Israeli Ambitions for Lebanon

I wondered how long it would take someone to write this up. Paul Larudee is the former supervisor of a Ford Foundation project in Lebanon, a Fulbright-Hays lecturer to Lebanon and a contract U.S. government advisor to Saudi Arabia. He is one of seven volunteers of the International Solidarity Movement wounded by Israeli gunfire on April 1,2002. Here are a few paragraphs of an interesting piece he put together for Counterpunch:

Why did Israel remain in southern Lebanon after the departure of the PLO in 1982? The publicly stated reason was to assure the security of its northern border by neutralizing the resistance forces and by maintaining a “buffer” zone. However, it is clear that the most secure period for northern Israel since 1978 and perhaps earlier has been the period from 2000 to the present, when it had no occupation forces in Lebanon except for the Shebaa farms.

Many Lebanese and international observers suspect that the real purpose of Israel’s leadership (as distinct from that of its population) was to seize and ultimately annex southern Lebanon up to the Litani river. If so, it is plausible to speculate that this may not have been the original intention, but rather evolved from the initial successes of Ariel Sharon, then commander of Israeli forces in Lebanon, in occupying the territory in question. The historical record seems to show that the Israeli leadership was divided about the wisdom of this action at the time, indicating that any possible thoughts of annexation would have to have been a later development.

Given Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, it may appear that such ideas were abandoned. However, it is prudent to recall that Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, always argued that Israel’s “natural” northern frontier should be the Litani river, and that Moshe Dayan drew up the first plans for its conquest as early as 1956.

Is the current invasion another attempt to make this portion of the early Zionist dream come true? The Israeli military has already acknowledged that it has had a plan in place for Lebanon, which it is now implementing. In itself, this is not surprising; any competent military organization will keep a variety of contingency plans on the shelf. However, a closer look at the way the plan is unfolding provides clues to its (possibly unstated) intentions.

It’s a good read. Click the headline for the rest of it.

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