Comrade Ronnie has done it again with his article “Rage of the Elephant” of 1 September 2006 in the South African Mail & Guardian. He is hell bent on his anti-Israel platitudes. He is selective in the facts that he wishes to portray and ignores the reasons why Israel attacked Lebanon now and in the past. He twists the truth to suit his personal ideologies. He quotes Dr. Raanan Gissin out of context. I was present at the forum and heard the speech. Raanan Gissin stated that the Jews are an “endangered species” who wish to live in peace. He used the comparison of the Kruger National Park being a “reserve” for the elephants as Israel is a “reserve” for the Jewish People, where they could live in peace with their neighbours. However, when they are attacked they will fight and retaliate in order to ensure their survival. They will make it tough on their attackers in order to deter them from seeking their destruction meaning that their attackers will pay a heavy price.
Kasrils chooses his words selectively, leaving out Israel’s claims and falling into the trap of Hezbollah propaganda. No mention is made of the period before the war on Hezbollah.
Kasrils wrote, “As the world has seen, Lebanon -- half Israel’s size -- has just experienced the wrath of the behemoth: its people, capital, towns, villages, highways, bridges, power and water utilities ground into the dust.”
Kasrils does not view Hezbollah as a terrorist organization as it flouts his world view on “Islamic liberation movements” which in reality are Islamo-fascist movements threatening not only Israel’s right to exist but also western civilization and democracy.
Typical of Kasrils, he does not mention the constant border incursions that Israel had endured prior to the “final straw that broke the back of the camel” when Israel retaliated. When Israel attacked Lebanon in 1982, there were reasons. Starting in 1968, Palestinian groups in southern Lebanon raided northern Israel, and bombarded Israeli towns with Katyusha rockets.
Secondly, Israel argued it could derail the establishment of a base of operations for the PLO, from which they could mount assaults such as the 26 December 1968 attack on an Israeli civilian airliner in Athens.
Another reason given for the invasion was as an intervention in the ongoing Lebanese Civil War to counteract Syrian influences in Lebanon, and possibly enable the establishment of a stable Lebanese leadership from the Christian population, which would strengthen a central Lebanese Army, restore security and agree to diplomatic relations with Israel.
According to former chief of Israeli military intelligence Yehoshafat Harkabi, the 1982 invasion of Lebanon was accompanied by deceit at the highest political levels. Harkarbi cites misleading statements to the cabinet by Ariel Sharon and Begin, inaccurate announcements by Israel's military spokespersons and the Likud government's exaggeration of terrorist acts conducted from Lebanon. Defense Minister Rabin admitted in the Knesset that during the eleven-month ceasefire preceding the war, Israel's northern settlements had been attacked only twice and that during this period Israel had suffered a total of two killed and six wounded from terrorist attacks. These attacks had been preceded by Israeli strikes in response to the planting of a bomb on a bus and the attack on Shlomo Argov.
Kasrils continues, “For a Hamas attack on an Israeli army post two weeks previously -- and the abduction of a soldier -- the people of Gaza paid a price of 200-to-one killed and vital infrastructure flattened. The death toll in Lebanon is more than 1 200 to 150 Israeli dead, 120 of the latter being soldiers. One third of Lebanon’s dead are children. Thousands more have been mutilated, their homes razed to the ground; one quarter of Lebanon’s population were displaced. The country remains blockaded.”
Kasrils fails to mention the use of human shields by Hezbollah. Hezbollah had hidden weapons such as rockets and anti-tank weapons in the homes of innocent Lebanese people by force. They knew that Israeli intelligence would discover these weapon caches and the Israeli Army would blow them up, including innocent civilians, whom they had prevented from leaving their homes after Israel had issued warnings that Lebanese people living in “Hezbollah land” must vacate in order that these arm caches be destroyed with minimum deaths to innocent people. Hezbollah knew that a high death rate amongst innocent Lebanese citizens would serve their propaganda cause. There are also no bomb shelters for Lebanese citizens and if there were, they probably contained Hezbollah weaponry.
A salient characteristic of the shallow depths of Kasrils articles is his total failure to write the whole truth. He justifies Hamas terror and believes in the stereotype phrase “occupation and Palestinian suffering” as a so-called reason to attack Israel. He overlooks the fact that Hamas was responsible for wide scale suicide bombings against innocent Israelis in the heart of Israel during the period of the second intifada in the 2000s. He never mentioned the heavy rain of Qassam rockets into Sderot in the south of Israel even before the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. This had resulted in heavy casualties and damage to property.
Here is another example of Kasrils’ ignorance, “And how telling it was that when the missiles fell on Haifa, among the victims were Israeli Arabs whose government does not bother to provide them with shelters!”
This is a blatant lie! Does Kasrils not realize that Katyusha rockets do not distinguish between Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis? Shelters are available to all Israeli citizens irrespective of race colour, creed or religion. There are many Israeli Arabs living in Haifa and their casualty figures were low as was the case with Jewish Israelis living in Haifa.
The reason for the relatively low casualty rate in Israel is that many Israelis living in the northern towns that were under Katyusha rocket fire had hidden in bomb shelters. In addition, many Israelis left their homes in the north and stayed with family and friends in the centre of the country.
Kasrils also does not mention the history of the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers after Israel had withdrawn unilaterally from Lebanon in 2000, which in itself is a casus belli, and Israeli did not attack Hezbollah.
The extreme left as usual never sees any justification for Israel’s war of survival. It is always the “Palestinian just struggle for freedom from Israeli occupation” or the “suffering of the Lebanese people” as a result of “Israeli aggression” that is the just cause for terror. Kasrils, in his shallow writings illustrates his total ignorance of the history of the establishment of Israel and the Zionist movement. He is a disciple of the extreme left who paradoxically are allies of the neo-fascists in their hate for Israel.