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The Civilian Casualties Are Aweful, But Israel Is Fighting For Its Existence

Richard Littlejohn- Friday 4th Aug 2006


THERE'S no doubt Israel is losing the propaganda war. You don't have to be a paid-up peacenik to find some of the pictures coming out of the Middle East distressing. No one with an iota of humanity wants to see the corpses of women and children caught up in the conflict.

But you don't have to be a conspiracy theorist, either, to wonder how many of the male 'civilians' killed by the Israelis are actually Hezbollah terrorists or whether everything we're being shown from Lebanon is for real.

Islamonazis are sophisticated propagandists and they know they'll find a gullible audience in the civilised world for their carefully-strewn teddy bears, strategically-placed 'Baby Milk Factory' signs (in English) and wailing widows from central casting.

Have you ever noticed how every time a coalition air strike goes astray in Iraq, it always manages to hit a 'wedding party'?

Why is there only ever one child's shoe in the rubble, never a pair? There always seems to be a broken medicine box, too, with a handy red cross -- never a red crescent, mind you -- on the lid, just in case we haven't got the message.

Credulous CNN correspondents and handwringing BBC reporters fall over themselves to sign up for the Hezbollah guided tour of the ruins.

I use a rough rule of thumb whenever I watch television coverage of the Middle East. Anyone who pronounces Hezbollah as 'Hiz-bull-arrrgh' and Israeli as 'Izza-ra-ay-lee' is almost certainly telling lies.

The bien-pensant buzzword used to describe Israel's bombing is 'disproportionate'. But what's 'proportionate'? Are the thousands of rockets fired at genuine civilian targets in Israel 'proportionate'?

It is only because Israelis are hunkered down in underground shelters built out of necessity and bitter experience, or have fled out of range of Hezbollah's salvoes, that there haven't been piles of bodies on their side of the border.

What would 'world opinion' consider an acceptable death toll before acknowledging Israel's right to retaliation and self-defence -- 1,000? 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000?

Hezbollah has started a war it knows it can't win in the certain knowledge that there will be civilian casualties. Its stated aim is to kill as many Israelis as possible and if innocent Lebanese get caught in the crossfire, tough.

These fanatics have little or no regard for human life. Their tactic is to hide among civilians; to use terrified women and children as human shields; to deploy school playgrounds as rocket launch sites; hotels and apartment blocks as command centres; homes as weapons dumps; mosques as air-raid shelters.

I've heard reporters referring to Hezbollah as a 'resistance' movement. They love it, don't they? Just as they insist on calling terrorist murderers 'radicals' or 'militants' -- as if there's no difference between Al Qaeda and Aslef train drivers on unofficial strike.

What they never point out is that if Hezbollah didn't exist, there would be nothing to resist. Israel is the Tony Martin of the Middle East, lashing out in fear and frustration after enduring years of provocation.

Just as Tony Martin was abandoned by the police to endure burglary after burglary at his remote farmhouse, so the 'international community' has done nothing to disarm and disband Hezbollah or prevent it and Hamas repeatedly attacking Israel.

The United Nations hasn't lifted a finger to stop Iran and Syria supporting and supplying a standing terrorist army in Lebanon. There are no sanctions against the barking mad president of Iran when he constantly threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and is hell-bent on obtaining nuclear weapons.

Iran has put Lebanese civilians in the front line of its lunatic war against Israel and the U.S. in particular and Western civilisation in general. So where's the international condemnation?

Hezbollah is the provisional wing of Iran. Would it be 'proportionate' if Israel attacked the paymasters and ringleaders of Hezbollah in Tehran?

It may yet come to that. But first Israel has to remove the immediate threat to its security.

The United Nations isn't going to do that. The UN is a busted flush, led by the laughable Kofi Annan -- the Chauncey Gardiner of world diplomacy. When it left the U.S.-led coalition to go it alone in Iraq, it sent a clear message to other tyrants and rogue states that they had nothing to fear from the UN.

Listening to 'world opinion' has got Israel nowhere. It was told it should trade land for peace. So it did. It got war. Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon six years ago. Hezbollah boasts that it has spent that time preparing for this fresh assault, building tunnels and bunkers and stockpiling a deadly arsenal of 13,000 weapons, which it is now raining down on Israeli civilians.

There are hourly calls for a ceasefire, but when Tel Aviv suspended bombing for 48 hours the response was a record number of Katyusha rockets fired into Israel in return.

I saw a BBC reporter standing on a hillside trying to convince us that because missiles were still being fired from Lebanon despite three weeks of fighting, it was evidence that Israel's tactics weren't working and it couldn't win.

Hezbollah has spent six years building up its arsenal in preparation for this war. Who said an Israeli victory would only take three weeks?

If there is a ceasefire, Hezbollah will simply regroup. There's talk of a negotiated settlement, but how do you cut a deal when one side says it will not be satisfied until the other is totally eradicated?

Lasting peace has only ever followed total victory in war. Even if Israel and Hezbollah/Iran agree to walk away tomorrow, we'll be back here again in a few years.

Then there's the Palestinian question. Again, even though Israel ceded territory in pursuit of peace, terror attacks and kidnappings on Israeli soil have continued.

There's talk about dusting off the old 'road map'. Israel accepts there will have to be a two-state solution, but the only 'road map' of the Middle East its enemies will accept is one without Israel on it at all.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for the Jewish community in Britain. They're as distressed by the carnage as the rest of us and there are divisions over Israel's actions. No one wallows in the death of innocents -- except, of course, Hezbollah and its Iranian puppet-masters.

THIS time of year, there are 15,000 British Jewish teenagers in Israel on the traditional summer rite of passage. And there are 30,000 British passport holders living in Israel.

Although we had wall-to-wall coverage of grumbling British passport holders being evacuated from Beirut, there doesn't seem to have been equal concern about our fellow citizens under bombardment on the other side of the border.

What struck me about the recent pro-Israel demonstration in London was the number of Union flags in the crowd. These are our people.

I didn't notice any Union flags at the Stop The War rally, though there were plenty of 'We Are All Hezbollah Now' banners. It doesn't seem to dawn on them that if you want to stop the war you've got to stop Hezbollah.

But what drives most of these 'peace campaigners' is not so much a desire for peace as a hatred of Israel.

Every time something goes off in Iraq we're told it will radicalise young Muslims back in Britain. We hear that Tony Blair's failure to call for an immediate halt to the Israeli offensive has put us at imminent risk of another Islamist homicide attack on our streets.

Despite the Hezbollah war on Israel and the mounting casualties -- and the widespread condemnation of Israel in this country -- I've yet to hear anyone warn that young British Jews are queueing to blow up themselves and hundreds of others at Brent Cross shopping centre.

I repeat, this war is awful. The civilian deaths are a tragedy.

But there won't be peace in the Middle East until the likes of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas recognise Israel's right to exist.

And, I'm afraid, this side of kingdom come, that just ain't gonna happen.

Israel may be losing the propaganda war, but it isn't fighting a propaganda war -- it's fighting a real war for its very existence.

Richard Littlejohn writes for the UK's Daily mail and can be contacted on
Copyright 2006 Associated Newspapers Ltd. All Rights Reserved DAILY MAIL (London)



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