The real terrorist is Israel


Over the past week, death and destruction has rained down on the towns and villages of southern Lebanon, delivered by the armed forces of the state of Israel. The pretext for this is the firing of Katyusha rockets at northern Israeli settlements by the fundamentalist islamic Lebanese group, Hizbollah. The real reason lies elsewhere.

Israel is currently in the throes of a general election campaign. Shimon Peres, the Israeli prime minister, is vulnerable to the Likud opposition on the grounds of allegedly being soft on “terrorism”. Essentially, Peres is fighting his election campaign by sending helicopters and artillery into action. His soapbox consists of helicopters firing rockets far more devastating than anything Hizbollah can deliver, in spite of some attempts in the western media to pretend that there is some degree of equality in the destructiveness of the warring sides.

This is shown by the fact that, at the time of writing, no Israeli has been killed by the latest spate of Hizbollah bombardment. Israeli bombardment has killed at least 20 people, mostly civilian Lebanese, wounded many more and stampeded hundreds of thousands of others into flight. This process is encouraged by Israeli broadcasts warning that anyone remaining in parts of southern Lebanon is “endangering his own life”.

Hizbollah broadcasts have threatened to turn northern Israel into “hell”, but their capacity to make good on this with the small, inaccurate and antiquated Katyusha rockets is doubtful. Israelis on the northern border with Lebanon also have deep shelters to go to when bombardment looms. Lebanese civilians do not possess such luxuries when Israel wields a mailed fist.

The bombardment seems to be improving the electoral prospects of Shimon Peres, which is of course what he intended. Also, the Israeli press I have been able to examine takes it for granted that the USA supports and will continue to support Israel in its activities in Lebanon. Doubtless the USA’s leaders regard Peres as more tractable than his Likud opponents, but it all goes to show what a sham the imperialist-brokered ‘peace process’ is.

The reaction of Lebanese to the bombardment has been to rally behind Hizbollah. They have not blamed Hizbollah for Israeli attacks. Instead they see it as resisting Israelis who carry out indiscriminate bombing and have long occupied Lebanon’s southern border. It appears that the only Lebanese the Israelis can find to support them are the ones who take Israeli money, and they are no match for Hizbollah. Moreover, Hizbollah are Lebanese, drawn mainly from the large Shia community in the south of the country. They may be close to Iran in terms of ideology but it is clear from reports that they are not perceived as aliens by Lebanese.

It is also noticeable that Beirut radio, an official mouthpiece of the Lebanese government, has repeatedly referred to Hizbollah as the “islamic resistance”. The same source refers to the election workers for Shimon Peres as “enemy warplanes”. This is not to say that the Lebanese government is the same as Hizbollah. The point is that Israel is attacking the entire Lebanese nation, not just draining the south of its people.

The reaction of most Arab countries has been muted at official level. This is because most of them are fully in tune with imperialism. A Jordanian spokesperson told BBC World Service that Israeli action was “not conducive to the continuation of the peace process”! Even Syria has refrained from all-out condemnation of Israel’s tactics, though Syrian troop emplacements in Lebanon have been fired on by Israel.

Hizbollah is undoubtedly a reactionary organisation but it has gained the support of the Lebanese people who see it as the defenders of their rights. The real terrorist is imperialism, and the state of Israel is the instrument of imperialism.

Steve Kay