Middle East sibling rivalry no holds barred

OverkillCan I explain the current cataclysm in Lebanon? The media doesn’t want to do it. Unfortunately for them, it’s becoming a simpler story at each denouement.

Here’s an interesting overview: Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land. And here’s a chronology of the recent escalation.

Here goes: Both Hamas and Hizb’Allah are always negotiating secret prisoner exchanges with Israel. Israel holds thousands of prisoners of both Hamas and Hizb’Allah. On June 25, Hamas captured an Israeli soldier which it hoped to use in an exchange. Similarly, Hizb’Allah captured two Israeli soldiers in Lebanon.

In Palestine, instead of negotiating with Hamas, Israel decided to escalate its attacks on the Occupied Territories. Israel had already been refusing to recognize Hamas as Palestine’s ruling party, it had been withholding all Palestinian Authority funding, and it was bombing the suspected houses and cars of the democratically-elected Hamas leaders. In its escalation, Israel bombed Palestine’s only power plant and sent tanks into the Gaza Strip to force an immediate release of their “kidnapped” soldier.

Out of solidarity for the defenseless population of Palestine, the military branch of the Hizb’Allah hiding in Syria decided to launch indiscriminate rocket attacks upon Israel, across the Israeli border from southern Lebanon. When Israel sent troops to Lebanon to attack those sites, Hizb’Allah captured two Israeli soldiers. With the precedent set: a-kidnapped-soldier- justifies-massive-air-strikes and M0Fo Bolton in the U.N. to stifle international pressure, Israel now had an identical pretext for attacking Lebanon.

So, Israel is clearing the population out of southern Lebanon, just as it has been displacing the original occupants of Palestine. The world wants an immediate cease-fire, but the US won’t let the U.N. take action. The US says it doesn’t want to interrupt because Israel isn’t finished. Finished what? Retaliating or house-cleaning?

Secretary of State Rice calls Israel’s bombardments “birth pangs” of the new Middle East, as if Israel’s actions have been part of the U.S. remake for the region all along. A recently interviewed Israeli soldier, asked what he thought his unit was doing in Lebanon, smiled and said “purification I guess.”

This is like a household where one of the children, already in the headlock of a stronger sibling, is acting up. Under the pretext of disciplinary action, the bullying sibling decides to convert its headlock into a strangulation, simultaneously pushing that child right out of its room, in fact clear out of the house. The mother decries the disproportionate severity of the reaction, but the father, an abusive lout in his own right, refuses to intervene, and instead sides with the offspring so much his likeness.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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