As Lebanon continues to be pounded by Israeli bombs and
munitions, the justification for Israel's invasion is treading on very thin
ice. It has become general knowledge that it was Hezbollah guerillas that first
kidnapped two IDF soldiers inside Israel on July 12, prompting an immediate and
violent response from the Israeli government, which insists it is acting in the
interest of national defense.
Israeli forces have gone on to kill over 370 innocent
Lebanese civilians (compared to 34 killed on Israel's side) while displacing
hundreds of thousands more. But numerous reports from international and
independent media, as well as the Associated Press, raise questions about
Israel's official version of the events that sparked the conflict two weeks
The original story,
as most media tell it, goes something like this: Hezbollah attacked an Israeli
border patrol station, killing six and taking two soldiers hostage. The
incident happened on the Lebanese/Israel border in Israeli territory. The
alternate version, as explained by several news outlets, tells a bit of a
different tale: These sources contend that Israel sent a commando force into
southern Lebanon and was subsequently attacked by Hezbollah near the village of
Aitaa al-Chaab, well inside Lebanon's southern territory. It was at this point
that an Israeli tank was struck by Hezbollah fighters, which resulted in the
capture of two Israeli soldiers and the death of six.
As the AFP reported, "According to the Lebanese police force,
the two Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanese territory, in the area of Aitaa
al-Chaab, near to the border with Israel, where an Israeli unit had penetrated
in middle of morning." And the French news site www.VoltaireNet.org
reiterated the same account on June 18, "In a deliberated way, [Israel]
sent a commando in the Lebanese back-country to Aitaa al-Chaab. It was attacked
by Hezbollah, taking two prisoners."
The Associated Press departed from the official version as
well. "The militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during
clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift
reaction from Israel, which sent ground forces into its neighbor to look for
them," reported Joseph Panossian for AP on July 12. "The forces were
trying to keep the soldiers' captors from moving them deeper into Lebanon,
Israeli government officials said on condition of anonymity."
And the Hindustan
Times on July 12 conveyed a similar account: "The Lebanese Shi'ite
Hezbollah movement announced on Wednesday that its guerrillas have captured two
Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon. 'Implementing our promise to free Arab
prisoners in Israeli jails, our strugglers have captured two Israeli soldiers
in southern Lebanon,' a statement by Hezbollah said. 'The two soldiers have
already been moved to a safe place,' it added. The Lebanese police said that
the two soldiers were captured as they 'infiltrated' into the town of Aitaa
al-Chaab inside the Lebanese border."
Whether factual or
not, these alternative accounts should at the very least raise serious
questions as to Israel's motives and rationale for bombarding Lebanon.
MSNBC online first
reported that Hezbollah had captured Israeli soldiers "inside"
Lebanon, only to change their story hours later after the Israeli government
gave an official statement to the contrary.
A report from The National Council of Arab Americans, based in Lebanon,
also raised suspicion that Israel's official story did not hold water and noted
that Israel had yet to recover the tank that was demolished during the initial
attack in question.
Israelis so far have not been able to enter Aitaa al-Chaab to recover the tank
that was exploded by Hezbollah and the bodies of the soldiers that were killed
in the original operation (this is a main indication that the operation did
take place on Lebanese soil, not that in my opinion it would ever be an
illegitimate operation, but still the media has been saying that it was inside
'Israel' thus an aggression first started by Hezbollah)."
observers could organize an investigation of the incident, Israel had already
mounted a grisly offensive against Lebanese infrastructure and civilians,
bombing Beirut's international airport, along with numerous highways and
communication portals. Israel didn't need the truth of the matter to play out
before it invaded Lebanon. As with the United States' illegitimate invasion of
Iraq, Israel just needed the proper media cover to wage a war with no genuine moral
Joshua Frank is the author of "Left Out!
How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush" and edits www.brickburner.org.