by Rima Fakhry (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 34, No. 6, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1426)
In order to confront the Israeli aggression on Lebanon's land, people and integrity, the resistance in Lebanon, which based its principles on faith in God and on commitment to the real Muhammadi Islam, has been in action since 1982. People around the world have now turned their attention to the resistance since it has proved its effectiveness and success and effectiveness in battle against the zionist invaders. Who are these people? What is their religious and intellectual background? Why are they ready to make such sacrifices to regain their freedom and honour? Hardly had observers contained their wonder than the Intifada of Palestine provided another beacon of resistance and liberation based on faith in God and devotion to Islam's principles.
Many years have now passed of a new era in which oppression and injustice have spread all over the earth, but in which Lebanon and Palestine have represented two inspiring examples of resistance. Such dignified and successful visions of freedom, guiding us to victory and triumph, can only be based on Islam and faith in God, His laws and principles. My object in this paper is to discuss the unique experience of the resistance, and highlight some reasons that have led it to achieve success and liberation for the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples. We hope that this resistance will be a good example for all oppressed people to follow, and that we will see justice spread all over the globe.
God has created human beings with different natural potentials and motives, among which is his unlimited desire to be free from restraint and repression. As a result, every being searches endlessly for his freedom within the moral limits by dispelling all the impediments that may block his potential and ability to proceed to the wide infinite heavenly universe. Not only does each human look for freedom within the moral sphere, but also within the social one. So he tries to wipe out all the obstructions in his way to a good and comfortable life. This goes on with his scope of freedom in fiqh, history and justice. Although freedom differs in its spheres and applications, it still has a common definition in all areas. That is the linguistic and intellectual definition of freedom as the absence of captivity and restraints. Such a definition is used repeatedly in the Islamic literature. In fact, there are firm beliefs in the Islamic enactment that says freedom lies in the origin of human life until slavery was confessed or accepted. Since religion has the priority in our life over freedom, it should direct and define freedom.
Imam Ali (ra) said: "O people, Adam has not given birth to a slave male or female, but all people are free." (Al-Kafi, part 8, p. 79). This saying explains that freedom is a fundamental reality of the human condition, and every individual is born with the right to live freely irrespective of his/her race, religion or sect. Moreover, any person who reviews Qur'anic verses and the sayings of the Prophets and Imams will find that they are full of talk about freedom. In the Qur'an, freedom is central to the object of Islam: "Allah has sent his servant testimonial verses to lead you from darkness into light." (Al-Qur'an 57:9). Imam Khomeinisaid that "freedom is a heavenly trust that God has specifically given to us."
Freedom is also an indispensable condition for all types of modernization and development. It is impossible for any oppressed people to be civilized, developed or modern without freedom. But unjust and arrogant leaders try to chain this desire because they are afraid of having free men in society, so they try to usurp all kinds of freedom to be able to control the resources and potentials of all peoples and countries.
It is a basic principle of Islam that God has entrusted Adam's son to do all his affairs unless he humiliates himself. It is forbidden for Man to accept degradation and slavery for his fellow man, but it is his wajib (duty) to do all his best to regain freedom for his fellow. Imam Khomeini said that "All free men in the world must know that they have to pay a valuable price for liberty and independence if they want to stand bondless from any power or great nation."
Therefore, in Islam there are fundamental facts that can be summarized as following: Man is free; it is an obligatory duty to retain freedom and preserve it in case it is usurped; and every individual has to do his best to guard his freedom within what the Islamic Shari'ah lays on him.
It follows from this that human beings is obliged to use any method or style that conforms with the Shari'ah in order to regain lost freedom. Looking back at the long historical experience of different peoples all over the world, we see two ways to restore freedom. The first is political and diplomatic, and the second is resistance. This resistance has many levels, beginning with refusing to deal with the enemy and civil protest, and ranging to the highest stage of military resistance. The people of a country must consider their own circumstances, the enemy and other considerations to determine what type of resistance is appropriate for them.
Considering, first, that freedom is a right for every community and individual; second, that each people must do their best to regain the usurped freedom; and third, that struggles for freedom can consist of political or diplomatic negotiations, or resistance with all its levels, two experiences shine out as representatives of contemporary resistance. These are the example of the Lebanese resistance and the Palestinian Intifada. We have chosen these two sample experiences to have a look at because of the common ground between them. Both face the same enemy, zionism, and the two peoples have defended their freedom in many ways.
The Zionists occupied Palestine in 1948 and proclaimed the establishment of Israel. Since then, they have committed massacres against Palestinians and perpetrated a mass expulsion of natives to neighbouring countries, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt. Since that time, the Arabs and the Palestinians have used diplomatic negotiations, and the help of the UN Security Council, to try to regain their rights and freedom. The Palestinian case has been considered so complicated and important that it is constantly high on the list of priorities for United States presidents and European rulers. The UN has issued tens of resolutions about Palestine and the Palestinian people; some of which ask Israel to withdraw from land that had been occupied since 1967, while others call for the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes. But, from 1948 to this day, Palestine remains occupied; Israel has not withdrawn even from the lands occupied in 1967.
Therefore, 57 years of diplomatic work have achieved nothing towards the liberation of the Palestinian people, whose pain and tragedy are well known. As a change from diplomacy, the Palestinians turned some years ago to popular uprisings, initially unarmed, and later armed. The first intifada forced the zionists to start negotiating with the Palestinians and other Arab countries. Of course, that was probably a manoeuvre to buy time and consolidate its power, so the Zionists were the winners as the first intifada stopped and they asserted their power again.
By contrast, the second intifada continues to exert pressure on the Israeli state, and has forced it to accept withdrawal from Ghazzah, as planned by Ariel Sharon, even though it according to Sharon's plan, even if this is all that the Palestinians were striving for. I will say more about the effects of the intifada on the zionist entity later.
Turning to Lebanon, we see that the Lebanese land, people and sovereignty were exposed to zionist attack by the zionist occupation of Palestine. Thousands were martyred by the zionist attacks on Lebanese towns and villages, adding to the absence of secure feeling by the Lebanese citizens, not to mention the repeated material losses of agricultural lands, roads, water dams and other public plants. With each attack, the Lebanese government used to complain to the Security Council, which would issue condemnatory resolutions against the attacks and call for them to be halted. The zionists would ignore the resolutions and nothing would be done. This pattern until 1982, when the Zionists occupied a large part of Lebanese territory, including the capital Beirut. Resolution 425 was passed, demanding that the zionists withdraw from Lebanon to the international borders. Between 1982 and 2000, this resolution remained in place as useless words, totally ignored by the zionists. 18 years passed, the zionists continued in occupation of our land, and the international resolutions continued, one resolution after another.
As is crystal clear and widely acknowledged, it was ultimately only military resistance that ultimately forced the zionists out of Lebanon.
Simply, it is experience lived by both people on one hand, and the zionist identity on the other. Ever since its creation, Israel has based itself on a superstitious and fabricated set of racist beliefs, designed to justify their running of the zionist project in Palestine and the world. They consider themselves "the chosen people" that God has specifically selected from all other people to be the leaders of others and to enslave them. Thus, according to these beliefs, all others are worthless peoples unless they offer the chosen nation some service. That is why we see them despising all other religions and peoples, and considering themselves to have the right to do anything for their own interest and benefit. When the zionists defend their forcible seizure of the Palestinian land, they deal with the Palestinian people as if they are primitives who don't deserve to have a country. As an example, these are the words of the Zionist researcher Israel El Dad, demonstrating his attitude to the Palestinian people: "Could there be any comparison between the rich Zionistic existence and the Palestinian nation? Who are the Palestinians? What is this nation? What are its distinctive and mental features?" Against such arrogant attitudes, unable to acknowledge the rights of others, and living in a world in which only might is understood and international opinion is irrelevant, how could any sensible people choose not to retake their freedom?
The resistance in Lebanon was able, even before the "Israeli" withdrawal from the country's territory, to impose a sense of fear on the enemy, as a result of which the "Israeli" army had to take particular precautions to defend itself before it undertook any operations in Lebanon. This was reflected in what became known as the "April Arrangement", by which the "Israeli" enemy explicitly recognised the resistance's right to attack Israeli settlements in northern occupied Palestine if they attacked civilian targets in Lebanon.
This understanding imposed on the enemy by the resistance in Lebanon protected Lebanese civil people and economy, tourism and infrastructure. Although Lebanon was regarded as an unsafe place, especially for foreign tourists, because of the "Israeli" invasion of its land and facilities, and because of their continuing atrocities, it actually turned into a very safe place compared to other countries. The result is that over one million tourists visited Lebanon last year. In addition, there has also been a matching increase in national and international investments, which has resulted in the rebuilding of much of the infrastructure in most of the country. This reflects the fact that the resistance against such a haughty enemy as the zionists refreshed all sectors of Lebanese society and institutions.
Lebanon suffered more than 1400 combatant martyrs during the jihad, thousands of the civilian martyrs, and huge economic and developmental destruction. But the result was the withdrawal of the enemy from its land, thoroughly deflated and trying to disguise his humiliation. Therefore, due to the Lebanese example, the prestige of the miracle army that was never defeated was ended. This has been reflected even by the zionists themselves and their media: "We are defeated in the war in Lebanon. This is how Lebanon conquered us deeply." (Ha'aretz, February 18, 2000). "We lost this war in Lebanon. It's easy to feel the panic and depression of the soldiers' families." (Ha'aretz, February 15, 2000).
The Palestinian Intifada has not ended yet, but it is already possible to see the positive effects it has had for the Palestinians in their struggle for liberation from the zionists, and the damage it has done the zionists. The outbreak of the Palestinian intifada, by the end of September 2000, came as a result of the failure of all diplomatic talks and negotiations over the previous years. It also resulted in confusion in the economic, financial, and monetary policies in Israel, as the cost of its occupation of Palestine increased.
The results are clear in Israel's economic performance: its economic growth rate decreased from 6% to 2% between 2000-2003, affecting the income of the Zionist settlers by decreasing their share of the annual GDP by 3%. In the construction and building sector, constructing decreased by 10.5% in 2001, which led to the increase of unemployment from 8.4% in the year 2000 to 11% in 2003. The effects of the Intifada were also seen clearly at the tourist facilities, with several businesses closing down because of the falling number of foreign tourists. Michael Streetenky, the vice-president of the Bank of Israel, said in a report on the impact of the Intifada between 2000 and 2003 that "In terms of dollars, the Intifada cost us the loss of $23 billion, a huge sum that outweighs the American monetary aids and the budget decreases. Further more, every middle-income family lost $14,500 over the last 3 years as a result of Al Intifada".
The al-Aqsa Intifada also witnessed a qualitative development in both its operations and its weapons. This results in hugely increased human and material losses on the enemy's part, while decreasing the Palestinian losses. Comparing the enemy's losses with those of the Palestinian people's sacrifices, we notice that between September 2000 and August 2003, the enemy casualties were 711 deaths among soldiers and settlers, and 5,400 wounded. Among the Palestinians, 170 militants were martyred, along with hundreds of civilians (women, children and elderly).
The most important result of the Palestinian Intifada was to challenge the Israeli military premises on which Israeli security theory was built. The military strategy of the Zionist entity assumed, until a few years ago, that they were capable of "winning the battle without having to fight it", based on the conviction that the Palestinian considered the Zionist army as superior and invincible, and therefore would be too afraid ever to confront it directly, and thus they would completely defeated in no time. The example of the resistance in Lebanon, however, marvellously destroyed the myth of the "invincible army", to the extent that children started to mock that legend.
The fact of resistance changed the rules of the game, forcing the Israeli army to change its approach on the battlefield. Among other important changes, the enemy had to forgo the principle of striking first, because it proved futile against the resistance's operations. It also decided that it had to defend "Israel" from inside its territories and not from the outside; thus the Israeli army had to deploy intensively along the Northern border in fear of any penetration by the Islamic Resistance. It also had to contend with the Almirsad 1aircraft sent by the Islamic Resistance to operate over the occupied Palestinian territories, challenging the Israelis' sophisticated military technology. The resistance made the enemy helpless: unable to protect its air, unable to protect its borders, and unable to dominate the occupied territories. Finally, the enemy was also forced to take extensive measures inside its capital, Tel Aviv, to reduce the danger posed by the Palestinian Resistance's operations.
The result was a major debate about how to rebuild Israel's power of deterrence, which had evaporated as a result of the operations of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon and the Intifada. Amniz Yair, an Israeli strategy experts, said that "The deterrence's image of Israeli is doomed to vanish and the continuation of the Intifada makes this image deteriorate even more. With every passing day, Israel is belittled as it fails to stop the Intifada. This inability leaves us more vulnerable, more confused, and more susceptible to pressure and internal divisions."
The Resistance proved the truth of its claim that it was possible to defeat the qualitative superiority of the Israeli army in the battlefield, and that it was possible to turn this superiority from a helping factor into a source of confusion that hinders the army on the battlefield.
Beyond that, the resistance also revealed the fragile side of Israeli society , and it shed light on many discrepancies on the psychological and moral level. The enemy admitted that the resistance imposed a new formula that counterbalanced the enemy's abilities in terms of deterrence and fear. The result was that the Israelis were forced into a defensive position and were obliged to abide by the conditions imposed in the battlefield.
It is clear from all the above that the Resistance proved effective in imposing a new formula of terror upon this arrogant enemy. This was an enemy that refuted all treaties, charters and commitments, and has proved to be disrespectful of the United Nations and its institutions as long as their resolutions don't serve their interests. It follows that direct resistance is the only way by which the Palestinians can regain their freedom, and by which they will achieve victory. And this resistance is a right enshrined in Islam and in the human rights charter by which the international community claims to live, which acknowledges for all the peoples of the world the right to live freely on their land.
What has been accomplished so far inspires and motivates all those who are sincere in their support and solidarity with the subjugated and oppressed people of Palestine, and committed to supporting thePalestinian people in their endurance and in their perseverance along the path of jihad. It may be the Intifada marks the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of this oppression and injustice. As a saying ofAmir al-Mu'mineen Ali Ibn Abi Taleb (ra) states: "There is life in your death as victors, and there is death in your life when you are conquered." Genuine life is what all the fighters and martyrs of Palestine will achieve, and true death afflicts the living defeatists and pacifists.