making a big deal over the threat of Hezbollah missiles. But in 1992, eight years after that organization began, Israel assassinated its leader, Sheik Abbas Musawi, by firing a rocket from an Israeli helicopter.

Hezbollah retaliated for that killing in 1993. Israel used that as a pretext to unleash bombings against the Lebanese population through artillery, aerial bombs and shelling from ships. Israel cynically called this wide-scale military action “Operation Accountability.” Finally in 2000, Israeli troops withdrew from Lebanon, ending an occupation of 22 years.

Since then, Israel has flown non-stop through Lebanese air space and violated its territorial waters. It continues to occupy the 17-square-mile strip of land along the border inside Lebanon, referred to as the Shaaba Farms.

Throughout all these invasions and massacres, the big powers were totally indifferent. At times, they may have made a little noise about the “disproportion” of the Israeli initiatives. But the Israeli state is their most reliable cop in the region. So they always gave Israel the go-ahead, openly or tacitly.

With last week’s massacres in Tyre, Bayada and Aitaroun, the Lebanese population once again finds itself in the same boat as the Palestinians of Gaza.