Here is the story, as it is told: Hezbollah kidnapped 2 Israeli soldiers. Israel responded with a military assault on Lebanonâ€™s infrastructure, cities, villages, including homes, hospitals, and schools all before Hezbollah began to launch missiles.
In the first 8 days of the assault, hundreds of Lebanese have been massacred in their homes far from the border. More than 500,000 forced out of their homes under written threat of Israeli bombardment. (And, yes, Israelis have been killed: 25 Israelis, 12 of them soldiers.)
Israeli Brigadier General Halutz has said: â€œNowhere is safe [in Lebanon] … as simple as that.â€
So, the question is: if I slap you, do you have the right to burn my family?
The Finnish foreign minister has stated that the Old Testament speaks of an eye for an eye, but not 20 eyes for one eye!
Yet, Condoleezza Rice has stated that a ceasefire would not solve the problem.
As if a country that is being broken and a people that are being massacred are not a problem, even when they had no part in the capture of the 2 Israeli soldiers.
What is the context, then?
Hezbollah, and other Lebanese liberation movements, were directly born out of the second Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, after the first in 1978, (reaching some 40% of the Lebanese territory!). The resistance succeeded to force the Israeli withdrawal from the majority of Lebanese territory in 2000.
From these resistance organizations, Israel kidnapped and detained many. An exchange between Israel and Hezbollah itself led to the release of hundreds (not all) of POWs for the bodies of 3 Israeli soldiers. (Thus, the Israeli foreign ministerâ€™s recent statement that Israel has not [in the past] negotiated with Hezbollah is a simple historical lie.)
Labeled â€˜POWs,â€™ Lebanese continue to be held in Israel, some for no less than 20 years. Lebanonâ€™s government had demanded hundreds of times for their release â€“ and the response, from Israel, the US, and the international community, has been an empty echo.
Who has been successful in the release of Lebanese prisoners â€“ without waging war? Hezbollah.
George Bush has said that a country has a right to defend itself.
Yes. But Israel is not defending itself.
Israel began this war. It began it with the attacks on civilians.
This war is consistent with previous Israeli policies of aggression. In 1993, for example, [former Israeli Prime Minister] Barak conducted a war specifically based on the bombardment of civilians, according to Sagi, former Israeli military intelligence chief. Same policy in the 1996 attacks on Lebanonâ€™s civilians. And before that in 1982. â€¦
So, if I slap you, will you burn my family? Yes â€“ if you want to burn my family from the start.
Yes, so long as the US is silent.
Remember: in the Israeli invasion of 1978, Jimmy Carter succeeded to halt Israelâ€™s war on Lebanon by threatening the enactment of the US Arms Export Control Act, prohibiting the use of US-supplied military weaponry on civilian targets.
Rania Masri is a Lebanese-American professor in Lebanon, www.siegeoflebanon.blogspot.com