Two months later… nothing changed

After a two month absence from the blog (for various personal reasons), no surprises there: I can latch on seamlessly to the previous blog post, as rumours are floating again about the next Israeli attack – the Turkish and French governments have reportedly both warned Lebanon of an imminent assault. Recently, some dude even claimed on NBN (Amal’s TV station) that Netanyahu has set – and announced – the date for February 20th, which would be awfully – and untypically – friendly of the guy… Qifa Nabki does a comprehensive round-up of the possible trigger scenarios. An excerpt (quoting an anonymous analyst): ‘With the specter of the Goldstone Report hovering above their heads, the Israelis are looking for a swift and violent campaign that can be waged and completed before the international community can mobilize. By the time the UNSC is being badgered to take action, Israel can declare the operation over and wag a finger at the Lebanese and say “Now, don’t do it again”. That might work if the Lebanese crawl from under the rubble and say “Gee, thanks Israel for stopping the bombing”. But what happens when Hezbollah continues firing rockets into Israel and starts sending their boys across the border even as the Israelis are declaring mission accomplished? The Israelis will have to react, and that’s where they face getting sucked into a massively destructive and prolonged conflict, with the international community sharpening its pencils for Goldstone II. Hezbollah’s boys seem to genuinely believe that the next war will be the final one with Israel. In 2006 they fought defensively and reactively. Next time, they say, they are going offensive with all that entails for both sides.’

On a different note, As’ad Abu-Khalil held a talk for an overcrowded Issam Fares Hall at AUB yesterday night, which he characteristically started by lambasting the AUB for 15 minutes, before going on to lambast every side in the Lebanese civil war and after for betraying the Palestinian cause and destroying the Palestinians at every opportunity – most recently with the destruction of the Nahr al-Bared camp by the Lebanese army. ‘Don’t give up your arms,’ he warned the Palestinians in Lebanon, ‘because you can never trust the Lebanese to treat you well.’ Just as characteristically, the only people to take offense at all this were members of a Fatah delegation, who destroyed every opportunity for a serious debate during the Q&A session afterwards by monopolising the microphone for half an hour, shouting and ranting about Abu Khalil’s ‘defamation of the martyr (sic) Yasser Arafat’, all because Angry Arab quite rightly compared the function of today’s Fatah of Abbas and Dahlan in the West Bank with that of Antoine Lahd’s South Lebanese Army during Israel’s occupation of South Lebanon – i.e. a bunch of bought-off collaborators who do the Israelis’ dirty work for them. The general audience (including many Palestinians) did not appreciate the Fatah squad’s aggressive intervention, shouting back things like ‘Don’t worry, fatso, you’ll get your paycheck’…

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