Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ghosts of Massacred Armenians Could Haunt Turkey’s Chances To Join European Union

Turkey’s bid to join the European Union could suffer by its refusal to admit the genocide of its Armenian Christian population nearly a century ago.

When European Union leaders meet in Brussels Dec. 14-15, the debate to admit Turkey likely will hinge on, among other issues, its failure to open its ports and airports to Cyprus, which opposes all talk of membership. The Netherlands, Germany, Austria and France are cool to admitting Turkey and are backing Cyprus.

Lingering in the background, though, will be the ghosts of the Armenian genocide, a crime Turkey has denied at every turn and is still “investigating” to this day.

As recently as March, 2005, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an “impartial study” into the genocide as if the facts of the slaughter of a milion Armenians were ever in doubt.

When the “Young Turk” nationalists created the Republic of Turkey after World War I, they refused to punish the perpetrators of the 1915 genocide. Mustapha Kemal formed a new government in 1920 that forced the Allies to sign the Treaty of Lausanne, ceding Anatolia, home of the Armenians, to Turkish control. Two years earlier Anatolia had been parceled out to Italy and Greece after the Ottoman Empire’s surrender to the Allies.

As author Elizabeth Kolbert put it in the November 6th The New Yorker, “For the Turks to acknowledge the genocide would thus mean admitting that their country was founded by war criminals and that its existence depended on their crimes.”

“Turkey has long sought to join the European Union, and, while a history of genocide is clearly no barrier to membership, denying it may be; several European governments have indicated that they will oppose the country’s bid unless it acknowledges the crimes committed against the Armenians.”

So opposed is Turkey to discussion of the subject, when the U.S. Congress sought a resolution in 2000 to memorialize the Armenian genocide, Turkey threatened to refuse the U.S. use of its Incirlik airbase and warned it might break off negotiations for the purchase of $4.5-billion worth of Bell Textron attack helicopters.

President Clinton informed House Speaker /Dennis Hastert passage of the resolution could “risk the lives” of Americans and that put an end to the bill. Like his predecessor, President George Bush has bowed down to Ankara’s wishes and issues Armenian Remembrance Day proclamations “without ever quite acknowledging what it is that’s being remembered,” The New Yorker points out.

The cover up denies Turkey’s historic victimization of some 2-million Christian residents treated as second-class citizens by special taxation, harassment, and extortion. After Sultan Abdulhamid II came to power in 1876, he closed Armenian schools, tossed their teachers in jail, organized Kurdish regiments to plague Armenian farmers and even forbid mention of the word “Armenia” in newspapers and textbooks.

In the last decade of the 20th Century, Armenians were already being slaughtered by the thousands but systematic extermination began April 24, 1915, with the arrest of 250 prominent Armenians in Istanbul. In a purge anticipating Hitler’s slaughter of European Jewry, Armenians were forced from their homes, the men led off to be tortured and shot, the women and children shipped off to concentration camps in the Syrian desert.

At the time, the U.S. consul in Aleppo wrote Washington, “So severe has been the treatment that careful estimates place the number of survivors at only 15 percent of those originally deported. On this basis the number surviving even this far being less than 150,0000…there seems to have been about 1,000,000 persons lost up to this date.”

In our own time, the Turkish Historical Society published “Facts on the Relocation of Armenians (1914-1918”). It claims the Armenians were relocated during the war “as humanely as possible” to keep them from aiding the Russian armies.

In 2005, Turkish Nobel Prize recipient Orhan Pamuk, was said to have violated Section 301 of the Rurkish penal code for “insulting Turkishness” in an interview he gave to a Swiss newspaper. “A million Armenians were killed and nobody but me dares to talk about it,” Pamuk said. Also, Turkish novelist Elif Shafak was brought up on a like charge for having a fictional character in her “The Bastard of Istanbul” discuss the genocide.

Fortunately for him, Turkish historian Tanar Akcam resides in America. His new history, “A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility”(Metropolitan) otherwise probably would land him in jail.

As there are few nations that have not dabbled in a bit of genocide, one wonders why Turkey persists in its denials? After all, genocide is hardly a bar to UN admission or getting a loan from the World Bank.

Turkey has every right to membership in the same sordid club as Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Russia, Germany, Italy, Japan, France, China, and America. Why must it be so sensitive? Let them confess and sit down with the other members to enjoy a good cup of strong coffee. They’ll be made to feel right at home, as long as they don’t mention Tibet, Iraq, Cambodia, the Congo, Chechnya, Timor, Darfur, Rwanda ad nauseum. After all, there are ghosts everywhere.

>>Sherwood Ross

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Human Rights Watch still denying Lebanon the right to defend itself

"I hope I am not the only person discomforted by the idea that a major human rights organisation thinks it has a legitimate role divining what two sides in a war wanted to achieve rather than what they did in fact achieve, and then seeks to make judgments about war crimes based on its interpretations of such intentions.
Whitson could have distanced herself from Bouckaert’s comments, saying they were unjustified, but instead she chose to defend them. Which serves only to increase my suspicions about HRW’s agenda.
A responsible human rights organisation ought to be concerned with the events of the Lebanese conflict only, and then try to judge the degree to which the acts committed by both sides fell within the parameters of legitimate warfare, defined as self-defence and the protection of important national interests. War is never a moral event, but it can be conducted within certain constraints that should be the primary concern of human rights monitors.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His book, Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State, is published by Pluto Press. His website is www.jkcook.net"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In the Name of "Justice And Patriotism"

Tens of hostages in exchange for just two -
Shows the worth of an Arab compared to a Jew.*
One baby, “a future terrorist”, worthy of being killed,
As the child of the “chosen nation” deserves to be spared.

Forever paying the price of not being the “right” race,
Being discriminated against for not praying the “right” way,
For not having blond hair, blue eyes and white complexion,
For being a Muslim and not a Jew or Christian.

All those discriminations being carried on
Against Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon
By those who invented the term "equality";
Which came first: terrorism or inequity?

* On June 12th, 2006, Hezbullah captured 2 Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, in an attempt to exchange them for many lebanese and arab civilians captured by Israel over the years.

>>Daisy Chiftjian

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back in the ‘Hood…Or What’s Left of It

It’s 7:40 Sunday evening. My friend and I are driving, and we have just entered Beirut’s Southern Suburb (a.k.a. DahiyĆ©). Smoggy “air” fills the atmosphere, making it impossible to see much farther. There’s traffic slowly moving around, and there’s nothing different from were we left off 40 days ago … Except for the dust…and the visible destruction that we have finally started to see.

We drive past a bombed bridge, and a building that’s become a pile of stones except for the remains of a few hanged clothes, and some glimpses of furniture. For a moment I fantasize that the building was abandoned, and the left-to-dry laundry – along with many other items – was left behind. But the rotten stench of human decay which is creeping even through the closed windows of the car tells me otherwise.

We pass by another collapsed building…
…and another one with huge holes in it…
…here’s another hole in the bridge…

In summary, there’s a collapsed building on every lane. And the smell is everywhere.

People are walking past the traffic looking like they always have; they are the residents of the area. Women in headscarves hold handkerchiefs to their noses, perhaps to muzzle the odor or to keep the dust from their lungs. Most probably both.

The dark has set in for quite some time now, and the lights are back on, many shining from the remaining buildings and others from the shops and the lampposts on the streets.

Above the ruins, fireworks are blasting in shimmers, celebrating victory. As we drive slowly underneath them, I wonder who really won beneath the face of our victory. It’s too soon to tell, because this was not the conventional State-to-State war as we know it, but a war of another kind. Still, I ponder, even if we didn’t win, we didn’t let them win either. And that’s a victory in itself…albeit a small one, I add to myself as I glance back down to the ruins by my side, slowly drifting back to the moment.

But one thing’s for sure: in this land of contradictions, where people celebrate their victory above the debris despite the losses, there’s no mistaking that life goes on even more fervently…

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Israel Must Finally Be Held to Account For Its Criminal Acts

Israel's crimes so far have gone unchallenged because most world leaders have supported them overtly or tacitly. In so doing, these leaders and other officials are guilty criminal accomplices under Article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter that states: "Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the....crimes (listed in Articles 6b or 6c of the Charter) are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan." By this standard, the entire US Senate and all but eight members of the US House are also criminal accomplices by result of their votes during the week of July 17 to unconditionally support Israel's "supreme international crime" of illegal aggression against Lebanon and Palestine unjustifiably claiming Israel has the right of self-defense guaranteed it under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

It's long past time that Israel no longer be allowed to get away with its crimes and for its officials responsible for them to be held to account for them. Since world leaders on their own won't act (especially as they're guilty co-conspirators), mass worldwide public protest and action must do it for them and demand either the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague indict and prosecute Israeli officials responsible for what they've inflicted on Lebanon and the OPT or the UN General Assembly must act in its stead to establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel. It has the authority to do it under Article 22 in the UN Charter and twice before used it for Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The ICC was established in 2002 in accordance with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998. It's authorized by its signatories to act as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity as defined by the 1945 Numerberg Charter drafted by the US and its main WW II allies to try Nazi war criminals. The court was established to adjudicate in the kinds of cases Israeli officials should be brought to book for. However, while Israel signed the final act of the Rome conference creating the ICC, it voted against the statute to remain free of its authority. People demanding justice thus may have no other recourse than to have the UN General Assembly act to establish a special International Tribunal for Israel that will use its authority to prosecute culpable Israeli officials in the Hague if they can be brought there or in absentia if they're not.

Israel has a long history of criminal and abusive acts. Long before the June 25 incident near Kerem Shalom crossing that began the current conflict, the UN Human Rights Commission held that Israel had violated nearly all 149 articles under the Fourth Geneva Convention that governs the treatment of civilians in war and under occupation and in so doing is guilty of war crimes according to international law. The Commission also determined Israel as an occupier in the OPT has committed "crimes against humanity" as defined under the 1945 Nuremberg Charter. By its actions since June 25 against the Palestinians and especially after July 12 in Lebanon, Israel has compounded its crimes by committing many more of them.

It remains for an international court of law to name those individuals culpable for these crimes and to state the specific charges. But the one accusation above all others should be that Israel violated the most important of all binding international laws under the UN Charter to which Israel is a signatory. The Charter authorizes a nation to use force only under two conditions: when authorized to do it by the Security Council or under Article 51 that allows the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member....until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security." In other words, necessary self-defense is permitted.

Israel's extreme responses following the capture of three of its soldiers, known in both cases to have been planned well in advance awaiting only convenient pretext to initiate them, are no acts of self-defense. They're acts of premeditated illegal aggression and, as such, are what the Nuremberg Tribunal that tried the Nazis called "the supreme international crime." The Nazis found guilty of it were hanged and justice was served. Under Article 6b of the Nuremberg Charter, Israel also committed the flagrant war crimes of "plunder of public (and) private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, (and) devastation not justified by military necessity." Under Article 6c, it's guilty of the "crimes against humanity (of) murder..., deportation and other inhumane acts committed against (the Lebanese and Palestinian) civilian population(s), before (and) during the war."

The Nuremberg Tribunal set a high standard which it followed based on the principles of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact signed by 63 nations after WW I to renounce war as an instrument of foreign policy. The Pact didn't prevent WW II, but what it stipulated formed the basis for "crimes against peace." The Nuremberg Charter described those crimes as "the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a premeditated war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties." It prosecuted the Nazis for what they did including the ones charged with this supreme crime. The UN is surely authorized to act to establish an international criminal court just as the victorious US, UK and USSR allies acted on their joint authority during and after WWII to establish the Nuremberg Tribunal to try Nazi war criminals.

Israel also has a long and disturbing record of flagrantly violating or ignoring international laws and norms. In its past conflicts as well as the current ones, besides committing "the supreme international crime" of illegal aggression, it's using weapons banned under the Hague Convention of 1907, the 1925 Geneva Protocol and succeeding Geneva Weapons Conventions that outlaw the use in war of chemical, biological or any other "poison or poisoned weapons. In the 1973 war and currently, Israel is using depleted uranium (DU) weapons that are radioactive and chemically toxic and thus clearly fit the definition of poisonous weapons banned under the 1907 Hague Convention.

It's also suspected of using other illegal weapons including chemical agents, white phosphorous bombs and shells against civilian targets that burn flesh to the bone and can't be extinguished by water that only makes the burning worse when used, cluster bombs, and a terror weapon called "flashettes" which explode and shoot out 1000s of nails in all directions. In addition, the IDF is reportedly testing in real time some new terror weapons (using the helpless Lebanese and Palestinians as their lab rats) including a thermobaric solid fuel-air explosive bomb able to penetrate buildings, underground shelters and tunnels creating a blast pressure great enough to suck all the oxygen out of spaces struck and the lungs of all those in the vicinity. All these weapons are either questionable or illegal under Hague and/or Geneva international law.

All the above actions clearly warrant Israel's criminal prosecution by an international court. Yet there are still others to be added to them. Israel ignored the World Court in the Hague that ruled 14 - 1 in 2004 that the annexation/separation wall it's building is "contrary to international law" because it "destroyed and confiscated" property, greatly restricts Palestinian movement, and "severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of (the) right to self-determination." As a result, the Court ordered construction to end at once, the existing portion of it built to be taken down, and Palestinians adversely affected by its construction to be compensated for their losses. Israel ignored the ruling, continues building the wall, and thus is violating international law. In addition, over the last half century, Israel has been a serial abuser of UN resolutions flagrantly and willfully ignoring over five dozen of them that condemned or censured it for its actions against the Palestinians or other Arab people, deplored it for committing them or demanded the Jewish state end them.

Like its US ally, Israel is also know to be a serial abuser of torture as a means of inflicting punishment or trying to elicit information from the 10,000 or more Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners it forcibly abducted and now holds in its prisons. According to Amnesty International, Israel is the only country in the world to effectively legalize torture (now, of course, the US has as well). Many of those Israel holds in custody are political prisoners held administratively without charge, and Israeli human rights monitoring group B'Tselem reports Israel's use of torture is flagrant, widespread and routinely used against them. Such practice is clearly a violation of international law that bans the use of torture or degrading treatment under any circumstances. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlawed it in 1948. The Fourth Geneva Convention then did it in 1949 banning any form of "physical or mental coercion" and affirming detainees must at all times be treated humanely. The European Convention followed in 1950. Then in 1984, the UN Convention Against Torture became the first binding international instrument dealing exclusively with the issue of banning torture in any form for any reason. Israel ignores these and all other international laws and norms but has never yet been held to account for its actions. It's way past time that injustice be addressed and corrected. World public opinion overwhelmingly demands it.

It now remains for an international court to place Israeli officials on trial, have them answer for their past and present crimes, and see to it they pay the price for them if found guilty. That must happen if those harmed by them are ever able to achieve the justice they seek and deserve. It's also crucial this action be taken soon to send a clear message to Israeli officials that world public opinion no longer will tolerate this behavior and that it forced the UN to act in its behalf to demand justice in a world court of law. Even if Israel doesn't accept the court's authority, as will likely happen, its establishment alone may send a message to the Jewish state strong enough to make it cease further aggression against its current victims. It may also deter it and the US from committing further acts of aggression against Syria and Iran now in their plans based on credible reports quoting high-level officials in both countries. If it happens, it's part of the US and Israeli grand plan to destroy Iran's legal commercial nuclear capability, redraw the map of the Middle East, remove the Iranian, Syrian and Hamas independent leaderships in it (as well as destroy the legitimate Hezbollah resistance), and replace them with new regimes henceforth acting as subservient and reliable client states. Neither the US nor Israel must any longer be allowed to get away with their current wars of aggression or have world leader's support their right to extend them further in the region as they likely have in mind to do.
>>From "Israel Must Be Held Accountable For Its International Law Violations" by Steve Lendman

Saturday, August 12, 2006

After One Month

31 days. More than a thousand dead. More than 4000 injured. And dying. Homelessness. Hunger. Poverty. Displacement. Disease. And the list of what describes the aftermath of a war goes on.

What has been accomplished? What has been achieved that couldn’t have been attained with diplomacy and negotiations? The fatalities? The destruction of what took 30 years to build?

Perhaps there was accumulation of some bombs and weapons that Israel didn’t know what to do with anymore.

Perhaps it needed to test them and see how harmful they can prove to be.

Or perhaps it thought it can perform all these inhuman acts against a much less militarily prepared and unprotected country and get away with it. And it is. Like it could in 1967, 1982 and 1996. But then isn’t that always what encouraged the Israeli government to act so recklessly all the time? While so many rulings and punishments went for so many countries after violating international resolutions put forth by UNSC, nothing ever threatened Israel.

Perhaps as much as Israel is bearing the trauma of being a genocide victim, the whole world (or at least US and Europe) seems to be putting up with the trauma of being a perpetrator. Well, Israel is not the victim anymore.

Who’s going to feel guilty now? Who’s going to pay for all this mess? Who is going to bow its head before all the dead?

I do not know how many more wars have to be waged before some punishment sets in the formula. Lebanon is over now, but there’s still Palestine. I just know I can’t stomach the thought of all those victims’ and martyrs’ blood being shed like an offered sacrificial animal’s at some altar. At least when an offering is made, something is expected in return.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Propaganda War So Far

In 1982, shortly after Israel's invasion of Lebanon and bombardment of Beirut, the Israeli government began the "Hasbara Project," which sought to influence public opinion in the US in ways ranging from lobbying journalists to having Israeli high school students visit their US counterparts to say how cool they were (our experience) - all with talking points designed to counter the impressions left by the destruction of Beirut and the massacres at Shabra and Shatila. Now that history is repeating itself (with Hezbollah in the PLO role) and worldwide opinion is reeling from images of dead women and children in Qana and elsewhere ("war crimes," says Human Rights Watch), the propaganda wars are intensifying - and not just from Israel. On the internet, the big news is a piece of software called Megaphone, promoted by a website called giyus.org ("Give Israel Your United Support"). Megaphone identifies comment boards and anti-Israel articles and asks users to flood them with counterpoints (the software has also been used by opponents to find the same cyber battlefields). From both sides, as many as 10,000 government, commercial, and military websites have been hacked in cyber attacks, including NASA, Microsoft (eh... why not?), and a live hacking of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah during a televised speech. Other "PSYOPS" campaigns include flooding south Lebanon with leaflets, text messages, and voice mail. Despite these efforts, however, most non-Shia Lebanese are slowly drifting towards sympathy - if not outright support - for Hezbollah's resistance. For Muslims (at least the ones so influenced), Al Qaeda's late show of support has done little to hide the eclipsing they have felt under Hezbollah's persistent rocket barrages. For non-Muslims, the fierce questioning of stone-faced Israeli spokesman by increasingly incensed non-American journalists have made some observers feel they are watching "two different wars." But, most dangerously, propaganda has veered into conspiracy as photographers in south Lebanon have been accused of complicity with Hezbollah, staging events for "shock value." Other theories take the situation in Qana further, asserting that the entire episode was staged. Though these have been proven false by Human Rights Watch and others, they have been flouted by those trying to bolster Israel's case in the conflict - often armed with Megaphone and an increasing sense of desperation. One proponent's claim that a frequently published picture of a Lebanese relief worker in Qana was a "Hezbollah official" could only state that "all I have to go on is gut instinct." In this war, as in all others, truth is often the first casualty.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Scattered Links of a Broken Chain of Thoughts

Another bomb
Burning fires
Tattered roads
Torn bridges
Demolished homes
Stench of death
Chaos and disarray

Another bomb
Sleepless night
Startled and alert
Restless nerves
Edgy tempers
Raging hearts
Devastated lives

Another bomb
Destroyed hopes
Shattered dreams
Ambitions lost
Trapped inside
Falling victims
Of tall tale politics

“Welcome aboard F-16,
We wish you a pleasant flight.
You should do everything
To make your stay in your destination
A most terrifying and unpleasant one.
During take off, landing, and in between
You are required to show no mercy.
Thank you for flying with us,

We hope to see you again soon!”

>>Daisy Tchiftjian

Monday, July 31, 2006

Epitaph for a Little Girl

Little girl,
What were you dreaming of
When the roar of the aircrafts awoke you?
What did you feel when the birds of prey,
Ready for the kill, hovered above?

Did you feel the danger
Of what was to happen?
Did you turn to your mother for protection?
Or did she run to shield you
From the death that awaited both of you?

Surrendering to her fate,
Did she whisper smiling
“Don’t be scared, we’ll finally be free”?
Or did she scream her lungs out
Her voice lost in the sound of the flare?

What was your last thought,
Little girl,
When the bomb fell?
Did you have time to look to heaven
When on your body the walls crashed?

What was your mother’s last memory
When her life flashed before her eyes?
Was it the remembrance of a happy day?
Or her newborn son’s splattered head
Ten years before, on such a cursed day?

Little girl from the rubbles
I know you were terrified
You didn’t die sleeping and unawares;
You were terrified, sitting with your knees
Up to your chest, your arms holding on to them,
Because when they removed you from under the ruins,
Your body wasn’t limp, it was all tensed up
To the tip of your curling toes
So was your mother’s
My little girl from the rubbles
You weren’t dreaming
You weren’t screaming
You were praying…

Does your soul feel the touch of my tears,
Little girl of barely ten years?
>>Daisy Tchiftjian

Saturday, July 29, 2006

“Don’t Throw Stones When Your House Is Made of Glass”

It’s been 15 days since Israel started a wide-scale war on the whole of Lebanon, claiming revenge from Hezbollah for kidnapping 2 of its soldiers in a cross-border attack on July 12. But somehow and for some reason Israel also targeted innocent lives – mostly of which were children, productive factories, homes, buildings, roads, bridges, ports, airports, communication towers, even trucks, buses, cars, ambulances, motorcycles, all of which carried fleers. Indeed, the war took the country 30 years back, when many of the recently killed didn’t exist then either, when many of the buildings that are now ruined were ruined then as well, when all the bridges that are debased now, weren’t set up then either…

It’s been 15 days that those of us alive have been plastered to every news channel available on TV, watching the horrible scenes of deaths, injuries, ruins, and pollution. Like a starved dog desperately looking up at its master for a bite of food, we look expectantly upon the screens after every meeting, hoping to hear the only word that will save us from this agony: ceasefire. The only difference is that the dog most probably gets the bite.

I have never believed in violence. I have never believed in war. I am a faithful supporter of diplomacy. But I do, however, believe that some sides make it impossible to stay diplomatic. That’s one factor that gave birth to Hezbollah (Party of God) in 1982 to ward off Israeli forces that waged war and occupied Lebanon. Hezbollah is the chief political party that represents the Islamic Shi’ite community in Lebanon. Being an officially recognized political party and a national resistance movement by the republic, Hezbollah maintains 14 out of 128 seats in the parliament and one place in the cabinet. Its popularity increased in Lebanon and the arab world when it persisted and finally succeeded in driving out the Israeli forces out of the Southern terrain of Lebanon in 2000.

What stimulates my sardonic senses, in all this bloody mayhem, is the paradoxical and desperate usage of the word terrorist to describe Hezbollah, by Israel and its back-up the US, in an attempt to justify, excuse and further encourage this slaughter.

War on terrorism. What a great big lie. It reminds me of an Armenian proverb that says “The robber stole from the robber, God saw and began to wonder…” Who is calling who terrorist? I am yet to see a terrorist organization as a nationally recognized political party, and a government idiotic enough to admit a terrorist group into its parliament and cabinet. Also, the terrorists I know work underground, away from the public eye. On the other hand, Hezbollah even has its own local and international broadcasting channel (Al Manar), and its own radio station (Al Nour). On top of that, I suppose it takes a Robin Hood kind of “thief”, or in this case “terrorist”, to provide its community with vast social services; according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, "Hezbollah not only has armed and political wings - it also boasts an extensive social development programme. The group currently operates at least four hospitals, 12 clinics, 12 schools and two agricultural centres that provide farmers with technical assistance and training. It also has an environmental department and an extensive social assistance programme. Medical care is also cheaper than in most of the country's private hospitals and free for Hezbollah members."(1) How terrorizing.

Now, for a moment let’s suppose Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. But then, what is the difference between a state that still occupies a land that isn’t theirs in the first place? 15 years before attacking Lebanon in 1982, i.e. in 1967, Israel took hold of a 25 kilometer square area called Shebaa farms on the western slopes of Mount Hermon which forms a boundary between Syria and Lebanon. In 1951, Syria had handed that territory to Lebanon, and has since officially acknowledged it as Lebanese(2). However, Israel argues that it captured the land from Syria, although both the latter and Lebanon insist that it’s a Lebanese territory. Here I should mention that after the Taif agreement that ended the civil war in Lebanon in 1990, and which called for the "disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias" and suggested that the government "deploy the Lebanese army in the border area adjacent to Israel", Hezbollah promised to disarm only after the complete retrieval of Isreali forces from Lebanon. It makes you wonder about the purpose of the Israeli presence in a land that’s known by all sides who it belongs to…

What makes the difference between a terrorist and a government that encourages air strikes on a refugee camp where hundreds of people had believed it to be a safe and secure shelter? In April 1996, during the Operation Grapes of Wrath where Israel had launched yet another air campaign against Hezbollah, it also raided an air strike on a UN posted refugee camp, killing 106 refugees. What is the difference between a terrorist and a government that doesn’t mind its soldiers killing innocent civilians? So far, the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) have killed up to 600 civilians by and large since July 12 and have left thousands wounded, and many more homeless. And finally, what makes the difference between a terrorist organization and government that supports the bombing of an ambulance or a fleeing motorcycle? The difference is having another such barbarous government’s support; it is having an all powerful state behind its back; a lying administration that went into war on Iraq under the deceitful claims that it harbors weapons of mass destruction; it’s the same administration that also allowed the torture and abuse, sometimes to death, of captured Iraqi detainees in its prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And both these governments deem the entire world to be foolish and ignorant enough to buy their charades.

US and Israel; the perfect political match… Two legally terrorist governments that use one another for their own advantage. The US using Israel to gain control over the Middle East, and Israel using the US to realize its dreams of an Israel with natural borders(3) and no "pests" called Palestinians in between.

Everyone knows. At least every politician knows. Do any of the “justice-loving” unions and countries do anything about it? “What are we? Crazy?!”

It’s said “Don’t throw stones when your house is made of glass”. But it appears to me, this particular glass is bulletproof…

(1)LEBANON: The many hands and faces of Hezbollah. IRIN News (2006-03-29).
(2) Basshar al Assad said, in a news conference in Paris, that Beirut and Damascus will redefine their countries' border at Shebaa Farms after the Israeli withdrawal from the area; then they will hand a new map to the UN.
(3) Israel’s founding leader, Ben Guirion’s dream was to establish Israel with natural borders , having Jordan river in the East, and the Litani river in Lebanon in the north.
>>Daisy Tchiftjian