The Next Steps for Lebanon

Category: World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Lebanon, Occupation, Palestine Views: 1033

After 22 years, the forces of Israel were forced to leave Lebanon last week. The people and fighters of Lebanon rightly celebrated this victory. But liberation of Lebanon is far from being complete. Lebanon is not liberated until it is secure. The Lebanese people cannot live in peace and security as long as the forces of evil remain lurking across the border in occupied Palestine, waiting for cues to bomb and shoot.

Yes, the forces of the Zionist State in occupied Palestine are incarnations of evil par excellence. None but the forces of evil can inflict the kind of suffering, humiliation, and devastation that the Israeli forces have wrecked on the lives and properties of the Lebanese people, let alone on those of Palestine.

During the 1970s, the Israeli bombings in Lebanon drove more than 300,000 people out of their homes to become refugees in the slums of Beirut. For 22 years since 1978, the Zionist forces had occupied South Lebanon and continually bombed the Lebanese towns and villages, destroying properties worth billions of dollars and killing, maiming, and humiliating an entire generation of people. Just "[d]uring the invasion's first months, Israel killed 12,000-15,000 persons and lost 360. Although the Israeli casualties were combatants, most of their victims were civilians. Israel pounded Palestinian camps and Lebanese slums to drive the guerrillas out, turning neighborhoods into rubble," according to James Ron, the Johns Hopkins University professor who was an Israeli conscript serving in Lebanon in the mid 1980s and who is now seeking personal forgiveness from the Lebanese people for his part in the atrocities and urging Israel to do the same (The Boston Globe, "The Next step for Israel," 5/25/2000, ).

During their campaigns, the Israeli forces hardly distinguished between civilians and forces of armed resistance, between refugee camps and military targets. They employed all means foul to force Lebanese compliance with their illegitimate existence in occupied Palestine, to bring the Lebanese people into submission. The Israeli forces did not feel ashamed of killing 1500 Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982, nor did they hesitate to shoot to death 130 refugees who queued for bread in the Qana U.N. Shelter in 1996. They defied all international norms of warfare, persecuted civilians and resistance forces in torture camps, sent death squads to kill whoever resisted their occupation, and baited collaborators to incite and fuel a civil war that cost Lebanon more than 100,000 lives and all its socioeconomic development potentials. To the surprised of the civilized world, all these atrocities were funded and protected from international criticism by the successive U.S. administrations that ironically preached human rights throughout the world.

Despite all Israeli scheming, deceits, devastations, and threats, the people of Lebanon did not give up their will to resist the occupation. They fought with whatever means they had available. They bled the mighty Israeli forces to pay a price for the occupation and bombing of Lebanon. Eventually, the forces of evil lost their will to fight and fled Lebanon in a hurry.

It is clear that the Zionist State understands the language of resistance much better than the language of entreaties for peace. Israeli forces did not leave the Golan Heights and the so-called occupied territories of Palestine simply because they were not bleeding enough in those places. Consider how they have been playing with the hoax of a "peace process" with the Palestinian Authority for about a decade now. Any sensible study of this process must give the unequivocal message that the Zionist state is incapable of trading peace even for compliance with its occupation of the major portion of Palestine. A study of the two experiences--the resistance to occupation forces in Lebanon and the pleading to monster for peace in occupied Palestine--thus will show that ultimately Palestine may have to be liberated the way it has been occupied in the 1940s and 1960s.

To camouflage this stark reality, the Prime Minister of the Zionist State is offering another fake olive branch to Lebanon. He is taking no responsibility for the crimes of his predecessors, offering no apologies and reparations for the havocs they have done, but renewing a well-known standing threat to bomb Lebanon to the stone age at any moment. After beating Israeli forces out of the land, the Lebanese government must not repeat the field-tested blunder of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) nor be baited into accepting this fake offer.

Instead, Lebanon must bolster its security. Lebanon must acquire arms to fight those who have bombed Lebanon for three decades with impunity. The Lebanese people can expect to live in peace only when they can ensure that the monsters across the border will risk their lives and properties as soon as they begin to bomb Lebanon.

Integral to this defense strategy should be Lebanon's focus on developing its peoples' potentials and transmitting the cultural memory of Israeli atrocities. Alongside acquiring arms and training for defense, Lebanon should give its people the opportunities to excel in education, art, literature, science, and technologies. Lebanon should memorialize and share the tales of Israeli crimes with humanity at large. It is through these cultural tales that you can propagate justice and keep alive the heroic spirit to fight against those who fight you, who drive you out of your homes, who kill your people, who destroy your homes, and who devastate your land and other properties. Furthermore, Lebanon should extend technical, political and cultural support to the people of Palestine to help them liberate their land.

The Arab/Muslim Americans should also redirect their political activism toward helping Lebanon secure itself against any further Israeli aggression. They should provide Lebanon intellectual, economic, and political supports to help itself and assist in the ultimate liberation and security of Palestine. Without this, the security of Lebanon, or any other Arab state for that matter, will remain elusive. Before those moments of liberation arrive, however, the Lebanese, Palestinians, and Muslims/Arabs everywhere have a lot of homework to do.


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