“Then we will see who is for peace and who isn’t.”
Those were the words of the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when world opinion forced peace on Israel during its destructive excess in Lebanon. What followed was ominous. First there was Israel’s forced withdrawal from Lebanon. Then its apparent defeat ... if not militarily then certainly by propaganda.
Time holds the truth to Rice’s statement. Rice expected, as did many others, Israel would continue to be attacked by terrorists raining down rockets from havens inside surrounding occupied territories and countries.
A review of the actions of all participants in the Middle East since the Lebanon debacle truly shows who is and who isn’t for peace.
Those captive Israeli soldiers, Israel’s spark for the war, have still not been freed in Gaza or Lebanon although negotiations are taking place. Israel still has thousands of Palestinian detainees, detained without trial.
Hezbollah has taken no military action against Israel. Hezbollah wasn’t destroyed and given its push for increased power within the Lebanese Government its position has strengthened. Undoubtedly, regardless of any UN force, it still controls Southern Lebanon. Israel admits it couldn’t stop Hezbollah’s rockets with military action and presumably Hezbollah still has that capability.
Lebanon is incapable of even defending itself let alone launching action against Israel. Internally its attempt at democracy may be sliding into disarray mainly because of the imbalance created by Hezbollah’s increased popularity and support. The next election, if there is one, will determine the long-term prospects for stability in Lebanon.
Syria and Iran continue as ever, with Iran preaching its particular brand of extremism and Syria still supporting Hezbollah albeit with less prominence. But Syria’s President Bashir al-Assad has said, recently in a BBC interview, Israel and Syria could live together in peace. However negotiations over the return of the Syrian Golan Heights would be a perquisite. They of course are still Israeli occupied and are home to illegal settlements.
Palestinian territories are still occupied.
Gaza is still base for Hamas extremists and some terrorists still fire rockets into Israel. Israel after withdrawing, since the war, staged a further incursion into Gaza and yet the rockets still fall. Obviously the same type of military action failed in both Lebanon and Gaza. Israel continues to blockade Gaza with closure of all borders between Israel and Gaza, and Egypt and Gaza. Gaza, as has periodically occurred in the past, is once again merely a giant internment camp.
The West Bank is still occupied. The 400 or so Israeli checkpoints are still operating. The “defensive wall” still encircles pockets of Palestinian lands. Palestinians are still picked up and held without trial by Israeli military authorities. The illegal settlements still exist. Palestinians still throw rocks and now paint murals on the wall.
Half the elected Palestinian Government still languish without trial in Israeli jails. The Palestinian PM, Ismail Haniyah, is in exile in Egypt.
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