Special Report: Israel Under Fire

ISRAEL UNDER FIRE – DAY FIVE

A Katyusha hits the Israeli city of Nahariya

Israeli military operations in Lebanon are taking place in response to an unprovoked border attack which left 8 Israeli soldiers dead and two kidnapped by the Hezbollah. Since then many more Israelis have been wounded and killed by over 700 Katyusha missiles that have rained down on Israel’s northern cities, including as far south as Haifa and Tiberias. Israel is exercising her legitimate right to self-defense.

Please stand up for Israel at this extremely difficult time and support our efforts to promote balance in the media, particularly as the volume of media coverage expands so dramatically.

MYTHS AND FACTS SURROUNDING THE CRISIS

Myth – “Israel’s response is disproportionate.”

Fact – The definition of a “disproportionate” response is a subjective one. The question that could be asked of any other country in the world is simply: “What would you do in the same situation?” When protecting its citizens, exercising the right to self-defense and responding to missile attacks over a recognized border, most countries would respond in a similar manner. After all, how many Israelis need to die before the world believes that Israeli responses are proportionate?

Israeli leaflets dropped on Beirut

Israel has also been criticized for targeting Lebanese infrastructure such as the Beirut airport. However, it is also interesting to note what has not been targeted. For example, while the airport runway was bombed, other vital installations such as the control tower were left untouched and Lebanese civilian airliners were allowed to fly to safety. Transport hubs and bridges have been targeted in order to prevent Hezbollah moving the kidnapped Israeli soldiers deeper into Lebanon and possibly even as far as Iran, as well as to prevent the terrorist organization being re-supplied with arms from Iran and elsewhere.

Many of Hezbollah’s facilities and missile launch sites are located near residential areas, such as the suburbs of southern Beirut. Terrorists hide within the civilian population and use this population as a shield. Israel’s priority is to strike at the Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure that has been allowed to develop in Lebanon.

Israel has, so far, avoided initiating a major ground offensive into Lebanese territory and has barely used a fraction of the firepower available to the IDF.

Myth – “Lebanon bears no responsibility for the actions of Hezbollah.”

Fact - UN Security Council Resolution 1559 of September 2004, which referred back to Resolution 425,  called “upon all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon”; “for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias”; and supported “the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory”.

Syria eventually complied with 1559 and removed its occupying forces. However, the Lebanese government has not disarmed Hezbollah nor has it sent its armed forces to secure southern Lebanon and the border with Israel.

In addition, Hezbollah is actually part of the Lebanese government, which contains two Hezbollah members in the Cabinet. The Lebanese government, therefore, cannot abstain from responsibility for the actions of a part of its own leadership.

Myth – “Hezbollah is an indigenous Lebanese ‘resistance’ organization.”

Fact – According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Hezbollah:

A C802 missile of the type used to attack an Israeli naval vessel

“is a Lebanese umbrella organization of radical Islamic Shiite groups and organizations. It opposes the West, seeks to create a Muslim fundamentalist state modeled on Iran, and is a bitter foe of Israel. Hezbollah, whose name means “party of God,” is a terrorist group believed responsible for nearly 200 attacks since 1982 that have killed more than 800 people. Hezbollah and its affiliates have planned or been linked to a lengthy series of terrorist attacks against the United States, Israel, and other Western targets. These attacks include:

In addition, Hezbollah is sponsored, funded and armed by Iran and Syria who use the organization as a proxy to fight Israel and to destabilize the region. Hezbollah is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department.

For more information on Hezbollah, see the following sources:

Anti-Defamation League

Institute for Counter-Terrorism

Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

Terrorism Knowledge Base

MYTH – “OUTSIDE ACTORS SUCH AS IRAN ARE NOT FUELLING THE CRISIS.”

FACT – A number of analysts have suggested that the timing of the Hezbollah operation is no coincidence, occurring just prior to the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg. The G8 was expected to concentrate heavily on Iran’s refu
sal to comply with demands to curtail its nuclear program. A wider Mideast crisis, provoked by Iran’s Hezbollah proxies, has now moved to the top of the G8 agenda, thus relieving some of the pressure on Iran.

In addition, Iranian fingerprints are to be found in the current conflict. The Katyusha missiles that are currently raining down on the north of Israel are supplied by Iran. An Israeli Naval vessel was also struck by an Iranian-made C802 missile, killing four sailors.

Myth – “Israel continues to occupy Lebanese land, specifically the Shebaa Farms area.”

Fact - On May 24, 2000, Israel completed the unilateral withdrawal of all IDF forces from southern Lebanon, in accordance with Israeli government decisions and UN Security Council Resolution 425, ending an 18-year presence there.

On June 18, 2000, the UN Security Council endorsed the Secretary-General’s conclusion that, as of 16 June, Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with Resolution 425.

As explained by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the Shebaa Farms area is not, and should not be, considered disputed territory – its status was clarified by a number of United Nations statements following the withdrawal of Israel forces from Lebanon in May 2000.

The United Nations views the Shebaa Farms area as Syrian territory. Therefore, UN Security Council Resolution 425 – which concerns Lebanon – does not require Israel to withdraw from this area.

While Lebanon claims to be the owner of the Shebaa Farms area, the UN has encouraged the Lebanese and Syrians to negotiate between themselves as to who is the rightful owner. If Syria were to cede ownership of the area to Lebanon, then it is probable that Israel and the UN would then reconsider the status of the territory. In the meantime, the issue of the Shebaa Farms is used simply as an excuse for the Hezbollah to maintain itself as an armed force in the region.

Myth – “Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails were kidnapped from Lebanese soil and should be released.”

Some Lebanese and other Arab spokespeople have defended Hezbollah’s actions as a legitimate form of “resistance” aimed at securing the release of Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails from the period of  Israel’s presence in its southern Lebanon security zone.

Fact - The prisoner whom Hezbollah is demanding, above all others, be released, is Samir Kuntar, jailed in Israel since a 1979 attack in the northern Israeli town of Nahariyah, in which he entered an apartment and murdered three family members and an Israeli police officer.

Kuntar is quite simply a terrorist and a murderer who committed a terrible atrocity on Israeli soil. Those prisoners held in Israeli jails captured during Israel’s stay in southern Lebanon are, likewise, held for terrorist offences and due to the inherent risk that they will return to their previous activities.

FURTHER READING AND ANALYSIS

Israel’s next war has begun, Yossi Klein Halevi

The Nation of Hezbollah, Megan K. Stack and Rania Abouzeid, LA Times

Necessary Steps for Israel, Michael Oren, Washington Post

Israeli crisis is a smokescreen for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph

States of Terror, Editorial, Wall Street Journal

Terror as Statecraft, Editorial, Chicago Tribune

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Israel’s international image is extremely important, particularly during a crisis of this magnitude.  Please consider donating to Israeli causes, some of which are listed below, and also forward this communique and encourage others to subscribe to HonestReporting to enable them to better respond to media bias.

Some featured Israeli charities:

Friends of the IDF

Magen David Adom

Western Galilee Hospital, Nahariya

Zaka

HonestReporting will be releasing short daily briefings on the situation as it develops, focusing on various aspects of the conflict and examining media coverage.

Due to the incredible volume of coverage, not all instances of media bias can be specifically highlighted by HonestReporting. We call on our subscribers to go the extra mile and respond to the media where necessary. Click here to find contact details for major media outlets.

Authors
Top
More in (1 of 591 articles)
IDNS-newspaper-on-train-770x400


Today's Top Stories 1. The UN's negotiating with the Nusra Front for the release of 44 Fijian peace monitors captured ...