Cutting through the bullshit.

Friday, 11 August 2006

True to form

The NY Times, true to form, continues its Israeli spin. It is worth noting that this is supposed to be coverage, not an opinion piece.


Aid Crisis Worsens as Israel Pounds Southern Lebanon By JOHN KIFNER

Published: August 9, 2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 8 — A humanitarian crisis deepened across Lebanon on Tuesday as fighting continued to rage between Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah guerrillas along the border, amid indications that Israel was preparing for a major escalation.

‘Fighting continued to rage’ alright, but the humanitarian crisis arises from the bombing and shelling the Israelis are inflicting much more than from the ‘fighting’ on the ground. It might be worth mentioning, if the article aimed to be honest, that Israel’s carpet bombing of southern Lebanon and explicit declaration of a fee fire zone south of the Litani are a serious violation of the laws of war. There can no longer be any doubt that Israel is either deliberately targeting civilians, or is so grossly and consistently incompetent in aiming their precision guided ordnance as to amount to the same thing.

In Tyre, the besieged major city in the south, leaflets fluttered down warning that any car on the roads south of the Litani River could be hit.

“Every vehicle, whatever its nature, which travels south of the Litani will be bombed on suspicion of transporting rockets and arms for the terrorists,” said the leaflets, addressed to the people of Lebanon and signed “State of Israel.”

You’d think that honesty would require the Times to mention at this point how Tyre came to be besieged and that a warning of this kind doesn’t relieve the perpetrator of responsibility. Nasrullah has warned residents of northern Israel that they are in danger from falling Katyushas. But that hasn’t removed the opprobrium for firing them.

The United Nations, as well as the Red Cross and other aid groups, said they were unable to move convoys to the villages around Tyre to deliver supplies or even dig out bodies buried under rubble.

‘Unable to move convoys’? Why would that be? Could be out of petrol, of course, since there’s little left in besieged Lebanon. But actually, it’s because Israel has decreed everything that moves a legitimate target. Some people think that humanitarian aid is protected and that combatants are required to facilitate its passage. Unless it’s Israel.

In Israel, where public and political pressure is mounting over the stalled campaign, after four weeks of conflict, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said he had ordered contingency plans for a bigger ground offensive when the Security Cabinet meets on Wednesday to consider widening the war.

“I have instructed all the I.D.F. commanders to prepare for an operation aimed at taking over launching areas and reduce as much as possible Hezbollah’s rocket launching capability,” he said, using the initials for the Israeli Defense Forces.

“If we see that the diplomatic efforts do not yield the results we expect, we will have to do it ourselves,’’ he added, referring to efforts at the United Nations, led by the United States and France, for a cease-fire resolution.

The only effort the US is putting in at the UN is precisely to preclude a ceasefire.

But with both combatants locked in what each sees as a struggle for survival, it seemed unlikely that a Security Council resolution would have any immediate effect.

Israel has enunciated its desire to wipe out Hizb’allah. Hizb’allah says it wants Israel to release prisoners. But each sees the conflict ‘as a struggle for survival’. So they each have equally pressing and legitimate grounds for continuing to fight. Hizb’allah may or may not have crossed the Blue Line to capture the Israeli POWs, but it doesn’t actually matter, as that kind of violation of territorial integrity has been occurring in both directions since Hizb’allah routed the Israeli occupation in 2000. It is Israeli that has actually invaded in force and is currently occupying territory, which makes most, if not all, Hizb’allah attacks legitimate defense and all Israeli attacks offensive. But Israel ‘sees’ it as a struggle for survival, so they can do as they please.

The last I heard, France’s position was that it would lead an international force once there was a ceasefire and a political settlement in place. Israel, as reported below, ‘would leave only on the arrival of an international force’. Sounds like an impasse to me.

In New York on Tuesday, an Arab League delegation told members of the Security Council that the draft resolution to halt hostilities would only worsen the crisis, because it did not demand an immediate Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

An immediate Israeli withdrawal. What an unreasonable demand! Fancy suggesting that the aggressor withdraw as part of a peace plan!

“What is happening will sow the seeds of hatred and extremism in the area, and provide a pretext for those who feel that the international community is taking sides,’’ said Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, the foreign minister of Qatar.

I confess that I have not mastered the intricacies of Diplomese, but when the ‘international community’ demands, in the words of the draft resolution, ‘the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations’[emphasis added], when all Israeli operations are by definition defensive, why would ‘those who feel that the international community is taking sides’ require a pretext? one side, the defenders, disarm.

Why would we need a pretext when the international community further calls for ’ the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Lebanese armed and security forces and of UN mandated international forces deployed in this area’, but not for the disarmament of an equivalent area south of the Blue Line?

Why would we need a pretext when the international community ‘require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state’, whose armed forces have shown themselves perfectly capable of resisting bombardment and invasion. If the international community were not taking sides, wouldn’t they demand, at least, disarmament of the aggressor?

As for the seeds of hatred and extremism, weren’t they sown when the Zionists decided they needed to have a Jewish majority in Palestine for their racist ethnocracy and accordingly ethnically cleansed the area in 1948?

A senior Bush administration official said he did not see Israel agreeing to a resolution that would call for an immediate withdrawal. Under the current draft, they would leave only on the arrival of an international force, which would be created by a second resolution that would also address political dimensions of the problems, including the disarming of Hezbollah.

In 1991, the international community, which never wants to be seen taking sides, called for the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Iraq didn’t agree, but that didn’t stop the Security Council from taking decisions, and taking sides.

But the official, requesting anonymity to discuss administration strategy, said the United States saw a plan announced Monday by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora of Lebanon, which would send 15,000 Lebanese troops to the south, as something that could be written into the resolution to win Arab support.

Winning Arab support is important; not interfering with Israeli military and geopolitical objectives is much more important; saving Lebanese lives is irrelevant

“If the way this ends is deployment of the Lebanese armed forces to the blue line,” he said, referring to the Israeli border, “that would mean that the government of Lebanon was the one who would work with the Israelis to withdraw. It’s one piece of the puzzle that would help to stabilize Lebanon.”

As if! Obviously Israel needs the help of the Lebanese government to withdraw. They couldn’t turn their tanks around and just drive away without somebody’s help, after all. And a stable Lebanon is the whole objective, that’s why the international community has stood by and watched as Israeli aggression forced over 25% of Lebanon’s alleged population from their homes, the most effective stabilizing strategy known to humankind.

Below this, moreover, there is another text. What the Times and its anonymous official source mean by stability is a state of affairs where the Lebanese ruling class, in cahoots with ‘western’ interests, can continue to exploit and oppress the huge majority of ordinary Lebanese unhindered.

There are a couple of things we have Israel to thank for. They have succeeded in uniting the Lebanese across the ‘sectarian divisions’ that have traditionally plagued the country. And they have united the Arab ‘street’ across the Middle East, undermining the Sunni-Shi’a split and threatening the ‘moderate’ Arab monarchies and dictatorships beloved of the US. You’d almost think these were unintended consequences. But can they really be so stupid as not to have anticipated these outcomes?

Meanwhile, in an unusual move Israeli observers suggested was a prelude to heavy combat, the Israeli military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz of the air force, named his deputy, Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, as his personal representative to supervise the fighting in Lebanon. The bypassing of the Israeli ground commander, Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, led Israeli television news Tuesday night, with a Channel One reporter, Yoav Limor, saying “the failure is that of the army.” He described General Kaplinsky as “a winning officer” who was sent north to deliver victory.

In the fighting Tuesday, an Israeli airstrike killed 13 people in the Shiite village of Al Ghaziye. Other airstrikes hit the south — about 40 raids in a score of locations — and transportation routes to the east in the mostly Shiite Bekaa Valley.

The Israeli military said three soldiers were killed and eight wounded in the ground fighting on Tuesday. Much of the fighting was centered around Bint Jbail, which was a Hezbollah stronghold a few miles north of the border. Illustrating the tenacity of the fighting, it is an area Israel said it seized weeks ago.

In Beirut, explosions sounded Tuesday night in the heavily Shiite slum districts on the city’s southern edge. Hezbollah fired more than 150 rockets into northern Israel, injuring several people.

‘Explosions sounded’, but no harm done, and of course nobody was responsible, and even if they were, they didn’t mean any harm. But the 150 Hizb’allah rockets…now someone was responsible for firing them, and actual ‘people’ were injured, not Lebanese, not Shi’i, not Hizb’allah supporters, who are all fair game.

[An Israeli strike on a Palestinian refugee camp, Ain el Hilwe, in south Lebanon killed at least one person, medics said early Wednesday, according to Reuters.]

With all of the major highways now cut and with a naval blockade off the coast, gasoline and fuel for generating electricity were running short. With rationing, there is enough fuel for five more days of electricity, a Lebanese government official estimated Tuesday, putting hospitals, already overwhelmed with the wounded, in particular peril.

It sounds like a natural disaster. Again, roads are cut, and there’s even a naval blockade. I wonder how that could have happened.

International aid workers said the situation was particularly dire throughout the south, because convoys could not reach Tyre, nor venture from there to the outlying villages.

This is exactly the kind of verbiage found in reports after last October’s earthquake in Kashmir.

“South of the Litani is off,” said Khaled Mansour, the chief United Nations spokesman in Lebanon, indicating that the agency’s aid convoys had been halted because the last bridge over the Litani River north of Tyre had been blown up.

The United Nations World Food Program has stopped deliveries of food to southern villages because of the danger on the roads, said a spokeswoman, Christiane Berthiaume.

The World Health Organization warned that if fuel is not delivered soon, 60 percent of the hospitals in Lebanon will “simply cease to function.”

More disaster coverage. There’s danger on the roads, but no cause for the danger. The last bridge ‘had been blown up’. The passive voice is so useful when your objective is not to identify the agent.

Reporting for this article was contributed by Jad Mouawad from Beirut, Warren Hoge from the United Nations, Sabrina Tavernise from Tyre, Lebanon, and Greg Myre from Jerusalem.

Obviously, it takes five journalists to construct a cover up like this. They are all complicit in Israel’s crimes against humanity. But then, as China Mieville wrote recently, ‘International law has always been complicit with imperialism.’

No comments:

Post a Comment