2006-09-05,3:48 PM

Puppet Arab Media and the Lebanon War

By Mahmood Abdullah

There is an Arabic TV channel dying to keep alive the debate on “mughamaraat” (adventures).(1) Since the crippled cease-fire in Lebanon, there is a concerted attempt (otherwise, why are the viewers strangled with monotony?) to discredit the resistance fighters. So the “experts” are logging in many many-hours to prove to the Muslim public (which is no more for sale) that it was the unwarranted risk (and not the Israeli aggression) that destroyed Lebanon.

When anybody waffles on serious matters, he/she is not only insulting his common sense but also the intelligence of his/her listeners. The other day, FOX and CNN both reported that one hundred “militants” were killed by the Israeli forces in Gaza. Conveniently, they did not mention that some of the “militants” were two and four-year-old babies. In one of the seminars I had attended, it was disclosed that a survey was carried out in which it transpired that many people in the U.S. believed that it was the Palestinians who were occupying the Israeli land.(2) Thanks to the U.S. giant media network. One cannot help feeling sorry for the American people, who do not deserve to be taken for a ride by their media and politicians.

Coming back to the obsession with the expression, “mughamaraat”, in all honesty, they do remember every Friday that there was something called al-Aqsa (which is still occupied by Israel). Day in and day out, these political “experts” appear on that TV channel, with the same script but change of face, demanding that those who undertook such a risk of abducting the two Israeli soldiers (nine thousand Palestinian and Lebanese, many of them women and children in the Israeli concentration camps, are only a herd of cattle in their sight) should not escape without accountability. They even give an example of the “democratic” system in Israel which has the courage, according to them, of holding its leaders accountable. What accountability? That which allowed Sharon to walk free with the blood of Sabra and Shatila and a dozen other massacres? But then, on what moral grounds are they themselves talking about accountability of the resistance fighters or the Israeli leaders? It will take them decades to approve the entry of the word ‘accountability’ into their dictionary.

But please don’t get them wrong as they keep on reminding their viewers. They make a point for the consumption of the Arab public and stress that they want to see Israel defeated, but not at the hands of the “mughamireen” (adventurers, referring to the resistance fighters). To degrade the brave resistance put up by the militia (when the cluster bombs and smart bombs were raining on them) they give credit to the Lebanese people as a whole for the steadfastness. The only steadfastness that could be registered for the mature and immature politicians in Lebanon is that they thankfully bit their tongue hard during the war to prevent it going out of control. Not to give credit where it is due is not only dishonesty with oneself but also with history. Perhaps the greatest achievement of the resistance fighters is their success in making the Arab public to think and ponder. As the apologetics are vying to keep mughamaraat-phobia alive in the mind of their public, the world of journalism has not gone bankrupt of honest assessments and confessions on war of genocide on Lebanon.

The Israeli war on Lebanon was pre-planned, the capture of the two Israeli soldiers was just the excuse to launch it.

Seymour M. Hersh, writes in The New Yorker magazine (Issue 21 August 2006) that the Bush administration was “closely involved” in planning the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Bush and Rice worked hard to delay the ceasefire as much as possible, knowing very well that the Israeli army had gone wild in destroying the infrastructure of the country and targeting the civilians, in violation of all the international accords. One cannot help but mentioning that the U.N. bowed down to the U.S. pressure and failed to condemn the cold-blooded murder of its own employees by the Israelis.

Hersh further writes, quoting his sources: “Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hizbullah—and shared it with Bush Administration officials—well before the July 12th kidnappings.” Through its deadly arsenal, the U.S. was conducting exercises for a potential war on Iran. Hersh quotes a Pentagon consultant that the U.S. had long planned to destroy Hizbullah and now the Pentagon was well pleased that somebody else was doing it for them. It goes without saying that this had exactly the opposite effect. All the Lebanese and Arab people united against the Israeli aggression.

Hersh quotes a U.S. government consultant that several Israeli officials visited Washington, separately, “to get a green light for the bombing operation and to find out how much the United States would bear.” The consultant said: “Israel began with Cheney. It wanted to be sure that it had his support and the support of his office and the Middle East desk of the National Security Council.” After that, “persuading Bush was never a problem, and Condi Rice was on board,” the consultant added.

During the war, Ehud Olmert reacted with resentment, questioning the moral credibility of the Europeans to condemn the civilian casualties in Lebanon. He accused them of killing 10,000 civilians in the war for liberation of Kosovo. His figure was twenty times over-stated. Benjamin Natanyahu also used the same rationale when he appeared on the Sky News during the war, and cited the example of Churchill for having razed German cities with their inhabitants to the ground. He said that he was not claiming that Churchill did not have a right to do so; but the Israeli forces have not done anything similar, he stressed. Natanyahu then appealed to the British public to be tolerant and understanding towards the civilian deaths caused by Israeli forces in Lebanon.

Robert Parry writes in Consortium News (13 August 2006) that Bush conveyed his strong personal support for the military offensive against Hizbullah during a White House meeting with Olmert on May 23, according to the sources familiar with the senior Israeli leaders. He also writes that an Israeli plan to use animals to deliver supplies to the Israeli troops in the rugged land in South Lebanon “turned into an embarrassment when the animals simply sat down” (and quite intelligently refused to move). Parry summarizes the fiasco by quoting the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power.” The paper continues: “You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month and then say, 'Oops, I made a mistake.' ”


1. The TV channel is Al-Mustaqillah (now known as al-Demoqratiyyah). The monotonous debate continues since the ceasefire.
2. The seminar I attended was in Leeds in the UK.


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