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IDF soldier on Israel's Northern border (Matan Portnoy, IDF Spokesperson Unit)

Almost overnight, Hezbollah has blatantly demonstrated that it is the ruling power in Lebanon, with all that entails, if and when Iran orders it to launch another war against Israel. This was a known fact, but Hezbollah has now seen fit to visibly demonstrate it to the formal Lebanese government in Beirut and also to the Jewish state. This is what has transpired, the importance of which should not be underestimated:

April 20th: A senior Hezbollah officer in uniform, and accompanied by armed Hezbollah fighters, leads a group of reporters along the Lebanese-Israeli border. He is the military power in charge and explains in detail how the IDF is deeply concerned about Hezbollah's growing strength and has hunkered down in defensive positions for fear of Hezbollah. To all intents and purposes, it was Hezbollah that represented the Lebanese government and not the Lebanese Army, which was out of sight and sound.

This has been a known fact that in Lebanon, Hezbollah is a stronger military force than the Lebanese Army and runs the show. However, the Lebanese government has tried (successfully in the past) to distance itself from the Shiite guerrilla force that takes its orders from Iran, in order to escape retaliation from Israel. This was the case in the Second Lebanon War, which was fought between Hezbollah and Israel with the rest of Lebanon watching on the sidelines while Israel, also due to US pressure, took care not to hit any Lebanese targets. But if a Hezbollah is parading around southern Lebanon in uniform and acting and talking like the Lebanese commander, then he is a de facto representative of the Lebanese government. Another fact is that Lebanese President Michel Aoun, after his recent election, met publicly with Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, saying Hezbollah, which is comprised of Lebanese fighters, was part and parcel of Lebanon's military force.

Beirut hits the roof...

Back in Beirut, Prime Minister Saad Hariri (whose own father was believed to have been assassinated by Hezbollah) realized the cat was out of the bag. Hezbollah had just declared openly that it was acting in the name of Lebanon, which, according to international law would bear responsibility for future Hezbollah attacks against Israel. It's only common sense. So, an exasperated Hariri hopped on a helicopter and flew down south with another group of reporters to deny that his government had anything to do with Hezbollah or that Israel should hold his government responsible for attacks from Lebanese territory:

         'What happened yesterday is something that we, as a government, are not concerned with and do not accept - there are political differences (with Hezbollah) that we put aside, and this is one of them. I came here to emphasize that our role as a government is to preserve UN Resolution 1701 (that ended the Second Lebanon in 2006 between Hezbollah and Israel)'.

The Lebanese PM tried to distance his government from Hezbollah, stating that “There is no government (Hezbollah) above the Lebanese government.” But the facts on the ground say different.

Beirut now bears responsibility for Hezbollah's actions...

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri (CC By United States Department of State)

But Mr. Hariri, the day before just demonstrated there is such a government despite your protestations. Actions sort of speak louder than words. If your government up north in sunny Beirut does not accept and opposes what Hezbollah is doing along your border with Israel, why don't you chuck them out? Your empty words cannot hide the reality that Hezbollah does what it wants in Lebanon. This includes amassing an arsenal of over 100,000 rockets and missiles stored in and under over one hundred villages in southern Lebanon, ready to be launched into Israel. All this is in flagrant violation of Resolution 1701 that Hariri professes to preserve. And naturally, the sovereign government bears no responsibility for the danger in which Lebanese Hezbollah leader Nasrallah has placed his fellow Lebanese villagers. Obviously if Hezbollah ever launches these rockets into Israel, the Israeli Air force will be dispatched to destroy them as swiftly as possible to prevent Israeli casualties.

Palestinian hunger strike & New York Times screw-up...

Marwan Barghouti (photo by BDalim, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The hunger strike by Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails is starting to peter out. So far, 186 of the original 1,200 have gone back to eating as the strike enters its second week. The prisoners are demanding such things as more TV channels on their TV sets, public telephones in the security wings, restoring university courses by correspondence (some terrorists have university degrees while doing time in Israeli prisons). They also demand doubling the time of family visits from 45 to 90 minutes, and more than one visit a month. Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is now serving five life sentences for his role in murdering Israelis, called the hunger strike. The New York Times highlighted a long article by Barghouti but ignored reporting that he participated in the multiple murders of Israelis. This omission is so egregious that it's doubtful it was done deliberately or that it might have been a sympathizer's Freudian slip. More likely it was just sloppy journalism - the stuff for which an editor gets reprimanded, demoted or even fired. In any case, the newspaper later apologized for omitting to tell its readers that Barghouti was a convicted killer.

Israeli prisons are monitored by the International Red Cross, and it is fair to say they compare favorably with other such institutions in the democratic world. For the protesting Palestinian inmates maybe they could be taken for a vacation to the American facility at Guantanamo to broaden their understanding of how the US treats its terrorists.



David Essing  

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