Israel preparing to utterly destroy Lebanon?

Did an Israeli minister recently suggest that Israel send Lebanon 'back to the Middle Ages' to exonerate future war crimes?

Despair at the sight of the large-scale destruction of Beirut’s suburbs, 2006.

[Editor’s note: As I wrote last week, Israel is preparing to launch its third invasion of Lebanon:

Netanyahu to launch Invasion of Lebanon with Trump’s backing?

As we see from the thoroughly disgusting threats and rhetoric from an Israeli minister, the attack on Lebanon will make no distinction between civilian and military targets, everything will be destroyed as the Israelis attempt to utterly destroy the Lebanese nation, which is nothing new of course, the Zionists have had plenty of practice at committing genocide and war crimes as they systematically destroy the Palestinians. Ian]

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Middle East Eye
Special offer for Lebanon: Time travel with the Israeli military

As Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett sees it, another war between Israel and its Lebanese neighbour “will mean sending Lebanon back to the Middle Ages”.

This endearing soundbite was reported on 13 March by Haaretz correspondent Amos Harel following a conversation with Bennett. According to the article, the minister invoked Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s remarks regarding Hezbollah’s integral role in Lebanon’s defence apparatus to justify the medieval approach.

To be sure, Hezbollah’s defensive functions proved particularly irritating to the Israelis when, in 2000, the organisation spearheaded the eviction of Israel from Lebanese territory after more than two decades of occupation.

The Middle Ages treatment meanwhile appears to boil down to a total eradication of any distinction between the Lebanese state and Hezbollah and between military and civilian elements in the country.

Bennett rues an alleged Israeli promise to the United States government in 2006 “not to hit Lebanon’s infrastructure” during that summer’s 34-day war – a promise the education minister contends thwarted an Israeli victory. He proposes the following formula for future conflicts:

“The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases – they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out.”

Strategic continuity

Beyond the less-than-subtle endorsement of war crimes, there’s another major problem with Bennett’s reasoning – which is that Israel has never been overly preoccupied with civilian-military distinctions in the first place.

For one thing, all of the items on his list of “legitimate targets” were already bombed in 2006. Harel should technically know these things since he himself reported them at the time, but he has nonetheless now determined that “it’s interesting to listen to” Bennett’s opinions on such matters.

One can only assume that, were Hezbollah to call for the indiscriminate bombing of traffic junctions in Tel Aviv, the phenomenon would be deemed something other than “interesting”.

As for any impending Israeli massacres of Lebanese civilians, this would constitute more of a continuation of business as usual than novel strategy.

In 2006, most of the estimated 1,200 killed in Lebanon were civilians, including the children slaughtered at close range by Israeli helicopter while attempting to evacuate their villages under explicit Israeli orders.

Also obviously qualifying as civilians were the more than 100 refugees wiped out by Israel in 1996 while sheltering at a United Nations compound in the south Lebanese town of Qana.

Going back a bit further in time, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1978 eliminated thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians, while the subsequent invasion of 1982 did away with some 20,000 people, the vast majority of them civilians.

Were the Israeli leadership at all concerned with cause-and-effect analyses, it might ponder such facts as that the origins of Hezbollah lie in none other than the 1982 affair – and that bombing people into the Middle Ages presumably isn’t the best way to curb anti-Israeli animosity.

Other stops on the tour

As it so happens, the medieval period is not the only forcible time travel option for the Lebanese public; other representatives of the Israeli state have proposed exile to a variety of historical epochs.

In 2014, for example, the Times of Israel reported that Israeli parliamentarian Yisrael Katz had threatened to return Lebanon to the Stone Age – a destination that is also regularly suggested for the Gaza Strip. Granted, the ubiquitous Israeli-induced rubble that often characterises sections of both territories endows the whole “stone age” concept with a new connotation.

At the start of the 2006 war, meanwhile, Israeli Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz warned of “turn[ing] back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years” – an arrangement that, if implemented literally, would have conveniently transported the country back to 1986 and the heyday of the Israeli occupation.

In the end, the resetting of the clock entailed the aforementioned mass loss of life and destruction of bridges, thoroughfares, and entire neighbourhoods. When I visited Lebanon shortly after the war, craters had replaced apartment blocks in many areas.

Preemptive exoneration?

According to Bennett, the point of issuing the Middle Ages threat is ultimately to try to avert conflict, a claim that would appear to be rather blatantly contradicted by Israel’s track record.

But a more plausible function of the continued focus on disappearing military-civilian boundaries in Lebanon – rendering everyone and everything in the country fair game for attack – is to preemptively exonerate Israel for war crimes in the inevitable eventual showdown.

Harel quotes Bennett’s unintelligible explanation of why a massive bombardment of Lebanese civilian infrastructure will be necessary if war becomes unavoidable: “You can’t fight rockets with tweezers.” This is a lesson Bennett apparently learned in 2006 when, Harel writes, he “commanded an elite unit sent deep into southern Lebanon to find Hezbollah’s rocket-launching squads”.

Personally, I can’t think of any more suitable CV for an education minister. And with bellicose folks running the Israeli show with the help of a handy system of obligatory army service, the world might do well to contemplate the military-civilian boundaries supposedly in place in the nation currently menacing its neighbours with deportation to past centuries.

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Posted by on March 21, 2017, With 1594 Reads Filed under World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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One Response to "Israel preparing to utterly destroy Lebanon?"

  1. US-First  March 21, 2017 at 9:48 am

    The notion of morphing civilians and members of the Lebanese military as future targets during an Israeli attack on their northern enemy fits the historical morphing of all Jews as guilty of the crimes of a few of their brethren and what is worse, indiscriminate targeting. The point will not be lost on those sure to gauge a corresponding increasing level of anti-semitism worldwide. It is a prospect we can do without. But we are dealing with the muddled mind-sets of egotistical louts of the mould of Bennett, Netanyahu and Lieberman – three birds of a feather. And politicians rarely, if ever, care about anyone but themselves. It is the nature of the Zionist animal.

    The Israeli regime are propagating the notion Hezbollah is in crisis. Gadi Eisenkot, Chief of the IDF, told an audience in Netanya two days ago how Hezbollah officers and not Israeli operatives killed Hezbollah leader Mustafa Amine Badreddine in May, 2016, as a result of a huge blast near Damascus airport. Sow doubt among their followers? Why kill Badreddine with a huge bomb when easy access – the kind of access available to Hezbollah officers, would merely require a bullet? A bomb would fit the Israeli MO. If Hezbollah is in crisis, as Eisenkot asserts, what better time to attack Lebanon and raze critical infrastructure to the ground? Besides, what better time to test those recently completed air-defense systems …

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