Israel’s Real War objectives

Elias Aoun*

In 1982, Israel deceived President Ronald Reagan by telling him that their invasion of Lebanon is “limited” and aimed at defeating Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization (which then had a strong presence in the country). By weakening the PLO, the Israelis told Reagan’s administration, they in turn would be undermining communism and the Soviet influence in the region.

Instead of a “limited” operation, the Israelis went as far north as Beirut. Instead of merely defeating the PLO, they destroyed Lebanese infrastructure and a large areas of Beirut, committed a massacre in Sabra and Shatila, and instigated a sectarian war in the Chouf district. During that time period, Hezbollah was born as a consequence to Israel’s actions.

Today, the same scenario is repeating itself.

The Israeli leadership is telling President George W. Bush that Israel’s war is “limited” against Hezbollah, aimed at fighting “terrorism” and weakening Syrian and Iranian influence in Lebanon and the region. The Guardian newspaper (July 19, 2006) reports that President Bush approved the “limited” attack on Lebanon. The President needs to realize that he is being deceived.

Israel’s goals in 2006 are the same as of 1982: destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure, destroy parts of Beirut, instigate a civil strife, and commit a multitude of massacres as witnessed by flattening residential structures on their inhabitants and intentional targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Why is Israel doing this?

In 1974, Lebanon’s President Suleiman Frangieh made a speech at the United Nations in which he stated that Lebanon – a nation of co-existence between various religious communities – can be a model to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by having both people peacefully co-exist.

One year later, Lebanon’s so-called “civil war” began and lasted until the end of 1990 with Israel participating through its proxies, or sometimes initiating the violence itself.

Israel does not want Lebanon, an Arab model for co-existence, to succeed. It wants to justify its “Jewish” identity by making the region in its own image, divided into countries based on religious terms. For this reason, violence between “Sunnis” and “Shiites” exist in Iraq with an (undercover) Israeli participation. For the same reason, Lebanon is a target.

The Israeli leadership does not want a free, sovereign, and independent Lebanon to compete against it on an economic and political level. It does not want the Arab Gulf to invest in Lebanon and restore the country to its prominence. It wants Lebanon disintegrated by religious divisions.

If one reads newswire reports coming out of the Middle East, one notices the repeated classification of people in religious terms: a “Sunni” did this, or a “Shiite” did that. A “Christian” said this, or a “Muslim” said that. In most cases, what is reported as one side did or said is portrayed to contradict the other side’s act or position. The focus is continuously aimed at driving a wedge between religious communities.

Unless Israel is stopped, it will make every excuse, take every measure, to prevent Lebanon and Iraq from being independent, united, and sovereign countries. At the initiation of this recent war, an Israeli politician actually stated that Israel intends to take Lebanon twenty to fifty years backward. By their 9,000 air raids on the country, that is exactly what they attempted to do.

Many well-intentioned Americans and Jewish-Americans, who support Israel in whatever it does, are not aware of Israel’s ulterior motives. Simply put, Israel wants to destroy any model of co-existence – whether in Lebanon or Iraq – because it does not want that model to apply to it.

Such Israeli objective is not in the interest of the United States. The land of the Bill of Rights, the land of the free, can neither finance, support, or ship weapons to an entity (Israel) whose strategy is to prevent fundamental principles – mainly equality of rights and citizenship regardless of religious affiliation – from becoming applicable in the Middle East.

The U.S. President, and many politicians, must realize that they are being deceived. They must have the courage to do what is right and end the funding and arming of an entity that is waging and instigating wars with the ultimate objective to defeat principles shared by Americans everywhere.

If some wish to question this analysis, and if some consider Israel as the “only democracy” in the Middle East, then where is Israel’s constitution? Where are the laws that define equal treatment of its citizens – regardless of whether they are Arabs, Israelis, Christians, Muslims, or Jews?

The American public must realize the fundamental element of what is taking place in the Middle East. The U.S. politicians must be made aware of this fact and put a stop to the Israeli attempt to disintegrate the Arab world on religious and sectarian lines.

To conclude with Israel’s supposed war on Hizbollah, a Lebanese National Dialogue between various leaders was in the process of debating strategies and finding peaceful solutions to matters affecting the Lebanon-Israel border. Such dialogue was continuing. It did not officially end, nor did it officially declare its failure.

Why did Israel pre-empt by a war the conclusion of the Lebanese Dialogue, which was aimed in part to find answers to some of the “excuses” that Israel is offering for its aggression?  The reason is what I just explained.

An “Open War” on Failed Diplomacy
Elias Aoun*

 The all-out “open war” between Lebanon and Israel is none other than a final burial ceremony of the U.S. President’s “Greater Middle East Initiative” and his promise of a new era for the region. No doubt, a new era has been ushered in, but nowhere does it resemble the one promoted and promised.

Was the Initiative a deception or merely a “good” plan gone astray? Different people will certainly have different viewpoints. Some may consider events in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon as a reflection of the Initiative’s true intent. Instead of being buried by  violence, it is actually being born. The Greater Initiative is non-other than the Greater Chaos.

The U.S. President always claimed that his Administration would pursue all efforts “until the Lebanese people achieve total independence.”  Under the first major threat to that independence, the Administration would not even press Israel for a cease-fire.

The President claims that Israel “has the right to defend itself.”  Yet no one else seems to have that same right.  And everyone other than Israel seems to have only the right to be killed.

Some claim that Israel’s military campaign is aimed at targeting Hizbullah’s “terrorism.” However, the vast majority of areas targeted by Israel have no Hizbullah military presence. Some attacked towns do not even have Hizbullah party members.

The truth is that Israel is incapable of conducting an “honorable” fight with Hizbullah: man-to-man, soldier-to-soldier. Their call to place the Lebanese Army on the Lebanon-Israel border is aimed at both causing a rift between the government and the resistance, thus weakening the force against them and enhancing their ability to re-invade the country, despite their claim about their intent not to do so.

Unable to launch an effective ground attack, they instead lobby their bombs from the air and the sea against roads, bridges, civilians, and public institutions. They issue warning to “evacuate” to dismember the country one corner, one town, and one city at a time. Israel’s war is a war for terrorism, not against it.

Israel’s plan goes beyond the return of its soldiers, the dismantling of Hizbullah, and achieving the deployment of the Lebanese Army on the Lebanon-Israel border. The aim is to control Lebanon’s water resources, and its economic and political decision-making processes through the dismemberment of its institutions, political assassinations, and maintaining an equal balance of two major competing and un-reconcilable political forces to deepen the divisions and facilitate Israel’s “progress” within the country.

Bridges and roads are symbols for linking various towns and villages, north with south, east with west. Their destruction is symbolic to the intent of “de-linking” various parts of the country from one another. In short, the intent is to prevent the rise of a viable Lebanese state and to defeat the promise of the “Cedar Revolution.”

Lebanese unity is the best way to overcome the difficulties facing the country regardless of political differences. All Lebanon – its resistance, its army, its people – is a target. Hizbullah is merely the first target. But, once again, Israel’s military will be defeated by the will of the Lebanese.

For now, what are the demands?

Pro-Israeli western politicians have claimed that Hizbullah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers was a provocation and is to blame for the current situation. Regardless of what one thinks of the abduction, it is not the first and only event in history where a soldier is held captive by his enemies. The kidnapping by itself does not justify Israel’s barbarism against civilian targets.

There are Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails. If Israel has the right to imprison Lebanese for whatever offense against Israel, then would Israel hand over Israeli citizens who have committed the same offense against Lebanon? Those who demand the release of captured Israeli soldiers must also demand the release of jailed Lebanese.

Some claim that Hizbullah should be removed to a certain distance from the Lebanese-Israeli border. Why then should not the Israeli military be removed the same equal distance within Israel and away from the border?

Some claim that UN Resolution 1559 must be implemented as a step toward resolving the crisis. Those making such a claim must begin by implementing the first provision of said resolution which calls for the “strict respect” to Lebanese sovereignty. They should present a formula on how Israel will “strictly respect” Lebanon and halt the repeated violations of its sovereignty. After all, it was Israel that initiated the “open war”. The Lebanese must seek first to implement that which is of higher priority and preserves the country. All sides want a secure nation. Then, let them begin securing it from Israeli threats.

In addition to seeking humanitarian relief, an end to Israeli aggression, and an exchange of prisoners, other demands for Lebanon must include: (1) Israeli withdrawal from Shebaa Farms, (2) Israeli compensation for the destruction caused -- Israel should not ever be allowed to destroy Lebanon at will, and then simply walk away, (3) an Arab-financed adequate air defense system (everyone knows of this weakness in Lebanon’s defense, why it is not being remedied?), and (4) a widening of Lebanon’s diplomatic corps, or the private financing of a nationalist Lebanese lobby in major capitals to advocate Lebanese interests and defend Lebanese causes, especially in a crisis similar to what Lebanon is witnessing.

If a ceasefire is not achieved, Hizbullah may consider invading and liberating Shebaa Farms. By doing so, it would be an attempt to divert Israel away from residential areas and limit the zone of fighting to the Farms. It remains possible, of course, that Israel will continue to bombard everywhere.

Lebanon today is paying the price of a failed diplomatic process, or a diplomacy that is not allowed to succeed until Israel does “what it has to do.” However, the delay, the concept of “leaving matters unresolved”, will ultimately undermine Israel more than those it hopes to undermine with such a strategy.


* An American Lebanese Lawyer