Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hezbollah is Part of Lebanon

Two days ago, Anderson Cooper of CNN interviewed one Ibrahim Mousawi, news editor of the Hizbollah TV stations. I wrote a response to CNN News Feedback, not that they're likely to pay much attention, but I thought it needed to be said.

Mousawi said, in part,

[COOPER: ...] What would it take to disarm Hezbollah, which was called for in a U.N. resolution, 1559, the disarming of all militias, all private armies in Lebanon. Hezbollah is the only one left who still has their weapons. What will it take to get Hezbollah to disarm?

MOUSAWI: Well, it comes to Lebanon, the official level, everybody acknowledges here and recognizes Hezbollah not as a militia with arms but as a resistant legitimate movement and ministerial statement of this cabinet, of this new government has given the legitimacy and has given the authorization for Hezbollah to continue its -- the complete liberation of the occupiers of Lebanon.

MOUSAWI: It's not that they kidnapped. You're talking about resistance that is trying to ensure the release of Lebanese hostages in the Israeli prisons that they have been there for more than 28 years. This is a resistance trying to attack a military force of the occupation. It's not a matter of kidnap. It's capturing Israeli soldiers to make a swap.

I wrote that Cooper should have pressed Mousawi to clarify what he meant by “the occupation” and “a resistance legitimate movement.” Did he refer to Shaaba Farms, which Israel calls Har Dov, or did he refer to the entire state of Israel – which would indicate unity with the Palestinian Arabs. Even in the first case, the UN certified in 2000 after Israel’s “redeployment” from southern Lebanon that Shaaba Farms was not Lebanese territory under UN Resolution 425.

I further wrote that Mousawi’s characterization of Hezbollah as a “legitimate reistance movement” indicated that, contrary to world opinion, Hezbollah was acting with the full cooperation of the Lebanese government. Either it is a private militia, in which case it should have been disbanded under UN Resolution 1559, and the Lebanese government is complicit in letting it operate freely; or it is an arm of the Lebanese government, as Mousawi claims, since almost 1/5 of the Lebanese parliament (23 of 128 seats) is Hezbollah. Either way, attacking Lebanon and the Lebanese government is entirely proportional, much as the US attacked Afghanistan for hosting the terrorist Al-Qaeda.

Imagine my pleasure, then, to read in today’s Jerusalem Post, my classmate Evie Gordon’s opinion column, “The Innocent Bystander Myth.” She lays all this out in greater detail, quite convincingly (at least to this member of the choir). Perhaps our government and news organizations should read it as well.

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