by Khalil Marwan (Occupied Arab World, Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 13, Rabi' al-Thani, 1418)
Unable to get away with its bloody-minded policies, the Zionist State of Israel has resorted to the one ploy it knows best: State terrorism. Intended to extricate Tel Aviv from its self-created logjam, the Zionists used their Christian surrogates in Jezzin, Lebanon, to unleash an artillery barrage against the civilian population in Sidon.
Seven persons were killed including an infant and his mother, and 38 wounded in the August 18 attack on the southern port city. The others killed were all men: Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian, who were working in the city.
Israel followed this up with its own aerial and artillery assaults when the Hizbullah retaliated for Zionist-instigated crimes against civilians. The Israeli daily, the Jerusalem Post, admitted (August 21) that Israeli planes had bombed civilian targets near Sidon and the Bekaa Valley, carrying out three raids in one hour on August 20. It further reported that US secretary of State Madeleine Albright was woken up by Israeli defence minister Yitzhak Mordechai and warned that more Israeli strikes would follow unless Syria kept the Hizbullah in check.
Both Iran and Syria condemned the Israeli strikes and warned that Israel would pay dearly for it. ‘The continuation of these crimes is a sign of Israel’s war-like nature and its hostility towards Muslims,’ Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Mahmud Mohammadi told the official IRNA news agency. He criticised ‘the lack of reaction by the international community to the violations of international law and the continuing crimes of Israel.’
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic group, also expressed solidarity with the Hizbullah and condemned Israeli crimes. Surprisingly, even the Lebanese army was moved to react against the latest Zionist outrages.
That, however, did not prevent the Zionists from committing more crimes. On August 23, the Israelis bombed Yater, a village near Tyre and when the dust settled, the death toll in the five-day period had climbed to 11 civilians. Another 47 were wounded.
Secure in the knowledge that no matter how heinous its crimes, Israel will face no censure from the US or the United Nations, the Zionists continue to indulge in barbaric acts almost daily. In the 10-day period prior to the Sidon outrage, at least 25 people were killed, more than half of them civilians, by Israel and its surrogate Christian militia. The civilian death toll since January 1997 is 28, all of them Lebanese. And 95 others have been wounded despite a US-French brokered agreement of April 1996 prohibiting the targeting of civilians.
That agreement was hammered out after the Israeli slaughter of Lebanese civilians - women and children - in the UN compound in Qana on April 18, 1996 in which 102 people perished. In the two-week-long Israeli assault, at least 157 Lebanese civilians were murdered.
After the latest Israeli attacks, Albright, a Zionist Jew, far from condemning such gangsterism, threatened Syria and the Lebanese government, demanding that Hizbullah be prevented from retaliating against Israeli targets. The US and Israeli reactions give clue to the real motive behind the latest outrages.
Since Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is furiously back-peddling on the Oslo commitments - which incidentally favour the Zionists - this has heightened resentment among the Palestinians.
Further, on July 23, the Israeli parliament passed a bill blocking any future withdrawal from the Golan Heights. This is viewed with alarm in Syria. Damascus has been making diplomatic moves over the last three months to check-mate Israeli plans. It is trying to mend fences with Baghdad, its traditional foe. Syrian president Hafez al-Asad also visited Tehran on August 1 to boost the anti-Israeli front.
Asad has been mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the latter under pressure from its own population for its anti-Islamic policies and total subservience to the US. Egypt, too, despite its diplomatic relations with the Zionist State, has been irked by Netanyahu’s bloody mindedness.
A new anti-Israeli alliance in which Syria and Iran are the leading players is emerging in the region. The Arab rulers may not be serious but Netanyahu is not prepared to give them even a face-saving formula, preferring instead to rub their noses in the dirt.
Both Tel Aviv and Washington are creating mayhem by escalating the level of violence - at which they are masters - so that a new equation can be imposed on the region. The aim is to extricate Israel from fulfilling even its limited obligations under the Oslo accords. This is the classic definition of State terrorism: to target civilians in order to achieve a policy objective.
Washington is also involved in the campaign against Syria. That explains why Albright warned Damascus to rein in the Hizbullah but uttered not a whimper against Israeli crimes. The pitch of anti-Syrian propaganda in Washington has also become quite shrill in recent weeks. The US congress, dubbed Zionist-occupied territory by the CNN talk-show host, Pat Buchanan, is considering two anti-Syrian bills and Damascus continues to be on the US’s list of States sponsoring ‘terrorism’.
Amid these political moves, more violence can be expected from the Zionists. This is what they have always done best.
Muslimedia - September 1-15, 1997