Friday, August 11, 2006

its raining bombs...

last night, i counted at least 12 explosions. it was a difficult night. they just wouldn't stop. i only heard 12, others say there were at least 18... they just kept going. the Israeli army announced yesterday that they were expanding their attacks into Beirut... and indeed they did, hitting areas in central Beirut!

today has been difficult getting online. electricity is less and less. we are down to about 2 hours a day. because there is a fuel and diesel shortage, it has become difficult to keep the generators going.

you know in Beirut, everyone lives in apartment buildings.. with the electricity shortage, it has become hard for the elderly to move in and out of their homes. no one wants to get stuck having to climb stairs to the 12th floor they live on.

my grandma lives on the 6th floor. she is currently bed ridden. i went to see her yesterday.. or was it the day before. she is doing well.. i told her to enjoy her stay in bed because there was nothing much going on for her to see outside, and that anyways it was waaaaaaay too hot. i am not sure if she really knows about what is going on. we don't let her watch the news and we tell her the bomb sounds are fireworks! she lived the civil war in Lebanon, and definitely knows what bombs sound like... so, i think she is just playing along with us to keep us happy. my grand ma was my first muse. i used to paint her a lot when i was younger.

today, i had some errands to run... along the way, i ran into some friends i hadn't seen in over a month! i drove though roads i haven't been on in weeks! wow. it felt so gooooooood. so funny how the simplest things can make you so happy now.

as the situation is getting worse, health and sanitation is deteriorating. the streets of Beirut smell bad. but her citizens are trying hard to stay on top of things. so many people have volunteered their time to help. even the garbage collectors have recruited some volunteers.

we have finally decided that we can no longer wait for a ceasefire to start the oil spill clean up. the oil has been sitting on our beaches for almost a month now. we have been working on putting together a team of civilian volunteers and NGOs to go down to the beach and at least start with what we can do. ie: shoveling the oil off the sand, finding machinery that can suck oil out of the bays and ports... we are all worried about safety though. the Israeli army has been targeting civilians, UN, Red Cross, etc... they have been blowing things up mercilessly. how do we know we won't be targeted? more to come on this soon.

i saw the news about the Heathrow bombing plot... don't know what to say... such devastating news... we don't have to live like this. things could be so much better. they could be so much simpler. seeing the passengers stranded...they reminded me of the displaced people here in Lebanon. i hope they are ok.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much love

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We love you Zena. You are our hero.

6:11 PM  
Blogger RaymonD said...

i sympathise your situation. what can the world do when the nations are in cahoots? we can only pray for peace

6:11 PM  
Blogger mikealpha said...

Why is Nasrallah rejecting the ceasefire? Why does Siniora have to ask Nasrallah's permission ?

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all Israeli troops MUST leave Lebanon first before a ceasefire.

Statement of Mr. Jan Egeland,

Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs
and Emergency Relief Coordinator, to the United Nations Security Council on the Humanitarian Situation in the Middle East,
New York, 28 July 2006

Mr. President,
Members of the Council,

I have just returned from a 6-day mission to three war zones: Lebanon, Northern Israel, and Gaza. I was an eye witness to the devastating effects of the current hostilities on civilians. I met with humanitarian colleagues to plan the necessary emergency operations to address the worsening humanitarian situation in the region. I also had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Siniora of Lebanon and key ministers of his cabinet as well as Speaker of Parliament Berri. In Israel, I met with Foreign Minister Levni and Defence Minister Peretz. I also had a meeting with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and his key advisors.

Mr. President,

The Middle East is at a crossroads. My fear is that more violence, more missiles, more terror, and more destruction creates more anger, more hatred, and more disillusioned youths, and ultimately leads to less security throughout the region. Civilians on all sides are the losers of this endless cycle of violence.


The humanitarian situation in Lebanon is dramatic: tens of thousands are fleeing the fighting; hundreds are wounded; and, dozens die every day. I witnessed, first hand, how the civilian population is caught in the cross fire. The destruction, the number of casualties, and the fear and terror inflicted by the continued air strikes was greater than I had expected. The situation, already terrible when I arrived in the region, last Sunday, got worse by the day. Beirut, just three weeks ago the vibrant symbol of Lebanon’s recovery from civil war is now a virtual ghost town. Young people are thinking of leaving the country, as they have lost confidence in a peaceful future in Lebanon.

Lebanese and international humanitarian organizations are trying to come to the relief of as many people as possible. Today, another 10-truck UN convoy, painstakingly, made its way from Beirut to Saida and inland to Jezzine. What used to be a 1 ½ hour drive has now become a 6 hour ordeal, on totally clogged roads. We have established humanitarian corridors by land and by sea to Beirut as well as a notification channel to the Israeli forces to guarantee safe passage for the increasing number of our convoys. They provide urgently needed relief items to hundreds of thousands in the South of Lebanon and other areas such as the Bekaa valley.

We are hoping to provide some ten thousand tons of relief supplies in the next month alone through these corridors, which I called for in my briefing to you last Friday and in my letters to the Israeli and Lebanese governments of last week. That is provided there are no attacks on any of our convoys from any of the parties involved. The direct hit sustained by the UN post in Khiam, resulting in the tragic killing of our colleagues, has caused considerable anxiety among our relief workers. The hit took place despite repeated notifications and assurances to spare the post. If we agree on notification procedures with the IDF, as we have, then we must be able to absolutely trust that the chain of command within the IDF is working. Just this morning I have received reports that a non-UN relief convoy was hit in the South of Lebanon.

Yet, Mr. President, it must be clear to all, the parties to the conflict and the members of the Security Council, that the limited and carefully controlled assistance we will be able to provide through this notification system with the IDF is not enough to prevent the excessive suffering of the civilian population. We need an immediate cessation of hostilities, followed by a cease-fire agreement, the deployment of a security force, and the political settlement of the conflict, as proposed by the Secretary General.

The level of displacement, primarily from Southern Lebanon and the Southern suburbs of Beirut, has now reached approximately 700,000. An estimated 100,000 people are victims of the siege of their homes, towns, and villages. Already, some 210,000 have fled Lebanon as refugees to neighboring Syria and Cyprus. Among them 115,000 third-country nationals many of whom do not have the financial means to travel back to their home countries. Every day of fighting displaces tens of thousands more.

It was heartbreaking to visit some of these IDPs in the Metn region of Lebanon, a Druze area. Several hundreds, 85% of whom are women, children, and even babies, were cramped into a school with 6 toilets, each small class room filled with some 20 people and the few belongings they were able to bring along. Already among the poorest, they have lost their belongings and are now faced with skyrocketing prices for basic goods. This small region alone is host to more than 250,000 displaced of whom 67,000 are sheltered in schools, hospitals, or community centers.

There, I also met some of the survivors from the village of Srifa in South Lebanon where 20 people died during the air strikes on 19 July. Their desperate appeal to me was that the bodies of their killed family members be recovered from the rubble of their homes. “We cannot sleep at night”, one women said. “We have heard that the dogs are eating their bodies”. This is one of the cases I raised directly with the Israeli authorities, requesting their assistance in facilitating the recovery and burial of the bodies in accordance with Islamic tradition.

Mr. President,

The civilian death toll in Lebanon stands now at over 600, according to the Minister of Health. The majority are women and children. In South Beirut’s Dahiyeh suburb, a Hizbollah stronghold, I could see the devastating effects of ten days of massive air strikes on a residential area. 6 to 10 story apartment buildings had been leveled to the ground, block by block. The rubble was covered with school books, children clothing, photographs, and other personal belongings.

I urged the Foreign Minister and the Defence Minister of Israel in my meetings to review the conduct of the air strikes and bombardments to avoid excessive use of force that inflicts disproportionate suffering on the civilian population. When there are clearly more dead children than actual combatants, the conduct of hostilities must be reviewed.

At the same time, I repeatedly and publicly appealed from within Lebanon that the armed men of Hizbollah must stop their deplorable tactic of hiding ammunition, arms, or combatants among civilians. Using civilian neighborhoods as human camouflage is abhorrent and in violation of international humanitarian law.

The ongoing air strikes have crushed civilian infrastructure in many parts of Lebanon. Airports, seaports, roads and bridges have been systematically destroyed. An example is the destruction of the Mdeirij Bridge, the highest in the Middle East, on the main highway connecting Beirut and Damascus. The bridge was the result of a 4-year joint development venture with Italy and considered vital to the economy of Lebanon. The bridge was rendered unusable in the first days of the conflict and is now just like the coastal highway from Beirut via Saida to Tyre impossible to use, even for relief convoys. The damage to infrastructure is already estimated at billions of dollars and will severely hamper an early economic recovery of Lebanon from this conflict.

Northern Israel

Mr. President,

The devastating impact of this conflict on the civilian population is not only confined to Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians suffer as well. Daily Hizbollah rocket attacks are spreading constant fear and terror among the civilian population. In Haifa, I saw the damage done by one of the 80 Katyusha rocket attacks to a three story residential family home. The civilian population spends much of their time in shelters. Altogether, the attacks have left some 20 dead and hundreds wounded by more than 1,000 rockets that so far have rained indiscriminately on the population in Northern Israel.

In fact, while in Haifa meeting with Foreign Minister Livni we had to take shelter ourselves when one such Katyusha rocket hit the city. These senseless attacks must stop. As the mayor of Haifa told me, “the attacks have undermined the very moderate forces in Israel who argued for a withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and who promoted peace and reconciliation with Arab neighbors”.

Occupied Palestinian territory

Mr. President,

As we call for an immediate ceasefire, political solutions and security arrangements in Lebanon, we must ensure that we do not forget to address the armed conflict and deepening social and economic crisis in Gaza, and the occupied Palestinian territory as a whole. Renewed fighting just a day after my visit to Gaza killed a 3 year old Palestinian girl. Altogether, 150 have lost their life since the present conflict broke out in June, one quarter of whom are reported to be children.

When visiting Gaza, I was deeply saddened to find the great visions that we had in Oslo for a peaceful and prosperous Palestine, coexisting in safety and security with a recognized Israel, shattered. These hopes have been replaced by a deep sense of despair and disillusionment. The destruction of vital civilian infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and the only electrical power plant in Gaza, the ongoing closure of most border crossings into and out of Gaza, and frequent roadblocks are suffocating any attempt at building a viable economic and social infrastructure in Gaza. As a result, anger and the readiness to resort to militant violence seem to be growing, particularly among young people.

I saw the destruction of every single transformer of the power plant in Gaza, covering 55% of Gaza’s electricity needs, including that of homes, schools, and hospitals. Today, private households, hospitals, and water pumps receive some 3 to 4 hours of electricity supply per day, oftentimes not synchronized with the few hours during which water is being supplied. Some Israeli officials have conceded that the destruction of this purely civilian installation was indeed unwise.

The repeated destruction of infrastructure is also taking its toll on aid workers. It was disheartening to feel their sense of frustration and disillusionment. The produce from the greenhouses erected as part of James Wolfenson’s efforts was all destroyed in the recent violence as were the bridges built by UNDP with European aid over several years. Some of our colleagues are ready to give up. But we cannot allow this to happen. How can we give up on 1.4 million Gazaens, half of them children? It is now, more than ever, that the occupied Palestinian territory needs our collective assistance.

The following needs to happen in Gaza:

• Violence Must Stop: we must support the efforts of President Abu Mazen and international mediators at stopping militants from lobbing Kassam rockets at Israeli settlements and releasing the soldier held in captivity. Israel, in turn, must end its oftentimes excessive and disproportionate use of force, as was the case in the destruction of the power plant and the shelling that takes the lives of civilians.

• Rebuild vital infrastructure: we must help the Palestinian Authority to reestablish a social and economic infrastructure that will provide employment and hope, and help curb the extreme radicalization of Gaza’s youth.

• Open border crossings: we encourage the Israeli authorities to establish a transparent and reliable regime at the key crossing point into and out of Gaza. In this respect, I have proposed to Defence Minister Peretz a regular weekly working meeting between the IDF and the UN to facilitate the transport of humanitarian and other urgently needed goods into Gaza.


Mr. President,

Throughout my mission to all three war zones my public message was consistent:

• The indiscriminate rain of rockets into Israel must stop.
• The excessive and disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces in both Lebanon and Gaza must stop.
• The hiding of armed combatants and weaponry among the civilian populations in Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory must stop.
• And, most importantly, as our Secretary General has repeatedly said, we need a cessation of hostilities immediately.

As a first step, I am recommending to the Secretary General, and through him to you, a humanitarian truce. We need at least 72 hours of tranquilities for the sake of the children of Lebanon and Northern Israel who, I believe, we all agree are the innocent victims of this escalating conflict. During this humanitarian truce a major operation could be staged with the ICRC, the Lebanese Red Cross, and the UN and its partner organizations doing the following:

• First, relocate the children, the wounded, the disabled, and the elderly who have not been able to escape the fighting in the worst war zones.

• Second, re-supply hospitals and health centers, particularly in the South, with emergency medical relief items and fuel for generators to avoid a complete breakdown of public health facilities caring for the thousands of wounded.

• Third, provide water and sanitation facilities, food, and other basic supplies to the tens of thousands of displaced who are seeking shelter in public buildings in the conflict zones.

• Fourth, establish an emergency communication system to vulnerable communities allowing us to address acute needs urgently where and when they arise.

In conclusion,

We humanitarians will do what we can to save lives and alleviate suffering. But, as stated before, aid in itself is not the solution. It is only a temporary ‘plaster on the wound’. Only an end to the fighting and a political settlement that will give the peoples of Israel, Lebanon, and the occupied Palestinian territory the security and socio-economic conditions they deserve, will prevent future conflict and suffering.

As humanitarian workers, we are frustrated and feel that the work on the political and security agreements is too slow. We are afraid that in the meantime the parties to the conflict are continuing its escalation, thereby prolonging the suffering of civilians and causing more hatred and sorrow today that they will regret tomorrow.

Therefore, Mr. President,

Let me end the way I began, with a plea for the immediate protection of the civilian population in all three war zones. Civilians must be protected at any cost. If there are many more dead children in a conflict than armed men, there is something fundamentally wrong, not only with how the armed men behave and where they hide, but also with the way the response is being conducted.

Thank you."

Jan Egeland

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you letter to Hassan Nasrallah.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Shalom!
First of all I would like to congratulate you! You, and you alone have managed to unify a country that not so long ago was thorn inside in regards to the painful process of evacuating the Gaza strip.
While left and right wing Israelis where fighting over these issues, getting each day a little closer to a civil war, you came along and brought solidarity to the Israeli society.
Now, we are all united under one goal; to bring our kidnapped soldiers back home and while we at it, to send you back to hell.
And the truth is ya Hassan; you really do owe us your promotion.
You probably remember on 12th of February 1992 the missile that sent your former boss Abbas Musawi to his 72 virgins who where waiting for him in havens.
Come to think of it ya sahbi, it wasn’t in our best interests to promote you to where you are right now but have no fear, mistakes like that could be fixed without difficulty.

I have to admit, when I see you on your TV interviews, all sweaty and smiling I understand the source of your power.
Here you are, a 40-year-old Shiat from a small town in Lebanon (say Hi to Fatima) driving the whole world crazy.

I do admire your “reliability”. You promised the Lebanon people safety, and Zena has never felt safer in her entire life. You promised to return the Lebanon terrorists home, and in return you lost more then 400 of your warriors and 600 citizens. You said that you return all the stolen lends of Lebanon; yet you are about to meet the Israeli army in the Litany River in 2 weeks.
Yes, you are a true defender of the Lebanon people. How deep underground you are right now when the Lebanon people are getting bombarded day after day?

Your one big mistake was to really believe in your spider net theory.
You believed Israel is getting weaker, and you rolled the dice.
You admitted that you didn’t anticipate Israelis reaction to your provoking actions.
And you forgot that when Israelis are pot the test, their eyes become red and all they see is blood.

And that’s basically ya habibi, the whole story in a nutshell.
We have nowhere to go, and when we get pushed just a little too much, we push back, aggressively. This is a lesson we need to teach our neighbors every 10 years or so. Calling us monkeys and pigs is one thing; endanger our existence, that’s another.
So we go on solving our problems with force.
Too bad your Hizballa fighters who are not afraid to die (like they have a choice) are not a real match to the Israeli army.

I hope this little thank you letter has helped you to understand better the Israeli society and what you are dealing with here.
You are very good with words, but now it is time for your second lesson; the one that comes from above.
Have a great day.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd drop by and hope that doing so will encourage you.

I wish I could do more for you and everyone than just this and join in protests, whether directly in Australia, or on the web.

11:46 PM  
Blogger dasfjsa;r[0q3wuer said...

Zena take heart

"A resolution to halt the fighting in Lebanon was “very, very close,” the U.S. envoy said."

Yeah, and the dead have just barely, barely been killed.

Sorry for the sarcasam but as you know it is really frustrating to hear about the games politicians are playing while people die because of those games.

Do keep up your spirits and health and good luck with the oil clean up.


12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zena it now appears that the US/France resolution should pass in the UN tonight. Olmert will recommend acceptance Sunday and the Lebanese government will also accept! Peace is near!

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to "nasrallah's freind" now turned anonymous;

you do not need to copy and paste the same (BS) letter every day. We read your letter on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 and the following is couple of answers from the readers:

...."pitty, it seems that in your country there is not much of artistic movement, blogs, where you can exercise and express your feelings......

one point to you, you are reading this wonderful blog of ZENA, continue and spread it to your friends, she is an example of PEACE... "
Monique wrote:

"Hunny, it has nothing to do with Nasrallah or anyone else from His side. The provocative and 'self defensive' : ) war against Lebanon was invented by some brilliant scolars in your country. You got it right, sweetheart. This war is happening (among others) in order that the opposition in your country don't go further in weakening your ingenious and patriotic government. They succeeded in unifying your nation under one flag again. All that looked liked to be falling apart after Gaza will be unanimous again in some common interest, even if it's nothing more than a fabricated and pathetic cause. Cela tombe a pic avant le nouveau truc a Cisjordanie. Oops, you did it again!


12:51 AM  
Blogger R said...

Hi Zena. I am Rahul from India and I first came across the blog on an Indian newspaper which was carrying out an article on the Lebanon conflict. The excerpt was too touching to pass by. I just had to read the blog!! It goes without saying that it pains me to read that people have been refused some of the basic rights and the mindless killing has just left me numb. May god give you the strength and courage to get you through the war.

7:19 AM  
Blogger FreeCyprus said...

hi Zena...I've been following the war, seen the images on tv, read the stories...sad, sad waste of life

It's good to read blogs from people who are there, people like yourself who are brave and helping your fellow Lebanese through this

Glad you are safe and please KEEP yourself safe

We're all praying for you

9:02 AM  
Blogger Herbert Holguín (เฮอเบิร์ด) said...

Hi from Peru. Ive already read some about your blog in a local webnews... the real heros are innocent people. May I traslate your last post in spanish? I think that will be good to expand the message... for people who doesnt speak english know more about Lebanon life.


9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the bombing plots, it's been quite predictable. It sounds pretty much to be a false alarm again. A simple way to divert people's attention from the war crimes Israel has commited so far. Remember 9/11. No "terrorist" could have intended to ruin all the results of the Durban conference at the time. The whole 9/11 stuff had only one purpose: to change the overall consideration of the U.S contribution to iffy Israeli actions by making the US an innocent victim of evil terrorists. Witty but I guess it won't work out this time.


5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Zena,

I've read a phrase today in our Mundo Uno Flickr Group that I wanted to share with you:

Let us remember the lives taken by war, by dedicating our lives to the pursuit of peace. - author FDP.

We are here. Remember this, please.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

War now, peace later: Israel’s doves line up behind war
Part one
By Jean Shaoul
12 August 2006

Back to screen version | Send this link by email | Email the author

This is the first of a two-part article on the attitude taken by Israel’s Peace Now movement towards the Olmert government’s wars of aggression in Lebanon and Gaza.

One of the most significant features of Israel’s wars of aggression in Gaza and Lebanon is the unanimity between the so-called “hawks” and movements that in the past were considered “doves.”

Peace Now has remained largely silent over Israel’s massive assault on Hamas and the Palestinians in Gaza, ongoing since June. In the case of Lebanon, from the moment full-scale hostilities began in July following Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers, Peace Now declared its support for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the Olmert government.

It issued a statement on its web site explaining that its members had gone to Kibbutz Gonen in northern Israel to proclaim that Israel had the right to respond to the capture of the Israeli soldiers and that Peace Now supported Israel’s right to defend its borders.

Peace Now has echoed the government’s propaganda that Israel faces provocations by Hamas and Hezbollah, accepting the official Israeli and American definition of both organisations as terrorist groups. There are no territorial issues at stake, it maintains, and therefore the government’s response to supposedly external and unprovoked assaults on the sovereign state of Israel is entirely justified.

In June 1982, Peace Now opposed Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, rallying tens of thousands to protest against the war. It organised Israel’s largest demonstration ever—400,000 people—against the government of Menachem Begin and his minister of defence, Ariel Sharon, for its role as the occupying power in aiding and abetting the slaughter of more than 800 Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla by its allies, the Lebanese fascist Phalange, and demanded an inquiry. More than a few Israeli commentators viewed Begin and Sharon as war criminals, and the US as their accomplices.

In the late 1980s, Peace Now was the first major force to call for an independent Palestinian state on the territories illegally occupied by Israel since 1967—the so-called two state solution—and proposed peace talks with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Yasser Arafat. The Labour Party took up its banner and went on to sign the ill-fated 1993 Oslo Accords that embodied its demands.

The transformation of Peace Now into an advocate of unrestrained aggression against a civilian population, which tramples on all the regulations governing international relations set up in the aftermath of World War II, is therefore a source of tremendous political confusion for working people in Israel. Many had looked to Peace Now to articulate their opposition to the criminal and brutal actions of Israel against the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

Under conditions in which the so-called peace movement gives its imprimatur to war, there is little political outlet for those horrified by the slaughter and destruction being carried out by Israel’s armed forces.

Beilin and Oz

Yossi Beilin is the leader of the Meretz-Yachad party in Israel’s parliament, and the man most associated with the peace movement. He led the secret talks with the PLO in Oslo. He was the minister of justice at the time of the Labour government’s pullout from Lebanon in May 2000, a negotiator in the failed talks at Camp David in 2000 and Taba in 2001, and a signatory to the Geneva agreement in 2003.

Beilin now echoes the Kadima-Labour government’s justification for the war: That it was launched to rescue the captured Israeli soldiers and defend Israeli citizens. He argues that this is entirely in line with his reasons for calling earlier for a withdrawal from Lebanon:

“People like myself led the movement to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000, and when we were asked what would happen if they continued to use violence against us and shoot at us from Lebanon, we said that when we leave Lebanon according to a UN agreement, then we will have a free hand to use against those who act against us. This is why we find ourselves in a difficult situation. We cannot criticise everything the government does, especially since it is clear that there was no Israeli provocation.”

Beilin presents himself as the loyal opposition—supporting the war now, but maintaining the level head that will be necessary to safeguard the long-term national interests of Israel. In an August 9 article in Haaretz, entitled “The Test of the Zionist Left,” he declares: “We have a deep belief in the right of the Jewish people to a democratic and secure state, which has a stable Jewish majority: the state of the Jewish people and all of its citizens. We are convinced our national interest is in completing the moves toward peace with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon, and that there is no alternative to an agreement... But our feeling that peace could have been reached long ago and that Israel has played a not insignificant role in the fact that this has not happened does not justify, in our eyes, the behaviour of our enemies.”

“The military response in Gaza is justified in our eyes, and the response in Lebanon is no less justified,” he continues. “We see our role over the course of the war as warning against Israel’s lapsing into situations that it did not anticipate at the beginning of the war and warning against acts that contradict the values of Israeli society, while demanding that we reach the negotiation table as soon as possible to discuss a cease-fire.”

Amos Oz, one of the founders of the Peace Now movement in 1978, goes even further. His article in the Los Angeles Times is indistinguishable from the ravings of Washington’s neo-conservatives.

He calls Hezbollah’s “kidnapping” of Israeli soldiers “a vicious, unprovoked attack on Israeli territory.” He writes: “This time, Israel is not invading Lebanon. It is defending itself from daily harassment and bombardment of dozens of our towns and villages by attempting to smash Hezbollah wherever it lurks.”

He continues: “The Israeli peace movement should support Israel’s attempt at self-defence, pure and simple, as long as this operation targets mostly Hezbollah and spares, as much as possible, the lives of Lebanese civilians (not an easy task), as Hezbollah missile launchers are too often using Lebanese civilians as human sandbags.” (Emphasis added).

Oz endorses the Bush administration’s stance that Israel is fighting a terrorist network sponsored by Iran and Syria. “Hezbollah’s missiles are supplied by Iran and Syria, sworn enemies of all peace initiatives in the Middle East,” he declares, and adds, “The real battle raging these days is not at all between Haifa and Beirut, but between a coalition of peace-seeking nations—Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand—and fanatical Islam, fuelled by Iran and Syria, on the other.”

Oz knows full well Israel’s real motives in seeking the destruction of the Lebanon. As he wrote in 1982, the Israeli invasion of that year was “not to repulse a threat to our very existence, but to get rid of an irritant and mostly change the map of the region.”

Peretz: The “dove” in charge of war

No one epitomises the degeneration of the peace movement more clearly than Amir Peretz, the former left-talking trade union leader and current Labour Party leader, who is now the minister of defence. As Haaretz pointed out in an article headlined “First War Run by Peace Now,” Peretz is “the architect, chief engineer and standard bearer of the war.”

He was one of the first members of Peace Now, and in the 1980s was one of eight Labour Party legislators who, along with Beilin, tried to get peace talks going with the Palestinians.

Less than a year ago, Peretz was voted in as leader of the Labour Party against the incumbent, Shimon Peres—the architect of Oslo—by party members who were disgusted at Labour’s participation in a coalition with Ariel Sharon’s Likud. Labour’s leaders had provided the political cover for Sharon’s brutal suppression of the Palestinians, his land grab on the West Bank, which was carried out in the name of “unilateral separation,” and his austerity measures against the Israeli working class.

Peretz won the leadership contest on the twin promises of peace negotiations with the Palestinians and measures to deal with the rising social inequality within Israel. His election as Labour Party leader prompted Sharon, with the support of Peres, to split with Likud and proclaim the founding of a new party—Kadima—to take forward Sharon’s expansionist agenda.

But last May, following the March general election in which Kadima became the largest party, but lacked an overall majority in the Knesset, Peretz took Labour back into a coalition with Kadima, now led by Ehud Olmert, with Peres as Olmert’s deputy.

Agreeing to take the post of minister of defence, his first acts were to order the assassination of five members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and to step up the assault on the Palestinians in Gaza. With full backing from Washington, he authorised the military’s long-planned air, sea and land assault on Lebanon, calling up reservists and putting Israel on a war footing.

Nahum Barnea, a columnist with Yediot Aharonot, aptly summed up Peretz’s role. Having a broad-based government, led by Olmert’s Kadima party and including Labour Party leader Amir Peretz as defence minister, “makes it much easier to launch a military strike against someone,” he wrote.

Acceptance of Zionism

The transformation of Peace Now into an open advocate of war has left it to groups such as Gush Shalom and the Communist and Arab parties to advance an antiwar position. While the demonstrations and vigils opposing the war in Lebanon and the occupied territories were small at first, they are now drawing thousands of protestors. On August 5, 10,000 took to the streets of Tel Aviv in spite of the war hysteria and physical attacks on the marchers.

Demonstrators chanted, “Jews and Arabs, Refuse to be Enemies!”, “We Shall not Die or Kill in the Service of the USA!”, “Children Want to Live in Beirut and Haifa!”, “Peretz, Peretz Resign, Peace is More Important!”, “A Million Refugees, that’s a War Crime!”, “Olmert, Peretz and Ramon, Get out of Lebanon!”

But in order to advance the struggle against war, it is necessary to understand why the old peace movement has undergone such a dramatic degeneration. Peace Now’s transformation into an apologist for and prosecutor of war can be understood only in terms of its rejection of a historical and class analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and its nationalist defence of the Zionist project.

Its claim that there are no territorial issues involved in the war against Lebanon is as absurd as its statements that Israel is merely responding to provocations from Hezbollah. Even if one leaves aside the ongoing Israeli violence against the Palestinians and its illegal occupation of their territories, there is a great deal of evidence of repeated Israeli provocations against Lebanon prior to last month’s Israeli invasion. For example, several reports by the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (Unifil) show that Israeli military aircraft infringed on Lebanon’s airspace on an almost daily basis between 2001 and 2003, and persistently until 2006, often breaking the sound barrier over populated areas.

As for territorial issues, the Zionists have long had an interest in Lebanon, going back to 1938, when Ben Gurion, who was to become Israel’s first prime minister in 1948, envisaged a state of Israel that would include southern Lebanon as far north as the Litani River.

To be continued

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Zena,

I pop-in regulary and read your writings. In spirit i'm with you, that's the best i can doe. I spread yor blog around on a lot of my e-mail contacts, so your voice - and the voice of the targeted people of Lebanon - will be spread more.

I find it encouraging that you people started to 'fight back', not to get walked over and inspite of all, work together with the spoiled beaches. People who stand next to each-other will survive!

Greetings from Holland.


11:40 PM  
Blogger Papa with Seba D & the Wild Rosa said...

zena ,we need to do more for you ,how dispicable ,anyone with a brain can see what is going on ,and for what do the leaders think this will achieve ,you can never kill a lie ,
my heart is with you ,and as fellow citizens we should stop the killing of our fellow man ,the governments have no will to help .
we have to do it.
much love to you zena

2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Argh! You and your wars - sucking the whole world with it. Why can't you people just get along???

2:46 AM  

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