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History repeating? History repeating?
by Dimitrios Kontopodis
2006-09-13 12:21:33
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The previous invasion by the Israeli army into Lebanon was launched on June 6 1982. Although the political situation in Lebanon was very different back then, there are some interesting similarities between the two invasions, and it seems possible to make some useful assumptions by simply extrapolating the outcome of the 1982 invasion to the present one.

In 1982, the objective of the invasion was again to eliminate a militant organization that posed a threat to the security of Israel, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), led by Yassir Arafat. Arafat managed to escape the country, although the invading army occupied the whole south Lebanon and even the capital Beirut. Nowadays, the name of the villain is Hezbollah and its leader Sheikh Nasrallah. Although the invasion seems to have ended, Hezbollah appears to still be functioning and Nasrallah is still alive and free.

The 1982 invasion was marked by tremendous civilian casualties. The massacre of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by a militia group allied to the Israeli forces, shocked the world. Soon after the massacre Israel began to withdraw, whereby its army remained in south Lebanon until 2000. In the case of the 2006 invasion, the civilian casualties, especially in the case of the bombing in the city of Qana, have put pressure on the Israel side, questioning the necessity and the effectiveness of the invasion.

Even the international force, which will be deployed in Lebanon in the next months, is a re-enforcement of the UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Forces In Lebanon, which was created by the Security Council during another Israeli invasion, the first one, back in 1978.

The most interesting part of the story is that Hezbollah was created during the 1982 invasion, with its primary objective to fight the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Hezbollah is therefore a by-product of that invasion and in this sense, an attempt to destroy it with another invasion seems absurd.

Yassir Arafat not only survived the 1982 invasion, a few years later he was negotiating with Israel for the creation of a Palestinian government. In 1996, the alleged terrorist, who had been hunted down in Beirut, was elected president of the Palestinian Authority. I don't think anyone will be surprised if Hezbollah also plays a more active role now than before the attack. It clearly has increased its public support in the Arab world, and the destruction of Lebanese infrastructure, the loss of lives and the displacement of one million people from south Lebanon can have no other result but the radicalization of the masses.

In retrospect, it seems very difficult to find any meaning in this invasion. If extremism is the target then Israel's strategy has been fundamentally flawed, creating new generations of fanatics and militants. So what was Israel really trying to achieve? And at what cost?


   
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Lee Thorkhill2006-09-12 19:02:51
I would like to add that this conflict began because Hezbollah troops killed and kidnapped Israeli Soliders, without provocation.

However, i agree Israel's reaction was disproportionate and the civilian loss was tragic. It is also true the kidnapped soliders have yet to be returned.


Alan2006-09-12 23:50:55
I think the kidnapped Israeli was the excuse. Israel was planing for long this invasion.


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