Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel bombs Christian television

The excuse given by Israel for their latest invasion of Lebanon is that they are targeting Hezbollah terrorists in the south of the country. In fact, Israel has called on the Lebanese government to help root out Hezbollah -- conveniently forgetting that, whether Israel likes it or not, Hezbollah is a legitimate (if unruly and sometimes criminal) part of the Lebanese government.

So why is Israel indiscriminately targeting civilians in Southern Lebanon?

Many people won't care. Southern Lebanon is mostly Shiite. Under the theory that "the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim", many wingnuts just won't care that one third of Lebanese casualties have been children.

But Israel is targeting Christian Lebanese as well. They've already bombed various Christian neighborhoods, at least one church and St. Therese's hospital, and now, as Juan Cole is reporting, they've bombed Christian television stations in the north of Lebanon, killing at least one civilian.

As Juan Cole explains:

Israel on Saturday attacked and partially crippled the media outlets of the Christian and Sunni factions in the Cedar Revolution that Bush and his supporters trumpeted as the foundation of the "new Middle East."
Israeli political and military elites are clearly upset that they have not been able to monopolize images and reporting of their vicious total war on Lebanese society, Christian, Sunni, Druze and Shiite. Attacking Lebanese television is an attempt to ensure that the war is seen only through the lens of Israeli media, which are censored by the Israeli military. I.e., full spectrum dominance of news and images.

Lebanese Broadcasting Company, a Christian-owned concern, is not a legitimate Israeli target in its struggle against Hizbullah's rockets in the far south of Lebanon.

There is no doubt that Hezbullah has, and continues to, engage in indiscriminate rocket attacks against the north of Israel. These acts are also war crimes, but they have been utterly ineffective, and rarely cause casulties. Israel's attack on Lebanon has killed at least 350 people, mostly civilians, in just a few days, crippled Lebanon's economy, destroyed its infrastructure, and left half a million people homeless. Compared to Hezbullah's petty pot-shots over the border, with most of their rockets hitting nothing but bare dirt, Israel has deliberately destroyed airports, power stations, housing estates and blown up trucks as a warning: drive a truck and you die. (Perhaps they think that only terrorists drive trucks.) This collective punishment of all of Lebanon for the crimes of a few is a war crime, and will only lead to the Lebanese people becoming more radical and less trusting of Israel's good intentions.

No comments: