Tuesday, 7 February. 2023
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

Despite the mounting civilian death toll in Lebanon, and despite increasing evidence of Israeli violations of international law, the heavyweights in the international community are once again following the lead of US President George W. Bush, who has effectively given a green light to Israel's destruction of Lebanon. With the exception of Russia, which seems to be reluctant to jump fully onboard the international bandwagon for fear of jeopardizing its relations with Iran, the world powers have taken the view that UN Security Resolution 1559 ought to be enforced - and Hizbullah disarmed - before any cease-fire is put into effect.

In the meantime, Israel is pressing ahead with its bloody military campaign, which one Israeli official has said could be completed within a week. In the short-term, Israel may succeed in laying waste to Hizbullah's arsenal of weapons. But even the complete destruction of Hizbullah's military capabilities would do nothing to reduce the group's political appeal. On the contrary, each slaughter only fuels the political sentiments that inspire resistance groups such as Hizbullah to take up arms - not only in Lebanon, but across the region.

Bombs will not annihilate the desire for statehood, missiles will not force an acceptance of occupation, and shells will not wipe out the desire of refugees to have a place to call home. These are political sentiments that no amount of American-made weaponry can annihilate. In fact, over the last 58 years, Israel's use of strong-arm tactics has consistently had the adverse effect of stirring these sentiments into a frenzy.

When the dust from this latest round of conflict settles, Israel will likely revert to its decades-old pattern of demanding that the weak governments in Palestine and Lebanon crack down on the militants in their territory, while at the same time weakening those governments and denying them any means of meeting the imposed demands. This strategy has only dragged the region from conflict to conflict, fueling more and more calls for resistance.

The only way out of this cycle is through a genuine closure of a political conflict, via a comprehensive Middle East peace. Any peace deal would need to be followed up with a local version of the Marshall Plan, in which the governments tasked with keeping the peace would need to be strengthened. One could hardly think of a better time to start this process, given that the Arab world is currently awash with petrodollars that could be put to good use.

Failure to arrive at a political settlement will only ensure that this current conflict, which has been touted as a battle in a "war on terror," will end up nurturing the exact same forces of resistance that it aimed to destroy.

By the Same Author
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