Al-Ahed News – Last week, civilians in several towns on Lebanon’s southern border were faced with illumination flares and phosphorus munitions fired by the Israeli army into Lebanese territory. The Israeli regime initially spoke of a “security incident” and later announced it was conducting strikes on “Hezbollah posts” without presenting any evidence.
Numerous international media outlets adopted official “Israeli” statements as headlines. It became breaking news that Israel took action “in response” to fire coming from Hezbollah. Lebanese narratives remain absent, as does Israel’s structural aggression. But Tuesday’s incident and the reactions to it are part of a familiar pattern.
While international media focuses on the tense situation at the border every once in a while, incursions into Lebanon are neither new nor accidental. Israel violates Lebanese sovereignty several times a day, as the Israeli military infiltrates Lebanon by land, sea, and air.
Within the first five months of 2020, the Lebanese government registered over 1,000 “Israeli” violations of Lebanese sovereignty by land, sea, and air. The “Israeli” army has also repeatedly used Lebanese airspace to launch airstrikes on Syria.
“Israeli” military jets and spy drones are omnipresent. In fact, they have become part of the landscape in the south of Lebanon and are often heard and felt in Beirut as well. “Israeli” incursions include mock raids and reconnaissance flights.
Whether “Israel” intends to scare or intimidate civilians, collect intelligence, or provoke a reaction from Hezbollah, “Israeli” violations of Lebanese sovereignty are a form of state violence that affects millions of people daily – in particular the country’s south with its majority Shia population.
Lebanon has, on several occasions filed complaints at the United Nations, to no avail. Lebanon’s Supreme Defense Council condemned the latest Israeli assault and announced it would bring the issue again to the UN.
“Israeli” violations of Lebanese sovereignty and international law are a continuous component of “Israel’s” structural aggression towards Lebanon. This aggression needs to be viewed within the colonial and expansionist nature of the “Israeli” regime in Palestine and its role as a US proxy whose supremacy is guaranteed by its Western allies.
“Israeli”-Lebanese tensions precede the formation of Hezbollah by more than three decades. Lebanon and “Israel” have been officially at war since 1948 when the Zionist movement proclaimed the “state of ‘Israel’” in Palestine and forcefully expelled the majority of Palestinians into neighboring countries.
“Israel” has had a destabilizing and destructive impact on Lebanon and played a significant role in the Lebanese Civil War. “Israel” kept South Lebanon under military occupation until the year 2000, with help from its local proxies. In 2006, “Israel” launched another war against Lebanon, targeting civilians and the country’s infrastructure.
Hezbollah, which in the 1980s emerged as a resistance and liberation movement against the “Israeli” occupation and “Israeli” proxies in south Lebanon, has naturally been labelled a “terrorist organization” by “Israel” and its allies.
The “Israeli” threats continue today. Genocidal provocations accompany “Israeli” military jets in Lebanese skies. In the past years, some “Israeli” officials have threatened to destroy Lebanon altogether and bomb Lebanon back to the Middle Ages or the Stone Age.
On social media, “Israeli government-linked accounts continue to ridicule Lebanese in general, and the country’s Shia population, in particular. Israel made clear it would target all of Lebanon – not only Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, several Western journalists and correspondents in Beirut rarely address this issue in detail. While the daily incursions of the “Israeli” military in Lebanon are nearly entirely absent from foreign media coverage, there seems to be a significant emphasis on Hezbollah’s reactions.
When Hezbollah shot down an Israeli drone that was illegally infiltrating South Lebanon last week, there was some “breaking news.” But, like with Tuesday’s incident, there is a tendency among many Western media outlets to base their headlines on official “Israeli” statements.
This is in line with “Israel’s” colonial tactic of dehumanizing indigenous peoples, which is shared by “Israel’s” Western allies.
Tel Aviv usually presents any “Israeli” attack against Lebanon as a necessary self-defense against “terrorism.” This is not different from “Israel’s” violence in Gaza or the West Bank, where every Palestinian victim is either in advance or posthumously rhetorically converted into a terrorist, i.e., a legitimate target. Resistance is terrorism, and civilian homes are terrorist strongholds.
In Lebanon, those that warplanes target are rarely presented as human beings, civilians, as survivors of previous “Israeli” violence, but rather as part of terrorist infrastructure. Sometimes even their indigeneity in Lebanon and loyalty to the country is questioned, as supporters of Hezbollah are referred to as “Iranian” agents.
There is of course, also a strategic component to “Israel’s” ongoing violations of Lebanese sovereignty. Hezbollah remains “Israel’s” nearest threat. Tel Aviv has, along with other US proxies and partners, aggressively pushed for a broader conflict against Hezbollah, Iran, and their allies.
The “Israeli” army has also seemed nervous about a potential retaliation by Hezbollah, ever since the IOF killed Hezbollah member Ali Kamel Mohsen through an airstrike in Syria in July.
Following the assassination, the IOF has shown increased activity at the Lebanese border. On several occasions, “Israeli” residents have been ordered to stay indoors, and roads have been closed heightening fear that there may be an escalation.
We also have to pay attention to the ongoing protests against “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption. An increasingly desperate Netanyahu keen on presenting himself as a hero defending “Israel” may well like to see a skirmish with Hezbollah or increase violations of Lebanese sovereignty to sure up his beleaguered position at home.
One thing is for sure the so-called Hezbollah threat is a potential lifeline for Netanyahu one that he is likely to grasp firmly with grave consequences for Lebanon.
by Denijal Jegic, TRT