Subject: ON UNREQUITED
LOVE AND THE FATE OF FRANKENSTEIN.
28 July 2006
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
As new categories of people are being murdered because of Israel's
foreign policy and because of indispensable aid from the United
America, a wider coalition of opposition is forming which may lead to
irreversible changes in the Middle East and beyond. Four classic
variables in the global context of political power remain, of course,
(a)expanding centers of financial power, (b)securing strategically
located military bases with nuclear capabilities, (c)controlling fossil
energy reserves, as well as regions with fresh water and fertile soil,
and (d)repressing democratic movements which challenge the status quo.
These capabilities are by no means reliable today. We seem to be
witnessing major shifts away from post-Second-World-War stability.
The very effective organizing principle of "Anti-Communism" has
vanished, and an equally effective principle to stabilize world
capitalism has not yet been invented. It is axiomatic that the
destruction of an organizing principle is counter productive to its
objectives, but it is too late to tell this to Jimmy Carter and
Meanwhile, the "winners" are only imaginary
, and we see the
real spiral downward in all areas of the world, where leisure time
activities have turned into a hellish market place scramble for
survival, where a banal consumerism has all but destroyed community
and creativity, where war and genocide are permanent dangers. In a
word, Greed is God in a matrix of alienation and termoil.
Of the many articles CEIMSA has received over the past couple of days, the
seven articles below
carry information that is by far the most
foreboding we have read in recent months. One way of looking at this
grim body of information is simply to conclude that the world has gone
crazy. A more productive perspective is that the ruling classes, which
control most investment capital in the world, have been pushed by real
constraints to use the powerful instruments of capitalism --with its
private profit motive aiming relentlessly toward the private
accumulation of capital-- to destroy economic activities which are
essential for the survival of human society. We are living a
paradox, if this is true: namely that the free market economy is
expanding exponentially in directions which, if "successful," will
destroy itself and most of mankind. This economic system must fail
if markets are to continue to serve essential human needs.
The present necessity for wars in order to maximize immediate
capital gains is certainly part of the context for understanding
military aggressions in the Middle East.
In item A. Lawrence McGuire
points out the contradictory reports on the purported "cause" of
Israeli aggressions in Lebanon.
is an article from CounterPunch
on Israeli tactics which are linked with a self-defeating
strategy, blind to realities other than Zionist public opinion.
is a confirmation from Zmag
that Israel is on the wrong path, and has been for many years.
, a BBC radio broadcast
by Mike Thomson, is a vivid investigative report on Israeli
assassination squads sent to London 60 years ago to kill Britain’s
Foreign Secretary, Earnest Bevin. "A Date with Bevin" was broadcast in
London on 24 July 2006.
is an article by Israeli
journalist, Uri Avnery
on the dire consequences of the Israeli
military defeat in Lebanon.
is a Petition against
Israeli aggression sent to us by Dr. James Cohen
And finally, item G. is a
France-Presse, Wednesday 26 July 2006,
describing the "shock" among UN officials that Israel was "apparently
deliberately targeting" a UN post in Lebanon, where at least four
UN observers were killed today.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Stendhal - Grenoble 3
from Lawrence McGuire :
Subject: clear example of israeli censorship of original pretext
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006
In these two AP accounts by the SAME author, the location of the
capture of the two Israeli soldiers, which in early stories was the
Lebanese side of the border, changes to the Israeli side.
see also http://www.antiwar.com/frank/?articleid=9401
Hezbollah Captures 2 Israeli Soldiers,
By JOSEPH PANOSSIAN , 07.12.2006,
The militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli
soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon,
prompting a swift reaction from Israel, which sent ground forces into
its neighbor to look for them.
The Israeli military would not confirm the
By JOSEPH PANOSSIAN, Associated Press
Wed Jul 12, 4:13 PM ET
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Hezbollah
militants crossed into Israel on Wednesday and captured two Israeli
soldiers. Israel responded in southern Lebanon with warplanes,
tanks and gunboats, and said eight of its soldiers had been killed in
from Alexander Cockburn :
July 25, 2006
Israel is Losing
The world is witnessing what could be a
critical turning point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel is
now engaged in a war that could permanently undermine the efficacy of
its much-vaunted military apparatus.
By ASHRAF ISMA’IL
Ironically, there are several reasons for believing that Israel’s
destruction of southern Lebanon and southern Beirut will weaken
its bargaining position relative to its adversaries, and will
strengthen its adversaries’ hands.
First, Israel has no clearly defined tactical or strategic objective,
and so the Israeli offensive fails the first test of military logic:
there is no way that Israel's actions can improve its position relative
to Hamas or Hizballah, much less Syria or Iran.
The logic of power politics also implies that a no-win situation for
Israel is a definite loss, because Israel is the stronger party and
thus has the most to lose. In an asymmetric war, the stronger
party always has the most to lose, in terms of reputation and in terms
of its ability to project its will through the instruments of force.
The lack of any clearly defined objective is a major miscalculation by
Israel and its American patron.
Second, Israel cannot eliminate Hizballah, since Hizballah is a
grassroots organization that represents a plurality of Lebanese
society. Neither can Hamas be eliminated for the same reason. By
targeting Hizballah however, Israel is strengthening Hizballah's hand
against its domestic rivals, such as the Maronite Christians,
because any open Christian opposition makes them look like
traitors and Israeli collaborators.
Consequently, while Hizballah will obviously pay a short-term tactical
cost that is very high, in the long run, this conflict
demonstrates that it is Hizballah, and not the Lebanese government,
that has the most power in Lebanon.
The Shia represent an estimated 35-40 per cent of Lebanese
society, while Lebanese Christians are thought to constitute no more
than 25-30per cent of the entire population. Furthermore, the
Shia community’s fertility rate is thought to be far higher than that
of the other religious components within Lebanon.
Thus, the current confessional division of power in Lebanon, which
grants Christians a political position that goes far beyond their
minority status, is ultimately unsustainable, which means that the
Maronite Christians will lose even more power, and the Shia and
Hizballah will inevitably gain more power.
Third, Israel's failure to achieve anything at all greatly enhances
Syria's influence over Lebanon and its bargaining position
relative to the U.S. and Israel itself. No solution in Lebanon
can exclude Syria, and so now the U.S. and Israelis need Syria's
approval, which certainly weakens both the U.S. and Israel.
And even Israel's accusations against Iran, although largely
baseless, greatly enhance Iran's prestige in the region, and may
bring about exactly what the Israelis are trying to prevent.
While the Arab states look like traitors, Iran looks like a champion of
the most celebrated of all Muslim causes.
Fourth, Bush's impotence is a clear demonstration that America has lost
a great deal of global power over the last three years. If Bush
cannot control Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, or Israel, then what real
power does the world's "hyper-power" possess? America’s
inability to influence any of the actors that are relevant to the
current crisis is yet more evidence that America's foreign policy is a
form of global suicide.
Fifth, the age of great power warfare has been replaced by a world in
which great powers must live and compete with non-state actors who
possess considerable military capabilities. William Lind calls
this transformation “4th generation warfare.”
Consequently, the age of Bismarckian warfare, or what
William Lind refers to as "3rd generation warfare,” is effectively
over. “Bismarckian warfare” is a term that describes large-scale
wars fought by large-scale armies, which require national systems of
military conscription, a significant population base, and enormous
Bismarckian warfare seems to have become ineffective in the
Arab-Israeli context, because Israel no longer poses the threat that it
once did to the Arab regimes, and the Arab regimes much prefer Israel
to the rising non-state actors growing within their own borders.
William Lind has also argued that non-state actors such as Hamas and
Hizballah can checkmate the Israelis as long as these Muslim parties
never formally assume power. If Muslim parties were to assume the
power of states, then they would immediately become targets for
traditional Bismarckian warfare. However, as long as Muslim
movements retain theirnon-state identity, they are strategically
Sixth, we must more carefully study the reasons why Bismarckian warfare
is no longer effective.
The global diffusion of the news outlets is obviously important for
understanding why Bismarckian warfare has become so ineffective.
For instance, Hizballah has its own media network, and can draw upon
the global satellite network to get its message out, and can also use
the global media to take advantage of Israel's targeting of
civilians and civilian infrastructure.
Further, the competition between Arab and Muslim satellite channels is
also important, because each station wants to demonstrate its
sincerity by spreading news that is not only critical of Israel and the
U.S., but ultimately undermines people's trust in the Arab regimes and
thereby lends legitimacy to non-state actors.
And although the American media largely supports Israel, the
information about the Americans stranded in Lebanon limits Israel's
freedom of action, and makes Israel look like it cares nothing for the
lives of American citizens.
At an even deeper level, the rate and density of global information
transfer, and lack of any centralized control over the global
distribution of information, is causing the fabric of space and
time to contract, and so Israel's crimes can much more quickly create a
Time and space, as we experience them, are contracting because the
global diffusion of technical and scientific knowledge is permitting
events in one part of the world to increasingly influence events in
other parts of the world, and events that once took years or even
decades to unfold can now occur within mere months or weeks.
As a consequence, the disenfranchised peoples of the world are
developing the ability to affect the lives of the more privileged
members of humanity, which means that anything that Israel does to the
Palestinians or Lebanese will have effects upon Israel that are more
direct and more negative than ever before, and that further, these
effects will occur in an accelerated time scale.
Thus, as it becomes self evident that Israeli military power is no
longer as effective as it once was, this will surely accelerate the
flow of Jewish settlers out of Israel. Information regarding
emigration of Jews out of Israel is a closely guarded secret, but using
Israeli government statistics, we can infer that immigration to Israel
has rapidly declined over the last several years, and that Israel may
even be experiencing a net outflow of Jewish migrants. According to the
Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of Jewish immigrants
to Israel declined to 21,000 in 2004, which is a 15-year low. In
2005, the number of immigrants rose slightly to 23,000, which is still
dramatically lower than the 60,000 that immigrated in 2000.
Furthermore, Israel became a net exporter of its citizens in 2003,
when9,000 more Israelis left the country than entered, and in the first
two months of 2004, this figure rose to 13,000.
The global micro-diffusion of military technology is also critical, and
so military innovation and its global diffusion will only strengthen
grassroots rebellions and allow them to more effectively resist the
instruments of Bismarckian control, as well as the depredations of the
military hippopotami that are the ultimate guarantors of statism and
For all of these reasons, Israeli attempts to impose terms on Lebanon,
or to redraw the political map of Lebanon, or even to impose a
NATO force upon Southern Lebanon, are not militarily feasible nor
politically achievable, and if attempted, will prove ultimately
As will soon be demonstrated by events on the ground, Israel will
not be able to destroy or even disarm Hizballah. Neither will
Hamas, Hizballah, Lebanon, or Syria permit Israel or America to dictate
terms to them. Consequently, if Israel lingers too long in Southern
Lebanon, its presence will be paid for at such a high cost, that it
will be forced to withdraw in ignominy, as it has so many times in the
In the end however, Israel's loss of power will make it even more
dangerous, because the more threatened the Israelis feel, the
more likely they will launch destructive wars against the Palestinians
and Israel's other adversaries.
Finally, the same can be said of the U.S., with respect to its loss of
global power. Instead of becoming more careful with its use of
force, the erosion of America’s global dominance will likely make the
U.S. government more aggressive, as it attempts to re-assert its former
position relative to its adversaries and competitors.
And it is precisely because America and Israel are losing influence
over global events, that an American attack upon Iran in 2007
becomes more likely.
God help us all.
Ashraf Isma’il is an academic whose interests range from international
relations, international economics and international finance, to global
history and mathematical models of geo-strategy.
from Michael Albert :
23 July 2006
Israel's Air and
Artillery War Against Hezbollah
Something Old, Something New,
by Daniel Douek
he current mini-war between Israel and
Hezbollah inspires a serious case of deja vu. It bears striking
similarities to the Israel Defense Forces' spring 1996 "Operation
Grapes of Wrath," and carrying important lessons for today. The 1996
operation, while ostensibly aiming to paralyze Hezbollah's operational
capacity, claimed hundreds of Lebanese civilian lives while gaining
precious little relief for Israel's beleagured northern population,
which was then, as now, the target of incessant Hezbollah rocket
attacks. Today, of course, the major difference is that Hezbollah is
bolder and possesses an array of new long-range rocketry capable of
hitting more distant and populous Israeli targets, as well as guided
missiles of the sort used to hit a state-of-the-art Israeli
corvette-class missile boat last week, killing four sailors and
striking perhaps the greatest blow to Israel's image of military
supremacy since Hezbollah ambushed an Israeli commando raiding team on
the Lebanese coast in 1998, killing fifteen. As Israel invests
ever-greater military resources in its pursuit of Hezbollah, the
potential for unprecedented escalation grows ever greater. Hezbollah
chief Hassan Nasrallah has warned of "new surprises" awaiting Israel;
the IDF, meanwhile, has destroyed his home and headquarters in Beirut
and has made public its intention to kill him, while bombing targets
throughout Lebanon, including along the Syrian border. Yet the most
striking parallel of all between the current episode and the 1996
mini-war is that Israel, for all its military might, cannot "win,"
where victory is defined as a serious crippling of Hezbollah's striking
capacity, and an emerging regional context in which Hezbollah and
Islamic extremism as a whole are marginalized.
Of course, two general rules of modern warfare have already stacked the
odds against Israel's success: first, escalating violence against
religious extremism tends to beget more extremism, especially when
massive (and seemingly avoidable) civilian casualties are inflicted.
Second, a conventional army has rarely been able to dislodge a highly
motivated and well-equipped guerilla army, with Israel's 1982 ill-fated
Lebanese invasion serving as a prime example. But there are deeper
reasons why this operation may well serve to weaken Israel's position
vis-a-vis Hezbollah, and for these I turn again to the lessons of 1996.
Living in on Kibbutz Grofit in southern Israel at the time, I happened
to become close with the family of then-Major General Moshe Ya'alon, at
the time the chief of Israeli military intelligence (he would later be
appointed chief of staff, to be replaced last year by the current chief
of staff, Dan Halutz). The general would come home most Friday nights
to spend some time with his family before departing the following day
for headquarters. During these visits we spoke repeatedly about
political and military matters, and in the midst of the 1996 bombing
campaign I asked him why, despite Israel's stated goal of crippling
Hezbollah, the IDF avoided hitting its top leadership, going so far as
to strike Hezbollah offices on the fourth floor of a Beirut high-rise
at 7 AM, when the Israelis knew the offices would be empty. He replied
that on previous occasions when Israel had struck serious blows at
Hezbollah- a 1992 aerial attack on a training camp in which dozens of
guerillas were killed, and the 1994 assassination of commander Sheikh
Abbas Musawi by Israeli helicopters- Hezbollah had retaliated with
strikes against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad. These were the 1992
bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing over thirty,
and the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community centre, in
which 85 were killed. Both these bombings, the general told me, were
assisted by the Iranian secret services. Escalation against Hezbollah,
Israel had learned, could carry a terrible price.
Thus evolved the Israeli strategy of holding the Lebanese government-
and by extension, Syria- accountable for Hezbollah attacks by bombing
Lebanese civilian infrastructure, a form of collective punishment on a
grand scale that forces all Lebanese to suffer for Hezbollah's actions.
Indeed, a 1993 bombing campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon was
codenamed "Operation Accountability." Since its inception, this policy
has been a charade; Israel knows full well that the Lebanese government
is unable- and Syria unwilling- to rein in Hezbollah. Instead of
turning Lebanese public opinion against Hezbollah, these policies tend
chiefly to embitter Lebanese civilians against Israel, quite
understandably. Presumably, then, the strategy is calibrated to satisfy
Israeli public opinion, which tends to demand some form of retaliation
for strikes by Hamas, Hezbollah, or other guerilla/terrorist
organizations. It does little if anything to weaken the organizations
responsible for attacking Israel, and serves to greatly tarnish
Israel's international standing (the fallout from the deaths of seven
vacationing Canadians in an Israeli airstrike yesterday in Aitaroun has
yet to reach its crescendo).
Indeed, the 1996 operation came in the wake of the assassination by a
Jewish extremist of Israel's popular PM Yitzhak Rabin and his
replacement by perennial political loser Shimon Peres, who sought to
shore up his military credentials with elections looming; he lost
anyways to the right-wing Likud candidate, Bibi Netanyahu. Today, an
unproven coalition of politicians with no military background- Israeli
PM Ehud Olmert and defense minister Amir Peretz- similarly need to
prove themselves to the security-craving Israeli public, although the
response of previous PM and former general Ariel Sharon to a similar
crisis would hardly have been less severe. My point here is not to
insinuate that Israeli politicians have launched this campaign against
Hezbollah primarily for personal political gain, but simply to
underscore that the strategy they have adopted makes little strategic
sense, has never succeeded in weakening Hezbollah in the past, and is
unlikely to succeed now. Even when Israel has devoted considerable
military resources to hunting Hezbollah operatives by air throughout
Lebanon, as it eventually did in 1996, it has not succeeded in
substantially reducing the number of rockets fired across the border.
The guerillas and their rockets are too numerous, too mobile, and too
difficult to detect from the air. Meanwhile, the cost of an Israeli
ground assault would be prohibitive, as illustrated last week at the
outset of the fighting when an Israeli tank in pursuit of Hezbollah
attackers struck a mine, killing five Israeli soldiers. For all its
technological sophistication, then, Israel's hands are tied.
Ironically, if any government could truly be held accountable for
aiding and abbetting Hezbollah, it would not be hapless and fragmented
Lebanon but rather Hezbollah's ideological and material benefactor, the
Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran's emergent nuclear weapons program and
increasingly sophisticated military, however, guarantee against Israeli
strikes while enabling its leadership to taunt Israel with impunity.
Meanwhile, if past history is any indication, the "surprises" promised
by Hezbollah chief Nasrallah may well come in the form of new strikes
against Israeli and/or Jewish targets around the world, which Israel
would be relatively powerless to prevent. Other possiblities involve
the deployment of weaponry as yet unseen in the history of the
Israel-Hezbollah conflict, such as Iranian-made rockets capable of
hitting the outskirts of Tel Aviv, rockets that, unlike larger SCUDs or
cruise missiles, cannot be shot down be Israel's antimissile missile
systems, and already exist in Hezbollah arsenals. In the absence of a
negotiated settlement, Hezbollah is also likely to deploy more
Iranian-made guided missiles of the sort already used to hit the
Israeli naval ship, and may also acquire antiaircraft missiles to
defend against Israeli warplanes- the loss of even one or two Israeli
aircraft would represent another psychological blow to Israel, if not a
tactical one, and would also represent a victory for Iran and the
hundred or so military advisors from the elite Republican Guard that
Israel insists are guiding Hezbollah's moves from Lebanon (Iran denies
any such presence). Meanwhile Hezbollah's rockets have already claimed
a toll in Israeli lives significantly greater than any previous rocket
barrage, and have demonstrated a brand-new ability to strike deep into
Israeli territory with a boldness seldom seen even in the midst of
conventional Arab-Israeli wars.
For its part, in order to strike a substantive blow to Hezbollah,
Israel must either kill Hassan Nasrallah and several of his chief
advisors, which it has vowed to do, or kill a number of Hezbollah's
Iranian advisors. Both options dramatically increase the likelihood of
escalation by Hezbollah and Iran, especially including strikes against
Israeli and Jewish targets abroad, and neither threatens to
significantly weaken Hezbollah's political or military capacity. First,
these leaders could easily be replaced; second, any such blows would be
compensated for by a tremendous surge in Hezbollah popularity and
recruitment, and likely a stronger military link with Iran. Like in
1996, Israel, for all its might, cannot protect its citizens against
Hezbollah rockets- this time an even more abundant supply of
longer-range rockets with larger warheads. Meanwhile, the world is made
to understand yet again the power of religiously-driven, low-tech,
well-organized militant organizations against states and their standing
armies, and the ability of the Arab-Israeli conflict to unite unlikely
allies- this time, Sunni Hamas and Shi'a Hezbollah- against their
from Information Clearing House :
24 July 2006
A Date With Bevin
Mike Thomson investigates Jewish insurgency in Palestine after
WWll and a plot to assassinate Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Earnest
Broadcast by BBC Radio 4 - 07/24/06
In 1946, not long after the Second World War was won, Britain was
again under threat. Jewish insurgents, who had long been fighting a
bloody insurgency campaign against British troops in Palestine, were
about to take their war to London. Previously top secret documents
reveal that assassination squads were being sent to the capital armed
with a hit list. On it were the names of several top government
figures. These included Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Earnest Bevin.
CLICK PLAY TO LISTEN
pictures from this documentary
Extremist groups like The Stern Gang (or Lehi) and Irgun, were
determined to end the British mandate in Palestine and replace it with
a Jewish homeland. Hundreds of their fighters, along with many British
soldiers, were killed or injured in a struggle that escalated after the
end of the war. Desperate to achieve a breakthrough after the arrest or
deaths of many of their members, the two groups set up underground
cells in Britain. It wasn’t long before British security services got
wind of what was happening and in early 1946 they issued this top
secret internal warning:
“Members of the Stern group are now being organised and are under
training. It is expected that they will be sent to the United Kingdom
to assassinate important members of his majesty’s government,
particularly, Mr Bevin.”
In the months that followed a number of bombs exploded in London and an
attempt was made to drop on a bomb on the House of Commons from a hired
plane. This last effort was only stopped after French Police discovered
Stern Gang members preparing to cross the channel in a plane containing
a large bomb.
Mike Thomson and the Document team track down the assassin sent
to kill Earnest Bevin and the man who gave him the explosives to do it.
from Uri Avnery :
July 26, 2006
Tel Aviv - "IT SEEMS that Nasrallah
survived," Israeli newspapers announced, after 23 tons of bombs were
dropped on a site in Beirut, where the Hizbullah leader was supposedly
hiding in a bunker.
Is Beirut Burning?
by Uri Avnery
An interesting formulation. A few hours after the bombing, Nazrallah
had given an interview to Aljazeera television. Not only did he look
alive, but even composed and confident. He spoke about the bombardment
- proof that the interview was recorded on the same day.
So what does "it seems that" mean? Very simple: Nasrallah pretends to
be alive, but you can't believe an Arab. Everyone knows that Arabs
always lie. That's in their very nature, as Ehud Barak once pronounced.
The killing of the man is a national aim, almost the main aim of the
war. This is, perhaps, the first war in history waged by a state in
order to kill one person. Until now, only the Mafia thought along those
lines. Even the British in World War II did not proclaim that their aim
was to kill Hitler. On the contrary, they wanted to catch him alive, in
order to put him on trial. Probably that's what the Americans wanted,
too, in their war against Saddam Hussein.
But our ministers have officially decided that that is the aim. There
is not much novelty in that: successive Israeli governments have
adopted a policy of killing the leaders of opposing groups. Our army
has killed, among others, Hizbullah leader Abbas Mussawi, PLO no. 2 Abu
Jihad, as well as Sheik Ahmad Yassin and other Hamas leaders. Almost
all Palestinians, and not only they, are convinced that Yassir Arafat
was also murdered.
And the results? The place of Mussawi was filled by Nasrallah, who is
far more able. Sheik Yassin was succeeded by far more radical leaders.
Instead of Arafat we got Hamas.
As in other political matters, a primitive military mindset governs
this reasoning too.
A person returning here after a long absence and seeing our TV screens
might get the impression that a military junta is governing Israel, in
the (former) South American manner.
On all TV channels, every evening, one sees a parade of military brass
in uniform. They explain not only the day's military actions, but also
comment on political matters and lay down the political and propaganda
During all the other hours of broadcasting time, a dozen or so
have-been generals repeat again and again the message of the army
commanders. (Some of them don't look particularly intelligent - not to
say downright stupid. It is frightening to think that these people were
once in a position to decide who would live and who would die.)
True, we are a democracy. The army is completely subject to the
civilian establishment. According to the law, the cabinet is the
"supreme commander" of the army (which in Israel includes the navy and
air force). But in practice, today it is the top brass who decide all
political and military matters. When Dan Halutz tells the ministers
that the military command has decided on this or that operation, no
minister dares to express opposition. Certainly not the hapless Labor
Ehud Olmert presents himself as the heir to Churchill ("blood, sweat
and tears"). That's quite pathetic enough. Then Amir Peretz puffs up
his chest and shoots threats in all directions, and that's even more
pathetic, if that's possible. He resembles nothing so much as a fly
standing on the ear of an ox and proclaiming: "we are ploughing!"
The Chief-of-Staff announced last week with satisfaction: "The army
enjoys the full backing of the government!" That is also an interesting
formulation. It implies that the army decides what to do, and the
government provides "backing". And that's how it is, of course.
Now it is not a secret anymore: this war has been planned for a long
time. The military correspondents proudly reported this week that the
army has been exercising for this war in all its details for several
years. Only a month ago, there was a large war game to rehearse the
entrance of land forces into South Lebanon - at a time when both the
politicians and the generals were declaring that "we shall never again
get into the Lebanon quagmire. We shall never again introduce land
forces there." Now we are in the quagmire, and large land forces are
operating in the area.
The other side, too, has been preparing this war for years. Not only
did they build caches of thousands of missiles, but they have also
prepared an elaborate system of Vietnam-style bunkers, tunnels and
caves. Our soldiers are now encountering this system and paying a high
price. As always, our army has treated "the Arabs" with disdain and
discounted their military capabilities.
That is one of the problems of the military mentality. Talleyrand was
not wrong when he said that "war is much too serious a thing to be left
to military men." The mentality of the generals, resulting from their
education and profession, is by nature force-oriented, simplistic,
one-dimensional, not to say primitive. It is based on the belief that
all problems can be solved by force, and if that does not work - then
by more force.
That is well illustrated by the planning and execution of the current
war. This was based on the assumption that if we cause terrible
suffering to the population, they will rise up and demand the removal
of Hizbullah. A minimal understanding of mass psychology would suggest
the opposite. The killing of hundreds of Lebanese civilians, belonging
to all the ethno-religious communities, the turning of the lives of the
others into hell, and the destruction of the life-supporting
infrastructure of Lebanese society will arouse a groundswell of fury
and hatred - against Israel, and not against the heroes, as they see
them, who sacrifice their lives in their defense.
The result will be a strengthening of Hizbullah, not only today, but
for years to come. Perhaps that will be the main outcome of the war,
more important than all the military achievements, if any. And not only
in Lebanon, but throughout the Arab and Muslim world.
Faced with the horrors that are shown on all television and many
computer screens, world opinion is also changing. What was seen at the
beginning as a justified response to the capture of the two soldiers
now looks like the barbaric actions of a brutal war-machine. The
elephant in a china shop.
Thousands of e-mail distribution lists have circulated a horrible
series of photos of mutilated babies and children. At the end, there is
a macabre photo: jolly Israeli children writing "greetings" on the
artillery shells that are about to be fired. Then there appears a
message: "Thanks to the children of Israel for this nice gift. Thanks
to the world that does nothing. Signed: the children of Lebanon and
The woman who heads the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights has already defined these acts as war crimes -
something that may in future mean trouble for Israeli army officers.
In general, when army officers are determining the policy of a nation,
serious moral problems arise.
In war, a commander is obliged to take hard decisions. He sends
soldiers into battle, knowing that many will not return and others will
be maimed for life. He hardens his heart. As General Amos Yaron told
his officers after the Sabra and Shatila massacre: "Our senses have
Years of the occupation regime in the Palestinian territories have
caused a terrible callousness as far as human lives are concerned. The
killing of ten to twenty Palestinians every day, including women and
children, as happens now in Gaza, does not agitate anyone. It doesn't
even make the headlines. Gradually, even routine expressions like "We
regret…we had no intention…the most moral army in the world…" and all
the other trite phrases are not heard anymore.
Now this numbness is revealing itself in Lebanon. Air Force officers,
calm and comfortable, sit in front of the cameras and speak about
"bundles of targets", as if they were talking about a technical
problem, and not about living human beings. They speak about driving
hundreds of thousands of human beings from their homes as an imposing
military achievement, and do not hide their satisfaction in face of
human beings whose whole life has been destroyed. The word that is most
popular with the generals at this time is "pulverize" - we pulverize,
they are being pulverized, neighborhoods are pulverized, buildings are
pulverized, people are pulverized.
Even the launching of rockets at our towns and villages does not
justify this ignoring of moral considerations in fighting the war.
There were other ways of responding to the Hizbullah provocation,
without turning Lebanon into rubble. The moral numbness will be
transformed into grievous political damage, both immediate and long
term. Only a fool or worse ignores moral values - in the end, they
always take revenge.
IT IS almost banal to say that it is easier to start a war than to
finish it. One knows how it starts, it is impossible to know how it
Wars take place in the realm of uncertainty. Unforeseen things happen.
Even the greatest captains in history could not control the wars they
started. War has its own laws.
We started a war of days. It turned into a war of weeks. Now they are
speaking of a war of months. Our army started a "surgical" action of
the Air Force, afterwards it sent small units into Lebanon, now whole
brigades are fighting there, and reservists are being called up in
large numbers for a wholesale 1982-style invasion. Some people already
foresee that the war may roll towards a confrontation with Syria.
All this time, the United States has been using all its might in order
to prevent the cessation of hostilities. All signs indicate that it is
pushing Israel towards a war with Syria - a country that has ballistic
missiles with chemical and biological warheads.
Only one thing is already certain on the 11th day of the war: Nothing
good will come of it. Whatever happens - Hizbullah will emerge
strengthened. If there had been hopes in the past that Lebanon would
slowly become a normal country, where Hizbullah would be deprived of a
pretext for maintaining a military force of its own, we have now
provided the organization with the perfect justification: Israel is
destroying Lebanon, only Hizbullah is fighting to defend the country.
As for deterrence: a war in which our huge military machine cannot
overcome a small guerilla organization in 11 days of total war
certainly has not rehabilitated its deterrent power. In this respect,
it is not important how long this war will last and what will be its
results - the fact that a few thousand fighters have withstood the
Israeli army for 11 days and more, has already been imprinted in the
consciousness of hundred of millions of Arabs and Muslims.
From this war nothing good will come - not for Israel, not for Lebanon
and not for Palestine. The "New Middle East" that will be its result
will be a worse place to live in.
from Jim Cohen :
Subject: Petition of Academics Against Israeli Aggression.
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006
Une pétition à lire, à signer si vous le
souhaitez, et à faire passer à tous vos collègues.
Here's a petition to read, sign if you wish, and pass on to all your
Sign here if you so choose / cliquez ici pour signer si vous le
** ** **
To: Academics who condemn Israel's aggression
against Lebanon and Gaza
While the United States government applauds the collective
punishment of already vulnerable populations, we U.S.-based academics
stand together to condemn the atrocities being committed by the
U.S.-funded and armed Israeli military against the peoples of Lebanon
and Palestine. Scholars based outside of the United States are also
welcome to sign this letter as an expression of their support.
The brutal bombing and invasion of Gaza (whose people have never
escaped the torment of Israeli occupation despite official Israeli
³withdrawal²) and of Lebanon and are acts of Israeli state
terrorism. Along with the devastating U.S. invasion and occupation of
Afghanistan and Iraq, and the current U.S.-Israeli threat to Syria and
Iran, Israel¹s escalation indicates another terrifying example of
the heightened reliance on military force by both these powers in their
ongoing struggle for hegemony in the Middle East.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Lebanon. Scores are missing.
Latest reports put the number of refugees at half a million. The
attacks on Lebanon¹s infrastructure power stations,
factories, bridges, and ports will take decades to rebuild. The
people of Lebanon are already weary from reconstructing their country
after years of civil war and the last ruinous Israeli invasion in 1982.
In Gaza the humanitarian crisis continues to worsen. Hundreds have been
killed. Water treatment plants, greenhouses, bridges, and homes have
been the major targets of Israeli bombs in ³Operation Summer
Rain,² the code name for the latest Israeli military invasion of
Gaza that began on 27 June 2006.
There is no military solution to the current crisis. War and occupation
threaten all life in the region and around the world security to
anyone. We call for an immediate cease-fire against Lebanon, an
end to the occupation of Palestine, and the release of Palestinian and
Lebanese political prisoners in Israeli jails.
Given the vacuum of political leadership from the governments of the
world in the face of U.S. and Israeli intransigence, we feel it is
incumbent on ordinary citizens to organize and support peaceful means
for bringing economic and political pressure on Israel to end its
occupation of the Palestinian territories. It is urgent that
individuals and non-governmental groups apply such means until Israel
fully complies with international law and respects the fundamental
human rights of all people.
While we unequivocally condemn the killing of civilians in Israel, it
must be recognized that Israel's destructive and expansionist policies
are primarily to blame for the seemingly perpetual "Middle East
crisis.² To call Israeli atrocities in Gaza and Lebanon simply a
³disproportionate response² helps justify Israeli war crimes
by making Israel the victim and obscuring both the short and long-term
sources of this catastrophic violence.
Silence is a form of complicity with the war crimes being committed by
the state of Israel. Business as usual should not continue in the
U.S. academy or elsewhere while people experience the emotional,
physical, and psychic terror of the Israeli military campaigns in Gaza
7, rue de l'Université
Tél : +33 (0)3 90 24 06 02
Fax : +33 (0)3 90 24 05 84
from Agence France-Presse :
26 July 2006
"Furthermore, General Alain Pelligrini, the UN
Force Commander in south Lebanon, had been in repeated contact with
Israeli officers throughout the day on Tuesday, stressing the need to
protect that particular UN position from attack.
- UN Attack Looks Deliberate:
- Agence France-Presse
UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan today said he was "shocked" at Israel's "apparently
deliberate targeting" of a UN post in Lebanon, in which up to four UN
observers were killed.
described the strike as a "co-ordinated artillery and aerial attack on
a long established and clearly marked UN post."
He said it
took place "despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert that UN positions would be spared Israeli fire."
"I call on the Government of Israel to conduct a full investigation
into this very disturbing incident and demand that any further attack
on UN positions and personnel must stop.
"The names and nationalities of those killed are being withheld pending
notification of their families. I extend sincere condolences to the
families of our fallen peacekeepers."
Four UN Observers Die in
Israeli Air Strike as Heavy Fighting Continues in Lebanon
- By Donald Macintyre
- The Independent UK
- Wednesday 26 July 2006
Four United Nations observers were killed last night in an Israeli raid
on their post at the border town of Khiam in south Lebanon. The UN
secretary general suggested last night that it had been deliberately
The observers, said by Lebanese officials to have been an Austrian, a
Canadian, a Chinese and a Finn, were killed when the post's building
and shelter were bombed.
Milos Struger, the spokesman for the United Nations Interim Force in
Lebanon (Unifil), the 28-year old-year old peacekeeping mission in
Lebanon, said rescue workers had to dig through the rubble but that
Israeli fire " continued even during the rescue operation".
In Rome, where he had been discussing the 14-day-old conflict with
Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, and Fouad Siniora, the
Lebanese Prime Minister Mr Annan protested at what he called the
"apparently deliberate targeting" by the Israel Defence Forces of the
post and demanded a full investigation. There was no immediate comment
from the IDF.
Israel has long criticised Unifil for being "innefective" and not
standing up to Hizbollah. Beside triggering a probable wave of
international protest, the deaths of the four observers may complicate
further the search for a ceaefire agreement under which a multinational
force would take over control of the southern border areas of Lebanon.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, also warned that the
conflict between Lebanon and Israel could trigger "a hurricane" of
broader fighting in the Middle East. Iran is a major backer of
Hizbollah and a sworn enemy of Israel. In his comments, he referred to
a proverb that says: "He who raises the wind will get a hurricane." He
added: "That proverb fully relates to the Middle East, which is a very
volatile region. And it will be a strong hurricane which will strike
Egypt and Saudi Arabia, facing popular anger over Israel's offensive,
toughened their stance yesterday warning the US that Israeli militarism
could lead to a wider conflict in the region.
Meanwhile, Da'aa Abbas, 15, became the fourth Arab Israeli to die in
the conflict - killed in the Galilee village of Maghar as Hizbollah
launched 90 to 100 rockets at northern Israel.
Amir Peretz, the Israeli Defence Minister, said Israel will enforce a
"security zone" in southern Lebanon until such time as a multinational
force moves in to control the Lebanese border area. The remarks by Mr
Peretz appeared to set the seal on Israel's conversion to the idea of a
Western-led international military deployment to keep Hizbollah
guerrillas from threatening Israel, if and when the still slow-moving
diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire succeed.
Beirut was heavily bombarded from the air yesterday after Israeli
military aircraft killed six people in the southern Lebanese city of
Nabatiyeh, and Israeli troops sealed off the town of Bint Jbeil, 15
miles farther south, which it regards as a Hizbollah stronghold.
Ms Rice said yesterday, after meeting Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime
Minister, in Israel that any Lebanon ceasefire would have to be "
enduring" as well as urgent, and that the US was seeking a "new Middle
Ms Rice, who arrived in Rome last night to meet European and Arab
leaders, supposedly to thrash out terms of a putative ceasefire, said
there was " no desire" on the part of US officials to come back weeks
or months after a ceasefire because, she implied, Hizbollah had again
found a way to undermine it.
Her remarks came as Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign affairs
envoy, said he would be calling for a "ceasefire process" at the
summit, and added that European countries would have to take part. "
Without European, without some Europeans, the force will not exist," he
There have been suggestions in Israel that such a force, which it would
prefer to be under the aegis of Nato, would require 20,000 troops -
twice as many as the deployment being talked about in Western capitals.
While Mr Solana did not say so, France has been seen as a potential
Mr Solana refrained from saying he would call for an "immediate
ceasefire" - apparently out of deference to Britain, which has joined
the US in refraining from such a demand.
Israeli officials have suggested that the US has informally given
licence to Israel to maintain its assault in Lebanon until at least the
beginning of next week.
The death of the Arab Israel girl came amid continuing indications from
Israeli officers, and troops at the border, of the stiff resistance put
up by Hizbollah to the tank and infantry incursions into southern
Lebanon over the past few days. Heavy fighting around the village of
Maroun ar-Ras cost the lives of seven Israeli soldiers at the end of
Brigadier General Shuki Shachar, the deputy head of the Israeli Defence
Forces northern command, said the army had taken the "high positions"
around Beit Jbeil to pursue its operations against Hizbollah rather
than occupying the town itself after persuading most of its 20,000
civilians to leave. He said the civilians would not be allowed back as
long as Hizbollah threatened Israel. Major Eran Carraso, who served in
Lebanon before the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, said the effectiveness
of Hizbollah forces had notably improved.
A 21-year-old tank commander who had just spent 80 hours in Lebanon and
gave only his first name, Erez, said the operation had been very
different from his service in the West Bank. But he insisted that
Hizbollah fighters were " cowards" because they fired missiles and then
went into hiding.
One of the more remarkable sights on the border yesterday was the
return of a foot patrol with llamas, which the Israeli army recently
decided were especially suitable beasts of burden for operations inside
the hilly terrain of southern Lebanon.
The Mounting Toll
- Number of
Lebanese people killed in the two-week conflict: 422, of whom 375 were
- A further 27
Hizbollah guerrillas have been killed and 20 Lebanese soldiers.
- Number of
Israeli dead since the conflict began: 42, of whom 18 were civilians
and 24 soldiers.
- Number of
Palestinians killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip since the capture of
Cpl Gilad Shalit: 121.
- Number of
Israeli air strikes on Lebanon yesterday: 100.
rockets fired yesterday: 80.
- The Israel
Defence Force claimed yesterday to have hit 10 Hizbollah buildings.
- That adds up
to an estimated $1bn ($600m) in damage to infrastructure.
- Number of
Lebanese bridges destroyed: 105
- The number of
Israeli bridges destroyed: 0.
- Number of
Lebanese ports bombed: 3.
- Estimate of
the number of Lebanese people displaced in the fighting: 750,000.
- Lebanon has
2,000 UN troops who have been in the south since 1978.
- The value of
arms exported to Israel from the UK in the past 18 months: £25m.
- The number of
Britons evacuated from Lebanon by yesterday evening: 2,526.
military spending: $9.45bn (in 1995); Lebanon: $540
Annan: Israel Bombed UN Base
- The Guardian UK
- Wednesday 26 July 2006
- UN chief proposes joint investigation
- No sign of ceasefire agreement
agencies criticise Blair
The UN general secretary, Kofi Annan, today accused the Israeli
military of carrying out a sustained bombing of the UN base on the
Lebanon-Israel border that culminated in the killing of four unarmed
Mr Annan said he had suggested to the Israeli prime minister, Ehud
Olmert, that they carry out a joint investigation into the events that
led to the shelling of the "well-established and well marked" Unifil
(UN interim force in Lebanon) post in the town of Khiyam.
"I spoke to Mr Olmert and he definitely believes it was a mistake and
has expressed his deep sorrow, " Mr Annan told a press conference in
"But the shelling started in the morning and went on until after 7pm.
You cannot imagine the anguish of the unarmed men and women
peacekeepers who were there."
According to a detailed timeline of the incident provided by an
unidentified UN officer and reported by CNN, the first bomb exploded
around 200 metres from the post at 1.20pm (11.20am BST) yesterday.
Unifil observers then telephoned their designated contact with the
Israeli military, who assured them the attacks would stop. In the
following hours, nine more bombs fell close to the post, each one
followed by a call to the Israeli military, the UN officer said.
The main Unifil base in the town of Naqoura lost contact with the post
at 7.40pm, seemingly the time when the post received a direct hit.
The UN office in Naqoura could not be contacted today.
The four monitors came from Austria, Canada, China and Finland. The
Chinese foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing, said today he was saddened by
the news and that it showed "we should try harder to call on the
parties to be restrained and to be calm and restore the peace process
of the Middle East immediately".
The 2,000-strong Unifil force, which sits on the Israel-Lebanon border,
has suffered dozens of attacks and direct hits in two weeks of
conflict. Israel is suspicious of the force and wants it beefed up with
an international stabilisation force involving up to 20,000 troops.
Earlier Mr Olmert telephoned Mr Annan to express his "deep regrets"
over the deaths of the UN monitors, the Israeli prime minister's office
Mr Annan said last night the air strike was "apparently deliberate" and
other UN officials said the attacks on the UN bunker had continued
during a rescue effort. Dan Gillerman, Israel's UN ambassador, reacted
furiously to Mr Annan's comments last night, describing them as
"premature and erroneous".
The deaths of the monitors cast a shadow over today's meeting in Rome,
where foreign ministers gathered to discuss the two-week-old
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the foreign secretary,
Margaret Beckett, were among the ministers attending the talks in Rome,
which ended with no clear indication of when a ceasefire would be
Meanwhile, at least nine Israeli soldiers were killed in heavy fighting
with Hizbullah guerrillas in south Lebanon today, Arab television
Al-Jazeera said nine soldiers were killed in Bint Jbeil, while Al
Arabiya television said at least 12 soldiers were killed there.
Israeli forces encircled the southern Lebanese town yesterday, with one
commander describing it as the "capital of Hizbullah". The Israeli army
said yesterday that it had killed up to 30 Hizbullah fighters as it
aimed to dismantle Hizbullah command posts there and destroy rocket
The prime minister was today facing mounting pressure to endorse calls
for an immediate ceasefire amid claims that his position and that of
the Bush administration were putting civilian lives at risk.
Aid agencies, religious groups and the public sector union, Unison,
wrote an open letter to Tony Blair condemning his refusal to back the
UN's demands for a ceasefire.
The letter - signed by 14 organisations including Amnesty
International, Christian Aid and the Muslim Council of Britain - warns
that the UK government is diluting calls for peace. "
By failing to back the UN and call for an immediate ceasefire, the UK
government has reduced the impact of international calls for an
immediate halt to the violence," the letter says.
Mr Blair's official spokesman said the prime minister was engaged
"almost on an hourly basis" in trying to secure support for a
stabilisation force and was ready to take "heat" from critics. The
government hoped to secure "broad agreement in principle" in Rome to
the idea of a stabilisation force, the spokesman told reporters.
Israeli warplanes bombed 100 targets in southern Lebanon yesterday and
one family of seven civilians was killed. More than 400 Lebanese have
been killed in total.
Hizbullah yesterday fired some 70 rockets into northern Israel, killing
a 15-year-old girl. More than 40 Israelis have died in the violence,
including 18 who have been killed by rockets.
This morning, more Hizbullah rockets hit three areas of northern
Israel, seriously injuring one person, medics said. The rockets fell in
Haifa, Carmiel and Kiryat Bialik, where one person was seriously
wounded, the medics said. It was not immediately clear if there were
Meanwhile, a Jordanian military plane landed at Beirut's international
airport this morning to evacuate people seriously wounded in the
- Airport officials
said the aircraft was the first jet to land at Beirut's airport since
July 13, when Israeli warplanes bombed its runways and forced it to
close. Israel said yesterday it would allow planes carrying
humanitarian aid to land in Beirut. Jordan has a peace treaty with