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The Use Of Civilians In The War.

Hizbullah is a tightly knit group and propaganda is taken seriously. But it has no problem attacking civilians in Israel or using Lebanon's civilian population as a shield against Israeli counter-attacks.

The Israeli propaganda machine is emitting all sorts of alternate scenarios, replete with maps, aerial photos, and video; apologists of the Jewish state send their Internet army to spread the rationalisations far and wide. All this was used last week to cover up a simple fact: Israeli warplanes slaughtered children, women and old men in Qana on July 30. But Israeli military commanders and the politicians who supposedly control them have an easy way out in this pronouncement of the Yesha Rabbinical Council: "According to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents' of the enemy. All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians". These are fairly representative of Israeli religious opinion.

Pat Buchanan last week complained: "If Israel is not in violation of the principle of proportionality, by which Christians are to judge the conduct of a just war, what can that term mean? There are 600 civilian dead in Lebanon, 19 in Israel, a ratio of 30-1 (but the actual casualty figures on both sides were much higher by Aug. 5), though Hezbollah is firing unguided rockets, while Israel is using precision-guided munitions".

However, the Israelis are not Christians, and Israel is not the West. The principle of proportionality does not apply in the Middle East - where history and culture have conspired to produce a socio-political environment in which a disproportionately violent response to the least provocation is required. The Israelis are deliberately targeting Lebanese civilians in order, as per the Yesha Rabbinical Council, to "exterminate the enemy" - just as Hizbullah is targeting just anybody in Israel.

A similarly harsh justification for inflicting death and terror on a civilian population was offered by none other than Osama bin Laden, head of the Neo-Salafi group al-Qaeda, in his fatwa explaining the "Islamic" rationale behind the 9/11 attacks on the US: "It is allowed for Muslims to kill protected ones among unbelievers in the event of an attack against them in which it is not possible to differentiate the protected ones from the combatants or from the strongholds. It is permissible to kill them incidentally and unintentionally according to the saying of the Prophet. When he was asked, as in al-Bukhari, about the offspring and women of unbelievers who stayed with the unbelievers and were killed, he said: 'They are from among them'. This indicates the permission to kill women and children because of their fathers if they cannot be distinguished. In the account of Muslims, he said, 'They are from their fathers'".

In defence of the Qana slaughter, Jewish scholar Alan Dershowitz wrote at the Huffington Post: "By hiding behind their own civilians, the Islamic radicals [of Hizbullah] issue a challenge to democracies: either violate your own morality by coming after us and inevitably killing some innocent civilians, or maintain your morality and leave us with a free hand to target your innocent civilians. This challenge presents democracies such as Israel with a lose-lose option and the terrorists with a win-win option". Dershowitz, a well-known advocate of torture, issued a "challenge" to readers to come up with a better solution than launching a military campaign certain to involve heavy civilian casualties.

The Middle Eastern "morality" which allows the Israelis to target the Beirut airport, where tourists ducked and covered, and permits Hizbullah to lob Katyusha rockets into Haifa, is given its dark voice by bin Laden: "It is allowed for Muslims to kill protected ones among unbelievers on the condition that the protected ones have assisted in combat, whether in deed, word, mind, or any other form of assistance, according to the prophetic command. This is what happened at the time of Abu Dawud and others who were involved in the murder of Duraid ibn al-Samma. When he was 120 years old he went out with the Hawazin tribe to advise them. They consulted him on battle procedure and he went from being a protected one to being a target because of his advice regarding the war against Islam.

"It is allowed for Muslims to kill protected ones among unbelievers in the event of a need to burn the strongholds or fields of the enemy so as to weaken its strength in order to conquer the stronghold or topple the state. It is permissible even if protected ones are among the victims, as the Prophet did among the Bai Nadir".

This thinking is exemplified by Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon, who recently said: "All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hizbullah". The Israelis, in fact, are no different from Hizbullah in their tactics or their intentions; the only difference being that the Israelis are better-armed and receive much more aid from their Western allies than Hizbullah could ever dream of getting from Iran or Syria.

The idea that Israel is the only democracy in the region and thus must be backed by the West is no longer as good as the notion of the Jewish state being invincible. As Nehemia Shtrasler, a columnist for Ha'aretz, put it: "The Olmert-Peretz plan was to shell and demolish south Lebanon and south Beirut until the Lebanese public demanded that its government vomit Hizbullah out from its midst". The goal of the invasion: regime change - in a country once touted by President Bush as a beacon of liberty and proof that his "global democratic revolution" is succeeding.

Another myth blown to pieces by Israeli bombs was the neo-con notion in the US that democracies do not make war on each other. The democratically elected government of Lebanon is being systematically destroyed by Israeli attacks - just as Hizbullah has weakened Beirut by its escalation of the war.
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Publication:APS Diplomat News Service
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Aug 7, 2006
Words:1002
Previous Article:What Is Hizbullah.
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