Analysis: Hizbullah tries to justify its existence

The organization provoked Israeli aggression to justify its existence.

By
May 29, 2006 01:20
2 minute read.
hizbullah raises flag over artillery 298.88

hizbullah flag 298.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Amid growing pressure both inside and outside of Lebanon for Hizbullah to disarm, it was just a matter of time before the organization would lash out at Israel. Indeed, senior security officials have been warning the cabinet for months of the likelihood of an attack in the north. Since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, Hizbullah has been an Iranian/Syrian proxy in search of a reason for being. That reason - or at least the reason Hizbullah head Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah likes to tell the Lebanese - is to defend southern Lebanon from "Israeli aggression."

JPOST.COM HIT LIST
    JPost.com's most popular articles this past week [click here]
It stands to reason, therefore, that if there is no "Israeli aggression," then Hizbullah needs to provoke some, because it is Hizbullah's raison d'etre. Which places Israel in a delicate bind. On the one hand it cannot tolerate Katyusha rocket attacks from southern Lebanon; on the other hand if it responds too harshly it plays directly into Nasrallah's hands. An errant Israeli shell causing extensive Lebanese civilian casualties would go a long way toward silencing those inside and outside the country who want to see the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which calls for the country's armed militias to be demilitarized and the Lebanese government to move its troops southward. This tightrope has been one that Israel has gingerly walked since leaving Lebanon six years ago. Sunday, however, marked the harshest Israeli response to Hizbullah provocations since May 2000. One reason is that right now it is not only Hizbullah that has to prove itself, but also the new Israeli government. Sunday's Katyusha attack represented Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's first serious "Lebanese test," and it was imperative for him to send a forceful message back that he, too, would not be pushed around. "We carried out an aerial attack and will use all the means of response at our disposal, on land and in the air, to attack terror elements trying to disrupt life in the north," Olmert said after meeting President Moshe Katsav. "There should be no doubt, we will hit with a very painful blow anyone who tries to disrupt life in the north," he added. Olmert said the Israeli response was an important warning to Palestinian elements in Lebanon of what was liable to happen to them if this continued. "We hope that the response will be understood correctly and there will be no other tests," Olmert said. Senior diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said they expected that the escalation in the north would not drag on for more than 24 hours, because neither Lebanon, facing considerable domestic problems, nor Syria, facing international isolation, "have a stomach for a large confrontation" at this time. Nonetheless, what Hizbullah succeeded in doing was to put everyone on renewed notice that it retains a potent mischief-playing role in the region. Nasrallah's Descartes-like message Sunday was simple: "I fire rockets, therefore I am."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

November 19, 2018
Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen fire missile at Saudi coalition

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN