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2006-08-29,1:11 PM

Lebanon's Victory and UN Resolution 1701

By Feroze H. Mithiborwala

Why did the Lebanese Resistance accept 1701 ?

Undoubtedly the National Lebanese Resistance has emerged victorious in the war against Israeli aggression. We came here in solidarity with the Lebanese people and to witness the "muqawama" or resistance. But we were in fact fortunate to witness the victory of Lebanon over the military might of Israel. The wheels of history are turning and the people of the world have drawn immense hope and inspiration from the courageous Lebanese Resistance led by the Hizbullah and its Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nassrullah. The Lebanese Resistance was also supported by the Lebanese Communist Party and they fought shoulder to shoulder with their comrades in the Hizbullah and the Amal and the other patriotic parties and organizations.The unity of the Lebanese people across all religions and classes and the resilience and resistance of the civil society have also been central to the triumph over Israel and the USA.

In the jubilation all around, it is imperative that we understand the meaning of UN resolution 1701. What Israel and America suffered militarily, they are trying to salvage diplomatically. It is true that Hizbullah did succeed in driving out Israel from the occupied lands of South Lebanon during a prolonged war between 1982 and 2000. But this time they have defeated the Israeli army in 34 days. Israel lost more than 100 soldiers and 40 Merkava tanks and moreover they did not succeed in capturing a single village or town. The only success for Israel was its slaughter of 1500 innocent civilians and the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure.

Then the question lies as to why did the Lebanese resistance agree to 1701 when they in reality had they Israelis in the corner. We spoke to the representatives of the Resistance and this is what emerged.

It is true that the resistance accepted 1701 and was in agreement with the Lebanese government but with some reservations that they have commented upon. The first priority of the resistance was to arrive at a truce whereby the Israeli policy of imposing "collective punishment" by widespread targeted killings of civilians would be brought to a halt. And that indeed has been brought to a halt. The resistance has appealed for the people to return to their homes in South Lebanon and has also announced that all the destroyed homes and infrastructure will be rebuilt. Hassan Nassrallah has called this the "Jihad al-bina'" or the Jihad for reconstruction. The faith that the people have on the resistance is so immense that in spite of the presence of Israeli troops in the South, the people are going back to their destroyed homes and farms in their hundreds of thousands.

The other aspect that should be clarified is that 1701 is not a "cease fire" but an "end to hostilities" and there is a significant difference between the two terms that may not be as apparent. Basically end of hostilities means that Israel will now stop targeting civilian populated areas and that has now given a respite to the people. On the other hand the "cease fire" is between the Resistance and Israel. Which basically means that if a tank or Israeli soldiers intrude further into Lebanese lands, the resistance will fight back. Also the resistance has unambiguously stated that the "State of War" will continue till Israel vacates all occupied Lebanese territory, including the Sheba'a farms. So the end of hostility agreement will remove the civilians from immediate danger and then the battle will be between the resistance and Israel.

I also asked Ali Fayyad, the political ideologue of the Hizbullah as to what prevents Israel from again targeting civilian areas under the same old pretext that Hizbullah was firing the rockets from those very areas. Ali Fayyad clearly stated that they valued the lives of civilians more than Israel and this is proved by the number of civilian casualties suffered by both sides. But he also believed that Israel will not target the civilians again due to International pressure since they have also lost the diplomatic and political battle. In spite of 1701, Israel has announced the siege of Lebanon by land, sea and air. The resistance is studying and analysing this as it clearly violates Article 1 of 1701 and International Law as it will clearly harm the Lebanese nation. The agreement also speaks of respecting the "blue line" or the Lebanese-Israeli border. Ali Fayyad stated that "unless there is a total withdrawal of Israeli soldiers, we will carry on the struggle and we will discuss the disarming of the Hizbullah only after we are liberated and Israel refrains from all future wars of aggression".

The fact of the matter is that it is only the resistance or the muqawama that can face up to the Israeli army. Lebanon lacks a army capable of taking on Israel. Even the President Emile Lahoud stated that "the only force capable of countering the Israeli aggression is the Resistance. Our army is only meant for internal policing and is lightly armed. It was Israel that started this war and they always find an excuse. Unlike some others within the Arab world, I was confident that the Resistance would be capable of fighting and defeating the Israeli army. Even though in terms of conventional arms the balance is overwhelmingly in favour of Israel, our guerilla resistance has proved victorious. That is why they want to disarm the Hizbullah, so that Israel can once again reoccupy Lebanon as in 1982."

Even Khalid Hadadh, secretary general of the Lebanese Communist Party supports the Lebanese resistance and said they they will resist the Israeli aggression in alliance with the Hizbullah. Commenting on Hassan Nassrallah he stated that "he is our Arab Che Guevara with a turban". Regarding 1701 Hadadh was of the opinion that it is a contradiction and will only lead to a tenous peace since it rewards the aggressor.

One basic factor of the Lebanese victory has been the unity of the people unlike Afghanistan and Iraq. The Left forces and the Hizbullah are doing their utmost to preserve this unity and are in dialogue with all the political parties and social segments. Comrade Khalid also emphatically defended the Hizbullah and called it the party of the downtrodden and the deprived. Hizbullah, he said was "part of every household and is mass socio-political movement for liberation". Comrade Khalid Hadad also said that the "defeat of the resistance will spell the end of Lebanon as a multi-religious and modern democratic society and that is why we stand in solidarity with the Hizbullah which is the vanguard of the resistance".

The victory of the Lebanese people will lead to the consolidation of the anti-imperialist upsurge the world over and will indeed give it a new direction and momentum against the global project of US-Israeli imperialism. We truly stand witness to a historic moment for the people of the world.

Feroze H. Mithiborwala wrote this article in Beirut, on 15/08/2006.

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