By Belen Fernandez
In the latest Israeli inversion of cause and effect relationships, the clash near the Lebanese border village of Adaisseh yesterday between Israeli and Lebanese soldiers—which resulted in the deaths of one of the former nationality and three of the latter—was characterized by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as a “planned provocation”, by Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz as a “planned terror attack”, and by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as something for which the Lebanese government was “directly responsible”. It is not clear how anyone in Lebanon is responsible for the Israeli decision to have its army uproot a tree lying outside the confines of Israel’s border fence in order to obtain a more unobstructed view of the area, especially given Israeli possession of numerous unmanned aerial vehicles for which single trees do not constitute an obstacle.
According to the Israeli Haaretz website, the tree uprooting was categorized by Israel as merely a “scheduled vegetation clearing activity”. The notion that Israeli soldier-gardeners should not be permitted to engage in heavily-armed tree-pruning wherever they see fit is thus presumably an extremist principle spawned by Iran and smuggled via Syria into Lebanon, where Hezbollah has used it to brainwash the Lebanese army—who were originally deemed less of a threat to Israeli vegetation clearing and whose debut south of the Litani River was insisted upon in UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended the July War of 2006. Past Israeli landscaping projects have meanwhile included separating Palestinians from their yards with concrete walls, erecting forests atop destroyed Palestinian villages, saturating Lebanese olive fields with cluster bombs, and diverting regional water supplies. It has not yet been established whether the latest deadly air raid on Gaza also qualifies as routine vegetation clearing.
In response to Israel’s allegation that the Lebanese army violated Resolution 1701 by opposing the uprooting of the tree yesterday, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah declared that the Israelis had violated the same resolution 14,000 times since the end of the 2006 war but did not address how many times they had violated other Security Council resolutions. Additional Israeli difficulties with mathematics can be observed in today’s Haaretz article according to which “Israel will launch a diplomatic campaign calling on the United States and France to stop their military assistance to Lebanon following Tuesday’s exchange of fire on the northern border”. The article specifies that the U.S. “has given Lebanon approximately $400 million over the past year to purchase arms”; it fails to mention that there are restrictions as to what sort of arms Lebanon can acquire and that night vision goggles do not pose an exisential threat to the state of Israel.
As for the recent authorization by the U.S. Congress of a $205 million grant to Israel for the purchase of Iron Dome missile defense system batteries, such commitments not only prolong the shelf life of Israeli double standards but may also provide future excuses for the clearing of vegetation that interferes with missile interceptors.
– Belen Fernandez is the author of Coffee with Hezbollah. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.