When a war is not a war (unless the media says it is) By William Bowles

14 July 2006

Dawn air strikes on south Lebanon on 13 July 2006 claimed the lives of at least 44 civilians, including over 15 children, and wounded over 100. Israel bombed bridges linking the north and south of the country and all three runways of Beirut’s commercial airport. The Israeli army’s Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, promised that “nothing is safe in [Lebanon], as simple as that.” — ‘Israel attacks Lebanon’, 14/7/06

But it’s not all going Israel’s way. An eyewitness reports an Israeli naval vessel being hit by a missile and sunk off the coast of Beirut.

Meanwhile, back in the safe confines of London, the Frontline Club, an exclusive hang-out for the aristocracy of the journalistic ‘profession’ has a special discussion coming up this coming Tuesday titled ‘IS THE MIDDLE EAST ON THE BRINK OF A NEW WAR?’.

What I find amazing about the title of this ‘discussion’ is that it illustrates just how myopic, or perhaps delusional the mass media is about the Middle East. After all, what is happening in the Occupied Territories if not a war? A very one-sided war it’s true but one that Israel can’t win short of total extermination of the inhabitants.

But of course, it illustrates the fact that Palestinian deaths are not really deaths or, as a short note I got sent yesterday says:

“Yesterday, I was coming back on foot from the Brookings Institute where I attended a session on Iraq and I ran into an acquaintance of mine who was very “agitated” and “disturbed” by Hizbollah’s action.

“Exercising total self-restraint, I quietly told him he reminded me of a Jewish joke a friend once told me. In a country governed by a repressive military regime, a boy comes rushing home and, breathless, announced to the family assembled in the sitting room: “The police is massively in our neighborhood and have arrested all the Jews and the barber”. The different members of the family all together responded “Why the barber? How horrible!”

“I added: “you seem to be interested only in the barber. What about the Jews of this story, who, in this case, are the Palestinians? I left my office two hours ago and there were already 18 Palestinians killed in Gaza. Probably by now, there will be 22-23”. In fact there were 23 Palestinians killed when I returned to my office.

“How often do we encounter that type of selective indignation as though our blood and tears do not count. As though our dead deserve to be killed. As though our victims are nameless, fatherless, motherless, childless … worthless?

“There should be a limit even to indecency. Afif Safieh

“P.S.: I also happen to care about the barber.”

So back to the war that’s not a war. The most obvious thing about media coverage is the fact that without exception the MSM has accepted the version put about by the Israeli government, that its barbarous assault on Lebanon was in ‘retaliation’ for a Hizbollah attack on Israel. But does anyone really believe this? Well yes, the MSM does and it has done a very good propaganda job on behalf of the Zionist goverrnment in pushing this lie.

Only one story made a reference to a report that the Israeli soldiers were captured by Hizbollah forces on the Lebanese side of the border. So what is going on here?

Not only has the massive military assault on Gaza not had the (alleged) desired result of getting the return on the soldier captured during the military raid on the Israeli post, it has hardened the Palestinian resistance.

I contend that the attack on Lebanon is an attempt to divert attention away from the slaughter going on in the Occupied Territories where now it seems the Occupation Army is murdering entire families.[1] So great is the slaughter that even the pro-Israeli Western media has been finding it difficult to ignore. There are also credible reports of Israeli use of chemical weapons against the civilian population, also not reported in the Western media.[2]

Thus it was necessary to create conditions which would seem to justify the wholesale murder taking place in the Occupied Territories. This they appear to have achieved by connecting Hamas, Hizbollah, Syria and Iran together and once again invading Lebanon on the pretext that it’s up to the Lebanese government to put a stop to it.

From the statements being put out by the Israeli government, they are looking to create a basis for widening the war from the Occupied Territories to include both Syria and Iran including an allegation that the two soldiers captured by Hizbollah soldiers are going to be transferred to Iran.

‘We have concrete evidence that Hezbollah plans to transfer the kidnapped soldiers to Iran. As a result, Israel views Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran as the main players in the axis of terror and hate that endangers not only Israel, but the entire world,’ AFP quoted Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry Gideon Meir as saying.[3]

Dire predictions of a more general war are now being made in Western capitals and it’s most definately a war that that the imperialists states are not ready for—not yet anyway.

It’s difficult to gauge exactly what the Israeli government hopes to gain from this desperate strategy, aside from the vain hope of the total destruction of Hamas, Hizbollah and no doubt Damascus and Tehran. Most definately, they got the nod from Washington to go ahead, Tel Aviv doesn’t make a single move without first clearing it with its ‘patron’.

Of course it’s possible that Israel is trying to lure both Syria and Iran into coming to the aid of Lebanon, not a very likely scenario. Essentially, the attack on Lebanon is an extension of the war in the Occupied Territories, designed to terrorize the inhabitants into submission. It follows very closely Sharon’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, itself designed to wipe out the PLO.

Boys with lethal toys?
One commentator alleges that the Israeli generals are fed up with fighting a ‘low intensity conflict’ such as the one that has been conducted for six years in the Occupied Territories.[4] All that firepower and nowhere to use it, but I find this to be a simplistic explanation and completely without merit.

Destroying Lebanon again, and a Lebanon rebuilt almost entirely with US money makes no sense except to draw attention away from what is happening in Gaza. This is ‘collective punishment’ on a grand scale, one that Hitler himself would have been proud of. In the end, it can only further isolate Israel and make the job of resolving the Palestinian issue even more difficult. If nothing else, it should surely make clear to anybody with an open mind that Israel is a murderous, racist, colonial state that needs to be dismantled before it plunges the region into an even wider conflagration.

The solution, if there is to be one, lies with the Israeli people themselves. They have to get rid of a government that appears to have completely lost the plot.


1. ‘Red Crescent Society: new Israeli tactic is to kill entire Palestinian families’ and

“Husband, his wife and their seven children killed by Israeli shells in Gaza

2. ‘Ministry of Health report on toxic Israeli weapons confirmed by Gaza City medical sources’ & ‘Gaza: “bodies seemed to have been chemically burnt

3. IDF retrieves bodies of four tank soldiers killed in south Lebanon, Ha’aretz 7/14/2006.

4. ‘What Does Israel Want?’, Ilan Pappe, The Electronic Intifada, 14 July 2006

See also latest VTJP News Digest for stories on the scale of the atrocities being committed in both Gaza and Lebanon.

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