Monday, July 31, 2006

Israeli assault exposes impotency of the Arab World

Israeli assault exposes impotency of Arab World
By Ray Hanania

We could all sit back and just blame Israel for all the killings but the Arab World has to share in the blame, especially its leaders.

The fact is that no Arab country has the power or the courage to stand up to Israel, at least not the courage that Hezbollah and Hamas have shown despite being labeled as "terrorist organizations" by the United States.

Yet, after seeing the massacre of Lebanese children and their mothers in Qana in Southern Lebanon this past week, it would be hard not to describe Israel’s government as a terrorist organization, too.

In fact, when you look at how the conflict began, Israel’s government looks more and more like a terrorist organization that deserves to be confronted for its own good.

The problem is, no one has the courage or strength to stand up to Israel.

Hezbollah and Israel have been in battle ever since Israel invaded Lebanon and the Arab World did nothing to stop it. Israel took a military beating not from any Arab government army but from Hezbollah, a ragtag group of Muslims who banded together to expel Israel from occupying another Arab country.

In fact, while Israel was in Lebanon, it was also occupying Syrian land, and Palestinian land, in violation of international laws and United Nations resolutions.

Israel argues that Hezbollah initiated the conflict and gave it the right to fight back with unrestrained power when Hezbollah fighters crossed into Israel and attacked a fully armed Israeli military patrol. In the fire fighter, both Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah fighters were killed. And, Hezbollah, which more and more is proving to be the only real Arab World force that can back up its promises to defend Arab land, captured two Israeli soldiers.

Israel calls them "hostages," mainly to claim the mantel of the moral high ground in this conflict and Hezbollah merely refers to the captured soldiers as prisoners. Hezbollah has offered to return the two Israeli soldiers if Israel will return hundreds of Lebanese fighters and political prisoners who have been held in its jails along with nearly10,000 Palestinian resistance fighters and civilian political prisoners.

Israel has always held the Western media, mainly in the United States, in a vise-like headlock. It’s so criminal, though, it might better be referred to as "vice-like."

Still, even with the cheerleading from the American media, Israel continues to attack Lebanon unprovoked.

Israel argues it is attacking Lebanon to end the Hezbollah rocket attacks, but it was Israel that launched the full scale attacks with missiles and rockets and initiated a blockade by land, sea and air. And Hezbollah’s first rocket attacks were in response to Israel’s rocket attacks against Lebanese civilian targets, Such as Beirut’s civilian Rfik Hariri International Airport.

Israel and the United States blame Iran and Syria for arming Hezbollah, a claim that has never been proven but is published in American newspapers as if it were the Gospel Truth.

Yet, the fact is that the bombs that killed the little children and mothers of Qana, Lebanon were in fact supplied by the United States. The United States continues to provide the bombs and weapons of mass destruction to Israel that makes Israel a continued threat to longterm peace.

Rather than step in and criticize Israel’s excessive response to what many see as an ongoing cross-border raid, the Arab World leaders have basically been silent.

The truth is the Arab World is crumbling. They have been bought off in Egypt and Jordan. Elsewhere, the Arab World believes it is protecting its oil interests and even protecting itself from possible Israeli attack.

After all, Iran is only accused of trying to build a nuclear weapon, but it is Israel that has more than 200 and that refuses to abide by international nuclear treaties.

In reality, when the Lebanon war ends, and it will certainly end, probably with the wholesale destruction of a country and the mass murder of thousands of civilians, the Arab World itself might also formally cease to exist, too.

Despite their numbers, the Arab World has no real voice in the United Nations. Despite their oil reserves and industry, the Arab World has no ability to exercise economic power.

And worse, despite the justice that is in their cause to liberate Palestine, by forcing Israel to accept a peace based on two states defined on the basis of realistic boundaries, the Arab World doesn’t know how to use that justice.

It never has.

(Ray Hanania is the former National President of the Palestinian American Congress, a columnist and author. He can be reached at

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