Posted by worriedlebanese on 23/10/2006
A reader told me yesterday that I was pro-anything-but-Israel… This sentence has been going around my head all day. And I wonder why. I’m obviously not pro-Israel. How could I be otherwise after what I lived through this summer? From
Lebanon, all we see of Israel is its arrogance, its acts of provocation, its victimisation, its military strength and its force of destruction. And this perception doesn’t come from our ignorance or prejudice. This is the face that Israel chooses to present to us (maybe not to us per se but to Hezbollah, but this lives amongst us and the only way you can get a message across to them is by sending the message to the whole Lebanese population.
Israel’s ambassadors to Lebanon are its army, its navy and its aviation. And they’re no ambassadors of good will. They are here to build fear, to seek and destroy, to terrorize all opposition to Israel. They’re telling us Lebanese “we are stronger than you”, “we could destroy you”, “take you twenty years back”. And these are words we heard from the Israeli government and the acts that followed proved that they were not just words. The only “good will” the Israeli government showed during the war was the dropping of paper messages or the message recordings we got on the telephone. And this seemed to us like little more than a clumsy propaganda.
Normally, if the Lebanese want to see Israel, they drive south towards Fatima’s gate. Only they do not have to do that. They could see it from their homes. Israeli planes fly over the Lebanese capital regularly (and sometimes quite low). And for over a month, I could see the Israeli battleships off the coast of Beirut, all in a row, crisscrossing menacingly. Obviously, one could argue that the Lebanon is the last front of the Arab/Israeli conflict; that in times of war, one always sees the other through its army; that Israel was exercising it’s right of ‘self defence’ (even if that means the destruction of it’s neighbours infrastructure, the use of cluster and phosphorous bombs, the whipping out of entire neighbourhoods and villages…).
So how can one expect a Lebanese to be pro-Israel? Well, one can try not to be anti-Israel. And that’s not always very easy. One can try to understand the “other’s” point of view, the Israeli people’s perspective, insisting that what he sees are the government’s policies and the army’s actions, not those of the “Israelis”… One can try to empathise with them and play it fair, condemning violence against civilians, combating the hate that is filling people’s souls… That’s what I try to do. I might not be pro-Israel, but I don’t believe I am “pro-anything-but”. I try not to be anti-Israeli. and many of my views are actually considered to be pro-Israeli in Lebanon, because I defend the right of the civilian Israeli population, consider them as being now part of the socio-political fabric of the Middle East (but do they consider themselves to be part of it, I sometimes wonder), and do understand and support their right to be a sovereign nation. But I certainly do not think that this right can limit those of other nations in the Middle East, and up to now this has been the case.
One thing’s for sure, I do not use this blog to wage war in another way, through other means. I am pro-Peace. But as the Israeli are not finding a Peace partner in Palestine, I believe there is no peace partner in Israel today, at least not on the governmental level. But on all other levels, probably… So maybe with good will from both sides of the divide something can spring up. One cannot blame me from hoping.