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Palestine | International

Editorial From Israel's Ha'aretz Newspaper: Let Lebanon live!
by Haaretz (reposted)
Sunday Jul 23rd, 2006 11:19 AM
In the last 10 days, Lebanon has been turned into a transparent country. Half a million Lebanese refugees, the stubble of the demolished houses, and convoys of food and medicine that don't reach their destination are nothing more than insignificant decorations. That's how it is for the international community, and certainly how it is in Israel's eyes. One can presume that had Israel made half a million Palestinians run for their lives, it would be facing an international tribunal right now. But in Lebanon, anything goes.
It's from there that the absurdity of the condescending position that imposes responsibility for what happened and what will happen on the government of Lebanon is derived. That's the reason for the crude lie that is winning support that the Lebanese want the IDF to continue pounding their country in the name of war against Hezbollah. Until this war, Lebanon was the dream of all those who believe in multiculturalism. It is the only state that grants equal rights to some 18 ethnic groups and sects, which managed, albeit with great difficulty, to build a balanced political system and in the last year was given a global round of applause for evicting a foreign occupier, Syria. The country was heading in the right direction, economic growth was surging, foreign currency reserves were piling up, reaching some $13 billion, tourism was flourishing, and this year was supposed to be the best year ever for tourism. In the terms of military minds focused on targets, Lebanon was a country with a lot to lose. And it also had done quite a bit to neutralize the dangers that were at its doors. The national dialogue underway in the country was meant to create a prescription agreed upon by all the political factions, including Hezbollah, for the reasonable application of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. The new Lebanese leadership understood that to disarm Hezbollah it would have to liberate the Shaba Farms. And talks had already begun about that, with the reasoning going that if Israel agreed to withdraw from Shaba, Hezbollah would have no more excuse to bear arms. There was also talk about coopting the Hezbollah's men and weapons into the Lebanese army and talk - some say agreements - about ways to preserve the quiet in southern Lebanon.

More importantly, the new political leadership in Lebanon and the public strengthened the understanding in Hezbollah that to continue to exist as a political entity it's not enough to resist Israel and war against it. Pro-Syrian, pro-Iranian and even pro-Palestinian positions could no longer serve as a badge of honor for an organization that wanted to present itself as Lebanese in soul and spirit. Officially, Hassan Nasrallah even supported the disarmament of the Palestinians living outside the refugee camps, on condition that it not have an effect on his ranks.

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http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/741436.html