In Lebanon on 3 August every year several thousand citizens, for the most part Shiite, celebrate the ‘divine victory’ (nasr [min] Allah)! Which victory is this? It is the victory of the ‘Party of God’ (Hizbollah) over the ‘Zionist enemy’, while Zion is for others the symbol of Jerusalem, that ‘Land promised’ by God to His people.
The facts are well-known: on Tuesday 3 August 2010, the Israeli army advances to uproot a beautiful tree in order to have a better view of the Hezbollah enemy. At the same time the Lebanese army, seeing the Zionist enemy moving in its direction, defends itself by shooting and firing anti-tank weapons. As always, the Israeli army reacts using heavy fire. It is like being in one of those video games that simulate wars, one of the many, if it were not for the fact at the end of it all four human beings died: two Lebanese soldiers and an Israeli one and a Lebanese journalist. Divine victory! The following day, as resolute as the day before, the Israelis uproot the tree that stops them from seeing and two others nearby to assert their right to desertification.
An awful game, which unfortunately is not virtual but real. Some hours later the ‘Sayyed’ (Hassan Nasrallah) celebrates God’s victory, which ended the 34 day war of July-August 2006. A true victory that cost ‘only’ 1,200 Lebanese lives and 160 Israeli ones, besides the 4,000 Lebanese injured and about 3.6 billion dollars damage, partially covered by Europe and the Iranian or Arab ‘brother countries’, according to their faith in God, once again Him! Alas, nobody could bring the dead back to life! But what does it matter, when there has been a ‘divine victory’?
Can one fight in the name of God?
Everyone wants to defend the honour of one’s fatherland or clan. Some think they can defend God or religion in the same way. But God and His honour, and religion do not need to be defended by anyone. God’s honour is the life of man! It is man that needs to be defended. For ever human being that is killed, whosoever it may be, it is a part of God being touched. ‘As I live – oracle of the Lord God – I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man's conversion, that he may live’ (Ez, 33,11). And Jesus Christ: ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John, 10,10).
Had the Israelis gone over the blue line? The United Nations peace force (FINUL) confirms that they were south of the line, making Israel conclude: “We were on the side of the law”. Lebanon answers: “There are sectors to the south of the blue line that are in Lebanese territory”, or “The trees were to the south of the blue line, but in Lebanese territory!”
Has not the moment perhaps come for the UN to define a provisional no man’s land, clearly marked between the two countries, and divided into equal parts by both, so as to avoid other conflicts? The cost would certainly be less compared with the present situation. Anyway, as Alain Le Roy, chief of the UN peace forces stated: the FINUL had asked Israel to entrust it with the supervision of the tree pruning, but the request was rejected.
Is there the risk of another war now? It seems that neither of the two states wants this…for the time being. The Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, clearly stated: “I hope that there is no escalation, that the summer continues to be calm and that things get back to normal”, adding: “the Tuesday incident was not planned either by the Staff Headquarters of the Lebanese army in Beirut or by Hezbollah. He also said: “It is necessary to act in such a way that a local incident does not degenerate into a real crisis”. There was the same reaction from the Lebanese. That in the end it was the army and not Hezbollah that tried to defend Lebanon is a good sign. The Middle East situation has changed over the last few months: a fight for influence between Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shiite) can be seen, with Syria as intermediary. Last 30 July a mini-summit was held in Beirut with King Abdallah of Arabia and the Syrian President Bashar al-Asad on the relations between Iran and Hezbollah, which are no longer as strong as in 2006. All this leaves one to imagine that a strategic change is taking place which could turn out to be positive.
As everyone knows, the true solution is a peace agreement which respects international decisions. This undoubtedly involves renunciations, but is far more beneficial than any war and any victory, even a ‘divine’ one!
* Article written on August 6th, 2010