Monday, July 31, 2006

Johann Hari responds to my letter

After my initial detailed criticism tearing apart Johann Hari's savage and dishonest analysis, blaming Israel for every civilian death in the conflict, he has prompty responded with the following short letter (my comments in Italics):

You say I "justify further violence and terrorism against Israeli
civilians." This is factually wrong and disgustingly offensive. Go on - find a
single line that defends attacks against Israeli civilians. The whole point of
my articles is that I am against attacks on civilians on both sides -
Israeli and Lebanese.

I am not anti-Israel at all. I desperately want to see a safe, secure
Israel within the 1967 borders, alongside a safe, secure Palestine. The
actions of the Israeli government are taking us further and further
from that goal.
Great.. thanks for settling that. I had come up with several compelling reasons why his analysis was bigoted and stank of anti-semitism, but he reassures me that he wants to see a peaceful and safe outcome.. great. But he never issued a retraction of his labelling Hezbollah as "a self-defence organisation". Well that goes beyond the pale for me. You cannot support Hezbollah and claim to pursue peaceful outcomes. Here is my response:
My proof is the fact that you started a paragraph with the following words:

"Hezbollah is at its core a self-defence organisation, however ugly, and its recent operations have been limited largely to this function."

Well maybe you and I are not living in the same realities. Hezbollah is a genocidal terrorist group committed to the destruction of Israel, and anybody who stands in its path. Hence in 1983, it slaughtered 230 US marines in Beirut in a truck bombing. How can this be the activities of a self-defence organisation ?

You brazenly claim that the only provocation by Hezbollah since 2000 was the firing of a single rocket across the border. Forget the fact that they deployed over 10,000 Iranian supplied rockets along the border, they kidnapped 3 Israeli soldiers in 2000, and have made repeated statements to show their commitment to attacking Israel. Hezbollah, in my definition, is purely a terrorist organisation that targets Israeli cities, and operates from within Lebanese villages. My concern for civilian lives on both sides makes me place the blame on their shoulders. And they have ignored UN resolution 1559 and continue to occupy Southern Lebanon.

As much as you would wish to frame this conflict as a 2 party conflict, of "Israel versus Lebanon", sadly for your analysis, it heavily involves, and was sparked by, a 3rd party - Hezbollah. Kidnapping Israeli soldiers from Israeli soil, bombing a tank killing 8 soldiers, and firing rockets at Israeli towns is not self-defence.