Haifa, Beirut and many other Lebanese and Israeli towns and villages are under fire. Who would have thought this possible a few weeks ago? Across the globe, the reaction to the images of destruction and death in Lebanon, but also in Gaza and Israel has been one of abhorrence.
Of course, it was well known that Hezbollah – viewed with good reason as a terrorist organization – had been stockpiling an arsenal of Katyusha rockets, as well as longer-range guided missiles. Nor was it a secret that Hezbollah operates as a state within a state, with its own highly motivated private army and terrorist structures. It is Hezbollah, not the Lebanese government and its army, which has controlled the Lebanese-Israeli border ever since Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.
Although Hezbollah presides over two ministers in the Lebanese government and several members of parliament, it does not act in the interest of the Lebanese state. Rather, its interests are defined in Damascus and Teheran, where much of its arsenal originates. This outside control is the principle cause of the present tragedy, which essentially constitutes a “proxy war.”
Who is acting as a proxy for whom and for what? Let us retrace the precipitating cause of this war. Within Hamas, which is also strongly influenced by Syria and Iran, a fundamental debate had arisen as to whether, in the aftermath of electoral success and the ensuing mandate to govern the Palestinian territories, the organization should recognize Israel? Agreement was imminent when the Hamas leadership abroad (which is based in Damascus) ordered the attack on a military post in Israel in which several soldiers were killed and one was abducted.