Middle East

Hezbollah? Yes, they are a danger

Take a different view of the conflict between Israel and Lebanon

, by David Neuwirth , Tomas Caslavka

Hezbollah? Yes, they are a danger

At 9:05 AM local time, two Israeli armoured cars on a routine patrol along the Israel-Lebanon border were attacked by Hezbollah militants. Two Israeli soldiers were abducted, three were killed. Israel answered with the Operation called “Just Reward” (later was the name changed into “Operation Change of Direction”) and started with the sea blockade and air attacks.

In the Western world, which is known for its fair play principles, came a feeling of the bigger and stronger boy, who hurts his smaller and weaker classmate. The Lebanese army, which could eventually defend the Lebanese, is not able to make a stand against the much more equipped Israeli army. The logical consequent had to be: Israel is stronger, we have to help Lebanon. But that’s the wrong approach. Lebanon may be weaker, but it does not mean that this country is really innocent. Why not? We should not forget the Hezbollah.

What is Hezbollah?

Many people try to make a difference between Lebanon and Hezbollah, which is right and also authors of this article do it, but there are some facts, which indicate that the position of Hezbollah is integrated in the Lebanon’s society. Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shi’a Muslim Islamist organization, the name means something like “the Party of Allah” or “the Party of God”. The political rhetoric of this organisation has consistently called for the destruction of Israel. It has a military and civilian wing, the latter participating in the Lebanese parliament, currently with 18% of the seats (23 out of 128), and it participates also in the current Cabinet. We should not mix Hezbollah with Lebanon, but we also should not forget the Hezbollah connection to Lebanon. Hezbollah is a part of the government, like Beckham and Rooney are parts of the English Football team. They are only two of eleven players, but if they score goal, the whole team wins, if they make foul, the team can lose because of penalty shooting. The Hezbollah is not just a political party; it’s also a terrorist organisation, supported from Iran. The state Lebanon is host to this terrorist aggressor which has sworn to eliminate Israel and its inhabitants from the face of the earth. And that’s a big problem.

Hezbollah’s role inside Lebanon

Lebanon didn’t attack Israel, but one Lebanese organization did. If Israel attacks Lebanon, it’s against the rules, if Israel makes nothing, the Hezbollah’s terrorists can attack again and again. 72% of Lebanon people may not agree with such attacks, but the government they elected does. If the government wouldn’t, Hezbollah wouldn’t exist as a part of the Cabinet, even further more, this organization would be prohibited, because it does not respect the principles of democracy and peace. It will be objected that Lebanon is helpless, that its democracy was destroyed and its territory conquered by the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organisation), Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. It will be said that the Lebanese cannot resist the superior force of Hezbollah’s “state within a state.” But this is an argument in bad faith. The so-called “Cedar Revolution” showed that there are ways of manifesting opposition and resistance to the occupiers. Put bluntly, while the Lebanese have demonstrated their resistance to the Syrian occupier in the very recent past, there has been no evidence of it when the aggressor is an Islamic force bent on obliterating the Israelis.

That the Hezbollah is really a dangerous organization is not a joke but a fact, as we can see in the recent conflict. In the words of a UN humanitarian chief, Hezbollah is “cowardly blending” amongst Lebanese civilians, using them as a human shield. This statement was confirmed by the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) as they discovered that Hezbollah is preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon. Another report by the UN representatives complained that Hezbollah prevented them from entering the area as they tried to help residents leave. Surprisingly, this kind of news seems to somehow lose its way to the European audience. Where lay the reasons for this situation?

Controlling the media?

To answer this question, we should look for the testimonies of journalists who witness Hezbollah’s everyday media operations. Christopher Albritton, a reporter for the Time and the New York Daily News, stated that “The Party of God” has a copy of every journalist’s passport, and has already hassled and threatened journalists. CNN reporter Nick Robertson complained about Hezbollah denying access to southern Beirut. He claimed that Hezbollah’s press official takes journalists to places that were designed for media coverage and denied them access to houses or to lift up rubble to see what was underneath. Hezbollah can turn on and off access to hospitals in the battle areas.

It is highly possible that Hezbollah controls the flow of information coming out of Lebanon. Most of the European media, however, accepts this without any further investigation. In light of the recent incident in Qana, where further investigation has revealed the building collapsed around eight hours after being hit by the IDF, the anger expressed by some European politicians is very questionable. From the incriminate village of Qana, some 150 rockets were fired at Israel. Only from a few sources - those who were lucky to escape the Hezbollah censorship, such as the last week’s editorial of the Business or the Australian Herald Sun - do we get the truth about what is going on. The Hezbollah gunmen (in civilian clothes) have been repeatedly preventing civilians from evacuating, and have been employing strategies for maximising Israel’s “collateral damage”. Most importantly, there is a video footage showing Hezbollah rocket launchers hidden in civilian buildings in the village.

It is always a very tragic cause when innocent civilians die in these clashes. The question remains whether Israel is to blame for the ruthless use of civilians as a human shield - the everyday tactic of Hezbollah. And this is to our great disappointment being overlooked by the Europeans.

Let’s not fool ourselves: If Israel does not eliminate Hezbollah’s terrorist militia within Lebanon, not even the most “robust” international force will be able to do it. Unfortunately in Europe, only the British and German governments understand this situation.

What role for the EU?

The European Union should support Lebanese people who do not wish war and further violence. But EU should make clear: do not cooperate with Hezbollah, prohibit it, then we will send you our food, money, and troops which will help to establish the peace in the region. And this signal should be also sent to other countries in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan denounced in their first reactions the Hezbollah attacks, even the Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak declared that his country did not plan on going to war with Israel. We Europeans should not try to make peace for all costs. It has to have clear rules, which will be accepted from both sides. Otherwise, we can again see burning EU flags.

Links from the authors on further reading:

* http://www.back-to-iraq.com/ - an independent journalist Christopher Albritton writing for the Time and the New York Daily News

* Jerusalem Post http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satell...

* Yahoo News http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060724...

* Australian Herald Sun http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/st...

* Fox News http://www.foxnews.com/world/index.html - to check the video called “Rockets in Quana?”

* CNN report about Hezbollah in control of the news http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRI... - an official transcription of Nic Robertson

* Kevin Sites - reporter for the Yahoo - telling about civilians in the Southern Libanon refusing to flee the area http://hotzone.yahoo.com/b/hotzone/...

* The Business http://www.thebusinessonline.com/St...

Image:

* Hezbollah Country , source: Flickr

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