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Israel’s a terrorist state?

Letter to the Editor | Monday, August 28, 2006

“One two three four, Hezbollah will win the war! Five six seven eight, Israel’s a terrorist state!” Dismayed Lebanese and Palestinian Americans shouted in unison at the protest on Aug. 1 against the Israeli and U.S.-funded occupation and subsequent destruction of much of Lebanon. These Arab Americans living in Dearborn, Michigan – which has the largest Arab population of any city outside of the Middle East – were not terrorists. They were not out of control. They were just angry and essentially powerless. I had the chance to be at this event, which rallied together so many of the U.S. citizens who view Israel’s behavior as unjustified, disproportionate, illegal and cruel. Two weeks later I was in Washington, D.C. and was able to participate in another significant protest against Israel and its American accomplices.

The anger is understandable, as is the growing support of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the charismatic leader of Hezbollah. Condoleezza Rice says that these violent times are the “birthpangs of a new Middle East.” These are not birthpangs, but death rattles. And the terror is not over – Lebanese civilians will continue to die and be maimed despite the ceasefire because heavily targeted areas such as Tyre are littered with unexploded “bomblets” from cluster bombs dropped by Israel, turning these areas into virtual minefields. The UN reports that at least five children have already been killed by picking them up, unaware of what they are. Hezbollah is now handing out $10,000 dollars to displaced Lebanese families who are returning to their homes. Hundreds of families have already received this service and many more will follow. This is not the action of a defeated organization.

What did this massive Israeli military attack – beginning with air strikes and concluding with ground troops – accomplish? Did it succeed in lessening the actual military capabilities of Hezbollah? It most likely did. This, however, cannot be falsely taken to mean victory for Israel and the U.S. This month-long horror was not a victory in the “War on Terror.” On the contrary, it has built Hezbollah into an unbelievably popular and supported pan-Arab power. It has given it not less, but more, followers – gathering support now from Lebanese who otherwise would not have been so inclined. In explicitly facilitating the destruction of much of Lebanon’s infrastructure and stability, not to mention the heavy blow to its tourist-dependent economy by way of encouraging actions which caused massive oil spills and deserted cities, this was a devastating loss not only for the Lebanese, but for America’s supposed campaign to end global tyranny.

Clare FeeneyjuniorOff-CampusAug. 25