Creating people's geographies
Monday October 02nd 2006, 8:08 am
It is said Israel has not completed its withdrawal from Lebanon because “Hizbullah has returned to the Lebanese border” and “Hizbullah operatives have engaged in rock-throwing against Israeli soldiers and planted Hizbullah flags along the border,” apparently more than enough of an excuse for the IOF to stay put.
“Israeli military sources had previously said the final phase of withdrawal took place on Sunday, when the last Israeli soldier withdrew,” reports CNN. However, “UNIFIL spokesman Alexander Ivanko told CNN Israeli troops still control the border village of Ghajar,” supposedly until “IDF, UNIFIL and the Lebanese army come to an agreement regarding the security arrangements in the area,” that is to say the Israelis will stay until the threat of Lebanese rock throwers abates.
Of course, all of this is nonsense. Israel will stay in Lebanon forever, or until they are forced to leave.
As usual, the corporate media is only telling part of the story. For a more accurate version of events, one must look to the Arab press.
“Israeli occupation forces have completed the separation of the once-Syrian town of al-Ghajar on Saturday from the rest of the Lebanese occupied territory of Sheba’a Farms, changing the town into a military station, surrounded with barbed wires, trenches and piles of soil,” reports al-Jazeera. “The objective seems to place the town under absolute Israeli control. This was undertaken with the monitoring of the Indian UN peacekeeping brigade personnel, who limited themselves to just observing and recording the event.” It makes perfect sense for the Indian UN detachment to simply watch from afar, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of a laser-guided bomb or two, as their colleagues did on July 25.
On September 20, “Lebanese President Emile Lahoud denounced Israeli continued violations of UN Security Council resolution No. 1701,” the Syrian Arab News Agency reported. “Lebanese National Agency for Information said that President Lahoud, during meetings with a number of Presidents participating in the UN General Assembly’s session in New York, condemned the Israeli new attempts to extend pipes to pull water of Wazzani Spring towards al-Ghajar town which Israel still occupies the town’s Lebanese side within the ‘blue line’.”
Naturally, this blatant thievery went unreported here in the United States. Instead, we must endure facile reports detailing “Hezbollah” rock throwers and flag-planters.
“According to witnesses in the South, Israel also continues to steal Lebanon’s water, and is altering the Blue Line and shoveling earth to transport to the Israeli side of the border,” the Daily Star reported on September 25. In addition, Israel is adjusting the Blue Line in its favor. “Lebanon has filed a complaint with the UN and UNIFIL about Israeli alterations of the Blue Line in which hundreds of square meters of Lebanese territory were ‘added’ to the Israeli side. UNIFIL ‘is looking into the matter,’ a Lebanese Army source said.”
Indeed, UNIFIL is “looking into the matter” from 500 meters away, through field glasses, and likely nervous about in-coming.
“The Lebanese Army has also filed a complaint with UNIFIL about the Israeli military’s extending pipelines toward the Wazzani River in South Lebanon, possibly in preparation for drawing water into northern Israeli settlements…. Israel was diverting water from the Wazzani before it withdrew from most of the South in 2000…. According to eye witnesses and Lebanese Army statements, the Israelis are also transporting soil from South Lebanese villages and transporting it to Israel.”
On September 22, Lebanese PM Fuad Siniora called UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and complained about the brazen (and predictable) thievery but you certainly didn’t read about it in the New York Times.
“In a region where water is scarce, the issue may have dramatic consequences. and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) has opened an investigation,” reports the Peninsula, an English daily based in Qatar. “Mohammad Ghamlush, the engineer heading the Wazzani river pumping systems, told AFP the Israeli army sabotaged the water pumps on the river last week and installed a pipe to pump hundreds of cubic meters to Israel…. He said the Israeli army has installed two water pumps to transport water from the Wazzani river through two pipes, which run toward villages in Israel…. Ghamlush said the Israelis were pumping every day between 200 and 300 cubic metres of water from the Wazzani to Ghajar and to Israeli villages…. Wazzani Mayor Ahmed al-Mohammed has accused the Israelis of giving weak excuses in order to justify the ‘theft’ of water from the river. He said they were claiming that the operation was ‘legal,’ as the Israeli pumps were on the Israeli side of the border.”
“Israel has always been after the water of the Litani river. This River, whose entire basin is in Lebanon, is crucial for rebuilding and effectively integrating the country. Specifically, the waters of the Litani are essential for agricultural and industrial development of southern Lebanon,” explains Ya Libnan. “In 1982, Israel not only killed over 20,000 people by way of saturation bombing, but they also targeted Lebanon’s economy and agricultural infrastructure. During the occupation of south Lebanon the Israelis went so far as to scoop up Lebanon’s rich agricultural topsoil and cart it back over the border.”
The Arab Monitor summarizes:
Withdrawing from some villages, the Israeli forces redeployed to other areas leaving behind them a trail of destruction, such as in Labbouneh, whose trees and horticulture have been totally destroyed by bulldozers. In addition, convoys of Israeli trucks are transporting Lebanese agricultural soil over the border to Israeli settlements and Israeli soldiers are building a water duct to carry water from the Wazzani river to Israel. The deployment of Lebanese and UNIFIL forces is being hampered by Israel’s refusal to hand over the maps indicating the land mines they planted prior to their withdrawal in 2000 and the cluster bombs they dropped on Lebanese sites during the last three days of the recent war. Moreover, reports about Israeli commando operations shifting the border away from the Blue Line into Lebanese territory have prompted the Lebanese government to file a complaint with the United Nations under the new regulations set up by Resolution 1701 which is supposed to safeguard Lebanon against violations of its territory.
As noted, this pathological behavior is predictable, following a long established pattern, not that we hear about here in America.
“As a settler community, the Jewish state has historically taken for itself land and resources belonging to its Arab inhabitants and the neighboring Arab countries,” writes Ronald Bleier. “A clear example of Israel’s appropriation of the water belonging to Arabs is Israel’s interest early on in diverting the waters of the Jordan River from the Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean and to the Negev,” and act of thievery accomplished in 1953.
Israel repeatedly violated armistice agreements
regarding the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria. Israeli encroachments on agricultural lands and raids on villages in the area forced hundreds of Arabs to flee their homes and in turn resulted in the Arab shelling from the Golan Heights which Israel used as an excuse to attack and conquer the area in the Six Day war…. When Israel conquered the Golan Heights, they captured the headwaters of the Jordan and thus secured for themselves the greatest part of the flow of the Jordan River. Israel captured the final portion of the Jordan River flow in their 1982 invasion of Lebanon when they included as part of their self-declared ’security zone’ the Hasbani and Wazzani Rivers which arise in Lebanon and flow into the Jordan…. Zionist interest in the waters of Lebanon goes back as least as far as the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 when Chaim Wietzman wrote to the British Prime Minister explaining that because of its water requirements, a Jewish homeland in Palestine must include the Litani River…. In the 50’s, Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett recorded in his diaries that Moshe Dayan’s plan for the control of the Litani River was to ‘”enter Lebanon, occupy the relevant territory” then the “territory south of the Litani will be annexed to Israel and everything will fall into place.”‘
But never mind this criminal record. We need to know about those darn stone throwers, now fair game for IOF snipers, according to Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Dan Halutz.
According to CBS News, such demonstrations by “Hezbollah,” that is to say the people of Lebanon, are “a harbinger of greater violence,” never mind Israel’s war crimes, such as the continued dispersal of cluster bombs (the Mine Action Co-ordination Centre estimates upward to a million “bomblets” on the ground in southern Lebanon).