by Stephen Lendman
Mexico's President Porfirio Diaz (1830 - 1915) reportedly once said "Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States."
Poor Lebanon. It borders Israel. It does so with Syria at the wrong time. It's affected by ongoing conflict. Its southern neighbor matters most.
Hezbollah's part of Lebanon's coalition government. Israeli pressure got the State Department to declare it a foreign terrorist organization. It did so wrongfully. It falsely designated Hamas the same way.
It holds great sway over US foreign policy. Both countries partner in regional conflicts. Syria matters most now. Lebanon experienced Israeli aggression and violent incidents earlier.
For decades, Israel repeatedly violated Lebanese territory. It regularly overflies the country. It does so almost daily. It launched numerous cross-border attacks.
In 1968, Operation Gift involved Israeli commandos. They attacked Beirut International Airport. They destroyed 12 passenger planes and a cargo aircraft.
In 1978, Operation Litani began. Israel invaded South Lebanon. It did so up to the Litani River. Up to 2,000 Lebanese died. Most were civilians. Another quarter million were displaced.
UNIFIL was established. South Lebanon was occupied. Paramilitary peacekeepers replaced Israeli troops. They served as proxy enforcers.
So did South Lebanon Army forces (SLA). They were collaborators. They betrayed their own people. They operated until May 2000. More on that below. UNIFIL remains. It's mandate is renewed annually.
In June 1982, Israel again invaded South Lebanon. An Israeli false flag was pretext. Arafat was falsely blamed for Abu Nidal militants' attempted assassination of Israeli UK ambassador Shlomo Argov.
Israel got the war it wanted. Robert Fisk called what happened "one of the most shocking war crimes of the 20th century." He did so for good reason.
Around 18,000 Palestinians were slaughtered. Sabra and Shatila refugees were massacred.
Southern Lebanon remained occupied until May 2000. Israel still illegally holds Sheba Farms.
It's a 14-square mile water-rich area near Syria's Golan. It's been lawlessly occupied since 1967 along with Ghajar. It's a bordering Lebanese village.
Sabra and Shatila remain symbols of Israeli ruthlessness. At the time, Ariel Sharon was defense minister. He ordered mass killing. He let Phalangist fascists do his dirty work.
Palestinian civilians were massacred in cold blood. Women were raped multiple times before being killed. Children were murdered like adults.
Whole families were shot, stabbed, bludgeoned to death, or buried dead or alive under homes. Some were tortured before dying. Bodies were decapitated.
Corpses were charred and violated. Eyes were gouged out. Faces were unrecognizable.
Israel maliciously planned it. Sharon led it. He called it "ridding the world of the center of international terrorism." Orwell couldn't have said it better. No one to this day was punished.
A Kahan Commission of Inquiry was established. It investigated the incident. Sharon's personal aide recorded his instructions on entering the camps. Commission members heard it.
Sharon said: "Only one element, and this is the IDF, shall command the forces in the area. For the operation in the camps, the Phalangists should be sent in" to do Israel's dirty work.
On September 16, killings began. Phalangists were told to use their own methods. On September 10, Sharon claimed 2,000 armed terrorists remained in the camps.
He lied. No weapons were found. Armed resistance was absent. Civilians were defenseless. Slaughter was like shooting fish in a barrel.
Even after evidence disputed Sharon's official account, he claimed thousands of terrorists had "very large quantities of arms." On September 24, he said so on Israeli TV.
He and other Israeli commanders directed Phalangist killings. They began almost immediately. Militiamen entered homes. They slit throats.
They axed, shot and raped victims. They lined up others outside. They executed them in cold blood. Slaughter continued through September 18.
On September 19, Lebanese forces took control of the camps. Foreign journalists and diplomats entered for the first time. They found bodies strewn everywhere. Many were mutilated. Some were buried in shallow graves and sand piles.
At first, Israel denied involvement or knowledge. Later, an Israeli spokesman said fierce fighting broke out between Phalangists and "terrorists."
He claimed IDF forces had to intervene to prevent a much larger tragedy. He lied. Israel's entire account was fabricated. Sharon directed everything. He provided logistical and operational support.
He supplied weapons, ammunition, food and water. He did so throughout the operation. He was forced out as defense minister.
Prosecution never followed. He later became prime minister. He and others like him symbolize Israeli ruthlessness. Its history is blood-drenched. It operates lawlessly. It did so from inception. It does so today.
Hezbollah was established in 1985. It was formed to resist Israeli occupation. It's politically legitimate. Former Lebanese President Emile Lahood called it "an integral part of the Lebanese government. (It's also) part of our military (and) social order."
It provides essential social services. They include charity, education, and healthcare. It enjoys broad support. It's a bulwark against Israeli aggression.
Its military wing is defensive. It's prepared to respond if attacked. In 2006, it proved its effectiveness. Israel learned painfully. It launched aggressive war.
It was outfoxed and humiliated. The IDF never forgot. It wants revenge. How and when remains to be seen.
Israel occupied South Lebanon remained until May 2000. Lebanese civilians suffered enormously. A 2007 American University of Beirut study documented 6,672 Israeli terrorist acts.
They were launched against Lebanon and Palestine. They occurred from 1967 - 2007. Many more were committed since then. Israel's rap sheet includes horrendous crimes. Responsible officials remain unaccountable.
May 25 is Victory Day of National Resistance (VDNR). It marks South Lebanon's liberation. Bordering Israel means it's never complete. The IDF can attack any time.
State-sponsored terrorism is official policy. Covert Israeli elements infest Lebanon. Thousands operate globally. They're involved in espionage, targeted assassinations, car bombings, abductions, and other destabilizing activities.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) highlighted VDNR. It signifies Israel's defeat. Twenty-two years of occupation ended.
Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper called it "shameful, the day of shame." In 1982, the Lebanese National Resistance Front (LNRF) was formed. Its members operated effectively. They helped free South Lebanon.
Israel's occupation ended unconditionally without negotiation. Freedom fighters forced Israel out. During early 2000, hundreds of special operations were launched.
On May 24, 2000, resistance fighters "stormed the occupation and its militias." Israeli agent Akl Hashem was assassinated. IDF convoys were attacked.
"At 6:42 a.m., the Mercedes of Israeli General Benny Gantz crossed gate 93 of Fatima on the Lebanese-Israeli borders to be followed by vehicles and troop carriers into the occupied Palestinian lands abandoning an occupation barbed wire for which they paid souls and money but in vain."
"On the same day and at 6:43, Israel closed its borders with Lebanon after pulling out the last soldier to end a 22 year occupation that cost it 1,200 soldiers."
Israeli forces were routed. They were humiliated. Proxy SLA forces were reviled. With Israel gone, they had no choice. Some surrendered. Others fled cross border to Israel.
Khiam Detention Center was opened. Captured resistance fighters were freed. SLA forces and Israeli soldiers tortured and abused them. Civilians unwilling to collaborate faced similar ill-treatment.
Israeli border defenses weren't complete. Tensions escalated after withdrawal. Lebanese youths cut the separating barrier. They stoned nearby Israeli patrols. They retaliated with live fire. They target Palestinians the same way.
Hundreds of Israeli soldiers died during occupation. Israel gambled and lost. They hoped Syria at the time would fill its vacuum. It wanted Hezbollah controlled. Syria and Iran support Hezbollah. They're allied against Israeli and Western aggression.
VDNR is commemorated annually. Lebanon, Palestine and other Arab countries celebrate it. Besting Israel's military shows it's not invincible. What happened once can happen again.
In 2006, Hezbollah proved it. It's more powerful now than then. It'll resist if attacked. Whether Israel plans to remains to be seen. It may not wish a third humiliation. The fullness of time will explain more.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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