Saturday, September 30, 2006

Israel / Lebanon / Gaza : Good News and Bad News, Spun Hard, as Usual

First the good news: The BBC is reporting Israeli soldiers 'out of Lebanon'
Israel says it has withdrawn the last of its troops from Lebanon, fulfilling a key condition of the UN ceasefire that ended its war with Hezbollah.

The army said the last soldier left Lebanon early on Sunday.

Israel sent more than 10,000 troops into southern Lebanon during a month-long war triggered by Hezbollah's abduction of two soldiers in July.
As a point of accuracy, let's make that: "... a month-long war reportedly triggered by Hezbollah's supposed abduction of two soldiers...".

Why do I say this? Because, as a series of news reports from around the world clearly stated at the time, the two Israeli soldiers reportedly abducted from Israel by Hezbollah were actually captured in Lebanon while on a cross-border raid.

Did you know that already? I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't. Clearly you weren't supposed to know it.

Even UN resolution 1701 which supposedly ended this undeclared war enshrines the official Israeli fiction. [my emphasis, here and elsewhere]
The Security Council
Expressing its utmost concern at the continuing escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hizbollah’s attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons,

Emphasizing the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers,
I don't mean to knock the UN particularly ... the truth has been buried almost everywhere ... except at What Really Happened dot Com, where you can read contemporary news accounts from major news organizations, in several different languages, all of which say more or less the same as this excerpt from a report filed by Monsters and Critics:
In the afternoon, the scene changed in the streets of southern Lebanon, which was the target of 32 Israeli raids that mainly targeted areas near the area where the two soldiers were captured in Aita al Chaab, close to the border with Israel.
The town in which the invading Israelis were captured, "Aita al Chaab" is also spelled as "Ayta ash Shab". See the map below. You can on it to enlarge it.

Want another example? The Asia Times report ran this way:
It all started on July 12 when Israel troops were ambushed on Lebanon's side of the border with Israel...
You can find many other similar reports here.

Furthermore, Israel's attack on Lebanon, which was reported as an act of retaliation for the "abduction" of the Israeli soldiers, was planned well in advance of the supposed abduction.

Here's the plan: A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
This report is written with key passages of a possible speech marked TEXT, that highlight the clean break which the new government has an opportunity to make.
In other words, it's a propaganda document. The sections marked "TEXT" are for public consumption. They put the best possible face on the war of aggression detailed by the other passages in the document.

For example,
TEXT: Israel will not only contain its foes; it will transcend them.
Israel’s new agenda can signal a clean break by abandoning a policy which assumed exhaustion and allowed strategic retreat by reestablishing the principle of preemption...
So that -- preemptive war -- was the plan all along. All they needed was a pretext. And the pretext was remarkably easy to fabricate.

Here's an article by Sidney Blumenthal explaining how the plan has been implemented: The neocons' next war
[S]enior national security professionals have begun circulating among themselves a 1996 neocon manifesto against the Middle East peace process. Titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," its half-dozen authors included neoconservatives highly influential with the Bush administration -- Richard Perle, first-term chairman of the Defense Policy Board; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense; and David Wurmser, Cheney's chief Middle East aide.

"A Clean Break" was written at the request of incoming Likud Party Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and intended to provide "a new set of ideas" for jettisoning the policies of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Instead of trading "land for peace," the neocons advocated tossing aside the Oslo agreements that established negotiations and demanding unconditional Palestinian acceptance of Likud's terms, "peace for peace." Rather than negotiations with Syria, they proposed "weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria." They also advanced a wild scenario to "redefine Iraq." Then King Hussein of Jordan would somehow become its ruler; and somehow this Sunni monarch would gain "control" of the Iraqi Shiites, and through them "wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria."

Netanyahu, at first, attempted to follow the "clean break" strategy, but under persistent pressure from the Clinton administration he felt compelled to enter into U.S.-led negotiations with the Palestinians. In the 1998 Wye River accords, concluded through the personal involvement of President Clinton and a dying King Hussein, the Palestinians agreed to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel and Netanyahu agreed to withdraw from a portion of the occupied West Bank. Further negotiations, conducted by his successor Ehud Barak, that nearly settled the conflict ended in dramatic failure, but potentially set the stage for new ones.

At his first National Security Council meeting, President George W. Bush stunned his first secretary of state, Colin Powell, by rejecting any effort to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. When Powell warned that "the consequences of that could be dire, especially for the Palestinians," Bush snapped, "Sometimes a show for force by one side can really clarify things." He was making a "clean break" not only with his immediate predecessor but also with the policies of his father.
And so on.

In any case, Israeli soldiers are reportedly finally out of Lebanon. Hooray.

This doesn't mean the danger to the Lebanese people is over. Far from it.

Clearing Lebanon's residue of war
It may not be quite what you expect - a team of Iraqi Kurds teaching explosives clearance techniques in the bombed-out villages of southern Lebanon - but here they are.

The men have been flown out by the British charity Mines Awareness Group (MAG), the only non-commercial munitions clearance body in Lebanon, a country still littered with unexploded devices more than a month after the recent war with Israel.

"Hundreds of thousands of civilian lives are at risk," said Nick Guest, MAG's Technical Operations Manager.
No-one knows just how much unexploded ordnance there is in southern Lebanon.

Estimates range from tens to hundreds of thousands of unexploded cluster bomblets and submunitions. The UN warns it may take two years to clear them.
Unexploded Israeli munitions now lie on the roadside, in the gardens and fields of the decimated villages here.

The devices tend to be small in size, so often remain undetected until it's too late.
Out of the 18 killed and more than 80 injured in explosions since the end of the war a quarter were children.

A young boy was killed a few days ago climbing a tree to grab an apple. While shaking the branches, he dislodged an unexploded bomblet. It detonated on his head.

We met Radwan Ghandour, a father of four, in Nabitiyeh's Ragheb Harab Hospital. He was covered in bandages and had lost an eye and the fingers of his left hand when he tried to get rid of a cluster bomblet from his garden.

"I just wanted to keep my children safe," he told us. "There are bombs all over our village still. It makes us hate the Israelis more and more each day."
So, as in all "former" war zones, the danger remains extreme. But at least the Israeli soldiers are gone. For now. Hooray!

And now for the bad news: the BBC is also reporting new aggression by Israel. This time, Israeli strikes target Gaza Strip
An Israeli air strike has killed a Palestinian militant and wounded at least three other people, medical officials in the Gaza Strip say.

It happened in the southern town of Rafah on the border with Egypt.

The Israeli army said the raid had targeted a vehicle used by militants it believed were planning attacks against Israel.
As usual, this report begs to be unspun. So let's make it as accurate as possible, shall we?
An Israeli air strike has killed an alleged Palestinian militant ... who was traveling in a vehicle that allegedly was used by alleged militants who were supposedly planning attacks against Israel.
In other words, an alleged thoughtcrime has been punished by murder.

I understand that there's a good chance this post will draw cries of "anti-Semitism". But that's not the case at all. If this post anti-anything, it's anti-bullshit.

If there is any inaccuracy in this post, it lies in the term "news" as applied to "thoughtcrime punished by murder".

That's not news. It happens all the time.