But are they telling the truth?
By Sol Salbe, Middle East Information Services
People carrying Hezbollah flags have been among the disruptive elements in pro-Palestinian and other demonstrations I have attended in Melbourne, and seen on television in Sydney. I do not have a particular sympathy for Hezbollah’s political views, on the contrary I loathe them, but I see no reason to approve of lies being told to endanger their civil liberties and intimidate a much larger Arab-Muslim population in Australia.
The Federal Attorney General Daryl Williams wants to proscribe the Lebanese organisation Hezbollah (Party of God). The rubric of “terrorist organisation” has been attached not only by the Australian government, but by the Labor opposition and every single media organisation in the country.
The situation is far from clear. Hezbollah has not been engaged in attacks on civilians in Israel. (It is however engaged in tit-for-tat shelling of villages and town with Israel’s armed forces.) It has been alleged to have been involved in attacks on the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish community Centre in Argentina (that view was not endorsed by the Argentine authorities). The Israelis have also reported that they captured a senior Hezbollah whom they say was on his way to train terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
But certain Australian political parties and the media do not seem to be disturbed by lack of evidence (a la Weapons of Mass Destruction?).
Consider the following: Hezbollah is not on the European Union list of terrorist organisations The Europeans hold the view that, among others, Hezbollah is a party to an official agreement with Israel not to fire on each other’s civilians. Israel does not sign agreements with terrorists. (This material was posted out in November 2001 I would be happy to forward it again for anyone who wishes to see it).
The Israeli court in Upper Nazareth is currently evaluating a legal submission that Hezbollah is a guerrilla organisation and not a terrorist one. The court has decided to accept the affidavit and to rule on its validity. To quote the relevant Haaretz article: “The affidavit, prepared by Prof Moshe Maoz, the head of the University of Tel Aviv’s school of government and an expert on Syrian affairs, stated, ‘Hezbollah is a typical guerrilla organisation, whose operative goal is to fight the Israeli occupation in Lebanon. Its activities made a significant contribution to the change in public opinion and led to a turnaround in the attitude of decision makers,’ Maoz said.” (Again this article, posted out in June 2002, is available to anyone who wishes to see it.) As per the article attached, it is the Israeli armed forces, and not Hezbollah that has been violating the ceasefire. The shells that have been landing in Israel are anti-aircraft shells directed at Israeli planes that are regularly violating Lebanese sovereignty and international programs.
ABC reporter Peter Cave, who said: “Sworn enemies of the state of Israel, they regularly shell Israel across its northern border with Lebanon, and in turn they become targets of Israeli air attacks and cross-border raids since Israel abandoned its occupation of Southern Lebanon three years ago,” should hang his head in shame. (For the record supporters of the state Israel should also complain. Israel has not, to best of my recollection, conducted a cross-border raid in the last three years.)
Northern towns leaders’ plea: Air Force planes hurt our livelihood
Einyan Merkazi, news-israel.net
GOC Northern Command has admitted that the Air Force is breaking an agreement not overfly Lebanon on market days to avoid Hezbollah’s counter response.
Israel is systematically breaching the agreement it had signed with Lebanon during the withdrawal. Under the agreement, Israel undertook not to violate Lebanon’s sovereignty in the air. Hezbollah responds with anti-aircraft fire at General Dan Halutz’s planes. Some of the shells have been falling on northern villages and towns.
Einyan Merakazi had originally revealed that it was the northern towns that operated behind the scenes to restrain Commander Dan Halutz and his Air Force. Their approach was to the Prime Minister. The provocative flights, which had resulted in harsh International, including US, rebukes did cease during the [Jewish] holiday season.
The leaders of the northern towns met recently with the GOC Northern Command and obtained agreement that the planes would refrain from the provocative flights on market days, generally Thursdays.
Recently, however, the Air Force under General Halutz has reneged even on this agreement, resulting in antiaircraft shells falling in many townships. So far there have been no casualties or significant damage.
It was unofficially disclosed that Northern Command has failed to restrain Dan Halutz’s planes. Senior officers in Northern Command do not accept claims of operational requirement. “It is possible that there are exceptional requirements on market days but you can turn our life into a living hell and systematically affect our livelihood, said sources that requested to remain anonymous at this stage. They believe that they have enough political muscle to restrain Dan Halutz’s planes.
“If we have no choice we’ll act against him in public,” they said.
Translated by Sol Salbe from News-Israel.net