Hatred of Israel Sowed the Seeds of Lebanon’s Collapse

A year after a catastrophic explosion tore through Beirut, killing over 200 people and causing untold property damage, no one has been held accountable—although there is little doubt that Hizballah was responsible for the accident. But the Iran-backed terrorist group remains more powerful in Lebanon than ever, even as the country sinks into economic and political collapse. Sean Durns examines how outside forces, eager to use this small state as a platform from which to attack Israel, helped contribute to the current predicament:

To regain credibility [after losing the Six-Day War], the Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser began to boost Fatah, [a Palestinian guerrilla group], and its leader, Yasir Arafat. Soon, Arafat gained control of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), an umbrella group that Nasser had created in 1964 to coopt Palestinian nationalism for his own ends.

[In 1969], Nasser pressured Lebanon’s government to allow PLO operatives the use of Southern Lebanon. Unofficially known as the Cairo Agreement, the accord placed more than a dozen Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon under the control of the PLO. [When in 1970] the PLO lost Jordan as a primary base of operations, Arafat’s influence in Lebanon only grew. . . . The influx of Palestinians and the growing power of the PLO, whose coffers were filled with money from the oil-rich Gulf States and the Soviet Union, were contributing factors to the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon. The internecine conflict began in 1975 and lasted fifteen years, devastating the country.

[Moreover], in the 1970s the PLO helped train the nucleus of what was to become Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force. This entity would soon birth Hizballah, [an] anti-Semitic terror group that, like the Quds Force and the PLO, sought the destruction of the Jewish state. Hizballah would gain in both power and popularity, launching attacks against the West and Israel. The terrorist organization would use its base in Lebanon to perpetuate and plan attacks, while simultaneously fighting with the Israel Defense Forces in Southern Lebanon.

In the four decades since its rise, Hizballah has taken a broken country and managed to make things even worse. Wars, state-sponsored crime, and misuse of copious amounts of international aid have followed. While the failure of Lebanon has many causes, it can fairly be said that anti-Semitism has played a key role in the country’s deterioration.

Read more at JNS

More about: Gamal Abdel Nasser, Hizballah, Lebanon, PLO, Yasir Arafat

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security