From Gaza to Lebanon

This is perhaps how one’s worst fears come true. After two weeks of relentless bombardment of Gaza, the fire Israel recklessly started in the Palestinian territory appears to be spreading to that other front up north, Lebanon.

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Published: Fri 9 Jan 2009, 10:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 12:31 AM

Israel yesterday claimed it has been hit by three Katyusha rockets fired from inside southern Lebanon. As usual, the Israelis swiftly responded to the rockets by unleashing their deadly firepower on southern Lebanon that not long ago had been the scene of another disastrous war and humiliating defeat for the Jewish state.

Hezbollah that fought a bitter and long war with Israel in 2006 says it did not fire those rockets. And there’s no reason to doubt the militia because it has never been known to shirk responsibility for its actions. In fact, it’s always been known to take pride in its rocket attacks on Israel. This time around though it says it had nothing to do with the rockets fired on Thursday morning.

On the other hand, Hamas which has been constantly firing those rockets into southern Israel from Gaza too refused to own them.

If not Hezbollah and Hamas, then who? There are many possibilities and many suspects. Not surprisingly, there’s no dearth of Israel’s enemies in this part of the world. For which the Jewish state has to blame no one but itself. Lebanon is home to a large Palestinian community - more than 400,000 of them. Many of them were born in exile and live in crushing poverty and deprivation, thanks to the apathy of the world community.

Last week, the Lebanese army which has been patrolling the strategically important southern region of the country after Israel-Hezbollah ceasefire in 2006 reportedly came across some rockets in the south that were later dismantled.

Whoever is responsible for those rocket attacks, they add a dangerous new angle to the Middle East conflict. If the world community does not move fast to end the Israeli aggression on Gaza and address the issue of Palestinian dispossession, there’s a clear and present danger of this conflict spilling over across the region and beyond.

Israel has drawn no lessons from recent history and continues to play with fire. It knows and respects no law, no humanitarian accords and conventions.

After the outrage of attacking a UN sanctuary and school in Jabaliya refugee camp that killed more than 42 people on Tuesday, most of them children, the Israelis struck at a UN aid convoy on Thursday killing one Palestinian and injuring many others.

Already, there’s unprecedented anger and frustration on the Arab Street and around the world over Israeli atrocities. By failing to rein in and censure the Jewish state, the UN, the world powers and the Arab and Muslim states run the risk of incurring popular wrath. Any more dithering on the part of the world community to discipline Israel and punish it for its crimes against humanity would have disastrous consequences not just for the Middle East but the whole world. And the rape of Gaza could end up as a good recruiting cause for extremist groups like Al Qaeda.

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