By Bachir Habib
As soon as the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hezbollah left the secret sphere, it became subject to debate in the media and on newspapers pages. The UN is officially calling it a “Humanitarian Agreement”. But this labeling doesn’t seem to justify such a deal in the eyes of many in Israel.
A quick look at the daily press there is enough to reveal an aggressive debate on the issue. Even some international newspapers have fallen in the trap of the internal Israeli debate. Last week, “The Independent” correspondent in Jerusalem Donald Macintyre was the latest Western Fashion Victims choosing to title his piece “Israel to swap killer for two dead soldiers”.
This debate is not expected to end soon. It may at the contrary amplify in the coming days, as the exchange operation nears.
Whether Israel likes it or not, this UN brokered deal is the direct consequence of the July 2006 war. In a conventional war perspective, where the military operations end with a clear winner and loser, such a deal would have occurred sooner after the war. But Israel was not in a posture to admit defeat in August 2006, while Hezbollah showed much triumphalism describing as a “Divine Victory” his ability to resist the Israeli attack.
Israel needed time; it took over a year for the Winograd Report to be issued detailing the Israeli mistakes after a lengthy investigation. After admitting defeat, it is now time for Israel to pay the price.
Under a “humanitarian” cover, Israel is making a historic move. Giving back Samir Kuntar in exchange of two (maybe dead) soldiers captured on the 12th of July 2006 is a giant leap. The interesting debate about it in Israel is about fears that such a move might become a political and juridical precedent.
The deal will most likely go forward, and the Israeli government is in need to improvise to justify such an unusual event. The latest justifications belong both to the moral sphere. One of the traditional arguments has a religious connotation, invoking Jewish practices that prohibit abandoning dead Israeli soldiers in the battle field.
But the more important and controversial argument is one of “Moral Superiority”.
After at least five decades of Israeli attempts to prove “Military Superiority” and “Technological Superiority” over its Arab neighbors, now it is has found the gift of “Moral Superiority”.
The deal will soon be implemented, Samir Kuntar will be free and welcome as a national hero in Lebanon, while the Israeli nation will overcome its grief by convincing itself that it is morally superior, only for one day. I say one day because no doubt that Israel will continue flaunting basic human rights and international war while claiming eternal victim status.
Moral superiority can only be a stranger in an entity governed by a war doctrine, where every citizen is a solider, and where peace is not possible before the opponent is completely defeated.
Ehud Olmert did describe this "deal" as "humiliating", may be if he were to be acquainted with the Arabian culture and language, he would have said "sharr la boudda minhou"… As for Hezbollah & Lebanon, in a matter of fact, it's one of the manifestations of Victory, a pricy one…
It's interesting how u highlighted the "counter-psychology" of Israel (the Proteus polyvalence: the suppleness of reversibility executioner/victim), a trial to turn the negative into positive: if we're not able to promote the superior figure of Force, let's be content with the passive western-media-friendly figure of Humanitarianism (yet, on that matter, they need to be really convincing)…
Israel has been winning the media battle since the beginning of the second intifada in contrast to the period in the late 70s until the Oslo agreement.
I suggest that we look at that problem in depth because despite what many believe the Western public perception of the events in our part of the world is important to the resolution of the conflict.
this is really funny Joe, this is the same "lecture" that everybody has been repeating: Ya jame3a, el-ajeneb battalo ma3na, minwa2t ma riji3 el-kife7 elmousalla7 bi Filastine... what did their so-called "empathy" do during the years of "Flower Power", and the "Age of Aquarius", B. S… it was an allusion…
Joe 3azizi, el-ajeneb ma b7ayeton keno ma3na.period.
what "media battle" ?The "West" and its "public opinion" couldnt care less abt our region, if u put aside few human rights activists and some members of their intelligentsia (all together, they have no impact on the"main stream") , that's a fact ...
Israel was always a winner, not because its a "media" monster...it's gullible to think that way... No depth is needed here dear .
The overwhelming majority of successful national liberation struggles relied on a combination of military pressure and public opinion sympathy. This applied in Vietnam, Algeria, South Africa to name a few. Israel does not have unconditional support in the West but it has played a very intelligent game in establishing parallels between their 'situation'and the war on terror.
Although I agree with you that so far public opinion support has not been very fruitful to the Palestinian cause I would be very reluctant to take the path of fighting an isolated military war with disregard to the broader international context. This militant rethoric, lately adopted by the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah is self-destructive.
Dear Joseph, the thin line between "self-destruction" and "self-sacrifice" is ethical, ideological, religious. Bass ya 3ayneh, when it comes to the Resistances' Guerillas in general, and the Islamic ones in particular, what u chose to call "self-destruction", what they like to call "self-sacrifice" is intrinsic to their dogma, they're ecstatic abt it, what can u do abt it? Now the question is , do u think that the political & military actions of Hezbollah, let's say, r pushing Lebanon towards the "Forces of Darkness" or towards the " Light "? I wish u heard what M. Ziad Baroud had to say abt "Resistance" around 2 months ago on OTV…
i know what 'their' dogma is and where 'they' draw their moral , ideological and ethical motivation from.
I am interested in what YOU think. And I mean by you the secular supporters of the Hezb who seem to find 'them' every justification to decide our fate.
You ask what we can do about it? We can provide alternatives. Ones based in Rationality, perspective, strategical thinking and universality.
every justification? Personally I only need one and that is the defence of the country. I know the West and the East won't come to Lebanons aid. And I know the army would be commiting suicide if it tried to fight the IDF. So they are our only defence and no amount of rationality, perspective or strategical thinking can alter that fact.
When the state can do its job in defence of the nation then we can talk about the Resistance's weapons.
Ive heard this one before.
So is this how you envisage the future?
A mighty military confrontation between the IDF and the brave guys of the Hezb! This is video games stuff my friend.
Life is more complex than this. National liberation struggle is much more complicated than this.
just this morning Saud El-Mawla, a Lebanese political analyst made paralells with Cambodia, where the Khmer Rouges fought a wonderful battle against colonial powers only later to enslave their own people.
Also, who is supposed to build this state you speak of if it is not the Lebanese themselves? We will have to choose sooner or later between the militia and the state.
Lets make tha choice sooner rather than later and find a way to integrate the Hezb into the state, not the other war round.
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