Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Truth about Life in Hezbollah Lebanon

23 July 22,

My aim is to let you consider stuff you will almost certainly not be reading in The Independent or hearing on the Today Programme in the UK. I watch world coverage of this unfolding disaster just like you do, and I am shocked by the damage and loss of life in Lebanon. Yes, civilian loss of life in Israel is minimal, but this is a much, much advanced country than that of south Lebanon. If Israel didn't have bomb shelters, a siren warning system and well-run police, fire and medical services (experienced from many years of suicide bombs) the losses would already be in high hundreds. Hezbollah took on a much more powerful enemy and it is not likely to back down.

First question – Who ARE the refugees on the run from the bombing?

1. They are in the main originally Palestinians, Shiite Moslem, who had fled Israel in the 1948 war of independence. The population is between 400 and 500,000; press reports say that 600,000 + refugees are on the move

2. They live in overcrowded refugee camps, villages and suburbs, mainly in south Lebanon and south Beirut. They survive through (a) UNWRA aid (b) menial labour (c) salaries and ex-gratia payments from Hezbollah – routed from Iran.

3. Palestinian refugees do not have Lebanese citizenship. (Not a well-known fact.)

4. They are excluded from Lebanese society. Palestinian refugees were banned from 73 professions (including law and medicine) in Lebanon until last year.

5. The Palestinian refugees provide Hezbollah its army and its civilian infrastructure. They provide their homes and land for bunkers, tunnels, and underground cells. Ready to fire rockets are tucked away in populated Hezbollah Shiite neighbourhoods, in apartment buildings, parking garages, out-houses, mosques and schools. Not exclusively, but mostly, Palestinian refugees and Hezbollah are one and the same.

6. Hezbollah is a closed area for the rest of Lebanon. It is entirely independent, providing its own services, its own policing, its education system, its own laws and its own army. The original Lebanese population has no connection with the refugees and their descendents. The Palestinian refugees have been mired in poverty and hopelessness, although shored up in recent years with millions of dollars worth of military equipment. Hezbollah is therefore extremely dangerous.

What does Israel gain by bombing Lebanese runways, roads and bridges?

1. To put a complete stop to more missiles getting to the Hezbollah by air, sea or road from Iran/Syria.

2. To buy time to bring the Hezbollah danger under control.

Is Israel out to destroy Lebanon?

1. No. Israel is bombing Hezbollah strongholds and missile bases, not Lebanese strongholds and missile bases.

2. Israel is assiduously avoiding those communities (between 65% and 75% of the population) which are anti-Hezbollah and anti-Palestinian. I have heard and seen interviews on BBC, Sky and CNN with Christian, Druze and Sunni Lebanese confirming they have not been bombed and that they are not afraid of being bombed.

What did the Palestinian refugees know before the Hezbollah attack?

1. They knew Hezbollah intended to attack Israel with missiles.

2. They knew where the missiles were hidden.

2. They were told that Hezbollah would wipe Israel off the face of the map.

3. They had been told, since 1948, that Israel would one day be destroyed and they would all return to the homes and villages of their grandparents and great grandparents.

What did the Refugees know after the Hezbollah attack?

1. They knew the Israelis were responding.

2. They knew they had to get out fast.

What am I afraid of?

1. That Ahmadinejad of Iran wants to annihilate Israel – he has said so many times.

2. That Nasrallah of Hezbollah wants to annihilate Israel - just take a look at their Manifesto.

3. Hezbollah has a build-up of 15,000* missiles with which to destroy Israel.
*Jane’s Defence Weekly (absolutely nothing to do with me)

4. Hezbollah is sending up to 10/15 missiles a day into Haifa (50 km north of here) – targeting the petro-chemical plants. The population of Haifa is 250,000

5. Nasrallah has 100 missiles with a 100km range which will target Tel Aviv.
The population of Tel Aviv and suburbs: 2.5 million

What am I sure of …

1. Hezbollah will fight until the last man, there will be NO compromise

2. The kidnapped soldiers are no longer alive.

3. It is going to be very difficult to get a cease-fire.

Is Israel concerned about the effects of the bombings on civilians?

1. Arabic language leaflets have been dropped and texts and answer-phone messages have been sent through the landline and mobile telephone system with up to 24 hours prior notice of bombings, covering the entire Hezbollah area. The refugees have responded in huge numbers, this is supported by NGO figures.

2. It will be discovered after this is over that no bombing in any raid or air attack anywhere in the world has ever resulted in such a minimal loss of life.

Is Hezbollah concerned about the effects of the bombings on civilians, any civilians?

What do you think?

Big Lie of the Week

"We Lebanese are one people."


The British press sees this as a battle of the weak against the strong. Israel is the cruel vicious bully in the playground.

But the real cruelty of the story is that Iran with Syrian help has given this poor, weak, rejected society billions of dollars worth of truly dangerous military equipment and the world of fundamentalist Islam expects Hezbollah will use it until the last missile is fired, until the last fighter is killed. Like cheering on gladiators in a fight to the finish contest.


Anonymous Marion said...

Way to go Jane!

6:03 AM  
Blogger tikkles said...

Word up, J.K.

Great beginning to what I hope will be a long-running weblog.

Eat that, JohnSnow, you Sanctimonious prick.

PS - loved the Jane's Defence joke.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Moneyrunner said...

Great reporting. Linked to you HERE

5:09 PM  
Blogger Achillea said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Jane, and thanks for some fascinating insight.

While the term 'root causes' gets overused and abused, it seems to me that the government of Lebanon didn't do its country any favors by marginalizing the Palestinians. Though it must be taken into account that for many years up until last year's Cedar Revolution Lebanon was effectively just a province of Syria.

9:44 PM  

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