Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Ed O'Loughlin is still on tour in Lebanon.

In today's Melbourne Age he brings us the story of how HEZBOLLAH DIVIDES LEBANESE AS THEY RISE FROM RUBBLE.

The Israelis don't feature that much although O'Loughlin does reveal that during the recent war "Israel targeted Hezbollah's strongholds in south Beirut and southern Lebanon".

Fancy hearing that from Ed!

I was under the impression from the way the Age covered the war two months ago that the Israelis were targetting the entire country. Now, he reveals that for the most part, they spared the places where the Christian, Sunni, Druse and people other than the Shi'ite Hezbollah live.

I guess that would be right given that the Christians, Sunnis, Druse and others didn't use their residential areas from which to launch their rockets at Israeli homes.

This might also explain why the Age reports that Sh'ite Marian Srour, 39, one of hundreds of villagers who returned to her home in South Lebanon after the ceasefire, has a problem with members of the Lebanese army serving "tea to the Israeli soldiers."

Heaven forbid that one side should see the other as human and deal with them as such!

Today's Age also covers the Australian tour of prominent left-wing Israeli academic and author Tanya Reinhart who has announced she plans to quit as emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University in protest against her Government's handling of the Palestinian issue.

What took her so long?

Reinhart has been around for ages promoting her particular narrative of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Her own take on the recent war in Lebanon initiated by Hassan Nasrallah is that Israel, which was the subject of an unprovoked attack by Hizbullah after it spent six years building up an arsenal of lethal missiles, wanted to "ethnically cleanse southern Lebanon."

Of course, that makes no sense whatever and even if it somehow did make sense, there's no evidence for the claim. Still, she's entitled to her views and has been freely pushing them for a long, long time from the ivory tower she inhabits inside the halls of academe in Tel Aviv. I have little doubt that there are some Age readers who want to believe these improbable scenarios and that some will even turn up to listen to her ramblings at the Carrillo Gantner Theatre tomorrow. After all, the show's for free!

For my part, I believe Reinhart is living proof of the healthy and robust democracy that the pioneers of the Jewish State developed in Israel where it's possible to be a vehement critic of the government and to support the other side - even when that side includes an "armed resistance" that often resorts to murder and terror against its civilians.

As for the Israeli solders who were sipping cups of tea with their Lebanese counterparts, I somehow doubt that they would have partaken in such pleasures if they also happened to be on enemy territory with the intention of committing an evil deed like ethnic cleansing. If that was really your aim, why on earth would you warn the other side by leaflets of impending attacks? And if my memory serves me well, the only threat of ethnic cleansing made during the conflict came not from the Israelis but from Hizbullah's leader Hassan Nasrallah and that was against the Jews specifically. However, as I said above, Reinhart rarely ever makes any sense.

To my mind, if the people of Palestine or Lebanon can't even have a cup of tea with the so-called "enemy" then perhaps the answers to the problems of the region rest not with the Jews but with the "other side" including those who might have taken leave of their senses and jumped ship.

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