Iron Discipline Is
Watch For Military Machine
By Robert Fisk
11 August 2006
bellowing and roaring comes from Israel about a mass military attack
all the way to the Litani river. But today, much less bellowing and
roaring about "rooting out" the "weed" of the Shia
Muslim Hizbollah "terrorists" who are supposedly - in Israel's
fantasies, at least - an ally of America's enemies in the War on Terror
(a conflict which, of course, we all religiously support).
A column of Israeli armour,
which crept into the Lebanese Christian town of Marjayoun - largely
populated by the Lebanese collaborators of Israel's occupation from
1978 to 2000 - turned north yesterday towards Khiam, a village already
largely depopulated, to find that the Hizbollah guerrillas there refused
Israel's frustration - and
its sense of loss since 15 of its soldiers were killed in just the fraction
of the south Lebanese border area which it "controls" over
the past 24 hours - was evident in a potentially criminal document which
it dropped over Beirut yesterday. Signed "the State of Israel"
- which at least makes its origins clear - the tracts announced that
"the Israeli Defence Forces intend to expand their operations in
Ouch, we all said when we
read this, anticipating more civilian deaths. And we were not without
proof. The Israeli decision, announced in this Israeli document - a
square of paper that fluttered on to shoppers and office workers, and
myself, in Riad Solh Square - had been taken because Hizbollah rockets
had continued to fall on Israel and because of "their leader's
statements" last night. On Tuesday evening, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah,
the Hizbollah chairman, had boasted of the 350 missiles he claimed his
members had fired on Israel over the previous 48 hours, and urged Israeli
Arabs to leave Haifa.
And it should be said that
the Israeli army are not winning their war in southern Lebanon. Within
two kilometres of their own border, they lost their 15 soldiers on Wednesday.
Many others were wounded. The furthest the Israelis could reach in an
armoured column yesterday was the edge of Khiam, the site of their own
notorious torture prison from 1978 to 2000. It is still only two miles
from the border and they are fighting a far more determined and disciplined
enemy than in 1982, when their "incursion" took them as far
The Israelis have crossed
the same border to find that their enemies, Hizbollah, are prepared
to die in battle - indeed, seek to die in battle - unlike the secular
PLO over whom they proclaimed an easy victory in 1982. Hizbollah is
a different enemy, one which turns the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud
Olmert's, claims that he is pursuing the same "war on terror"
as George Bush into dust. The Hizbollah is officered by men who spent
18 years fighting Israeli occupiers, and who learned the hard way that
improved weaponry and iron discipline are more important than nationalist
rhetoric. Since the Israeli retreat in 2000, they have had six years
to bury their arms caches underground amid extraordinary secrecy.
Amazingly, the Hizbollah
television station, al-Manar, is still on air. Israel's anger at this
amazing bit of technological initiative may have led to its preposterous
attack on the old French mandate semaphore and radio station transmitter
in west Beirut. The structure, built by the French in the 1930s, had
been a repeater station for Radio France during and after the Vichy
French regime but had lain derelict since 1946. Yet at 11.20am yesterday,
the Israelis wasted two missiles on the tower, thus proving the "war
on terror" - in which they insist they are "our" allies
- goes back to an era before Israel existed.
Yesterday's air-dropped Israeli
document ordered Shia Muslims in Beirut's Hay al-Selloum, Bourj al-Barajneh
and Shiyah districts to abandon their homes "immediately".
In other words, the Israeli army wishes to "cleanse" every
civilian out of the 12 square miles between Beirut airport and the old
Christian civil war frontline at Galerie Semaan. This malicious document
ends with a sinister threat - which breaks all the relevant rules of
the Geneva Conventions - that "each expansion of Hizbollah terrorist
operations will lead to a harsh and powerful response and its painful
response will not be confined to Hassan's gang of criminals".
So what does "not be
confined to" mean? That it is the civilians who will pay the price
- this time in Beirut - as they have in the Israeli air force massacres
of southern Lebanon over the past three weeks?
Well, stand by for more Hizbollah
atrocities and more Israeli atrocities.
© 2006 Independent News
and Media Limited