Bulletin N°245


23 July 2006
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In one of his many books on the phenomenon of madness in contemporary western societies, British psychoanalyst R.D. Laing wrote at the end of a long description of a "schizophrenic" patient in the context of her "normal" family life, how he personally longed to drive the "normals" out of their "wretched minds". His greater ambition was to return war and competition to its human context, so that these extremes could be understood as unacceptable in human terms.

Empathy, it has been said by specialists in communication, is "the reason for reason". Without the recognition of feelings, reality has no meaning. Digital, analytical thinking is only part of the mental process for understanding the Real. In order to reach higher levels of understanding (or deeper levels, as the case may be) dialectical leaps involving the Imaginary and the Symbolic are necessary. Linear logical analysis is simply not enough to explain change, because it exists in a timeless space on a single plateau confronting tactics with tactics.

"A human being," wrote Albert Einstein,
is part of a whole, called by us the 'Universe,' a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from
the rest--a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind
of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few
persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening
our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature
in its beauty.
In this bulletin we share with our readers testimonies and attempts at analysis from the murderous pathology of war in the Middle East.

First we invite readers to visit the two Internet sites below which express two extremes in the lives of Israelis : the imaginary instinct for national survival "at all costs", and the real search for co-existence within the real world.

An ironic "thank-you" note to the civilized west from Lebanon: http://fromisraeltolebanon.info/ .

The brave effort of war resisters in Israel : http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/jul2006/isra-j18.shtml .

And a third Internet site we recommend again (in case you have not yet seen it) is the film documentary on the slow murder of the Palestinian nation in
The Iron Wall :
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13749.htm .

The following 11 articles represent a variety of perspectives on the human catastrophe caused by U.S.-supported Israeli aggressions against their neighboring Palestinians and Lebanese :

Item A. is a quantitative description of U.S. foreign aid to Israel since 1949; by retired U.S. foreign service officer, Shirl McArthur.

Item B. is a 7-minute music video by James McMurtry, interpreting the debacle of American society "behind the façade".  

Item C., a  message from George Kennedy, offers an alternative interpretation of Israeli military aggressions.

Item D. is a New York Times article sent to us by Elisabeth Chamorand on the U.S. weapons industries and their link with Israel.

Item E. is a video tape by Noam Chomsky on the "murder of a nation".

Item F. is an article sent by Michael Albert on the collaboration of the Canadian media in support of Israeli aggression.

Item G. is an article by Alexander Cockburn on "everything you need to know" about the war.

Item H. is an interpretive essay by Jonathan Cook on "Israel's junior partner" in the Middle East war.

Item I. is an article sent to us by Dr. Catherine Shamas, by Nahla Chahal, Coordinatrice de la CCIPPP(Campagne Civile Internationale pour la Protection du Peuple

Item J. is an article by Sam Ghattas describing the hundreds of Israeli troops which seem to be preparing for a search and destroy mission deep into Lebanon, on        Friday, 21 July 2006.

K. is an article by Dahr Jamail from Damascus, on the response to Israeli aggressions.

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Stendhal - Grenoble 3

from Shirl McArthur :
21 July 2006

A Conservative Estimate of Total Direct U.S. Aid to Israel: $108 Billion
by Shirl McArthur

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. aid since World War II. The $3-plus billion per year that Israel receives from the U.S. taxpayer is about one-fifth of the total U.S. aid budget, and amounts to more than $600 per Israeli.


from James McMurtry :
20 July 2006

This music video touches on America's economic corporate control, struggles of workers ,conditions of veterans, war in Iraq, and the prison industrial complex.

We Can't Make It Here Anymore
Must Watch 7 Minute Video
"Will work for food. Will die for oil."

from George Kennedy :
19 July 2006

I wouldn't be too hasty to leap to conclusions on this one. See what I've written here, which, btw, Ray McGovern thinks is a "nice speculative analysis."

from Elisabeth Chamorand
22 July 2006
New York Times

U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis

(with Thom Shanker)

WASHINGTON, July 21 ­ The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.

The munitions that the United States is sending to Israel are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said. But Israel’s request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers, and as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that she would head to Israel on Sunday at the beginning of a round of Middle Eastern diplomacy. The original plan was to include a stop to Cairo in her travels, but she did not announce any stops in Arab capitals.

Instead, the meeting of Arab and European envoys planned for Cairo will take place in Italy, Western diplomats said. While Arab governments initially criticized Hezbollah for starting the fight with Israel in Lebanon, discontent is rising in Arab countries over the number of civilian casualties in Lebanon, and the governments have become wary of playing host to Ms. Rice until a cease-fire package is put together.

To hold the meetings in an Arab capital before a diplomatic solution is reached, said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel, “would have identified the Arabs as the primary partner of the United States in this project at a time where Hezbollah is accusing the Arab leaders of providing cover for the continuation of Israel’s military operation.”

The decision to stay away from Arab countries for now is a markedly different strategy from the shuttle diplomacy that previous administrations used to mediate in the Middle East. “I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante,” Ms. Rice said Friday. “I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling around, and it wouldn’t have been clear what I was shuttling to do.”

Before Ms. Rice heads to Israel on Sunday, she will join President Bush at the White House for discussions on the Middle East crisis with two Saudi envoys, Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the secretary general of the National Security Council.

The new American arms shipment to Israel has not been announced publicly, and the officials who described the administration’s decision to rush the munitions to Israel would discuss it only after being promised anonymity. The officials included employees of two government agencies, and one described the shipment as just one example of a broad array of armaments that the United States has long provided Israel.

One American official said the shipment should not be compared to the kind of an “emergency resupply” of dwindling Israeli stockpiles that was provided during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, when an American military airlift helped Israel recover from early Arab victories.

David Siegel, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said: “We have been using precision-guided munitions in order to neutralize the military capabilities of Hezbollah and to minimize harm to civilians. As a rule, however, we do not comment on Israel’s defense acquisitions.”

Israel’s need for precision munitions is driven in part by its strategy in Lebanon, which includes destroying hardened underground bunkers where Hezbollah leaders are said to have taken refuge, as well as missile sites and other targets that would be hard to hit without laser and satellite-guided bombs.

Pentagon and military officials declined to describe in detail the size and contents of the shipment to Israel, and they would not say whether the munitions were being shipped by cargo aircraft or some other means. But an arms-sale package approved last year provides authority for Israel to purchase from the United States as many as 100 GBU-28’s, which are 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs intended to destroy concrete bunkers. The package also provides for selling satellite-guided munitions.

An announcement in 2005 that Israel was eligible to buy the “bunker buster” weapons described the GBU-28 as “a special weapon that was developed for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground.” The document added, “The Israeli Air Force will use these GBU-28’s on their F-15 aircraft.”

American officials said that once a weapons purchase is approved, it is up to the buyer nation to set up a timetable. But one American official said normal procedures usually do not include rushing deliveries within days of a request. That was done because Israel is a close ally in the midst of hostilities, the official said.

Although Israel had some precision guided bombs in its stockpile when the campaign in Lebanon began, the Israelis may not have taken delivery of all the weapons they were entitled to under the 2005 sale.

Israel said its air force had dropped 23 tons of explosives Wednesday night alone in Beirut, in an effort to penetrate what was believed to be a bunker used by senior Hezbollah officials.

A senior Israeli official said Friday that the attacks to date had degraded Hezbollah’s military strength by roughly half, but that the campaign could go on for two more weeks or longer. “We will stay heavily with the air campaign,” he said. “There’s no time limit. We will end when we achieve our goals.”

The Bush administration announced Thursday a military equipment sale to Saudi Arabia, worth more than $6 billion, a move that may in part have been aimed at deflecting inevitable Arab government anger at the decision to supply Israel with munitions in the event that effort became public.

On Friday, Bush administration officials laid out their plans for the diplomatic strategy that Ms. Rice will pursue. In Rome, the United States will try to hammer out a diplomatic package that will offer Lebanon incentives under the condition that a United Nations resolution, which calls for the disarming of Hezbollah, is implemented.

Diplomats will also try to figure out the details around an eventual international peacekeeping force, and which countries will contribute to it. Germany and Russia have both indicated that they would be willing to contribute forces; Ms. Rice said the United States was unlikely to.

Implicit in the eventual diplomatic package is a cease-fire. But a senior American official said it remained unclear whether, under such a plan, Hezbollah would be asked to retreat from southern Lebanon and commit to a cease-fire, or whether American diplomats might depend on Israel’s continued bombardment to make Hezbollah’s acquiescence irrelevant.

Daniel Ayalon, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, said that Israel would not rule out an international force to police the borders of Lebanon and Syria and to patrol southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah has had a stronghold. But he said that Israel was first determined to take out Hezbollah’s command and control centers and weapons stockpiles.

from Noam Chomsky :
19 July 2006

Lebanon - Israel Facts the Media Isn't Telling You.

The Murder Of A Nation

7 Minute Video and transcript. Click here to view

from Michael Albert :
21 July 2006

Israel, Racism, and the Canadian Media
by Dan Freeman-Maloy

In the Canadian media, Israel is provoked, and then responds. For the military attacks on the Gaza Strip in late June and early July, we are told that the provocation was the June 25 operation by Palestinian resistance fighters against a military outpost near Gaza, and specifically the capture of an Israeli tank gunner.

The Palestinian operation, according to most Canadian media, was unprovoked – it could not have been provoked by the Israeli attacks leading up to the operation, though in June alone these had already killed 49 Palestinians. Nor could it have been provoked by the imprisonment of 359 Palestinian children, 105 Palestinian female adults and another 9000+ Arab males (mostly Palestinians) in Israeli jails, or by the mass starvation of Gaza. As a June 30 editorial in the Globe and Mail put it, “the onus for resolving the confrontation lies with Hamas,” and while Palestinians must quietly endure tank shelling, air strikes and starvation, “Israel is within its right to respond to terrorism and violence.”

Without pause, Israel has since gone on to invade Lebanon, killing hundreds of Lebanese, while Gaza continues to starve. In the Canadian media, Israel was provoked to do so, in this case by the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah.

Hizbollah has not been provoked in the same way the Palestinians have been. So what prompted their action? An obvious possibility is that they were moved to action by the Israeli assault on Gaza. By the time Hizbollah carried out its July 12 attack, the Israeli escalation following June 25 had already claimed another 67 Palestinian lives. More direct grievances with Israel include the continued Israeli imprisonment of many Lebanese, particularly Hizbollah supporters, and the Israeli live ammunition training on the Lebanese border which recently killed several Lebanese villagers. But one could barely begin to consider this on the basis of information provided by Canadian media. No attacks on Israel can have been provoked. All of Israel’s attacks must be provoked and defensive.

On July 13, Prime Minister Stephen Harper revealed the extent to which this logic has come to dominate Canadian diplomacy. With the Israeli military intensifying its assault on the Lebanese population and on critical civilian infrastructure, Harper described the massive attack as a “measured” exercise of Israel’s “right to defend itself.” Mainstream media joined in the chorus: “Faced with such aggression, Israel had no choice but to strike back,” a July 15 Globe and Mail editorial declared. The next day, several Canadians were added to the sky-rocketing death count from Israeli massacres.

Israel’s massacres in Gaza and southern Lebanon coincide with a shift in Canadian foreign policy. Under the past two regimes (Martin’s Liberals and now Harper’s Conservatives), Canada has rapidly shed any pretense of having an independent foreign policy and has aligned itself completely with the United States, Israel’s chief financial backer and arms dealer. Where past Canadian regimes would have settled for silent complicity in war crimes, Harper actively cheers and participates in them. This drastic realignment of Canadian policy happens at a time when the U.S. and Israel are embarking on aggressive, criminal wars involving major human rights violations.

For Canadians to accept this, they will have to consume an equally drastic dose of racism, dehumanization, and distorted understanding. Getting them to do so may be somewhat of a challenge. The Canadian media have taken up the task with gusto.

Aggression and defense

“No nation would stand by while its enemies bombarded its towns and cities.”
                                                                          –Globe and Mail Editorial, July 15

Of course, the Globe’s editors were not talking about the Palestinian nation. The Palestinians are expected to stand by while Israel bombards its towns and cities, as it has been doing continuously for the past six years, with a sharp escalation in June – well before June 25, by which time of the month 49 Palestinians had already been killed. But when Palestinians resist through armed struggle, we read on the Globe and Mail’s editorial pages that Israel’s “right to respond to the latest Palestinian provocations is beyond question.” We cannot expect “superhuman effort” from Israel, the editors explain, and this is what would be required “to resist retaliating.”

Through most of June, the situation was quite different – but then it was only Palestinians who were being killed, only Palestinians who were starving. This was, in the words of the Toronto Star’s Mitch Potter, a period of “relative calm.” For disturbing this calm, Palestinians bear a double responsibility: for aggression against Israel, and for forcing Israel to attack Palestinians in response. As Potter insists on repeating, the ongoing Israeli assault was itself “sparked initially by the June 25 capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants.”

In fact, if the notion of self-defense was applied with any consistency, the operation of June 25 would be beyond reproach. Following an economic siege and recurring air strikes on their communities, Palestinian fighters based in the Gaza Strip initiated an attack against the Israeli military. This is no small feat, since Gaza’s airspace and borders are under tight Israeli control, and it is difficult for a lightly armed popular resistance to bring down F-16s. Nonetheless, the fighters managed to tunnel their way underground for hundreds of metres, deep beneath Israeli fortifications, to reach a military outpost for their raid. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting, as were two Palestinians, creating a very rare symmetry in the death count. Palestinian fighters also destroyed an Israeli tank, likely one of those that regularly shell Palestinian communities from such outposts. They captured the tank gunner and brought him back to Gaza as a prisoner of war.

The Palestinian resistance thus had one Israeli detainee, as against some 10,000 prisoners on the Israeli side. The resistance group offered a limited exchange. They would release the tank gunner if Israel freed Palestinian child prisoners, female prisoners, and approximately 1,000 “administrative detainees” currently in Israeli prisons without charge. A negotiated settlement reached through conditions of reciprocity and dignity could well have seen the soldier released. But Israel had a different plan.

As former Israeli intelligence director Shlomo Gazit explained, the situation served as a “pretext” for escalating military operations in Gaza. Israeli forces began a series of forceful incursions, destroying critical civilian infrastructure though air strikes, shelling Palestinian communities, and instituting a comprehensive siege on the territory. These escalations quickly revealed the Israeli goal as regime change. The Israeli military rounded up and detained 64 political leaders from the occupied West Bank and Gaza, including elected legislators and a third of the Palestinian Cabinet. It began aerial bombardment of central civilian structures housing the Palestinian Authority.

The Israeli regime responsible for these attacks enjoys thorough support from the Canadian government. Its Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, visited Canada little more than a year ago. During the visit, he received a pledge from the federal government that it would maintain preferential trade policies towards Israel. Olmert also visited Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at Queen’s Park, where he helped to set up a parallel provincial trade arrangement. Joking with reporters as he presented McGuinty with a gift, Olmert asked: “Do you want us to hug?”[http://www.cjnews.com/viewarticle.asp?id=6122&s=1] Olmert and Canadian officials did everything but.

The Harper government strengthened links with Israel further, making Canada still more complicit in ongoing Israeli crimes. As Israeli attacks ravaged Gaza, journalists with concern for ‘balance’ ought to have paid attention to who was doing the killing and who the victims were.

Instead, Canadian media continued shifting focus to Palestinian culpability and encouraging the government’s pro-Israel partisanship. The spin in news coverage was spelled out explicitly on editorial pages. The Toronto Star’s editors called attention to “the folly of what [Palestinians] wrought by electing a Hamas government,” while staking limited optimism on “the hope of a chastened Palestinian Authority.”(June 29) The editors of the National Post and the Globe and Mail held Palestinians directly responsible for Israeli attacks. “That there is a humanitarian tragedy afflicting the Palestinian people there can be no doubt,” a July 29 National Post editorial conceded, “but in the current context it is a tragedy entirely of their own making.” On June 30, the Globe’s editors hammered away at the same theme: “The main responsibility for the death and destruction that has followed [June 25] lies with Palestinian militants and leaders.”

The capture of a tank gunner as a prisoner of war was translated into an act of aggression, a “kidnapping.” Within a couple of weeks, the three leading Anglo Canadian dailies – the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the National Post – had published the name of the captured (“kidnapped”) soldier more than 100 times, often alongside his age and other personal information. The Globe’s Shira Herzog, reflecting a broad journalistic consensus, explained that strong Israeli retaliation was necessary: Israel “is a country that takes collective pride in the sanctity of every life, an ethos that comforts Israeli soldiers in combat who know that no human effort will be spared to rescue even a single one of them from enemy territory, dead or alive.”

As for the apparent contradiction given Israel’s approach to the lives of Palestinian prisoners, the issue could not be ignored entirely. On the thorny issue of child prisoners, the Globe referred readers to a front-page article on the topic it had published on June 19, titled “Getting locked up to get away from it all.” The piece argued that Palestinian children view imprisonment in Israeli jails as “a dream vacation” and are getting themselves imprisoned willfully as part of a Palestinian cultural trend. Regarding female prisoners, the paper published a June 27 report titled “Palestinian female prisoners have ‘blood on their hands.’” The title was based on a quote from the Israeli prison authority, and the article assured readers that those Palestinian women convicted in Israeli military courts were quite guilty and very bad. The Post, for its part, ran an editorial referring without distinction to all the Palestinians whom the resistance was demanding be released – children, women and “administrative detainees” alike – as “fanatics now justifiably languishing in Israeli prisons.”

Canadian media thus followed the Israeli lead, prizing the sanctity of every Israeli life while holding Palestinian lives in utter contempt.

Dehumanizing Palestinians

 “It is our duty to prevent any danger of losing a Jewish majority or creating an inseparable bi-national reality in the Land of Israel.”
                                                      -Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, June 20, 2006
                                                        (Speech to the 35th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem)

As disturbing as it is, contempt for Palestinian life on the part of Israel and its supporters is unsurprising. It is, in fact, a necessary cornerstone of the ideology of political Zionism, which guides the Israeli political establishment and determines the core of Israeli policy.

This policy is based on the determination to establish and maintain a state with a Jewish majority on lands that have long been home to a predominantly non-Jewish native population. Pursuit of this goal has involved expelling Palestinians from these lands, prohibiting their right to return to their homes, and encouraging large-scale Zionist settlement from abroad. This is a recipe for perpetual crisis and violence. Israeli forces effectively control all of historic (mandatory) Palestine, the territory stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. And despite Israel’s forced exile of millions of Palestinians from these lands, the present inhabitants of this territory are in the majority not Jewish.
For Canadians to support Israel, they must adopt the Israeli perspective regarding the native population of this land, the view that the Palestinian population is an ethnic imbalance to be corrected, a problem to be dealt with, a “demographic threat” to a state which must be made “Jewish” at all costs. This thoroughly racist position frames mainstream Canadian debate.

It is hardly worth quoting the National Post on this, given that the paper is operated by CanWest Global, a media conglomerate founded by two of Canada’s leading Israel lobbyists (Israel Asper and Gerry Schwartz). But the position holds firm on the liberal wing of the Canadian mainstream.

Consider, for example, the work of Mitch Potter, the Toronto Star’s leading Israel-Palestine pundit in recent weeks. Potter is aware that Gaza is not the planet’s most densely-populated area by accident, but largely as a result of the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the 78% of historic Palestine occupied by Zionist forces in 1948 (when Zionists took their first real stab at achieving a Jewish majority). Some 700,000 Palestinians were then expelled from the territory claimed as the State of Israel, forced into either neighboring countries or the 22% of Palestine still outside of Zionist control (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). With respect to the southern Israeli settlement of Ashkelon, for example, Potter offers the following background: “The modern city was formed by Jewish immigrants to Israel in the site of the Arab town of Al-Majdal, whose 11,000 residents were mostly driven into Gaza after the 1948 war.”

Potter does not even feel it necessary to explain why those driven out cannot return to their homes in accord with the basic, inalienable rights of refugees displaced during wartime. Instead, Potter automatically assumes the Israeli perspective. He correctly explains that the Israeli “disengagement” from Gaza was simply an outgrowth of Israel’s agenda of ethnic and national discrimination. For obvious reasons, Israel has been finding it difficult to deny the indigenous presence on the land it has conquered. This difficulty, Potter explained, was addressed through an effort to permanently exclude the Palestinian refugees of Gaza from dominant settler society: “Analysts spoke of an emerging Israeli consensus that understood a bitter pill had to be swallowed once and for all in order for Israel to cure itself of the demographic realities of the burgeoning Palestinian birth rate.”

This is unabashed racism: the native majority population is described as a disease to be treated by state policy, though even conceding Palestinians a stretch of land to starve on is a “bitter pill.” None of the leading Canadian newspapers published a serious challenge to this racism.
Instead, they repeatedly published the flimsy argument that such a challenge would itself be racist. In a rhetorical sleight of hand that has become quite familiar, commentators repeatedly suggested that basic principles of human and national rights must be sacrificed on the altar of political Zionism, and that defending the rights of Palestinians (particularly those in exile) amounts to anti-Jewish racism. The point was put clearly in a July 3 column in the Globe and Mail: “it’s anti-Semitic to call, as CUPE did [http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/hanieh310506.html], for an unconditional right of return of all Palestinian refugees, since such a massive demographic change would mean the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.”

The Globe thus tells us that Palestine’s indigenous population is not only inferior and troublesome, but also oppressively racist by its very presence.
From this perspective, contempt for Palestinian life comes all too naturally. On June 29, the National Post, ever a mouthpiece for Israeli diplomacy, addressed the issue through an interview with Israeli foreign and deputy prime minister Tzipi Livni. For Livni, as reporter Douglas Davis uncritically relayed to readers, international contempt for Palestinian life is still insufficient: “She is particularly irritated by the equivalence given to the deaths of Palestinian and Israeli children … ‘Only when the world sends the right message to the terrorists will they understand that it’s not the same.’” Canada’s leading journalists have already gotten the message.

Consider, again, the work of Mitch Potter, who in his recent position as the Toronto Star’s leading Israel-Palestine pundit is a canary in the mineshaft of liberal Canadian racism. On June 30, just one day after the publication of Livni’s anti-“equivalency” plea, Potter made the following assertion: “Despite five days of international headlines there has been but a single death – that of kidnapped 18-year-old Israeli hitchhiker Eliyahu Asheri.”

Apparently, it was not worth counting the two Palestinian children, aged 2 and 17, who were killed on June 28 by an unexploded Israeli shell in the Gaza community of Khan Yunis (though this had even been reported in the New York Times). Nor was it worth retracting or correcting Potter’s statement in light of the Israeli military’s killing of a Palestinian in nearby Rafah at 2am on the morning of the 30th, or of another in the West Bank city of Nablus a little more than 3 hours later (already by 6:13am, Agence France Press had reported the Nablus killing). There were reports of other deaths during this period, which Potter or his editors could easily have investigated if they took Palestinian life seriously.

Evidently, they do not. As the Palestinian death toll mounted in the following week, denying the fatalities outright became untenable. Instead, Potter reduced Palestinian resistance to stubborn stupidity and described the fallen fighters as animals: “Another batch of Palestinian militants drawn out lemming-like and falling by the dozen to higher-calibre Israeli fire, just like their predecessors.” [For Potter to call Palestinians lemmings is certainly ironic].

Falling, he might have added, to U.S. weapons, with the support of Canadian foreign policy and its loyal pundits.

Whitewashing collective punishment

“Hezbollah and Hamas … triggered the current crisis by staging guerrilla raids into Israel”                            
–Toronto Star, July 19 (reporter Less Whittington)

On July 12, Hizbollah, for decades the main southern Lebanese group in resistance to Israel, captured two Israeli soldiers and killed two more on the Israel-Lebanon border. That day, Israel not only killed 23 Palestinian civilians in Gaza, but also began to bomb Beirut. Israeli military action against Lebanon swiftly escalated. On July 15, for example, Reuters reported that Israel used loudspeakers to order Lebanese civilians to leave the village of Marwaheen. 20 people, including 15 children, got in a van to leave. Israel then bombed the van, killing them all.

Of all of Israel’s international allies, including the United States, the Harper government was widely regarded as the most outspoken diplomatic supporter of escalating Israeli attacks. For Canadian media, fully accustomed to whitewashing Israeli atrocities, this was only appropriate. Massacres and the war crime of collective punishment were sanitized and reduced to offhand euphemisms: “As in the Palestinian territories,” the Globe’s Orly Halpern reported, “Israel is ratcheting up the pressure on the civilian population in an effort to push the Lebanese to reject Hezbollah tactics.”(July 14)

And as in Palestinian territory, the attacks were a matter of defense. On July 15, the Globe editorialized: “The kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers, in a small country that holds the life of every soldier dear, was a grievous provocation. Coming just weeks after the seizing of another soldier by militants at the other end of the country, it looks like a coordinated campaign of intimidation.”

The imputed “coordinated campaign of intimidation,” which Globe editors disapprove of, is not to be confused with Israel’s “ratcheting up the pressure on the civilian population,” with which the Globe raises only strategic objections.

As Israel continued to kill and starve Palestinians, and as the Lebanese death toll from Israeli massacres mounted into the hundreds (with several Canadians killed in the indiscriminate bombardment), Mitch Potter explained that Palestinians now shared blame for the violence – with Hizbollah: “The words Hamas and Hezbollah may sound equally foreboding to most Western ears. And the militant merger of the two has brought the Middle East to the brink of regional war.” (July 16)

Even for the killing of Canadians, Israeli culpability was sidelined: “Lebanon terror hits home,” read a Toronto Star headline on the topic for July 17; “Canadians were killed in crossfire of fight with Hezbollah,” read another headline, this one from the July 18 issue of the Globe and Mail. In much of the coverage, it was as if Canadians were fleeing a natural disaster, not a campaign of collective punishment fully condoned by the Harper government.

The reliance on Israeli sources became almost comical. By July 19, the Lebanese death count from Israeli massacres had reached 312, with more than 100,000 civilians displaced. As Canadians scrambled to leave Lebanon amidst the Israeli assault, the public relations line of the chief Israeli diplomatic to Canada received the widest possible circulation through a story printed by the Canadian Press. Drawing entirely from unsubstantiated claims, the piece ran with the headline “Canadians fleeing Lebanon could be Hezbollah targets: Israeli ambassador.”

Israel has since pledged to continue its invasion of Lebanon for weeks to come, and both the Canadian government and Canadian media are lining up in support. The Toronto Star’s Mitch Potter continues to get front-page attention for his articles, led by prominent cover references to Lebanese “terror” (July 18) and the suggestion that Hizbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah could be the “next Osama bin Laden” (July 19). Potter’s journalism is shallow public relations, most recently for Israeli assassination efforts against Nasrallah. Potter has described the leader as an eloquent, strategic figure with a mass base for regional resistance to Israel. From his vantage point in “the corridors of power” in Israel, Potter notes that “the strategies for Israeli victory are converging on Nasrallah’s head.”

Israel, while pledging a prolonged attack on Lebanon, has continued its atrocities in Gaza and escalated attacks on the West Bank, with incursions into the Palestinian towns of Nablus (where the Israeli military took over the municipality building, smashed cars and shot indiscriminately at residents’ houses), Tulkarem, Bethlehem and Jenin.

The Harper government’s nearly unconditional support for this Israeli aggression is scandalous, matched only by the media’s support for Harper. On July 20, the Globe and Mail’s editors reaffirmed this. The title of the editorial in ‘Canada’s national newspaper,’ which praised Harper for his “refreshing” pro-Israel diplomacy, conveys the general tone of coverage: “Harper is right on the Mideast.”

Mounting a challenge

There are indications that the Canadian population may be lagging behind the political establishment in its contempt for Palestinians. At the end of 2004, the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC) released polls which offer some hope in this regard. They found that prior to the recent intensification of support for Israel, official Canadian pro-Israel partisanship was opposed by majority public opinion. The polls found that the more Canadians learn about the Israel-Palestine conflict, the more they sympathize with the Palestinian cause.

In recent months, this sympathy has found increasingly organized expression. The past week’s massive demonstrations in Montreal come on the heels of various important displays of regional solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Prominent among these is the decision by the Ontario wing of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-Ontario), Canada’s largest union of public sector workers, to identify Israel’s regime of systematic ethnic and national discrimination as apartheid, and to join the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until apartheid is dismantled. This movement is continuing to spread, and is picking up momentum within the United Church and elsewhere.

As the Canadian government opts instead for open rejection of the rights of Palestinians (and Lebanese), “Israel advocacy” groups like the Canada-Israel Committee take comfort in support from the mainstream press. When the Harper government became the first of Israel’s allies to support renewed suffocation of the Palestinian economy (in March 2006), CIC communications director Paul Michaels commented happily that the “decision was greeted positively on the editorial pages of most Canadian newspapers.” Again in late June, Canadian media indifference to attacks on Palestinians occasioned the expression of satisfaction on the part of the CIC: “While events on the ground included several Israeli air strikes in which civilians were injured or killed, this week’s media coverage was fairly light.”

With support from the government and the corporate press, Israel’s allies pretend to near universal Canadian representation. They are in turn able to depict Palestine solidarity as a rejection of the popular consensus: “This week,” a Globe article on July 8 declared, “public opinion was inflamed again when, contrary to the outrage [against CUPE for its Palestine work], the Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada commended CUPE Ontario for its stand, and echoed the union’s call for a boycott of Israeli goods.”

There is no denying the real strength of Canada’s institutional base of support for Israel. However, there is good reason to believe that this does not flow from “popular opinion.” Rather, it results from the eagerness of the Canadian government to harmonize its foreign policy with the U.S., the support of corporate Canada for this agenda, and the strength of Canadian “Israel advocacy” groups which draw support from corporate organization, the United States and Israel itself. Mainstream media are reflecting and shaping the pro-Israel consensus determined by these powerful interests. But they have yet to bring a real public consensus behind them.

In this context, opportunities for a successful challenge to Canadian support for Israel remain very real. But it is only outside of the political establishment that this challenge can be built, and only through alternative information systems that it can be sustained. In any event, it is clear that while genuine awareness of the Israel-Palestine conflict may translate into Palestine solidarity, the mainstream press, far from the solution, is quite near to the core of the problem.

from Alexander Cockburn :
July 21, 2006

Hezbollah, Hamas and Israel: Everything You Need To Know

As the  tv networks give  unlimited airtime to Israel’s apologists, the message rolls out that no nation, least of all Israel, can permit bombardment or armed incursion  across its borders without retaliation.

The guiding rule in this tsunami of drivel is that the viewers should be denied the slightest access to any historical context, or indeed to anything that happened prior to June 28, which was when the capture of an Israeli soldier and the killing of two others by Hamas hit the headlines, followed soon thereafter by an attack by a unit of Hezbollah’s fighters.

Memory is supposed to stop in its tracks at June 28, 2006.

Let’s go on a brief excursion into pre-history. I’m talking about June 20, 2006, when Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an attempted extrajudicial assassination attempt on a road between Jabalya and Gaza City. The missile missed the car.  Instead it killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15.

Back we go again to June 13, 2006. Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a van in another attempted extrajudicial assassination. The successive barrages killed nine innocent Palestinians. 

Now we’re really in the dark ages, reaching far, far back to June 9, 2006, when Israel shelled a beach in Beit Lahiya killing 8 civilians and injuring 32.

That’s just a brief trip down Memory Lane, and we trip over the bodies of twenty dead and forty-seven wounded, all of them Palestinians, most of them women and children.

Israel regrets… But no! Israel doesn’t regret in the least. Most of the time it doesn’t even bother to pretend to regret. It says, “We reserve the right to slaughter Palestinians whenever we want. We reserve the right to assassinate their leaders, crush their homes, steal their water, tear out their olive groves, and when they try to resist we call them terrorists intent on wrecking the ‘peace process’”.

Now Israel says it wants to wipe out Hezbollah. It wishes no harm to the people of Lebanon, just so long as they’re not supporters of Hezbollah, or standing anywhere in the neighborhood of a person or a house or a car or a truck or a road or a bus or a field, or a power station or a port that might, in the mind of an Israeli commander or pilot, have something to do with Hezbollah. In any of those eventualities all bets are off. You or your wife or your mother or your baby get fried.

Israel regrets… But no! As noted above,  it doesn’t regret in the least. Neither does George Bush, nor Condoleezza  Rice nor John Bolton who is  the moral savage who brings shame on his country each day that he sits as America’s ambassador (unconfirmed) at the UN and who has just told the world that a dead Israel civilian is worth a whole more in terms of moral outrage than a Lebanese one.

None of them regrets. They say Hezbollah is a cancer in the body of Lebanon. Sometimes, to kill the cancer, you end up killing the body. Or bodies. Bodies of babies. Lots of them.  Go to the website fromisraeltolebanon.info and take a look. Then sign the petition on the site calling on the governments of the world to stop this barbarity.

You can say that Israel brought Hezbollah into the world. You can prove it too, though this too involves another frightening excursion into history.

This time we have to go far, almost unimaginably far, back into history. Back to 1982, before the dinosaurs, before CNN, before Fox TV, before O’Reilly and Limbaugh. But not before the neo-cons who at that time had already crawled from the primal slime and were doing exactly what they are doing now: advising an American president to give Israel the green light to “solve its security problems” by destroying Lebanon.

In 1982 Israel had a problem. Yasir Arafat, headquartered in Beirut, was making ready to announce that the PLO was prepared to sit down with Israel and embark on peaceful, good faith negotiations towards a two-state solution.

Israel didn’t want a two-state solution, which meant -- if UN resolutions were to be taken seriously -- a Palestinian state right next door, with water, and contiguous territory.  So Israel decided chase the PLO right out of Lebanon. It announced that the Palestinian fighters had broken the year-long cease-fire by lobbing some shells into northern Israel.

Palestinians had done nothing of the sort. I remember this very well, because Brian Urquhart, at that time assistant secretary general of the United Nations, in charge of UN observers on Israel’s northern border, invited me to his office on the 38th floor of the UN hq in mid-Manhattan and showed me all the current reports from the zone. For over a year there’d been no shelling from north of the border. Israel was lying.

With or without a pretext Israel wanted to invade Lebanon. So it did, and rolled up to Beirut. It shelled Lebanese towns and villages and bombed them from the air. Sharon’s forces killed maybe 20,000 people, and let Lebanese Christians slaughter hundreds of Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Chatilla.

The killing got so bad that even Ronald Reagan awoke from his slumbers and called Tel Aviv to tell Israel to stop. Sharon gave the White House the finger by bombing Beirut at the precise times -- 2.42 and 3.38 -- of two UN resolutions calling for a peaceful settlement on the matter of Palestine.

When the dust settled over the rubble, Israel bunkered down several miles inside Lebanese sovereign territory, which it illegally occupied, in defiance of all UN resolutions, for years, supervising a brutal local militia and running its own version of Abu Graibh, the torture center at the prison of Al-Khiam.

Occupy a country, torture its citizens and in the end you face resistance. In Israel’s case it was Hezbollah, and in the end Hezbollah ran Israel out of Lebanon, which is why a lot of Lebanese regard Hezbollah not as terrorists but as courageous liberators.

The years roll by and Israel does its successful best to destroy all possibility of a viable two-state solution. It builds illegal settlements. It chops up Palestine with Jews-only roads. It collars all the water. It cordons off Jerusalem. It steals even more land by bisecting Palestinian territory with its “fence”. Anyone trying to organize resistance gets jailed, tortured, or blown up.

Sick of their terrible trials,  Palestinians elect Hamas, whose leaders make it perfectly clear that they are ready to deal on the basis of the old two-state solution, which of course is the one thing Israel cannot endure. Israel doesn’t want any “peaceful solution” that gives the Palestinians anything more than a few trashed out acres surrounded with barbed wire and tanks, between the Israeli settlements whose goons can murder them pretty much at will.

So here we are, 24 years after Sharon did his best to destroy Lebanon in 1982, and his heirs are doing it all over again. Since they can’t endure the idea of any just settlement for Palestinians, it’s the only thing they know how to do. Call Lebanon a terror-haven and bomb it back to the stone age. Call Gaza a terror-haven and bomb its power plant, first stop on the journey back to the stone age. Bomb Damascus. Bomb Teheran.

Of course they won’t destroy Hezbollah. Every time they kill another Lebanese family, they multiply hatred of Israel and support for Hezbollah. They’ve even unified the parliament in Baghdad, which just voted unanimously --  Sunnis and Shi’ites and Kurds alike --  to deplore Israel’s conduct and to call for a ceasefire.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these little excursions into history, even though history is dangerous, which is why the US press gives it a wide birth. But even without the benefit of historical instruction, a majority of Americans in CNN’s instant poll –- about 55 per cent out of 800,000 as of midday, July 19 -- don’t like what Israel is up to.

Dislike is one thing, but at least in the short term it doesn’t help much. Israel’s 1982 attack on Lebanon grew unpopular in the US, after the first few days. But forcing the US to pressure Israel to settle the basic problem takes political courage, and virtually no US politician is prepared to buck the Israel lobby, however many families in Lebanon and Gaza may be sacrificed on the altar of such cowardice. 

from Jonathan Cook :
20 July 2006

Israel’s historical use of violence
by Jonathan Cook

Israel may be able to drag its paymaster, the United States, deeper into the mire of the Middle East as a junior partner rather than as an honest broker, giving Israel cover while it carves up yet more Palestinian land for annexation.


from Dr. Catherine Shamas :
19 July 2006

Un peu de pudeur !
par Nahla Chahal, Coordinatrice de la CCIPPP
(Campagne Civile Internationale pour la Protection du Peuple Palestinien)

Comme si ça avait commencé là, il y a quelques jours, avec l¹enlèvement des deux soldats israéliens à la frontière du Liban. Tout était si serein, si calme avant cet acte perpétré par le Hezbollah... Et le pire concernerait l¹ambiguïté des motivations de ce parti, probablement liées à sa nature meurtrière et barbare, ou au fait qu¹il soit une organisation terroriste, ou pourquoi pas antisémite qui aspire à tuer les juifs, si sa motivation n¹était pas de servir les bas intérêts politiques et machiavéliques de la
Syrie ou de l¹Iran... enfin, un mélange de tout ça.

Comme s¹il n¹y a pas eu, il y a juste un mois, à la mi-juin, le crime de la plage de Gaza où une famille entière a été assassinée, un vendredi, pendant une sortie promise aux enfants s¹ils « réussissaient leur année scolaire », d¹après Hoda, une fillette de 9 ans, la seule survivante. Une commission d¹enquête internationale ? pas question !! Israël n¹accepte pas.
Comme s¹il n¹y a pas eu cette indifférence internationale à l¹égard de la Palestine qui dure depuis des années, depuis qu¹Israël, justement Israël, a décidé de quitter le processus de paix, lueur d¹espoir éphémère d¹une solution négociée, née en 1993 et assassinée mille fois depuis. Nous n¹allons pas refaire l¹histoire, mais rappelons au moins que le Quartet ne fait rien, strictement rien, depuis des années, que cette fameuse commission laisse Israël prendre les mesures unilatérales qui lui semblent bonnes, que le mur continue son avancée malgré l¹avis de la Cour internationale de justice sur son illégalité, que le cortège du malheur palestinien n¹en finit
pas de se dérouler devant les yeux du monde entier qui n¹a pas envie devoir.

Comme s¹il n¹y avait pas eu la suspension de l¹aide européenne à l¹Autorité palestinienne, depuis que le peuple palestinien a élu au Parlement les candidats du Hamas, cette autre organisation terroriste, barbare, antisémite et tout... Les observateurs européens étaient là, ils attestent de la régularité de ces élections. Mais enfin, pourquoi les Palestiniens ont fait un si mauvais choix ? Peut-être sont-ils eux aussi barbares, terroristes et antisémites !! Alors, il faut réduire à la soumission absolue les
Palestiniens, les Libanais, les Irakiens et tous ceux qui oseraient contester l¹ordre établi...

Car ordre établi il y a. Georges Bush a défini l¹axe du Bien, et ses caractéristiques, et ses membres. Sa suprématie est légitime du fait même qu¹il représente le Bien, et il mène une guerre totale et permanente aux mauvais. Ni Nations unies, ni règles internationales. Invasion et occupation de l¹Irak. Guantanamo et centres de détention secrets. Israël kidnappe des ministres du gouvernements palestiniens ? Allons donc, on ne fera pas un drame pour ceux-là, de surcroît des palestiniens du Hamas, certainement moins bons que les Palestiniens tués par dizaines tous les jours, enlevés et détenus administrativement pendant des années, humiliés et laissés pour
compte, sans aucun avenir perceptible, sans horizon, sans même une promesse de recherche de solution, sans rien. RIEN. Et ils osent tenir tête, ces barbares ? ils ne se soumettent pas mais enlèvent un soldat pour demander la libération des femmes et des enfants prisonniers en Israël ? Etonnant quand même. Cet entêtement doit être une arme secrète ! Décapitons alors pour voir ce qu¹il y a derrière ou dedans ! Cela faisait plus de deux semaines que Gaza était bombardée nuit et jour, des centaines de civils tués, dont une grande partie des enfants, la centrale électrique de la ville détruite par Israël qui menace de couper l¹eau aussi. Qu¹est ce qu¹on faisait ailleurs ?
Rien, sinon exiger que les Palestiniens restituent sans conditions le soldat enlevé. Car un membre respectable de l¹axe du Bien n¹allait quand même pas négocier avec ces barbares et leur donner satisfaction.

Si le Hezbollah n¹avait pas entrepris l¹enlèvement des deux soldats, la situation en Palestine se trouverait devant une impasse totale. Impasse due à l¹absence de recherche de solution au dernier épisode, celui de l¹enlèvement du soldat à côté de Gaza et des revendications palestiniennes, mais absence de recherche de solution, tout court.

D¹avoir laissé la situation en Palestine atteindre ce degré de pourrissement, d¹avoir laissé à Israël la totale liberté sur tous les plans, y compris celle d¹organiser les tueries incessantes, de balayer d¹un revers de main les résolutions internationales, et de jouir d¹une totale impunité, voilà ce qui a conduit à l¹engrenage actuel. Bizarrement, et sans pudeur aucune, Condoleezza Rice s¹est soudain souvenue de la "Feuille de route" et a annoncé qu¹il faudrait la reprendre et l¹appliquer. La Feuille de route
!... la énième version des plans d¹application du processus de paix, version revisitée, réduite à souhait au profit d¹Israël et malgré cela négligée et jetée aux oubliettes. Tant qu¹il n¹y avait rien qui obligeait le monde à s¹en souvenir, les Etats-Unis, l¹ONU, l¹Europe et les pays arabes laissaient Israël agir à sa guise.

Mais de quoi se mêle le Hezbollah ? N¹est-il pas un parti libanais et non palestinien ? Cet argument est tout à fait étonnant. Pourquoi les Etats-Unis seraient en droit d¹intervenir partout dans le monde, de concevoir le plan du « Grand Moyen-Orient », et de prétendre que l¹invasion et l¹occupation de l¹Irak visent à mettre ce plan en application, et un parti libanais n¹aurait pas le droit de se mêler de la situation en Palestine, tout à côté du Liban. Comment y aura-t-il mondialisation d¹une part et cantonnement dans la localité la plus stricte d¹autre part ? l¹ordre établi serait-il la mondialisation de la suprématie militaire et économique étatsunienne qui
vassalise le reste du monde à des degrés différents, jusqu¹au morcellement ethnique, confessionnel, régional, là où ça sert les « intérêts nationaux des Etats-Unis » qui sont devenus le seul critère valable pour gérer les relations internationales. Un concours de circonstances a rendu puissant le Hezbollah, parti populaire qui a fait ses preuves durant les années de lutte pour la libération du Sud Liban occupé par Israël - de 1978 à 2000 - et parti armé. Le Hezbollah entretient des relations avec la Syrie et l¹Iran ? Ceci ressemble à l¹argument étatsunien qui accuse l¹Iran d¹intervenir en Irak ! Les Etats-Unis qui ont traversé des dizaines de milliers de km pour arriver en Irak, qui y ont déployé plus de cent mille soldats, qui occupent le pays et y font la pluie et le beau temps, n¹admettent pas que son voisin s¹y mêle. Voilà le nouvel ordre mondial.

Mais non ! c¹est une question de rapport de force. Alors, pourquoi le Hezbollah se priverait de garder les outils de sa force, dont ses armes, et pourquoi se priverait-il d¹essayer de modifier ce rapport de force, ne serait-ce que partiellement, pour un rééquilibrage de la situation ? Le prix à payer est trop élevé, dira-t-on. Faut-il pour autant accepter la soumission totale devant ceux qui usent de la force brutale. N¹est-ce pas là la définition de la servitude ? Certains Libanais ne sont pas d¹accord avec
cette aspiration du Hezbollah à modifier le rapport de force global avec Israël. Il n¹y a pas consensus national nous dit-on. C¹est vrai, mais y a-t-il jamais eu consensus national pour bouger ? Celui-ci est précieux durant les périodes de stabilité, ou pour installer la stabilité, et non pas tout au long de l¹histoire et à chacun de ses instants.

Et la résolution 1559, à laquelle tient si fortement le gouvernement français, qui en fut un des artisans et dont il réclame aujourd'hui l'application pour une sortie de la crise ? Si seulement Israël appliquait une seule des résolutions internationales. Une contre dix, ça serait acceptable. Mais zéro contre tout, ça s¹appelle de la soumission. Et un déni de tout droit à l¹Autre. Il se trouve que des Palestiniens, des Arabes, et des esprits libres du monde entier n¹arrivent pas à intérioriser cette loi
de la soumission et oeuvrent pour limiter ses effets. Cela s¹appelle de la résistance. Et c¹est légitime.

C¹est exactement la peur du succès, même minime, d¹un rééquilibrage du rapport de force qui pousse Israël à réagir avec cette violence démesurée dès qu¹un acte signifie la contestation de sa totale suprématie et liberté d¹action. Israël est à la fois puissant et vulnérable. Puissant grâce aux armes, au soutien inconditionnel des  administrations étatsuniennes successives, à l¹absence de plus en plus prononcée d¹une quelconque volonté internationale autre. Vulnérabilité liée à la condition même de la création d¹Israël, entité artificielle implantée dans cette partie du monde par la volonté occidentale qui cherchait à y installer une base avancée, et surtout à résoudre la question juive de la façon la plus antisémite qui soit (en tentant une nouvelle fois de se débarrasser des juifs d¹Europe, et en les entassant dans un nouveau ghetto, cage dorée, mais cage quand même). Et vulnérabilité parce que Etat créé sur une injustice flagrante, celle de la décision de sacrifier le peuple palestinien pour réaliser ces objectifs. Israël est prisonnier de ses conditions d¹existence. Il lui faut exercer à chaque instant sa totale suprématie, sinon il se sent menacé de disparition !! Il se trouve qu¹il y a un hic dans l¹affaire, qui est l¹existence des Palestiniens. Le slogan sioniste « une terre sans peuple pour un peuple sans terre » est tellement mensonger qu¹il n¹arrête pas de jouer des mauvais tours à ses inventeurs, autre impasse que l¹usage de la brutalité et de l¹arrogance envenime, alors que des approches sages, humaines, respectueuses du drame que l¹histoire a fait subir aux Palestiniens auraient pu réduires. Voilà que l¹impasse de la situation en Palestine génère encore une fois une
explosion. Tout indique qu¹elle n¹est qu¹à ses débuts et que l¹ensemble de la région du Moyen-Orient peut basculer dans la violence la plus déchaînée,aux conséquences les moins prévisibles.
Il serait irresponsable de croire que la situation est maîtrisée, que des jours ou des semaines de pressions meurtrières sur le Liban viendraient à bout de cette volonté de rééquilibrer ne serait-ce que très partiellement le rapport de force, en vue de véritables solutions politiques qui tiennent quelque peu la route. Il ne s¹agit pas ou plus de la résolution 1559. L¹explosion la dépasse de loin.  Et de toute manière, l¹armée israélienne, l¹agression israélienne ne peuvent en aucun cas être les outils de l¹application de la résolution 1559. L¹unique résultat de cette politique que préconise les Etats-Unis et que fait sienne la France serait la catastrophe : elle conduirait au renouveau de la guerre civile au Liban. Les Etats-Unis sont bien capables d¹une telle crétinerie, on le constate tous les jours en Irak. Mais quel intérêt a la France à suivre cette voie. Une
reprise plus que problématique de sa place dans la région ? Il n¹y a pas que les Etats-Unis qui manquent de pudeur !!

from Sam Ghattas :
21 July 2006
Israeli Troops Massing on Lebanese Border
    by Sam F. Ghattas
      Beirut, Lebanon - Israel massed tanks and troops on the border, called up reserves and warned civilians to flee Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon as it prepared Friday for a likely ground invasion.
    The Israeli army confirmed some of its troops have been operating in Lebanon for days although no major incursion has been launched.
    An official from the UN monitoring force in south Lebanon, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, told The Associated Press in Beirut that between 300 and 500 troops are believed to be in the western sector of the border, backed by as many as 30 tanks.
    Israeli forces would conduct ground operations as needed in Lebanon, but they would be "limited," Israeli army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz said. He also said nearly 100 Hezbollah guerrillas have been killed in the offensive in Lebanon.
    "We will fight terror wherever it is because if we do not fight it, it will fight us. If we don't reach it, it will reach us," Halutz said at a news conference in Tel Aviv. "We will also conduct limited ground operations as much as needed in order to harm the terror that harms us."
    Israeli will allow aid supplies into Lebanon, an envoy said, a day after the United Nations warned of a growing humanitarian crisis following 10 days of the heaviest bombardment of the country in 24 years.
    Hezbollah militants fired 11 rockets at Israel's port city of Haifa, wounding five. Israeli warplanes pounded the Beirut-to-Damascus highway, collapsing part of Lebanon's longest bridge. A UN-run observation post near the border was hit, but no one was hurt.
    Ships lined up at Beirut's port as a massive evacuation of Americans and other foreigners picked up speed. US officials said more than 8,000 of the roughly 25,000 Americans in Lebanon will be evacuated by the weekend.
    As sunset approached, lines of tanks, troops, armored personnel carriers and bulldozers were parked on a two-lane highway in northern Israel - close enough for some soldiers to see Lebanese villages and homes.
    A senior Israeli military official said it intends to destroy Hezbollah's tunnels, hideouts, weapons caches and other assets during its expected land incursions into southern Lebanon, not create a buffer zone as it did during its 1982-2000 occupation.
    The goal is to weaken Hezbollah so that the Lebanese army can move into areas previously controlled by the guerrillas, possibly with the aid of an increased international peacekeeping force, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the topic dealt with sensitive military matters.
    Mounting civilian casualties and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese could limit the time Israel has to achieve its goals, as international tolerance for the bloodshed and destruction runs out.
    An Israeli military radio station warned residents of 12 border villages in southern Lebanon to leave before 2 p.m. Friday.
    At least 335 people have been killed in Lebanon in the Israeli campaign, according to the Lebanese health minister. Thirty-four Israelis also have been killed, including 19 soldiers.
    Lebanese soldiers buried 72 people killed in recent bombings in a mass grave just outside a barracks in the southern city of Tyre. Volunteers put the bodies, many of them children, in wooden coffins and spray-painted the names of the dead on the lids.
    The United States - which has resisted calls to press its ally to halt the fighting - was sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Mideast on Sunday. She ruled out a quick cease-fire as a "false promise" and said "Hezbollah is the source of the problem."
    The mission would be the first US diplomatic effort on the ground since the Israeli onslaught against Lebanon began.
    Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said he expected a corridor for food, medicine and other supplies to be opened later Friday or Saturday. His remarks came as French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy called for safe passage of urgent aid his country was sending.
    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned Thursday of a humanitarian crisis in Lebanon and called for an immediate cease-fire, even as he admitted "serious obstacles" stand in the way of easing the violence.
    The price of food, medical supplies and gasoline rose as much as 500 percent in parts of Lebanon as the bombardment cut supply routes. The UN estimated that a half-million people have been displaced, with 130,000 fleeing to Syria and 45,000 believed to be in need of assistance.
    Top Israeli officials said Israel won't stop its offensive until Hezbollah is forced behind the Litani River, 20 miles north of the border - creating a new buffer zone in a region that saw 18 years of Israeli presence since 1982.
    As Israel stepped up its small forays over the border to seek Hezbollah positions, rocket stores and bunkers, it has faced tough resistance.
    Israeli warplanes fired missiles that partially collapsed a 1.6-mile suspension bridge linking two steep mountain peaks in central Lebanon. The bridge has been hit several times since fighting began.
    The bombing also set ablaze three buses that had just dropped off passengers in Syria, but the drivers escaped, police said.
    Renewed attacks struck the ancient city of Baalbek, a major Hezbollah stronghold, and security officials said two people were killed and 19 wounded. Hezbollah strongholds in south Beirut and elsewhere also were struck overnight, killing one person. Missiles hit a village near the Israeli border, Aita al-Shaab, killing three, officials said.
    A house in the border village of Aitaroun was flattened, with 10 people believed inside, but rescuers couldn't reach it because of shelling, security officials said.
    At least 11 rockets hit Haifa, Israel's third-largest city, and five people were wounded, with 23 treated for shock. More rockets fell elsewhere in northern Israel, the army said, with strikes reported in Rosh Pina, Safed and in several communities near the Sea of Galilee.
    Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets from the Lebanese border since fighting began, forcing Israelis into underground shelters. Eight people in Haifa were killed July 16.
    A UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said an artillery shell fired by the Israeli military made "a direct hit on the UN position overlooking Zarit."
    An Israeli military spokesman said the rockets were fired by Hezbollah guerrillas at northern Israel. The differing accounts could not immediately be reconciled.
    During an Israeli offensive against Lebanon in 1996, artillery blasted a UN base at Qana in southern Lebanon, killing more than 100 civilians taking refuge with the peacekeepers.
    The UN mission, which has nearly 2,000 military personnel and more than 300 civilians, is to patrol the border line, known as the Blue Line, drawn by the UN after Israel withdrew troops from south Lebanon in 2000, ending an 18-year occupation.
    Two Apache attack helicopters collided in northern Israel near the border, killing one air force officer and injuring three others, Israeli officials said. Israel's air force began an investigation.
    Hezbollah said three of its fighters had been killed in the latest fighting, bringing to six the number killed since Israel began its campaign after the militant Shiite Muslim group captured two of its soldiers July 12.
    Annan denounced Israel for "excessive use of force" and Hezbollah for holding "an entire nation hostage" with its rocket attacks and capturing the Israeli soldiers.
    The number of reserves called up by the Israeli army was not disclosed, but a military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said it would be several thousand.
    Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah shrugged off concerns of a stepped-up Israeli onslaught, saying the captive Israelis would be freed only as part of a prisoner exchange.
    He spoke in an interview taped Thursday with Al-Jazeera to show he had survived an airstrike in south Beirut that Israel said targeted a Hezbollah leadership bunker. The guerrillas said the strike only hit a mosque under construction and no one was hurt.
    Lebanese streamed north into Beirut and other regions, crowding into schools, relatives' homes or hotels. Taxi drivers in the south were charging up to $400 per person for rides to Beirut - more than 40 times the usual price. In remote villages of the south, cut off by strikes, residents made their way out over the mountains by foot.
    More than 400,000 people - perhaps as many as a half-million - are believed to live south of the Litani, according to former top UN adviser Timur Goskel. The river has twice been the border of Israeli buffer zones. In 1978, Israel invaded up to the Litani to drive back Palestinian guerrillas, withdrawing from most of the south months later.
    Israel invaded Lebanon again in a much bigger operation in 1982 when its forces seized parts of Beirut. It eventually carved out a buffer zone that stopped at the Litani. That zone was reduced gradually but the Israeli presence lasted until 2000, when it withdrew completely.
Associated Press Writers Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Gabe Ross in Haifa, Israel, contributed to this story.

from Dahr Jamail
22 July 2006
Subject: Iraq Dispatches: Fury Grips Syria Over Lebanon Attacks

Fury Grips Syria Over Lebanon Attacks
by Dahr Jamail

*DAMASCUS, Jul 21 (IPS) - The daily Israeli bombardment of Lebanon and the floods of refugees pouring in have set off a wave of anger through Syria.*

"How can people watch this destruction in Lebanon and do nothing," Hassan Majed Ali, president of the Union of Engineers in Damascus told IPS. "What is happening in Lebanon is opposed by 100 percent of us here in Syria."

Ali, who heads a union of 19,000 engineers, said "the Israelis have not complied with any of the UN resolutions since 1949. Why hasn't the world forced Israel to comply with UN resolution 224 which told them to withdraw from Arab lands? And now nobody is forcing them to stop their destruction of Lebanon."

This will also be Israel's loss, he said. "The Lebanese, our brothers, have now lost everything. And now the Israelis have lost what friendship they may have had left with the Arab world."

Maher Skanderani, a 37-year-old merchant in downtown Damascus said everyone is furious over what is happening in Lebanon. "And everything which is happening illustrates the main problem -- which is Israel invading Palestine and taking Palestinian land."

Anger is spilling over against the U.S. government - and its citizens. Ola Saleh, a 25-year-old civil rights volunteer from Latakia said: "In Syria people used to differentiate between the Bush regime and the American people. But now not only do Syrians not respect the Bush regime, they no longer respect the American people for allowing this to happen."

Few believe that the Israeli attack is a reaction to the abduction of two soldiers. "Israel has a political and military strategy, they do not react," said 60-year-old Ibrahim Yakhour, information and communications advisor at the State Planning Commission in Damascus.

"They understand the region very well and know how to exploit it. When they lose two soldiers they exploit this for their own interests."

Syria could become involved in the conflict, he said. "It just depends if they (Israel) have this in their plans."

Yakhour said Israel has "used American actions in their own interests," and has in the past "pushed Arab states to reactions which they can exploit for their own interests."

Others, like 45-year-old literary critic Emad Huria, believe that Syria will inevitably become involved in the conflict. "The whole region is now involved," he told IPS. "If not today, then tomorrow."

Hamad al-Khatib, 26-year-old owner of a mobile phone shop told IPS that "Israel doesn't care about law, and eventually they will involve Syria in this disaster. But Syrians will always resist the plans of the Israeli government, because we have our dignity."

Ali from the Union of Engineers said Syria has been put in a difficult situation already by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"If we had said the invasion of Iraq was democratic, Bush would support us. We in Syria opposed Saddam, but we are not with this destruction and killing of Iraqis in Iraq. I don't know anyone in the world who supports what is happening in Iraq."

Ali finally told this correspondent: "We welcome you to Syria. We welcome you to Damascus. But don't kick me from my house."