The Middle East is reeling from an Israeli attack in Syria’s Quneitra region, in the Golan Heights, that killed several Hezbollah commanders.
At the end of 2014, a United Nations Disengagement Observer Force report revealed that Israel and the [un]-Islamic State, especially its Syria branch, communicate regularly, with Israel even taking in injured terrorists to treat in its hospitals. Hezbollah’s assistance of the Syrian Arab Army for the latter to gain an upper hand on armed groups does not fit into the Israeli regime’s goals, which thrives on chaos across the Middle East.
Israel believes that Hezbollah is ‘bogged down’ in Syria fighting against armed terrorist, and that thus attention has diverted from Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. However, resistance movements like Hezbollah are founded on gaining Palestinian freedom, and defending the peoples and land of Palestine, considering few others take up that mantle. The Palestinian cause is seldom far from the mind of any person or group that works for furthering human rights and alleviating oppression.
Resistance will live on
It is worth noting that resistance is a human right, in that defending one’s homeland, life, property are rights enshrined in international law. The idea that killing off defenders of the Palestinian cause, and of the Syrian and Lebanese homeland will lessen resistance against Israeli atrocities is borne out of ignorance of how resistance works. Resistance is not limited to persons, but is an ideology that lives in the hearts and minds of all oppressed peoples and their supporters. Such belief is not prisoner to death, but lives on regardless of life and death.
Beyond this, Arab and regional countries, themselves accused of founding, funding, training, and arming the [un-]Islamic State and its sister terror groups, who are quite openly against Hezbollah, must shoulder blame for this attack as well. One can imagine that many of them, especially those who desire to destroy Syria and end Hezbollah’s resistance, would have sent confidential cables of gratitude to Tel Aviv for doing the dirty work for them in attacking Hezbollah in Syria.
Israel’s internal motives
The timing of the attack, too, is telling.
Israeli snap elections are not far off, and Benjamin Netanyahu has to cater to a right-wing Israeli populace, which has become less open to peace with Palestinians. An attack on Hezbollah may go some way in proving to the Israeli public that Netanyahu is a powerful leader, ready to apparently-‘defend’ their interests.
The Israeli peoples’ criticism of Netanyahu does not come in a vacuum. It has not been a good time for the Israeli regime. With Israeli media reports saying that 2015 will bring a tarnishing of the image of Israel, the Israeli leadership increasingly finds itself in a corner, needing to act out. Even Netanyahu’s attempt to take advantage of an attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris backfired, with reports that he forcefully elbowed his way to the front of the ‘unity rally’ held by global leaders. If Netanyahu thought French Jews would be more reticent to his message of, ‘move to Israel’, he was mistaken. Video of Netanyahu ending such plea in a speech in a Paris synagogue followed by French Jews breaking out loudly into the French national anthem was a cringe-worthy moment for the man who thought he was their savior.
Traditional Israeli allies’ momentum to recognize Palestine as a state has added pressure. Sweden has become the first to officially do so in Europe, and others’ parliaments have only yet passed symbolic recognition requests of their respective governments.
Even the weak and puppet Palestinian leadership is acting in a manner befitting that title. Mahmoud Abbas’ bid to join the International Criminal Court, opening Israel up to accountability for its crimes, and push to pass a once-failed UN Security Council resolution setting out a deadline for ending the Israeli occupation, have worried Israel.
The best way for any government to garner support is to create fear, play up the threat of an enemy at the border waiting to strike, and to carry out attacks touted as protecting ‘national security.’ Netanyahu’s attempt at proving his worth might this time backfire more than he would have bargained for.
Hezbollah, even according to its enemies and detractors, is a formidable resistance movement. Israeli generals have admitted that Hezbollah is stronger than it ever has been, and they echo what the group’s Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said about Hezbollah’s capability to strike well within Israeli-occupied territories. Israel was taken aback by Hamas’ abilities during the recent Gaza War, a group which functions under Israeli-Egyptian siege; it is possible that Hezbollah, which has a freer hand, has not yet revealed all its capabilities, a point that must keep the Israeli leadership up at night. To add to that, Hezbollah, as admitted again by Israeli officials, has gotten more battle experience of recent, in assisting the fight against terrorist-groups in Syria. It does not look good for Israel.
Two points in conclusion
Firstly, as a sign of ignorance about Hezbollah in the West, after terror attacks in Paris and Hezbollah’s open condemnation of them by saying that killing innocents in the name of Islam and the Prophet is worse than any blasphemous cartoon, Western and social media reacted by saying, ‘even Hezbollah condemns the Paris terror attacks.’ The use of ‘even’ was much derided, and was a telling sign of how twisted the narrative about resistance is in the West.
Secondly, and expanding on the above, in a West which preaches free speech, two journalists have lately felt the wrath that comes with any criticism of Israel. Tim Willcox of the BBC and Jim Clancy of CNN, both made comments seen as critical of Israel in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, one through Twitter and the other on live TV, respectfully. Willcox had to apologize on air after coming under pressure and Jim Clancy was fired.
In a world where any criticism of Israel is seen as ‘new Antisemitism,’ Israel has become a taboo subject. In the ongoing war between pro-Palestine resistance and Israel, the resistance is always named the offender while Israel is the ‘defender’ of all things ‘democratic’ and ‘free.’ It would behoove those who believe this line of thinking to wake up to the realities on the ground before they have sold their countries’ and peoples’ interests so far down the line that any retreat from the façade is impossible.
Let’s remember, Israel attacked Hezbollah without any provocation. Hezbollah has, under any logic, a right to respond, as it will.