Sunday, July 23, 2006

Back in the States - leaving behind broken lives

I am finally back in the United States. After spending ten days in Syria, helping my family cope with the loss of their lives in Lebanon, I am back to my own life over here.
.
Both my brother and sister had to leave loved ones behind, who sought the safety and comfort of their families. My brother is now on his way to London; his long-time girlfriend to Australia. My sister is on her way to Dubai; her long-time boyfriend is staying behind in Lebanon to salvage what remains of his business. Both their sets of friends are dispersing all over the world. The networks of relationships that were such a crucial part of their lives are now broken. They have to start their lives from scratch.
.
Despite all this, our family ranks among the lucky few. Yet even the "lucky" among us now have to deal with disrupted lives, in all senses of the phrase: broken relationships; shattered livelihoods; failed investments and much, much more. All we have left is hope: hope that we will be able to rebuild what has been destroyed, and hope that the situation will not deteriorate any further.
.
A couple of days before the doors of hell opened in Lebanon, I visited a pub that a high school friend of mine had just launched in the Jemayze neighborhood of Beirut. He had worked an entire year to line up partners, get the permits, renovate the building, and actually build the pub from the ground up. All his work summed up to naught. For even if the war were to come to a close tomorrow, he would not be able to operate because his clientele no longer exists. They boarded those ships, and paid between five hundred to a thousand dollars for rides to Damascus, where they boarded planes and flew to whatever part of the globe they could get to. I wonder how he is doing.
.
I want this war to end now. The last thing I want, however, is a return to the status quo ante so that we face another wave of destruction five, ten, or fifteen years down the road. And in all honesty, I simply don’t want to give Israeli generals another reason to flex their destructive muscles at our dire expense.
.
Lebanon will never recover from this brutal blow unless Lebanese are assured that such a calamity will not befall them again. The worst outcome - the absolute worst outcome - would be if all this destruction and death comes to naught, and a real political change for the better does not materialize in Lebanon and the region.

98 comments:

Doha said...

welcome back Raja :)

Abu Kais said...

Welcome back Raja, we missed you terribly.

Lirun said...

Dear Raja

i am profoundly saddened by the loss and heartbreak that you describe..

i am however profoundly encouraged by the strength and the hopes that you convey..

i join your dreams of a better future..

may none of us.. or our kids or kids' kids for generations to come.. see any destruction ever again

Peace

lirun
tel-aviv
www.emspeace.blogspot.com
the eastern mediterranean has cried enough..

shlomi said...

raja
i also join to this hope that thiswar will bring a change and that we will live side by side in peace

Ghassan said...

Alas, the hope for a meaningful political change as a result of this conflict does not appear to be very highly likely.

PM Siniora appeared a couple of hours ago on CNN and one more time he has in essence justified the military actions and presence of HA by putting the total blame on the "occupation" of the Sheba'a farms. Mr. Siniora is engaged in more of the same kind of ineffective leadership that has played a major indirect role in getting us to where we are.

Yet, I am hopeful against hope, that Mr. Siniora and the other traditional Lebanese pols will , for once in their life, rise to the occasion , develop the courage to reclaim the state that they have allowed to be hijacked. Needless to say I am not very optimistic.

peace_head said...

you know, after all my pessimistic posts in the last few days... i have come to a conclusion, something that could bring sanity to the region:

nasrallah must die. as long as nasrallah has the chance to wage war, the area will be unstable. following his death, the captured soliders will be almost immediately executed. no one in HA has the charm and power to inherit nasrallah. with the soliders dead, israel would then negotiate a cease-fire with the lebanese government, who would now have the power and consensus to disarm HA.

think about it. is the life of this man worth the havoc he's been wreacing over lebanon?
besides, it wouldn't be the first leader getting assasinated or otherwise turned in.

this needs to be covertly arranged. preferrably by snitching on his location or (better) a third-party agent. this way, civil war will not erupt too.

not a nice way to settle accounts, but it's time for pragmatism to prevail.

sometimes, peace requires the death of certain people. i don't think many would regret seeing nasrallah go.

Idan said...

Raja: words such as yours go close to the mark, but why not complete the journey? why not go all the way, and state the obvious and simplest truth: that as long as HA remains a dissident organization whose strings are pulled by iranian and syrians warmongers, there will be no hope for lebanon. think about it: do you honestly think that Israel would refuse the chance to settle in peace its northern conflict with Lebanon? do you truthfully believe that Israel would attack Lebanon in the future without being provoked?

The Man said...

Best of luck to you and your family

3li- said...

As usual Peace_head, and I am not sure what is peaceful about your comments, you guys in Israel are misguided fools who think that overwhelming power and assassinations of political leaders will get rid of problems that you helped invent and perpetuate.

Exactly how do you kill sentiment? How do you "get rid" of the feeling of being oppressed and wronged, and rendered powerless, and cheated, and conspired against, and threatened and intimidated...

Give us an example of when with the leaders you have assassinated in Palestine, or by repeatedly destroying the infrastructure and lives of the Palestinians, you have been able to get rid of the Palestinian cause, or the Palestinian people?

After all the cruelty and punishment you laid on the Palestinians for over 50 years; THEY VOTED HAMAS INTO POWER.

If this is not a lesson for you, that legitimate national aspirations and long-standing grievances, cannot be bombed away, then you will live to repeat this cycle of violence till eternity. One day your enemies will find a way to tip the scale against you, and you will regret the day when your arrogance and power blinded you to accept an already Israeli-tilted peace solution when all the options are entirely in your hands.

You have only yourself to blame.

Moon River said...

Raja,
It is good to know you are safe.
I came first to your blog at the beginning of the war, via the blog of an Ami Ben Basat, an Israeli blogger.
and i was reading your informative, objective reports with a lot of respect for your calm and your trying to be as objective as possible.
AND I WAS happy to learn that most of Lebanese people are just like most of us Israelis -we want to live our lives, we want to wake up in the morning and go to work, and spend time with friends and family and go to pubs, of cinema, or theatre at evening and rejoice life.
It is shattering to see how a "hand full" of extremist that are motivated constantly by hatred and a will to kill are forcing you Lebanese and to a certain degree us Israelis =to be their hostage
I am sorry to see the destruction of civilian life in Lebanon, each civilian, each baby that is being killed or wounded from our side - is indeed terrible.
and so unfair!!!!
it is unfair that Hizbulla is hiding inside Mosques, inside civilian houses putting their life in jeopardy.
It is unfair they are not letting the sane people try to make their living and grow their children
it is unfair that a 18 israeli soldier has die to protect the land that had already shattered so many lives.
Lebanon has to eliminate Hizbulla destructive power
Or
as you choose to say it:
"I want this war to end now. The last thing I want, however, is a return to the status quo ante so that we face another wave of destruction five, ten, or fifteen years down the road. And in all honesty, I simply don’t want to give Israeli generals another reason to flex their destructive muscles at our dire expense."
Be well
We hope here after destroying Hizbulla inciative we can make The middle east the paradise it can become

Omer (israeli) said...

Raga,
Best wishes, Hope everyone rebuilds their life easily. I might have supported attaking HA, but not whats happening right now. Its like al-ghadabulsatti3(Wow, dude) think that we are just creating more enemys (thou i think he has a very one-sided prespective).
I just wanted to say i'm sorry, I never approved of such destruction.

peace_head said...

Al-Ghadabulsaati3:

i think you got a little mixed up there. where and when did i say i was israeli?

i think nasrallah must die because he outlived his usefullness to the lebanese people. its as simple as that.

nothing about normalization or even shard of good will towards israel. i'll leave that to politicians to sort out. it's simply a way for peace loving lebanese to get back to rebuilding, and to get their previous lives back. i don't know about you, but i want my life to be exactly as it was before.

and for that cause, i don't care who created nasrallah. i don't think the lebanese should bear the burden of the fight against israel. lebanon is strong for withstanding but too weak to fight israel. if anybody wants to mix it with israel, be it HA, syria or iran, they can do so at their own free will. not wanting to fight israel does not mean one likes it, you know.

Tjex said...

You're clueless if you think violence will solve anything. Has Israel not figured this out yet with Hamas? Has history not taught you as much? We seem to be repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Political pressure and negotiations is the only solution.

otinkyaaf said...

I know it is a very small consolation. But this American (not dual citizen) fully plans to make future trips to Lebanon, and sink my tourist dollars into your economy.

Let me know which bar in Jemayze you are talking about. If, by the grace of God, it is still there when I visit, I will visit and be a generous patron.

I may be naive about things, but this is how I feel. I know I am not the only one with this sentiment.

I wish peace and prosperity to Lebanon. Your country has taught me more about patriotism and national pride than almost any American I know.

amechad said...

Get rid of Hizbollah and it's over.

marc said...

Raja: "The last thing I want, however, is a return to the status quo ante so that we face another wave of destruction five, ten, or fifteen years down the road. And in all honesty, I simply don’t want to give Israeli generals another reason to flex their destructive muscles at our dire expense." Have the Israelis done enough, yet, to prevent that "return to the status quo ante"?

Amir Taheri in the Times today (and I would be interested to know if Mr Taheri has the details, particularly those in the third and fourth paragraphs, right):

"According to Naim Kassem, Hezbollah’s number two, the party has an annual budget of £279m, much of which comes from businesses set up by the movement. These include a bank, a mortgage co-operative, an insurance company, a travel agency specialising in pilgrimages to Muslim holy places, several hotels, a chain of supermarkets and a number of urban bus and taxi companies.

"In its power base in southern Lebanon, particularly south Beirut and the Bekaa valley, it is possible for a visitor to spend a whole week without stepping outside a Hezbollah business unit: the hotel he checks into, the restaurant he eats in, the taxi that takes him around, the guide who shows him the sights and the shop where he buys souvenirs all belong to the party.

"Hezbollah is a state within the Lebanese state. It controls some 25% of the national territory. Almost 400,000 of Lebanon’s estimated 4m inhabitants live under its control. It collects its own taxes with a 20% levy, known as “khoms”, on all incomes. It runs its own schools, where a syllabus produced in Iran is taught at all levels. It also runs clinics, hospitals, social welfare networks and centres for orphans and widows.

"The party controls the elected municipal councils and appoints local officials, who in theory should be selected by the central government in Beirut. To complete its status as a virtual state, the party maintains a number of unofficial “embassies”: the one in Tehran is bigger and has a larger number of staff than that of Lebanon itself."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2281184_1,00.html

I am glad you are safe.

peace_head said...

tjex:

like i've told you before... why on earth would nasrallah listen to anyone, when he's the one with the guns?

i've yet to find a convincing answer.

besides, it worked mighty fine for syria for quite a long while. they casually removed Bashir Gemayeel, ousted Aoun out of lebanon and almost got away with it with hariri. and even with this overwhelming evidence, it took a lot of demonstrations and the deaths of the martyrs.

as long as lebanon is weak, and without a strong ally, it's bound to get kicked and trodden upon by every power or self-proclaimed power in the middle east.

time to declare it outright:
lebanon is a peace-loving country, and it will use any amount of force to keep it this way.

Itai said...

tjex,
We believe in self defence and no matter what you think of us it worked for us in a big way.

Within 60 years Israel established itself as modern country with the strongest economy in the Middle East.

Israelis developed and produced the P4 and the Centrino proccessor you probably use right now (Intel Haifa)

Israelis invented the Cellphone (Motorola Herzlia)

Israel pop grown 10 times in those 60 years.
We are sorrounded by 20 hostile Arab countries, 500 times our size, 40 times our population.
Some of these countries believe that eliminating Israel and adding 0.2% to their territory will solve their problems.

We have a lot to be proud about.
And we won't negotiate with terrorists who won't recognize our right to exist.

Omer (israeli) said...

Itai,
What worked? We've been fighting for 60 years?!?!

shlomi said...

itai omer tjex

war do help
in 1948 israel PM declare that israel wish is to live in peace with all our arab neighbours. but they joined together and tried to destroy israel. since then there were some more wars but after "yom kipur war" 1973 egypt changed the strategic and decided to make peace with israel .

it took time and alot of casualties but finally egypt and jordan learnt the lesson .

i hope that after this war lebanon will join to egypt and jordan and we live in peace

peace for all

Itai said...

Omer its time you reconsider your dovish beliefs. I have no doubt your intentions are good. Generally I am in favour of compromise but make no mistake about it. You are sitting in your home right now in a free democracy, enjoying a good standard of living thanks to all our soldiers who fought and died for me and you. Occupation is not the issue here nor was it the reason for most of our wars. Our right to exist is the issue. And yes we suffer, yes we bleed (at least those of us who share the burden) but we have a lot to be proud about.

Walid said...

I would be really scared if Hassan Nasrallah was out of the picture. As Rafiq Hariri did to a lot of potentially fundamentalist Sunnis, Nasrallah in my mind bears the credit for changing Hezballah from a scary bunch of kidnappers into the disciplined force that it is today. A force capable of NOT launching a single one of its 20,000 missiles until heavily provoked by Israel bobming Lebanese civilians. I may not agree with all his policies, but the alternatives in the Shiite communities would be far worse.

-Walid

shlomi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
shlomi said...

walid

what are you talking about ? it soundslike you arrived here today from outer space

"provoked by israel" ???
hiz' kidnapped 2 soldiers and shot missiles toward israel before israel reacted.

peace_head said...

walid,

and the alternative for lebanon as a whole? or are you taking an attitude of "me for my sect, the rest can go to hell"?

i know what hezbollah is doing in the south. giving people hope and education is laudable. but it still does not give HA the right to do what it did.

wasn't the south going to benefit just as much from the tourism season and the success of the economy?
think of its potential as a tourist zone, and not a war zone. such a pity.
an agreement with israel could also end the mine scourage.
but it doesn't look like HA's way will be getting any of that. it's getting into the same delusions that fill the middle east - that power can solve anything. what worked before doesn't seem to work now, now does it? and who's paying for the price?

bottom line:
hope for the entire lebanon brings on better hope for the south than nasrallah. unless the south wants hezbollahstan to replace lebanon.

John Smith said...

Walid,

The first step in handling your LSD addiction is admitting you have a problem.

We love you Walid.

FGA said...

Raja, welcome back.

In the next few days, the Lebanese will a political battle, which in my opinion will have far more reaching consequences on our lives than the ugly military operations being waged on us against our will.

In short, the Lebanese army will face an obvious question...to engage or not to engage the invading Israeli units.

If we do indeed decide to engage (i.e. Lahoud wins) then I believe our country will be set back a hundred years, and we will end up plunging back into civil war. On the other hand, if the army wisely stays on the side, then I believe, our government will be the long term winner through all of this. I know it is crazy to be talking about winning a war when we see our families suffering, our economy crumbling, and our way of life siezing to exist.

Olmert will be able to weaken Hizbollah, but clearly not without paying a heavy political price...in fact, his entire cabinet will go down in a manner akin to Sharon's party in 1982.

Nasrallah will finally expend much of his political capital as Hizaballah's military might weakens, and with that the Lebanese government will be able to excute faster and strengthen its majority in upcoming elections.

We have paid a heavy price already and we are likely to keep paying. But it may all be worth it, especially if our army chooses to sit back, relax, and watch the Israeli-Hizballah idiots go at it!

Let's stay out of this ugly battle!

FGA

Ariya said...

Glad you are safe Raja...

shlomi said...

john smith

i like your last comment
funny

LOL

FGA said...

I find it utterly amusing that the Israelis are actually supportive of this war. The sad thing is that George Bush will end up not only screwing Americans by involving them in wars that cannot be won, but also Israelis!! Go figure!

Itai said...

fga thats exactly the problem in Lebanon. All the normal people do nothing about the crazy situation.
Why not act against Hez, get your country back and stop its destruction.

But maybe you are right maybe its the best way to survive.
Like the old italian guy in the whore house told Yusarian in Catch - 22

Andrey said...

fga: When time comes for other countries (not Israel) to deal with iran (as letting this faschist regiem have nuclear weapons is maddnes), we do not want to deal with both palestinian suicide bombers, HA's rockets, and who knows iranian what.

shlomi said...

common fga
how can we response to such comment as walid wrote?

Omer (israeli) said...

Israel is on "survival" mode for the last 60 years.

3li- said...

Itai,

If you're perfectly happy building your advanced civilization on the remains of your victims, then there's nothing to discuss...

There are many examples like yours in history...They don't usually last very long..

3li- said...

Peace_head,

If Nasrallah has outlived his usefulness to Lebanon, who amongst the crop of current Lebanese leaders who deserves to stay and rule? Will you name a few names for me?

The cheering for Nasrallah’s death will set a dangerous precedent. Not only will it not get rid of the Hizb, but it will unleash forces in Lebanon and elsewhere, I believe, which may prove disastrous to Lebanon and other countries as well.

Killing political leaders does not kill ideologies. It will however ensure that the next leader will be more extreme and unyielding. This is the pattern we’ve seen everywhere.

All the Israelis have to do is look in their own backyard…

FGA said...

The Lebanese were dealing with Hizballah through diplomacy Unfortunately, the Bush-Olmert foolish axis has robbed us of the opporunity to do what we needed to do while averting the destruction of our country. Now, we ought to sit back and watch our dear neighbor to the south get knee deep in a struggle with die-hard Hizballah fighters who will make sure it suffers massive losses that it cant stomach! Time for the Israelis to start thinking of whom they will elect next, as Olmert's days in power are numbered.

FGA

John Smith said...

fga,
I think although HA will obviously loose significant military and economical strength, it will GAIN political power in Lebanon as a result of this conflict like it happened with Hamas on the Gaza strip.

Lirun said...

i wouldnt count on israel fading my friends..

while i am against the continuation of the violence it is difficult for me to read such disparaging remarks about my country whenthey are not true..

we keep getting told to examine history and that there are precedents for countries "like ours" crumbling..

well why should i look at the history of others.. some of you are forgetting who we are.. we are the jewish people.. the same people who lived here over 4000 years ago and who were kicked out again and again - only to return rebuild and prosper..

we are one of the most resilient nations on earth.. not only have we maintained our identity but we have preserved and resurrected our ancient tongue while modernising it sufficiently to give birth to the worlds most active technology industry.. we are vastly industrious.. and as you type words that speak of our demise.. and as your people flee danger.. ours continue to arrive..

93 rockets were sent into israel today and 99 people or so were hurt..

nevertheless.. 250 families from the west immigrated to israel only a few days ago and many of these went to the very areas being hit and left their villas in paris and ny and elsewhere because we're not going anywhere.. and our faith and strength is indifferent to the threats..

the more you isolate us the more you challenge us to adapt.. evolve and improve..

we are a tiny nation in the scheme of the world.. but you look the percentage of jews awarded nobel prizes for achievement every year and you will not how impossible it is to ignore the disproportionately large representation that we have.. and its not like norway loves us so much..

despite what many hotheads say on this site.. i believe my nation genuinely seeks peace.. for even my radically racist cousin (she's a dr) treats arab terrorists whose missions have failed with dedication and affords them top notch medical attention when they get wheeled inand kept on life support after they detonate themselves with a view to slaughtering her me and anyone we know..

you show me one person on the other side of the fence that would keep me alive and give me state of the art medical attention at an enormous cost to the country..

so yes i agree we're not angels.. but neither are our attackers.. we could spend till the rest of time trying to reconcile the books on who has hurt who more.. and we still would never reach a conclusion..

so again.. i call out ENOUGH..

i dont want blame and i dont want excuses..

i just want peace and i want it now..

lirun
telaviv
www.emspeace.blogspot.com
because the eastern mediterranean has been soaked by too much blood..

FGA said...

John,
I think you may be right. Hence, it is safe to say that this Bush-Olmert plan to eradicate HA is totally self defeating. The Lebanese army should not side with niether the self serving HA nor the rotten IDF!

Let the Isareli's fight this dirty fight by themselves! It will be good to see their government get humiliated in the next election.

FGA

Andrey said...

The goverment of Olmert will not last anyway, because his agenda was one-side withdrawings, and the day HA acted - this agenda became irrelevant

FGA said...

Yes. So who is next? Bibi??

FGA

Andrey said...

Like you can predict something over here...

John Smith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Smith said...

fga,

I think Nasrullah gaining political power might be the only thing that can move him away from terrorism. Give the man a nice salary, a big office with a view to the sea, a black car with a driver… Maybe the will to blow himself up will just fade away… In other words, give the man something to lose.

FGA said...

John...naaaa, try again.
That would make him a 'Nabih Berri', and we all know what a low life, good-for-nothing guy he is!

Nasrallah, on the other hand, truly believes in providing the impoverished Shiite community with a military organization that will get them heard. I believe that we ought to invest heavily in the South in order to eradicate the poverty, then his followers will have something to loose and will think twice before listening to him blindly.

FGA

Sarah said...

Glad to know you're safe Raja.

nip said...

The Hammas was elected by the palestinians as a protest against ruling fatach party corruption, not because of their ideology.

John Smith said...

nip,
Yes, corruption was a big issue, but I think the PLO 'allowing' Israeli tanks roam the streets of Gaza was more significant to the Hammas rise over the PLO. No?

nip said...

The PLO headed by Yasser Arafath was the party the started the second intifada following the failed peace talks with Ehud Barak. Both the military wing of the PLO and the Hamas competed who can kill more Israelies. At the end, it was the corruption that really bothered the civilians.

nip said...

fgh,

I agree with you on the need to invest money in South Lebanon to prevent the locals from supporting HA.
If I was an advisor to Olmert I would tell him to sponsor part of this aid to South Lebanon. It would be much much cheaper than the toll this war has on Israel economy.

Maxwell said...

Actually Wallid has the chrononlogy right. I think he means the rocket attacks on Israel after the bombing started. The first attack involved the military being kidnapped, and a rocket being lainched as cover. After that, there was no attack on Israel. Then the bombs came to Lebanon. Then the rocket attacks. But believe what you want. At this point, the scale is so crazy, it should be stopped right now.

FGA said...

Nip, a first step in the right direction would be to topple the Olmert government, sending a clear message that diplomacy is a better choice for solving Israel's problems. This will also help the Lebanese re-focus their effort to strip HA from its influence and weapons...

FGA

stateroom said...

Even though the Israeli army is way superior in terms of weapons and technology and numbers than Hizbullah, its war must be a very cautious and tactical one since its fighting a guerilla.

We ve seen Israel for example hitting a factory for tissues in a small village in the South. It appeared that Hizbullah guys operate using trucks, meaning they move around with a missile in a truck, park nearby a factory for ex and shoot the rocket and flee. The origin of the rocket being the factory, Israelies respond by hitting it.

A witness for a similar action urged on TV the Hizbullah fighters to stop coming into his village to shoot rockets and then run away since the village is being destroyed.

Same for the truck that was carrying civilians and that became very suspicious when it was not allowed to enter the UN offices.

Fighting a guerrilla is very hard and knowing that they could shoot from anywhere, we should expect hits on unusual places.

Innocent people r dying, this is true but i believe the way Hizbullah is operating and its filthy methods in infilitrating villages and using them as launch positions is causing all those casualties.

Of course Israelies have hit bridges recklessly during the day killing innocent civilians passing on the bridge, but its war and you always have victims.

On the other hand, the one hitting civilians randomly and threatening innocent lifes r the Hizbullah launching rockets with no direction whatsoever. I ve seen rockets land on balconies, small cafes, walls ... anything but military targets.

http://www.ouwet.com/n10452/personal-opinions/hizbullah-s-filthy-methods/

stateroom said...

The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) has admitted that many of the victims of Israeli retaliation in Lebanon are terrorists and not innocent civilians. A BBC reporter said he saw Hizbullah terrorists using a private home and added, “It is difficult to quantify who is a terrorist and who is a civilian.”
http://israelnn.com/news.php3?id=108122

FGA said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FGA said...

For those of you who still have doubts regarding the cruelty of this war!


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/24/world/middleeast/24tyre.html?hp&ex=1153800000&en=81ecd5d20c04547c&ei=5094&partner=homepage

FGA

FGA said...

In this latest twist, Rice-a-roni now admits that a ceasefire is badly needed in Lebanon...dduuuhhhh. Earlier today she was stating that an immediate ceasefire would not be productive . Tell that to the families of the scores of innocent children dying each day in Lebanon, Ms. Rice!

FGA

Lirun said...

fga - we too have families suffering.. i think what you need to understand about those people in israel who support the completion of the campaign is that they do not infact enjoy this situation.. they HATE it.. they are very eager for it to end.. we have close to one third of our country that has either been evacuated.. is sleeping in bunkers or security spaces or has remained at home in terror.. elderly who cannot access proper medical attention.. children who are bunker-ridden.. you are not the only ones suffering..

i yearn for peace immeasurably.. but i also believe that lebanon needs to wake up to the pain that its complacancy has caused and is causing israel.. its aa vile form of passive aggression and - while i believe it has been unintended - recklessly impacting israel while lebanon gradually progresses to its democracy..maintaining secterial balances at the expense of our security has been the root of our problem..

obviously our conflicts on this side of the blue line are relevant to some of your sects and have fanned their fires..

but the point is that no one owns all the pain..

the point of this campaign was not just to slap naughty little lebanon on the bottom.. but it was to vastly dillute the network of cells that has been launching unprovoked attacks against us incessantly for years.. so sending our youngest and finest men into the traumatic hotbed of our national nightmares - was done for a very significant cause.. it was not mere gesture..

it would appear that the abandonment of that campaign therefore - would require for that cause to be duly addressed.. because the general israeli concern with a ceasefire.. is that if lebanon was not responsible for these attacks because it was not yet able to control HA.. then what will change now..

the proposed NATO force (in my mind) is to be injected as a factor of change.. i dont know how effective they are able to be on the ground in terms of controlling weapon flow.. but i do believe that they may effectively give us a chance to test eachother's goodwill.. and - if successful - build the trust necessary to support a mutual declaration of peace..

we all need to rise up to this opportunity.. it is something too precious and to vital to be neglected.. let's secure the peace we and our region deserve..

wish both trust and peace to all of us..

lirun
tel-aviv
www.emspeace.blogspot.com
because the eastern mediterranean deserves peace..

Itai said...

Al-Ghadabulsaati3 said...
"Itai,

If you're perfectly happy building your advanced civilization on the remains of your victims, then there's nothing to discuss...

There are many examples like yours in history...They don't usually last very long.."





Al-Ghadabulsaati3, I think you should really study history. ALL civilizations were built on the remains of thier predecessors. The Judo-Christian and the Muslim civilizations are no exception to that rule. The Muslim civilization started in the 6th century as I remember. Were there no civilizations before it on the land it now sits? My civilization started 3,000 years ago in the same place I live now.



On May 1948 the Arabs in Palestine had a choice: accept the U.N. resolution, have part of the land and live with us side by side. They chose to fight us and declared they'll "throw the Jews to the sea". The outcome was different and I don't regard them as victims, just as the losers.
You can be an aggressor and a loser at the same time. (Should I remind you of WW-I and WW-II?)
Their war with Israel continued since then. The PLO was established in 1964, when Jordan ruled the west bank and Egypt ruled Gaza. Yet their declared goal was the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state on its remains, nothing was said about Egypt and Jordan.



In 1999 the Palestinians were offered 99% of the west bank and Gaza and a territorial compensation for the other 1% on Israeli territory. They were offered a connection on Israeli soil between the west bank and Gaza and they were offered east Jerusalem. The Palestinians refused and opened a terror campaign against Israel (A.K.A. The Al-Aqsa Intifada).The Palestinians were not able to give up on the idea of the destruction of Israel as the Jewish state.
Right of return = Elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.


I have no shred of guilt regarding the Palestinian problem. However, I was in favor of a compromise in the west bank but now that I see that such a compromise in Gaza was seen as weakness by our enemies and lead to our current war, I'm not so sure about it anymore.


I do hope a rational solution could be achieved some day.

nip said...

Al-Ghadabulsaati3,

As you regard "Benny Morris" as your source for analyzing this conflict, here is another piece from him.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/co
mment/0,10551,653594,00.html

Itai said...

fga regarding the article in the NY times: This is what happens when you keep Katiusha's in your familiy's home, When your militants wear no uniform and no markings on their vehicles, when their bases resides in appartment buildings in civilian neighborhoods. This is what happens when you host terror.


On the 14th of July a 60 years old women and her 4 years old grandson were killed by a missile in their kitchen. The other members of their family, women and children injured. There was no mistake here made by the Lebanese Hez. Israeli soldiers wear uniform, their vehicles marked as military vehicles, their bases reside out of civilian areas.



Wars are barbaric by their nature but humans came to certain understandings regarding the way they are fought.
When you break those rules they just become more horrific.



We put our civilians well being before yours. Its not about vengence.

Simon said...

When two people arguing become entrenched in their positions, the argument will never stop.

When two peoples become entrenched, the war will never stop.

Both sides think they are fighting an honourable and noble cause.

Both sides believe they are in the right.

Both sides can only see the injustive done to them.

Both sides see their attacks as being made in self-defence.

Each attack leads the other side to become further entrenched in their position.

Religion is petrol to the flames.

So, men, women and children will continue to die - for what?

Peace can only come when both sides are prepared to step out of their trenches and do a deal.

peace_head said...

Al-Ghadabulsaati3:

your concerns are more than understandable. and to tell you the truth, i honestly don't know.
and that bothers me too.

however!!!!

* look at how well mubarak has done for egypt, to ally with the west and give nothing more than lip service to resistance. egypt is blooming!

* look at how well king hussein had done for jordan: jordan is peaceful, has powerful allies and is flourishing!
jordan also doesn't give more than lip service to the resistance.

* look at how well Camal AtaTurk had done for turkey: turkey is becoming the next area superpower, a tourism capital, a modernized country with strong allies.

right now, lebanon is weak and fragile. it's time for a great leader to emerge and lead lebanon towards a bright future. and since nasrallah can't do that, and won't yield the reins out of his own free will, he's got to stay out of the way.

lebanon needs a strong standard army, and not a militia!
lebanon needs strong western allies!
lebanon needs (and can provide) a great economy! hell, lebanon was almost there before the recent conflict!!!

nasrallah must be out of the way for any of these hopes to materialize. he cares for nothing but inflaming the masses with ideas of hauling the entire area's daily war dosage on lebanese shoulders.

sometimes, peace requires the use of force.

All is one said...

Hizballah didnt start this, this started last month, when Israel killed a family in gaza on the beach, and then kidnapped some prisoners from a palestinian prison, and even after this, Hamas was getting ready to make a deal with Fatah to recognise Israel (for the first time ever) the truth of the matter is that the state of Israel DOES NOT want peace, for if there were peace, it would create a civil war in their country between the moderates and the orthodox, and so every chance they get, they reject peace with their neighbours, and even after, their neighbours just keep coming back to get a slap in the face...

box said...

thank you 'all is one.'
it's evident to the world... i hope the world takes appropriate steps to halt this. what would the world have to do for israel to stop their aggression? they haven't listened to the UN yet.

Itai said...

all is one,
1.That war started a hundred years ago, the current cycle of violence is raging for 6 years now.So I guess you just turned on TV a month ago.


2.What right does the Shiite Lebanese Hezbollah gang has to meddle in the affairs of Palestinians and Israelis?


3. If they do want to intervene then don't complain about Israel's retaliation.


4. Are you shitting me? Hamas and Fatah shoot at each other. Lebanon had a long civil, Iraq is in a civil war and you say Israel has the problem? LOL



The fact that we are a democracy helps us resolve our differences
unlike the dictatorships around us who silence their problems and then collapse in an outburst of violence.

dunes said...

All is one:
box said :

tell me is it pretty the world you live in do u have pigs flying and hel freezing over ?
do you have rainbows in all the colores of the spectrum ?
do you walk around while the birds fly over head then land in your hands hand saying hello ?
do you see everything in pink red blue and all the beautifull colores of light ?
i ask because for us living in the real world the truth is plain to see
we dont walk around in some imaginary world like you.
so please just wake up .

Lirun said...

someone has a greatness complex and an animosity against those who sleep.. she speaks for all - great and small - young and old - she is we - god bless her cotton sox

anyway - as fate would have it - our leaders have finally allowed diplomacy to surface from its hidden depths.. i'm sure it was going on before too by the way - and olmert has declared that a peace keeping force would be acceptible under certain circumstances.. this is a blatant softening of stance.. and it fills me with hope that maybe we are not as entrenched as it appeared just a few days ago..

hopefully our region will again see calm times and the rotten 10% can return to their caves - godwilling for good this time..

wishing you all safety and peace..

lirun
tel-aviv
www.emspeace.blogspot.com
(i reckon the eastern mediterranean comprises at least 50% tear water)

Fighting Sullyvan said...

For the past 11 days, we have seen Israel bomb all sorts of targets and I am sure most of us were wondering why would Israel bomb a certain factory or a construction yard or a truck..

If we can for a moment turn off all the local and international channels who have nothing to do but show little dead children and dismembered bodies that touch the viewer to a certain degree that it would blind them, and think about the reasons behind those hits.

From a military point of view, you have a fully equipped army, ranked in the top 5 armies in the world fighting against a guerrilla militia with absolutely no info on its fighters, weapons and locations.

Even though the Israeli army is way superior in terms of weapons, technology and size than Hezbollah, its war must be a very cautious and tactical one since its fighting a guerilla militia.

We have seen Israel for example hitting a tissue factory in a small village in the south. The reason for that would be Hezbollah move around with a missile in a truck, park near a factory and fire a rocket then flee. The origin of the rocket being the factory, Israelis respond by hitting it.

A witness to a similar action went on TV and urged Hezbollah fighters to stop coming into his village to shoot rockets and then run away since the village is being destroyed.

Same for the truck that was carrying civilians and that became very suspicious when it was not allowed to enter the UN offices.

Fighting a guerrilla is very hard and knowing that they could shoot from anywhere, we should expect attacks on unusual places.

Innocent people are dying this is true, but I believe the way Hezbollah is operating and its filthy methods in infiltrating villages and using them as launch positions is causing all those casualties.

Of course Israelis have hit bridges recklessly during the day killing innocent civilians trying to cross the bridge, but its war and you always have victims.

On the other hand, the party thats hitting civilians randomly and threatening innocent lives is Hezbollah who is launching rockets with no sense of direction whatsoever. I have seen rockets land on balconies, small cafes, walls… anything but military targets.

Finally, I heard that Hezbollah has accepted that the government negotiate on the prisoners fate today, therefore I hope that they realized they haven’t achieved anything except self destruction politically and militarily and most of all the destruction of Lebanon and putting it in economical ruin for the next 5 years.


http://www.ouwet.com/n10452/personal-opinions/hizbullah-s-filthy-methods/

MERKOVA said...

Raja, Why did you leave lebanon? I notice that so many lebanese with dual passports are leaving in droves. I dont understand that. If you really love lebanon you would stay and fight the hezbulla. Instead of complaining the Israelis are destroying your country. Freedom has its price and it seems you dont mind other lebanese die for you.

Since you are a US citizen. Will you fight for the freedom that was given to you by the American soldiers that died in the past wars?

US personnels join up with the IDF recently. If you really want changes. You would join the IDF. Israel is not your enemy. The crazy's in IRAN and SYRIA are your enemy.

Die with dignity, Not a victim.

dunes said...

Fighting Sullyvan:
dont expect all the people in the fourm to listen to voices of reason , its not in their nature.

Tsedek said...

~~~~~Raja:~~~~~~~All we have left is hope:~~~~~

Four candles were quietly burning. The wind was calm so that it was possible to hear their conversation.

The first candle said: “I am Peace, but no one seems to be able to keep me lit forever, so I think I am going to be put out.” Then, its glow started getting dimmer until it completely extinguished.

The second candle said: “I am Faith, and I don’t find myself necessary anymore; there is not point of my staying lit any longer.” Just as it finished saying this, a strong wind blew and put the candle out.

The third candle sighed sadly and said: “I am Love and I don’t have the strength to stay lit, because people have placed me aside and don’t understand my importance anymore; they even forget to love the closest people to them.” So the third candle went out too.

Suddenly a little kid walked in and saw that the three candles were not lit. He asked them “why did you go out, weren’t you supposed to stay lit until the end?” and he broke into tears.

Just then, the fourth candle spoke and said: “don’t be sad my friend, because as long as I am lit I can light the other candles as well. I am Hope.” The kid’s eyes sparkled; he took the fourth candle, and with it he lit the other three candles- Peace, Faith, and Love!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tse.

dunes said...

to all the israelis here who dont understand the idf and the reasoning behind all this war:
http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3279810,00.html
i dont want to name names,its benith me

Ilan said...

Hope it will end soon, and hope it will end to a better situation.

There are few scenarios at this point... The situation is very delicate.

The End of War scenarios

delgano said...

Tsedek: The candle of hope.
That is a lovely story. I am Irish and have dear friends in Lebanon, Christian and Muslim, of various denominations. We had wonderful times together when many of them were trying to build lives outside Lebanon during the civil war. They had an amazing ability to create fun and happiness from very little, and to keep their spirits high and their hopes alive. Every one of them hoped to go back some day. Some of them have, and were so proud of the reconstruction work, and so delighted to see the tourists coming again, and so keen to reassure their western friends that it was safe to come. Recently some who hadn't returned for decades went back to show their dual-nationality families their country of origin. Days later they were being evacuated, and the heartbreak was starting all over again. They had thought those days were over, those terrible moments of parting, not knowing for sure when or if they would meet again, the tears rolling down the cheeks of those walking away as well as those watching the bus or ship disappear on the horizon. Any of us who have known the pain of exile can feel that physically in our hearts.

The carnage must STOP. There is grave wrong on both sides. Everyone has the right to live in peace and safety, and everyone has the obligation to honour that right on the part of their neighbours. Lebanon has paid too high a price already, and while i abhor the disproportionate and indiscriminate response of Israel to attacks by Hezbollah launched from Lebanese soil, Israel cannot continue to live with that threat either. Maybe this internationally controlled buffer zone is the answer.....for now. But to me, an outsider, i cannot imagine it being a permanent solution. The core issues of the conflict must be resolved, and the peace-loving Lebanese people (who i believe are the vast majority) must no longer be sacrified to the complex agendas of much bigger players on the chess-board. I pray, as do so many of my friends here, for a ceasefire in the coming days and for some viable mechanism to be established quickly to ensure the safety of both the Lebanese and the Israeli people. May God guide and protect you all. May you all soon be able to live in peace and safety.

gabrielferrandiz said...

Hello... My name is Gabriel Ferrandiz. I´m froim Spain...I´m looking for spanish people who is in Lebanon yet. Do you know anyone? Please contact me in gabipress@hotmail.com.

dick said...

Simon:

It's obvious that a deal needs to be made. I could see one easily being made between the Lebanese government and Israel. It's not too hard when the two parties are yearning for peace above all else, as I believe they both are.

But do you think that HA would ever make a deal with Israel (or Israel with it)? A long term deal, as opposed to a short term ceasefire for tactical advantage?

I personally don't think they ever would: they're too committed to the total destruction of Israel. Same thing for Hamas. I can't imagine any deal while these guys loom large in the picture.

That's why I'm hopeful that the current war will be the end to HA's strategic relevance, and that the tragedies that are happening every day now will be the prelude to a peaceful future. Also: that Dr. Rice can help put together something that will be really effective.

What I'm fearful of: that, after all the pain and death, we'll still be in the same situation as before. Or that one of Lebanon's neighbors moves in to "help out" and it's actually worse than before.

MERKOVA said...

There will be NO PEACE, NO DEALING, and it will not end soon. There's no candle burning either.

What needs to be done is to get rid of the hezbolla and the lebanese people to grow some "balls" and kick out the hezbolla.

hezbolla is making the lebanese civilians as their human shields. If you guys have a TV and watch CNN or FOX. hezbolla are firing their rockets from civilian homes. It's time for the lebanese population to standup and take back their country or the Israelis will keep bombing.

Solomon2 said...

The worst outcome - the absolute worst outcome - would be if all this destruction and death comes to naught, and a real political change for the better does not materialize in Lebanon and the region.

I agree. Which is why this is the best option for Lebanon today.

Fighting Sullyvan said...

A Christian Lebanese in another forum requested arms from the Israeli in order to combat Hezbollah. He/she made a important point regarding the lack of armaments that would be required to go well armed Hezbollah. It was the most sensibile critique I've heard yet for why the Lebanese have not showed the courage to attack Hezbollah. It is insincere, not to mention useless, for the West to encourage the Lebanese to rid themselves of Hezbollah if they don't have the means to, and we aren't helping them to acquire those means. We need a plan pronto to empower those Lebanese who oppose Hezbollah. Aren't there some Lebanese-Americans who can facilitate a transfer of arms to anti-Hezbollah Lebanese?

Solomon2 said...

The Lebanese must ask for help. Best to do it openly. Even if that involves the sacrifice of a few politicians, Hezbollah will have to show its face as much as the Syrians did last year, and everyone will know that Lebanon is truly a captive state, not a failed one.

MERKOVA said...

figthing sullivan... All you need is COURAGE and SACRIFICE. Without courage all the guns in the world is useless. The Israelis won 5 wars against all odds not because they have better tanks or more men. They have the COURAGE and ofcourse better strategy.

All the lebanese government have to do is ask for help from the Israelis and this wouldnt have happen. But it seems the lebanese government and its population does not have the "BALLS" and by doing so becomes the victims of the hezbolla.

I hope this will be a lesson to other arab states. Stop being a victim. Take back your homeland. Educate your kids. Stop listening to the mumblings of the imams and ayatollahs of the world. Stop this disease. You have nothing to gain from hatred except death of your children and the children of your children.

Andrew Brehm said...

Make a decision.

Israel wants peace, not a cease-fire. Israel has always been getting cease-fires, and then rockets and bombs the next day. A cease-fire is worth nothing to Israel, because those agreeing to it cannot be trusted.

Lebanon could have signed a peace treaty 20 years ago. Lebanon could have signed a peace treaty any time.

What is it worth to know that Lebanon wants a cease-fire, now after Israel reacted, but that the Lebanese people still want to fight Israel?

Do you think Israel wants another five years of attacks from Lebanon?

My parents' generation was bombed to oblivion by the invading allied forces in Germany. It was NOT a pleasant experience. But it did teach us to stop attacking our neighbours, even if we hated them and even if we could not get over old grievances (or current ones).


"legitimate national aspirations and long-standing grievances, cannot be bombed away"

Tell that to the Palestinian Arabs who still believe in terror and the destruction of Israel. Do you think Jews want to be thrown into the sea? What is the proportionate response if your enemy wants to kill everyone of you?

You are lucky that you face Israel. If you faced the other side and lost, Lebanon would have disappeared some time ago, completely. Israel only has to lose once.

The Palestinian Arabs had a chance to address all the grievances. Israel withdrew from Gaza. It could have become the Palestinian Arab model state. Unfortunately, it has. But it turns out that what the Palestinian Arabs wanted was not independence but to throw rockets at their neighbour. Lebanon had the same chance, but no, Israel must be attacked, always. That's more important than peace and prosperity.

I assume the only acceptable solution for the Palestinian Arabs and, apparently, the Lebanese supporters of Hizbullah would be mass deportation of all the Jews to Europe or America, including the 2.5 million Arab Jews who fled Arab countries for Israel.

Or perhaps we can reach a compromise? We only deport 3 million Jews and let the remaining once live as a minority in an Arab state? I have seen what Syria and Iraq did to minorities. I know what laws Saudi Arabia has regarding other religions. And I have heard of the difficulties Christians have in Egypt.

What would be an acceptable solution for the Palestinian Arabs and the Lebanese?



Israel has survived several wars which were supposed to destroy the country and kill all the Jews. How do you think Israel should treat those who want it dead and use every opportunity to try? Honestly, is there ANYTHING Israel does to anybody that you wouldn't do if you knew that the alternative was death for your entire nation?

1999 occupied territories: Gaza, West-Bank, southern Lebanon
2006 occupied territories: West-Bank
2006 territories from which Israel was attacked: Gaza, southern Lebanon

Do you even notice what impression Israelis must have? What is the alternative to being occupied that YOU can offer to Israel?


The alternative is death, isn't it?

Andrew Brehm said...

"A Christian Lebanese in another forum requested arms from the Israeli in order to combat Hezbollah. He/she made a important point regarding the lack of armaments that would be required to go well armed Hezbollah."

I am sure the Christians in Lebanon and the Lebanese army could get all the support they want from Israel, they only have to say the word.

Lebanon only has to say the word.

The word is "peace", not "cease-fire".

The Israelis do not want a temporary stop of hostilities, the Israelis want an END to hostilities.

Fearless said...

The murderers in your midst should not roam free:

This war could have been avoided had you not continued to bury your heads in the sand and watched the Katyusha missile infrastructures being built by Hizbullah on your northern border. It was bound to explode. This is an intrenanatinally recognized border ( recognized by the UN).



PRIME MINISTER Ehud Olmert is a civilian without military experience. And "peacenik" Minister of Defense Amir hardly radiates the charisma of a warrior.

.

Besides, most Israelis of all political persuasions would agree that since the outbreak of hostilities, both Olmert and Peretz have performed in an exemplary manner and emerged as true national leaders.

Clearly the present campaign to root out Hizbullah has created a greater sense of Israeli unity than at any time since the Six Day War.Hizboullah no longer even bothers to go through the pretence that the conflict is related to land . Hizbullah and Hamas, backed by the Iranians and Syrians, seek the elimination of Jewish sovereignty - nothing less.

Israel is NOT attacking Lebanon. It is attacking Hizbullah, which has stuck itself like a leech on the Lebanese people. They are terrorists armed with lethal hi-tech weapons who believe they are sanctified to ravage Israel's sovereign territory in order to kill and kidnap civilians and soldiers.

No other country could remain passive in the face of such provocations, combined with the daily launching of missiles on civilian population centers. By any terms these are acts of war.

And whereas decent nations at war may seek to minimize casualties of innocent non-combatants, to relate to "proportionality" in this context can only be described as playing foul.

Playing foul are those repeating the perennial mantras of "cycles of violence" and spouting generalizations based on moral equivalency which fail to distinguish between aggressors and victims.

That means finishing the job.

Fearless said...

The Lebanese really blame Hezbollah
Michael Young - The Spectator (UK) 22 July 2006
www.spectator.co.uk/the-magazine/features/23873/the-lebanese-really-blame-hezbollah.thtml


Beirut

The smoke from the countless fires burning in Beirut's southern suburbs have
turned the city's skies battleship grey. It makes mid-July seem almost
autumnal and saps Beirut of what remains of its spirit. Even the busiest
high streets are largely empty now, and most shops close quickly at midday,
not wanting to release their employees too late.

Outside central Beirut, the effect of Israel's attacks is more dramatic.
Many of the country's roads are pocked with craters, the damage to the
infrastructure could take years to repair, 235 are dead so far - most of
them civilians - and buildings burn. On Wednesday morning, Israeli troops
crossed into southern Lebanon to carry out what they call 'pinpoint attacks'.

The Lebanese Prime Minister, Faoud Siniora, has said that 'the gates of hell
have been opened up in Lebanon' - and it's difficult to disagree. But what
has not been so widely reported is that while officials will blame Israel
for the misery and chaos, a substantial number of Lebanese - in some cases,
ironically, the officials themselves - have a more nuanced view.

Of course
the people here are angry and anxious about the possibility of a widening of
the Israeli attacks, but their rage, as they see the country being taken
apart, is often directed against Hezbollah.

The Lebanese people have watched as Hezbollah has built up a heavily armed
state-within-a-state that has now carried the country into a devastating
conflict it cannot win and many are fed up.

Sunni Muslims, Christians and
the Druze have no desire to pay for the martial vanity of the Hezbollah
leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Nor will they take kindly to his transforming the
devastation into a political victory.

Some even welcome Israel's intervention. As one Lebanese politician said to
me in private (but would never dare say in public) Israel must not stop now.
It sounds cynical, he said, but 'for things to get better in Lebanon,
Nasrallah must be weakened further'.

Even some Shiites are beginning to have doubts about Nasrallah.

If interviewed on television they will praise Hezbollah, but when the cameras
are off, there are those who will suddenly become more critical. Many have
had to flee, leaving behind their homes and possessions with no hope of
recovering anything of any worth.

One evening this week I looked out of my apartment window in the Christian
neighbourhood of Ashrafieh and saw an Israeli shell exploding on top of the
grain silo at Beirut port.

The colossal concrete silo got the better of that
exchange, but in the Shia quarters of southern Beirut the bombs have won
outright. Hezbollah's so-called 'security perimeter' - the party's sanctum
sanctorum, where Nasrallah and his officials lived and worked - has been
reduced to a smouldering wasteland. Displaced Shia families have moved into
Beirut proper, taking refuge in schools, public facilities and empty
apartments.

Here in Beirut, Nasrallah is also blamed for the suffering in southern
Lebanon which, under heavy fire from Israeli cannons, has suffered in the
same way as the southern half of the city.

On Tuesday, a family of nine died
after air strikes in Aitaroun; another family was killed in Tyre. It's
difficult for journalists to gain access to the south since the Israelis
have bombed all the roads and bridges, but local television crews on the
ground record an exodus of refugees northwards. Now that Israel has started
targeting transport trucks - in the hope of preventing the movement of
weapons to Hezbollah - it is becoming increasingly difficult for even UN aid
to get through.

It is quite understandable, then, that those who can have fled or are
fleeing the country. Nearly 400 people left on an Italian navy vessel on
Monday night, and a ferry chartered by France took 1,200 Europeans to
Cyprus.

On Tuesday the first Royal Navy warship, HMS Gloucester, took 180
Britons to safety, with a further 4,750 waiting on the dock, hoping to
follow by the end of the week. An American cruise ship is on its way to
Lebanon to collect many of the reportedly 25,000 US citizens here, followed
by planes and ships from countries as far away as Chile. Even the UN has let
its non-essential staff go.

For the rest of us, stuck here in Beirut, the real question is how long the
electricity, the water and the telephone network will last.

Israel has not yet resorted to its usual tactic of hitting the power grid, and the
electricity remains on in most regions outside the south; however, it seems
inevitable that if Hezbollah bombs Tel Aviv, Israel will retaliate with an
attack on the power supply.

Even without a direct hit, if Israel pursues its
blockade shortages will become acute - this could return us to the Israeli
siege of Beirut in 1982, when we lived for three grinding months without
electricity, water, fresh food or telephones.

The difficulties of doing without food and fuel are obvious, but what people
forget is that when the electricity goes, so does the television. All the
main stations have special programmes on the conflict which means extended
news broadcasts with reports from around the country and interviews with
analysts - dismally protracted to fill up a 24-hour schedule. It's
exhausting but the coverage can also be life-saving. It provides an early
warning system for us here, allowing us to gauge where the danger zones are.

If the TV goes, so does Al-Manar, Hezbollah's television station which is
still transmitting from a remote location (though the Israelis have
demolished its headquarters in the southern suburbs).

Al-Manar is all rousing propaganda, stock footage of successful raids on Israeli positions,
of intimidating militiamen marching through the southern suburbs, of poor
Shiites throwing rice on party members celebrating the Israeli withdrawal in
May 2000 - the party's moment of absolute triumph. Interminable interviews
with guests praise 'the brave resistance' - a phrase which even to Shiite
ears sounds increasingly hollow.
===========
Michael Young is opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon and a
contributing editor to Reason magazine in the United States.

Fearless said...

U.N. exec blames Hezbollah for deaths

By LAUREN FRAYER, Associated Press WriterMon Jul 24, 6:22 PM ET
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060724/ap_on_re_mi_ea/mideast_fighting_aid;_ylt=AgTVqxrHv2AIfX5ozKJUT6Rw24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA


The U.N. humanitarian chief accused Hezbollah on Monday of "cowardly
blending" in among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds
during two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel.

The militant group has built bunkers and tunnels near the Israeli border to
shelter weapons and fighters, and its members easily blend in among
civilians.

Jan Egeland spoke to reporters at Larnaca airport in Cyprus late Monday
after visiting Lebanon to coordinate an international aid effort. On Sunday,
he toured the rubble of Beirut's southern suburbs, a once-teeming Shiite
district where Hezbollah had its headquarters.

During that visit, he condemned the killing and wounding of civilians by
both sides and called Israel's offensive "disproportionate" and "a violation
of international humanitarian law."

On Monday, he had strong words for Hezbollah, which crossed into Israel,
captured two soldiers and killed eight others on July 12, triggering fierce
fighting.

"Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah
must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," he said.
"I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was
the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be
proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."

"We need a cessation of hostilities because this is a war where civilians
are paying the price," said Egeland, who was heading to Israel next.

At least 600,000 Lebanese have fled their homes, according to the World
Health Organization. One estimate by Lebanon's finance minister putting the
number at 750,000, nearly 20 percent of the population.

During his visit to Lebanon earlier Monday, Egeland issued an emergency
appeal for $150 million to help Lebanon through the next three months. He
told reporters in Beirut the money was needed to pay for food, health care,
water and sanitation.

"Approximately 500,000 to 800,000 people have been affected by the conflict,
of whom some have become displaced persons or refugees," a U.N. statement
said.

The United Nations has contracted 100 trucks to deliver aid coming into
Beirut around the country. Egeland said the U.N. hoped to send its first
land convoy to Tyre on Wednesday. Similar convoys will be scheduled every
second day after that. An international Red Cross convoy was expected in the
city Monday.

Egeland said he was asking Israel for safe passage for aid ships to enter
the northern port of Tripoli and the southern port of Tyre, which has been
heavily bombarded. So far, Israel has loosened its sea blockade of Lebanon
only to let ships in Beirut port.

"We're hopeful that in the course of this week, you'll see real progress on
the ground. Lebanon has a right to be frustrated," he said.

He said the U.N. was also asking Israel to also guarantee safe passage
throughout Lebanon.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have flowed out of mainly Shiite regions -
the south, the Bekaa and the crowded Shiite neighborhood of Beirut -
crowding into cities including the southern port of Sidon, the remainder of
Beirut and parts of the north and central mountains.

"We are particularly worried about the population in south Lebanon and the
(eastern) Bekaa Valley. It's here that they're in the crossfire and from
where they're being displaced," Egeland said.

Continued Israeli bombardment makes the aid mission risky.

"Only cessation of hostilities can make it safe for us and our humanitarian
colleagues," Egeland said.


Le chef des opérations humanitaires de l’ONU fustige la « lâcheté » du Hezbollah
25 juillet 2006 - Presse Canadienne

Le chef des affaires humanitaires des Nations unies, Jan Egeland, a accusé lundi le Hezbollah de "se fondre lâchement" parmi les civils libanais et d’avoir causé la mort de centaines de personnes depuis le début du conflit entre la milice chiite et Israël.

Dans le sud du Liban, et surtout le long de la frontière avec Israël, où le Hezbollah dispose d’une infrastructure de bunkers et de tunnels, les membres du Parti de Dieu sont souvent difficile à discerner de la population civile.

M. Egeland se prononçait depuis l’aéroport de Larnaca, à Chypre, après avoir visité le Liban pour coordonner les efforts humanitaires dans le pays. Lors de cette visite, il avait déclaré dimanche dans les banlieues sud de Beyrouth, bastion du Hezbollah pilonné par Israël, que l’offensive de l’Etat hébreu était "disproportionnée" et constituait "une violation du droit humanitaire".

Lundi, les réprimandes ont visé le Hezbollah, dont l’enlèvement de deux soldats israéliens le 12 juillet a été l’événement déclencheur du conflit.

"De façon cohérente, du coeur du territoire du Hezbollah, mon message était que le Hezbollah doit cesser de se fondre lâchement (...) parmi les femmes et les enfants", a déclaré M. Egeland.

"J’ai entendu qu’ils étaient fiers parce qu’ils avaient perdu très peu de combattants et que ce sont les civils qui subissent le plus gros (des attaques). Je ne pense pas que quiconque devrait être fier d’avoir plus de morts parmi les enfants et les femmes que les hommes armés", a-t-il ajouté.

Avant de s’envoler pour Israël, M. Egeland a souhaité que cessent les hostilités, "car ceci est une guerre où les civils paient le prix".

Arrivé en Israël, il a déclaré qu’il allait négocier avec les autorités au sujet d’un corridor humanitaire à l’intérieur du Liban. M. Egeland devrait par ailleurs se rendre dans la ville de Nahariya (nord), qui paie un lourd tribu aux roquettes du Hezbollah.

Fearless said...

I think I have to explain to you a few things about what is going on in Lebanon based on some of my experience. The media may confuse you as do the TV images.

First of all civilians are not targeted. Do you notice they never talk about Hizbullah casualties; of course they count some of these as "civilian" casualties.

For over 6 years( since Israel retreated to the International border recognized by the UN, in May 2000) the Hizbullah was planning an eventual confrontation with Israel. During these years they had attacked spordically testing their weapons.

14 000 rockets are now aimed at Israel. These
were hidden in villages and in homes of Shiite civilians in underground bunkers. Each group was given maps and targets inside Israel. The Hizbullah travels in private cars and min- vans and uses civilian truck to transport rockets and combatants. This makes every car every taxi a suspect terrorist vehicle. Hizbullah uses the civilian population as human shields.

Each group was given maps and targets inside Israel. The Hizbullah travels in private cars and min- vans and uses civilian truck to transport rockets and combatants. This makes every car every taxi a suspect terrorist vehicle.

To prevent their re supply and free movement roads, bridges, petrol stations, airports and other targets must be destroyed.


In Beirut life goes on normally in Ashrafieh les quartiers Monot, Verdun, Hamra, Gemmayze, the corniches. The only part bombarded is south Beirut El Dahia area, the Shiite bastion and of course wherever else they hide.
There the Hizbullah has built a network of underground bunkers, connecting underground trenches. Communication centers and some administrative buildings. Al Manar TV ( now bombed) is in the vicinity. This area is "off limits" to the Lebanese government.
L’aviation israélienne a continué ses bombardements en profondeur à l’intérieur du territoire libanais, ce vendredi soir. Vers 19h, on a vu s’élever une colonne de fumée au-dessus d’un immeuble de 11 étages, dans le quartier de Bir-Hassan, un bastion chiite de Beyrouth, où est situé le quartier général de Nasrallah.

Toutefois, Nasrallah lui-même n’était apparemment pas dans l’immeuble lors de l’attaque.

Un porte-parole du Hezbollah a confirmé que ni Nasrallah, ni sa famille, ni son entourage n’ont été blessés dans l’attaque.

Le domicile de Nasrallah est situé à l’intérieur du complexe qui a été attaqué par l’aviation israélienne, et des sources de Tsahal affirment que deux immeubles ont été détruits dans l’attaque.

L’objectif, ont précisé les sources militaires, n’était pas d’assassiner Nasrallah


South Lebanon is totally infested with Hizbullah operatives part time civilians part time terrorists. Of course there may be collateral damge cand some mistaken identities, killed.

During the last days Syria tried to move into Lebanon more Raad1 and Raad 2 missiles and Kayoucha rockets. These are longer range missiles with a high payload of explosives. That is why trucks have to be hit. Mostly civilian trucks. As Beirut- Damascus road was bombarded to cut off any re supply, they use the Beqaa (Chtoura, Zahle) that is why these came under bombardment. They tried to use the ports in Tripoli and even Junieh. Part of the Lebanese multi confessional army, collaborates with the Hizbullah. This was the case in locating Israeli navy vessels off the Lebanese coast with Lebanese army radar stations on the coast (supplied among others by the Americans to strengthen Lebanon). These had to be knocked out as some other positions collaborating with the Hizbullah. In the Beqaa valley there are Iranian Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers as well as instructors and missile operators. Especially those who operated a c- 802 (Silkworm) anti ship missile or ship to ship missile, killing four Israeli sailors. The Lebanese army as such is not a target of course.

The Hizbullah vaunt that it has enough rockets for years to be fired in salvos every day. Until now they have fired about 1600 rockets into Israeli cities and villages.


Iran has supplied Hizbullah with Zelzal (earthquake in Arabic) long range rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv. They claimed the other day that an Israeli aircraft was shot down with photos on Al Jazzeera live. In fact it was a Zelzal rocket fired on the launching pad hit by the Israeli air force and as a result it fired itself into the air and exploded in a ball of fire.

On Iran and Syria, and their involvement see my postings.
When Hafez Al Assad was alive, he could control Nasrallah whenever he wanted. Now Nasrallah treats Bachar as a vassal. Saying, he, Nasrallha will protect Syria. He is now totally and absolutely an Iranian tool…

By the way Raad 1 and Raad 2 missiles are made by Syria and supplied to the Hizbullah. They are very much like fragmentation bombs. They contain thousands of small steel balls to maximize human flesh injuries. The injuries are terrible.

Yes, innocent civilians will die in the days ahead in Lebanon and Israel; that is the tragedy of warfare. The horrible and inexcusable cowardliness of the Lebanese government in the face of Hizballah threats will cost many innocent Lebanese their lives. They have no one to blame but their own
Government and Nasrallah. On the other hand, Israel must defend herself and her citizenry. The lessons of history ring loudly.

Fearless said...

How the Arabs treat dissenting opinions ( with violence of course)
Walid Shoebat Foundation launches Media iniative this week.

Walid Shoebat and Zak Anani will be appearing on Radio and TV over this week. We have already through our PR agent arranged 25 interviews on Radio and TV

Walid will appear for the first time on CNN. The segment is set for between 2.45 pm and 4 pm on Wednesday July 26th. This will be the first appearance of Walid on this channel. We have finally broken through on to CNN network.

Zak Anani was on Fox News last week and if any one missed it here it is

http://www.terrorfreeoil.org/videos/ZA071506.php

After Zak appeared on TV he received dozens of life threatening phone calls which required him to change his number under advisement of the authorities.

This is the third time he had to change his number. Also because of false accusations by Islamic thugs his children were taken from him then restored after a year, last week. All the accusations were proven totally false but the story does not stop.

As a result of his appearance on TV last week, the court decided to take back one of his daughters because, "By Zak speaking out for Israel and against terror he is ENDANGERING his children's welfare"

This is outrageous and what message does this say to our free society?

That the courts in Canada would put into foster care a child of the victimized parent of intimidation, because of Islamic hatemongers.

Surely, if the court was so fearful of harm to his child then the protection of Zak and his family by the law enforcement officers at the expense of the tax payer is a prequisite for a free society and not to imprison and separate the innocent because of evil Islamists.
This is political correctness and appeasement gone mad.

Zak has not nor will he be intimitated, and will be doing dozens of media interviews over the next couple of weeks despite the intimidation.

We need some financial support for Zak to pay for a lawyer so he can keep his kids.

He is risking his life to speak for civilization and for the people of Israel, we owe him some help to fight and keep his children from the powers of foolish courts who purport to represent "freedom" and "Justice"

Please email us at walid@shoebat.com if you wish to help Zak in his time of need.

http://www.shoebat.com

Fearless said...

The Islamofascists do not want peace with Israel or even a piece of Israel. They don’t want a “two-state” solution, where Israel is allowed to exist at all; they want a “one-state” solution, where all “Palestine” is governed by Sharia law.

They want to see the Islamic flag flying over Jerusalem. And their hatred won’t be appeased until the last Jew has been driven out of Israel.

Need proof? Consider this paragraph from an Associated Press report today:

In Tehran, a Hezbollah representative in Iran warned that his militant group plans to widen its attacks on Israelis until “there will be no place they are safe.” Hossein Safiadeen said there would be “a new Middle East in the way of Hezbollah and Islam, not in the way of Rice and Israel.”

There is no negotiating with such animosity. A cease-fire will only give Hezbollah time to recover and regroup. It will only delay the inevitable.

Fearless said...

The Islamofascists do not want peace with Israel or even a piece of Israel. They don’t want a “two-state” solution, where Israel is allowed to exist at all; they want a “one-state” solution, where all “Palestine” is governed by Sharia law.

They want to see the Islamic flag flying over Jerusalem. And their hatred won’t be appeased until the last Jew has been driven out of Israel.

Need proof? Consider this paragraph from an Associated Press report today:

In Tehran, a Hezbollah representative in Iran warned that his militant group plans to widen its attacks on Israelis until “there will be no place they are safe.” Hossein Safiadeen said there would be “a new Middle East in the way of Hezbollah and Islam, not in the way of Rice and Israel.”

There is no negotiating with such animosity. A cease-fire will only give Hezbollah time to recover and regroup. It will only delay the inevitable.

[URL=http://imageshack.us][img]http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/1954/a060723br6.gif[/img][/URL]

Osman said...

Welcome back Raja.Im sorry for this nigthmare that we must indure day and nigth.Growing up in Lebanon was a gift from God.There were tense times during the war and a lot of senseless moments but my Grandma(may God rest her soul in peace)kept me focused.The little things you remeber and appriciate so much when you are all Grown up.Respect others and demand respect,Do not depend on others to solve your problems,A headache is no reason not to go to school,avoid a fight but defend yourself and my favorate,Do not be a sniper target.One day the militia in our neighborhood captured two Christian men,unarmed I believe but diffenetly in the wrong hood.Justice was going to be served Lebanon style.That night my grandmother summoned one of my uncles and gave him her simple logic.If they claim that they got lost and you do not have proof that they are spies then i demand justice.The following morning the drama was heavy in the headguaters but justice had already being served Lebanon style.The men vanished to safety and my uncle got a God bless you son.Raja,your familly and mine have being through many hurricanes.today i pray for all the victims of this war.vanishing bridges will appear again but the heart including mine is slow to heal.Tomorrow i shall argue with the 95% of israelis who support the actions of the IDF.

Javadi said...

Wow unbelievable. Of the tens of Lebanese blogs I scanned, this post by Raja is the only one talking about a positive and progressive future for Lebanon.

The rest of the defeatist Lebanese blogs just want to assign blame to Israel and America, and support Hezbolla. Strange. I thought Hezbolla was a theocratic paramilitary organization.

Where is the patriotism of the Lebanese? Where is their enlightened sense of civil society? Where is their sense of future for Lebanon?

I am very disappointed at the defeatist and post-colonial attitude among Lebanese bloggers. Before such Lebanese accuse others for their miseries, they should look into the mirror - with this kind of attitude that they harbor.

Thanks Raja for your enlightened and positive post.

weareequals said...

I'm an American. I watch all this on the news and wish I could fix it for all side. When it comes down to it we are all the same. We all love our children, brothers and sisters, parents. We all just want to live our lives and enjoy life. Does your realigions allow happiness. No matter what you believe, i don't think the maker wants all else killed. I know I can't really see it from either side because I'm at work with no fear of a bomb exploding, my older son is at a RollerCoaster camp learning engineering and my younger one at a sports camp. I try to tell them that everyone is the same. That even though most people in the middle east don't like us, it's because they don't really know us and though they may seem crazy with all that they are doing, they do believe they are doing for the right cause. I don't know, even for an adult it just get to be too much for me to think about. In fear of sending my kids to school or out to play because a bus might blow up or a bomb might drop. We have experienced that in recent years but not like over there. My fear is more of people taking my child or road rage. I guess there is craziness every where. I wish the best for all of you and all you children and family.

weareequals said...

I'm an American. I watch all this on the news and wish I could fix it for all side. When it comes down to it we are all the same. We all love our children, brothers and sisters, parents. We all just want to live our lives and enjoy life. Does your realigions allow happiness. No matter what you believe, i don't think the maker wants all else killed. I know I can't really see it from either side because I'm at work with no fear of a bomb exploding, my older son is at a RollerCoaster camp learning engineering and my younger one at a sports camp. I try to tell them that everyone is the same. That even though most people in the middle east don't like us, it's because they don't really know us and though they may seem crazy with all that they are doing, they do believe they are doing for the right cause. I don't know, even for an adult it just get to be too much for me to think about. In fear of sending my kids to school or out to play because a bus might blow up or a bomb might drop. We have experienced that in recent years but not like over there. My fear is more of people taking my child or road rage. I guess there is craziness every where. I wish the best for all of you and all you children and family.

awesome said...

Weareequals,

Nice posting.I lived and educated in United States 6 amazing years.I love american people and i wish best for you.People are not hating americans, they hate politics which make their life worser by its decions or actions.We are not equal on those decisions and we will not be.You might enjoy with your family nice time and you deserve that.What do you think Lebanese people can not have any comfort or enjoy doing same things with their families cause of world decision channels(especially in UN) are not working for them and in my eyes they are suffering more than Israeli people.World might behind Lebanon but there is no action taken yet.I hope every people in the middle east including Israil, have a chance to better and safer life.We need to make channels work and come up with solution without wasting civilians lives.Every people deserve be happy in this world.

Mata man said...

I feel for Lebanon.
I really feel sadness, and also frustration.

Frustration that the Lebanese people, for reasons that are beyond me, built up their fragile democracy in a self-destruct mode by allowing rabid anti democratic entities such as Hisbullah to establish a state within a state, complete with all the trappings of a soverign (welfare services, hospitals, education and a military establishment stronger than the state's military and forign policy of it's own)

A democreacy MUST be, at times, able to defend itself against such elements and when the state does not enforce itself on such anti democratic movements from within and allow the likes of HizbullaHatred to flurish we can now bear witness to the tragic results.

NO democreacy may bury their heads in the sand and say they do not see!

I hope sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, that Lebanon will have at log last learned this lesson, and will be rebuilt and re-established as the Center that is was, like the "hero" of the book of Job.