Bilal El-Amine

Fear and Defiance in South Lebanon

It is true that Israel’s military campaign flip-flopped often and its goals kept changing, but the assault on civilians, particularly of the south, was relentless. I arrived in Tyre on the tenth day of the war just as the remaining inhabitants of the south were beginning to realize that Israel would spare no one. They all tell us that this assault is different from what they’ve seen from Israel in previous attacks. (Israel has invaded Lebanon twice before in 1978 and 1982, occupied various portions of the country for over 25 years, and launched massive military assaults focusing on civilians and their infrastructure in 1992 and 1996.) People who’ve never left their village were now leaving. 

Lebanon in Context: An Interview with Bilal El-Amine

On the Israeli/Lebanese front - even though Israel was forced to withdraw from Lebanon in May of 2000 - there were a number of issues that Israel deliberately left open that could have easily been resolved. Israel kept some Lebanese land called the Shebaa Farms. Israel would not provide maps for the mines that they had planted throughout South Lebanon that caused many injuries and deaths in the South. Israel continued its constant breaches of Lebanese airspace with almost daily incursions by Israeli warplanes over Lebanon. Israel also refused to release the Lebanese prisoners still in Israeli prisons - there were many of them at that time. 

Good morning Beirut

Since 1993 and the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Arab leaders, the US and the UN have been saying that negotiations and normalization with Israel are the only way to peace. But we have yet to see Israel make the smallest concession, taking the opportunity to swallow up yet more land, butcher the Palestinian people and continue to imprison thousands. Hamas’ election was but one indicator that ordinary Arabs have understood that successive peace accords have brought them nothing but further misery - only resistance, with all the suffering that comes with it, bears fruit.