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EDITORIAL: 1-30 June 2000

South Lebanon shows the way...

The impossible in the Arab-Israeli struggle has happened finally after over half a century of dealing with the west-backed zionist entity which has usurped Palestine and harbours expansionist and hegemonic ambitions about much of its environment. 

Ever since its emergence, Israeli propaganda has tried to convince the victims that it is in their best interest to come to terms with the invincible zionists and stop day-dreaming about dislodging it from areas it has already captured. Moshe Dayan had said after the June 1967 aggression that the earlier generation created Israel, his generation created borders stretching from Sinai to Golan, and the next generation will create new borders for Israel, rather Greater Israel, which is supposed to extend from Nile to the Eupherates. Unprepared Arab armies in 1948 and 1967 gave the zionists much confidence and soon they drew plans to balkanize the whole Middle East, a plan they unleashed through their grand invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The plan, according to studies published in Israeli papers and official zionist publications, was to create small ethnic entities in the Middle East which would be allied to the Jewish state and would vindicate the ‘Jewish’ state in occupied Palestine. 

Last month that wild zionist dream was finally shattered. Not by any Arab army but by the perseverance of a small band of freedom fighters who fought the great might of Israel and its western backers ever since the grand invasion in 1982. They continued their struggle until the impossible happened: for the first time Israel fled leaving behind its heavy weapons, fortifications, quisling militias and the myth of invincibility. In previous cases of withdrawal, like Sinai, parts of Golan and the West Bank and Ghazzah, Israel dictated its terms like kings. Documents in hundreds of pages with attached maps ‘a’, ‘b’ ‘c’ etc etc clearly pinpointed what the other party can and cannot do in its own country, where it can and cannot keep its army and in what area how much arms can be introduced. The Palestinian Authority was the worst in this bargain between unequals: it is totally shackled and the Israelis have dictated in the Oslo accords what the PA can and cannot do and keep in their area. Minutest of details have been incorporated about the PA behaviour, for instance what will be the colour of their gas cylinders! Any violation and Israel can move back!! An Israeli minister even threatened Yasir Arafat that he may simply be expelled from his fiefdom if he did not behave.

Coming back to south Lebanon, Israel has unleashed a reign of terror and destruction on a small neighbour simply because it was the weak host of people made refugees by the zionists themselves and who wanted to reclaim their usurped lands. During the course of its attacks on Lebanon since early 1970s Israel has inflicted huge losses on Lebanon. According to official Lebanese figures Israel has caused south Lebanon alone losses of US$ 8.595 billion since 1978 which are as under:

Power stations destroyed: $140 m
1.5 billion m3 water stolen: $1.650 billion
191,000 houses damaged:  $1.910 billion
20,000 houses destroyed: $3.3 billion
Services and infrastructure destroyed:  $20 m
Cost of removal of mines: $75m
5,000 martyrs since 1982 -
2,000 prisoners and hostages at present -

The overall cost of damages caused to Lebanon during the last 22 years is much higher and has been estimated at $15 billion although no formal study has been conducted to estimate them. The above estimate does not quantify the damages for the martyrs or the 14000 people kept prisoners in notorious concentration camps like Ansar, or the 110,000 people injured in Israeli attacks since 1982, or the damages caused to agriculture and industry in the occupied areas. The Lebanese foreign ministry is working on these figures and will present them to the UN for reparations from Israel which, on its part, has received hundreds of billion dollars worth reparations from Germany for crimes committed before the emergence of the Jewish state and more recently from Iraq for rocket attacks during the second Gulf war.

Israel’s Lebanese adventure was not without cost either. It had to sustain in south Lebanon alone losses estimated at around $ 18-20 billion, according to a Yediot Ahoronot (27 May 2000) report. The Israeli army in south Lebanon was costing an average of $300 million a year while the quisling SLA militias were costing $1 billion a year. The cost of the Israeli flight from Lebanon, including the rehabilitation of the quisling Lebanese militiamen, is estimated at $3 billion (an orderly withdrawal would have cost only $1 billion).

South Lebanon 2000 shows the way Israel and any usurper and colonial power should be tackled and treated. Here is a great lesson for Arabs, especially the Palestinians and for all freedom-loving nations around the world...

We find it strange indeed that our home minister, Mr LK Advani, is heading to Tel Aviv to seek the help of an entity which could not stand up to a small force of freedom-lovers. Moreover, the duplicity of Israel, as evident from its past support to both Sri Lanka and the LTTE, can only damage our country.

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