Israel – Libanon
Den historiske baggrund for 2006-konflikten
Fakta om Libanon
Hovedstad: BeirutAreal: 10.400 kvadratkilometer (Ca. en fjerdedel af DK)
Sprog: Arabisk (samt fransk, armensk og engelsk)Indbyggertal: 3,8 mio.Styreform: Republik.Religion: Islam (shia, sunni, isma’ilit, alawit og nusary): 65 %, Kristne (katolik, protestant): 30 % Drusere: 3 %, Andre religioner: 2 %Grænselande: Israel og Syrien
Mellem Israel og Libanon eksisterer der ingen uoverensstemmelser om grænsedragningen, hvorfor det egentligt burde være muligt for Libanon at slutte fred med Israel – som det er sket mellem Israel og Ægypten. Libanon er et af de mere udviklede, moderate, sekulære arabiske lande, hvor knapt en tredjedel af befolkningen i øvrigt er kristne, og hvor det egentlige grænsefolk på begge siden af grænsen, druserne, ikke har nogen territoriale krav.
Det store problem for Libanon i kampen for at udvikle sig til en moderne, velfungerende stat med nære forbindelser til Israel, har i de seneste 35 år dels været den syriske dominans, dels været den markante tilstedeværelse af velbevæbnede militser uden for Libanons regerings kontrol. Først var det PLO, og dernæst altså Hizbollah. Regeringen har som følge af militsernes tilstedeværelse stadig ingen kontrol over landet. Officielt har Syrien trukket sig ud af Libanon, men opererer nu direkte og indirekte gennem Hizbollah.
Efter at det – ovenpå 1967-krigen – var mislykkedes for PLO etablere hovedkvarter i Jordan, flyttede den daværende leder, Yasser Arafat, hele sin base til Libanon. Dette, sammenholdt med Syriens stadigt stigende involvering, blev begyndelsen til opløsningen af Libanon, som førte til borgerkrigen i 1975-91 og som kostede ca. 100.000 mennesker livet.
Borgerkrigens forskellige politiske og religiøse bevægelser bestod bl.a. af: a) forskellige kristne elementer, b) rivaliserende muslimske samfund, c) den syriske hær, PLO, d) den libanesiske hær. Situationen var uoverskuelig – og den tidligere så charmerende og vestligt orienterede hovedstad Beirut var en decideret krigszone, hvor hele økonomien kollapsede.
Midt i det hele havde PLO i årevis benyttet sin base i det sydlige Libanon til en række angreb mod det nordlige Israel. I 1978 invaderede Israel den sydlige del af Libanon for at standse disse palæstinensiske angreb. Israel oprettede en såkaldt sikkerhedszone (10 km bred), som man overlod kontrollen af til Den Sydlibanesiske Hær (SLA). Efter at det var mislykkedes Den Sydlibanesiske Hær at opretholde roen, invaderede israelske tropper i 1982 invaderede israelske tropper atter Libanon og denne gang blev også Beirut indtaget. Det var under dette felttog, at kristne libanesiske styrker rykkede ind i byerne Shatila og Sabra, hvor de dræbte i hundredevis af palæstinensere.
Hizbollah overtager Sydlibanon
Efter et års militær aktion trak Israel sig tilbage til sikkerhedszonen – med PLO reelt nedkæmpet i området (Arafat og hans tropper var herefter i forskellige eksiler – for sluttelig at nedsætte sig i Samaria og Galilæa (Vestbredden) samt ikke mindst i Gaza), blev der plads til Hizbollah. Organisationen er opstået på støtte af iranske shiitiske revolutionsgardister i et forsøg på at bringe Ayatollah Khomeinis islamisme til Libanon og Syrien, og efterhånden udviklede Hizbollah (Guds Parti) sig til en milits, som mere og mere satte dagsordenen i Libanon.
I 1996 indledte Israel en 17 dages-militæroperation, ”Vredens Druer” – for endnu en gang at forsøge at skabe ro i området.
Israel rømmer Libanon
I 2000 forlod Israel Libanon. Dette skridt tog israelerne i høj grad i lyset af den Camp David-aftale, som syntes endelig at ville kunne bringe fred til Mellemøsten (Ehud Barak / Yasser Arafat), men som chokerende for alle involverede ikke blev til noget. I stedet påbegyndtes en ny palæstinensisk opstand (intefadaen).
Hizbollah/Libanon angriber Israel.
Onsdag den 12. juli 2006 angreb Hizbollah/Libanon uprovokeret Israel, dræbte otte israelske soldater, og bortførte to, hvilket betød starten på en ny krigslignende tilstand mellem Israel og Libanon. Samtidig blev et bombardement af Katyusha-raketter sat ind mod Israel. Den Israelske Hær, IDF, besvarede angrebet i form af Operation Change of Direction. Juridisk var der tale om en suveræn stats (Libanon) angreb på en anden suveræn stat (Israel), og Israel havde derfor, ifølge folkeretten, ret til at besvare det uprovokerede angreb. Det kunne være vanskeligt at bebrejde Libanons regering for Hizbollahs angreb på Israel, men ligeså vanskeligt var det at adskille Libanons regering fra Hizbollah – al den stund tre Hizbollah-folk var ministre i regeringen.
Fra den 12. juli 2006 til den 14. august 2006, hvor våbenhvilen blev iværksat, havde krigen kostet 43 civile israelere livet, mens 117 IDF-soldater var blevet dræbt
I perioden landede 3.970 raketter i Israel, 903 af disse raketter faldt over israelske byer. Mere end 1.000 raketter landede i Kiryat Shmona-området, 808 ved Nahariya, 471 ved Shafed, 176 ved Carmel, 106 ved Akko, 93 i Haifa og 81 ved Tiberias.
I perioden blev 4.262 civile israelere behandlet på sygehusene som sårede. Af disse var 33 alvorligt sårede, 68 i mindre grad – og 1.388 havde lettere skader. Herudover blev 2.773 israelere behandet for chok og traumer.
I perioden blev 6.000 israelske hjem ramt af Hizbollah/Libanons raketter. 300.000 israelere måtte flygte fra deres hjem og tilbragte uger i sikkerhedsrum eller var taget sydpå. En tredjedel af Israels befolkning – mere end 2 millioner mennesker – var direkte berørt af angrebet.
Real people on the frontlines of the global war against brutal terror. They face missile attacks, border incursions, kidnappings, suicide bombers and unlimited daily threats designed to spread panic and fear. Yet the courageous people of Israel – men, women and children of all ages, diverse backgrounds, and cultures – bravely stand together united to defeat an evil that threatens their nation and free societies throughout the world. Real People. Real Stories. Real Courage. Unscripted. In their own words.
1. Why is Israel conducting military operations against Lebanon?
A: Israel has suffered an unprovoked cross-border attack from Lebanese territory. The attack was carried out by the Hizbullah, which is a party to the Government of Lebanon. The attack was carried out against Israelis citizens – civilians and soldiers – while on sovereign Israeli soil. In these circumstances, Israel has no alternative but to defend itself and its citizens. For this reason, Israel is now reacting to an act of war by a neighboring sovereign state. The purpose of the Israeli operation is two-fold – to free its abducted soldiers, and to remove the terrorist threat from its northern border. Israel views Lebanon as responsible for the present situation, and it shall bear the consequences.
2. Is Israel using disproportionate force?
A: Proportionality must be measured in terms of the extent of the threat. Israel’s actions result not just from Hizbullah’s unprovoked attack against Israel and the abduction of two soldiers. Israel’s military operation is also being carried out against the real and tangible Hizbullah threat against more than a million civilians, throughout northern Israel. The Hizbullah — a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction – has over twelve thousand missiles targeted against Israel and has launched over 1,500 of them in the past few days. The massive use by Hizbullah of these missiles, causing numerous civilian deaths, hundreds of casualties and widespread destruction, makes Israel’s actions necessary. One should ask, ‘what would other states do when confronted with a threat of this magnitude?’
3. Why does Israel bomb civilian buildings and infrastructure?
Israel only targets facilities which directly serve the terrorist organizations in their attacks against Israel. For example, Israel targeted the Beirut International Airport and the Beirut-Damascus Highway because they serve Hizbullah to re-supply itself with weapons and ammunition. Israel has also targeted buildings, such as the Hizbullah Television studios, which act as a vital means of communication for terrorist operatives. Unfortunately, the terrorists have purposely hidden themselves and stockpiled their missiles in residential areas, thus endangering the surrounding populations. Indeed, many of the missiles recently fired at Israel were stored and launched from private homes, commandeered by Hizbullah terrorists wishing to shield their actions behind civilians in order to thwart Israel’s response. Despite this cruel exploitation of civilians, Israel is taking extreme care to reduce to a minimum the risk to which the population is exposed – often at the cost of operational advantages. For example, leaflets are dropped urging residents to avoid certain Hizbullah installations, even though such prior warning reduces Israel’s element of surprise.
4. Isn’t Israel concerned about the mounting number of civilian casualties?
A: Israel regrets the loss of innocent lives. Israel does not target civilians, yet is forced to take decisive action against Hizbullah, a ruthless terrorist organization which has over 12,000 missiles pointing towards its cities. Israel, like any other country, must protect its citizens, and has no choice but to remove this grave threat to the lives of millions of innocent civilians. Had Hizbullah not established such a missile force, Israel would have no need to take action, and had Hizbullah chosen to set up its arsenal away from populated areas, no civilians would have been hurt when Israel does what it obviously must do. The responsibility for the tragic situation lies solely with the Hizbullah.
5. Following the deaths on Sunday (16 July) of seven Canadians, what is Israel doing to help the foreign nationals stranded in Lebanon?
A: Israel has expressed its profound sorrow and regret at the deaths of any foreign nationals in Lebanon who are uninvolved in the violence. Israel is doing everything it can to coordinate, through discreet channels, the evacuation of all foreign nationals who wish to leave Lebanon.
6. Why didn’t Israel show restraint and use diplomacy before resorting to force?
A: Israel has shown restraint for over six years. In May 2000 Israel took the politically difficult decision to fully withdraw from southern Lebanon, having been compelled a few years earlier to establish a security zone there in order to prevent terrorist attacks and rocket shelling into Israeli towns. The UN Security Council acknowledged Israel’s complete withdrawal from southern Lebanon in full compliance with Resolution 425. The Lebanese Government was given an opportunity to take full control of the south and establish a peaceful border with Israel. Instead, it chose to succumb to terror rather than vanquish it, and allowed the Hizbullah to occupy the areas adjacent to the border and to accumulate a vast arsenal of rockets and missles.
Israel repeatedly sounded warnings, and called upon the international community to urge Lebanon to reign in the Hizbullah, remove its gunmen from their border positions and dismantle their growing stockpile of missiles. Sadly, Lebanon did not heed the demands of the international community to exercise its sovereignty and disarm Hizbullah, and today, the Lebanese people must unfortunately bear the consequences of their government’s inaction.
7. How does Israel view the speech made by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday (16 July)?
A: The speech speaks for itself. It was filled with obvious lies, among which was Nasrallah’s claim that Hizbullah targets only military objectives (when in fact his missiles are unguided and can only be fired towards area targets, such as Israel’s cities). For Israel, the operative aspect of his speech was his promise to continue his attacks unfettered by any “red lines”. Israel will, as always, take such a threat seriously, and take the appropriate action to protect its citizens.
It was clear from his words that Nasrallah understands that Hizbullah’s policy of randomly attacking Israel’s population centers and plunging the region into instability is making his position increasingly isolated, even in the Arab world.
8. How does Israel expect the Government of Lebanon to take action after having demonstrated years of inaction and ineffectiveness?
A: The recent reduction of the Syrian military presence in Lebanon has allowed Beirut more freedom of action in order to promote Lebanese interests, yet no action whatsoever has yet been taken against the Hizbullah.
The government of Lebanon bears responsibility for the Hizbullah threat. It provided the Hizbullah with official legitimacy and allowed its armed operations to proceed unhindered. Hizbullah would never have obtained the missiles and military equipment at its disposal had the Lebanese government not allowed this weaponry to reach Lebanon. Hizbullah’s threat along Israel’s border would not have been possible were it not for the failure of the Lebanese government to deploy its forces in southern Lebanon.
It is the responsibility of the Government of Lebanon to fulfill its obligation as a sovereign state to extend its control over its own territory, as called for by Security Council resolutions 425 and 1559. Through its operation, Israel expects both to pressure the Beirut government to take action, and to facilitate this action by providing the international encouragement and the operational conditions favorable to the disarming of Hizbullah and the effective deployment of the Lebanese army southward to the Israel-Lebanon border.
9. Why does Israel say that Syria and Iran are involved in the Hamas and Hizbullah terrorism?
A: Syria hosts in its capital, Damascus, the headquarters of a number of Palestinian Jihadist terrorist groups, including Hamas. The Syrian regime provides shelter and logistical support for Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who has been living there for a number of years. From Damascus, Mashaal commands terrorists within the Palestinian territories who carry out ongoing attacks against Israel and its citizens, including the bombardment of southern Israel with Kassam missiles and the recent terrorist infiltration and abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Syria also provides support to the Hizbullah, including the transfer of arms, munitions and operatives through the Damascus airport and border crossings into Lebanon. The Hizbullah would not be able to operate in Lebanon without clear Syrian sponsorship.
Iran is the main benefactor of the Hizbullah. It provides funding, weapons, directives and even Iranian cadre (the ‘Pazdaran’ Revolutionary Guards) for this terrorist organization. Most of the long-range missiles which hit the Israeli cities of Haifa and Carmiel (13 July) were manufactured by Iran, as was the guided missile fired against an Israeli missile boat off the Lebanese coast. For all practical purposes, Hizbullah is merely an arm of the Teheran Jihadist regime. Iran has also made considerable inroads of influence into Palestinian terrorist organization, including Fatah’s al-Aqsa Brigade and Hamas’ Iz a-Din al-Kassam group. It provides their terror cells with funding, technical instruction and operational directives.
10. What motivates Hamas and Hizbullah, and why does Syria and Iran support them?
A: Hamas and Hizbullah are driven by an extremist Jihadist ideology which calls for the immediate destruction of the State of Israel – as part of an international effort to wage ‘Holy War’ against the ‘infidel’ Western world in order that their radical brand of Islam prevail throughout the globe.
Syria and Iran support these groups, not only because they support their ideology, but also because they provide Damascus and Teheran with a tool to strengthen the influence of their own regimes and to divert attention from other issues which have exposed them lately to international pressure. Syria is facing rising criticism over its involvement in the murder of ex-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and its interference in Lebanese affairs. Iran is exposed to widening pressure over its nuclear development program. In addition, the international community is denouncing both regimes for their dismal human rights record.
Consequently, Israel views Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria and Iran as primary elements in the Jihad/Terror Axis threatening not only Israel but the entire Western world.
11. How will Israel respond to the bombardment of Haifa?
A: The hundreds of ongoing rocket attacks from Lebanon by Hizbullah against Haifa and Israel’s North, in which twelve civilians have been killed and scores wounded, should dispel once and for all any popular myth depicting Hizbullah as an ill-equipped guerrilla force. As the proxy of Iran created in the 1980s to carry out that country’s hostile acts toward Israel – in disregard and violation of Lebanese sovereignty – Hizbullah has received massive shipments of state-of-the-art weaponry from Teheran’s arsenal, transshipped through Syria.
A senior Iranian army officer stated Sunday (16 July) to the Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat that the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard set up dozens of advanced rocket and missile bases in the Lebanon Valley and along the border with Israel. Between 1992 and 2005 Hizbullah received some 11,500 short to medium range missiles and rockets. The official also said Hizbullah is in possession of four types of advanced ground-to-ground missiles: Fajr missiles with a range of 100 kilometers, Iran 130 missiles with a range of 90-110 kilometers, Shahin missiles with a range of up to 150 kilometers and 355 millimeter rockets with a 150 kilometer range. On Friday night, July 14, Hizbullah demonstrated a previously unknown capability when it fired a sophisticated, Iranian-made, radar-guided ship-to-shore missile at an Israel Navy missile corvette, the INS Hanit, killing four sailors.
In the face of this grave Hizbullah aggression, Israel will do whatever is necessary to remove the terrorist threat from its population centers, as would any other state in a similar situation.
12. If Syria and Iran are behind the terrorism, why is Israel attacking Lebanon?
A: Israel is not attacking the government of Lebanon, but rather, Hizbullah military assets within Lebanon. Israel has avoided striking at Lebanese military installations, unless these have been used to assist the Hizbullah, as were a number of radar facilities which Israel destroyed after they helped the terrorists fire a shore-to-ship missile at an Israeli corvette. With regard to Syria and Iran, Israel has no desire to escalate the military action beyond the present theaters of operation in Lebanon and Gaza. Israel feels that the involvement of Syria and Iran is best addressed, at present, through coordinated diplomatic pressure.
13. How will Israel pressure Syria and Iran?
A: There is a widening consensus in the international arena that Jihadist terror is a global menace which must be confronted with determination and resolve. Israel has been in intensive contact with foreign governments and world organizations, in order to coordinate pressure on these regimes, ensuring they understand that the price that they’ll pay internationally for their support of terrorism will be unbearably high.
14. It appears that Israel faces a two-front conflict. Are they the two fronts in fact connected?
A: Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, in his press conference after the 12 July attack, presented his list of ransom demands for the release of the abducted Israeli soldiers. It included a demand for the release of Hamas terrorist inmates as well as members of Hizbullah. This is indicative of the fact that the level of coordination of these two Jihadist terror groups is not just ideological but operational as well.
15 Israel has stated that is won’t negotiate with Hamas, but what about Hizbullah?
Following the 12 July attack from Lebanon, Prime Minister Olmert stated that “Israel will not give in to extortion and will not negotiate with terrorists regarding the lives of Israel soldiers.”
16. What are the diplomatic avenues available to end this crisis?
A: Regarding Lebanon, Israel understands that although military operations are now necessary to defend its citizens by neutralizing the threat posed by Hizbullah’s terrorist infrastructure, the eventual solution is indeed diplomatic. On this level, there is no substantive difference whatsoever between the Israeli position and that of the international community. The components of such a solution are as follows:
– The return of the hostages, Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev;
– A complete cease fire;
– Deployment of the Lebanese army in all of southern Lebanon;
– Expulsion of Hizbullah from the area, and
– Fulfillment of United Nations Resolution 1559.
On the Palestinian front, Israel will conduct continuous counter-terrorist operations until Hamas terrorism ceases, the hostage Gilad Shalit is returned home safely and the shooting of Qassam missiles against Israeli cities bordering Gaza stops. There will be no negotiations on a release of prisoners.
17. What is Israel’s view of the 16 July G-8 statement on the situation?
A: Israel welcomes the recognition of the G-8 nations that Hizbullah and Hamas are responsible for initiating the current violence by their unprovoked attacks on Israel’s civilians and abductions of Israeli soldiers within Israel’s sovereign borders. The G-8 statement attests to the fact that Israel and the international community share common values and are facing a common problem – the grave threat posed by extreme Jihadist terrorist organizations, such as Hizbullah and Hamas. Like the G-8, Israel believes that the way to a solution lies with the release of the abducted soldiers, the cessation of rocket fire on Israel, and Lebanon’s full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 requiring the disarming of Hizbullah.
18. Does Israel support the initiative put forward by Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi for a cease-fire? What about the initiative to establish a multi-national peace-keeping force?
A: Israel will support all international efforts meant to promote the return of the abducted soldiers and to enforce the international consensus already accepted by the UN Security Council with regard to Lebanon, namely, to press the Lebanese government to implement Resolution 1559, impose its sovereignty on the region bordering Israel and disarm Hizbullah
19. How long will the Israeli operation last?
A: The international community understands that in order for the objectives to be achieved, the operation cannot be halted before the implementation of the G-8 decision. While diplomatic negotiations will be necessary in order to facilitate implementation, the start of negotiations in itself will not halt the operations. This will only occur after the return of the abducted soldiers and the removal of the missile threat against Israel.
(kilder bl.a. : „Arab-Israeli Wars” – Chaim Herzog, Vintage Books Edition, 1984, s. 377-79 Berl. Tid. 14/7 2006, s. 9, Pol., 14/7 2006, s. 3)