Eye on the Middle East Jun/Jul 2000

It can never be said that the Middle East comes up short when it comes to contradictions. A case in point has been the wrangling that has gone on over the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Force from the security zone in South Lebanon. For years the Lebanese, Syrians, and their compatriots in the Palestine Liberation Organization have been demanding that Israel get out of South Lebanon. But as soon as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made it clear that Israel will unilaterally pull out, these same people objected, saying Israel should stay because they themselves cannot and will not insure the safety of the border towns in northern Israel.

More recently, Lebanon’s President Emile Lahoud has asked the UN to be responsible for collecting weapons from Palestinian refugees in the south of his country. A somewhat worried UN official said: “He confuses us.” The Lebanese and Syrians have wanted to arm the Palestinians with the intent of using them to continue the fight against Israel after the withdrawal. At the same time, they are asking the UN to tell them to drop their guns.

A Palestinian official said he believes that the Lebanese request for the UN to disarm militant factions is their way of showing their dissatisfaction with Syria’s efforts to make Lebanon a hostage to its negotiations with Israel. Of course, the question almost no one asks is how it will be possible to convince the Syrians to get their occupying force of 40,000 troops out of Lebanon when and if a peace agreement is reached.

To add to the confusion is the word from terrorists operating out of Lebanon that no matter what is agreed on between Israel and Syria or Lebanon and Israel, the war will not end. Their latest claim is that the northern border between Israel and Lebanon is not a border at all. They will push their campaign forward to capture the Hula Valley, which is in the heart of Israel’s water-rich agricultural area.

What this actually says is that these contradictory statements and confusing claims are only diversionary sideshows to the ultimate objective of Syria, the Palestinians, and their terrorist cohorts throughout the region. That objective is the final annihilation of the State of Israel. The tragedy is that too many leaders in the Western world are allowing them to play this game.

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