Even Bashar al-Assad Recognized the Absurdity of Hizballah’s Claims to Har Dov

Ostensibly founded in the early 1980s to drive Israel out of Lebanon, but in fact created to extend Iranian power, destroy the Jewish state, and fight America, Hizballah frequently speaks about seeking to end the Israeli “occupation” of what it calls Shebaa Farms, a strip of territory known in Hebrew as Har Dov. Frederic Hof, who spearheaded an American attempt to broker peace talks between Jerusalem and Damascus between 2009 and 2011, explains the background of this claim:

[I]n early 2000, Hizballah—the “Lebanese resistance” fighting Israeli occupation for nearly two decades—anxiously confronted the implications of possible catastrophic victory: complete, unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. If the occupation were to end, what would there be to “resist”? With nothing to resist, how could Iran’s Lebanese proxy justify maintaining a militia independent of the Lebanese Armed Forces?

Seven Shiite villages in northern Palestine had been separated from related communities in Lebanon by the Anglo-French boundary demarcation of Palestine and Greater Lebanon, completed in 1924. . . . Hizballah, anticipating Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, propagated the idea that the villages would have to be “returned” to Lebanon for Israeli occupation to be considered complete. It knew Israel would never comply with this outlandish demand. And Israel’s noncompliance would supposedly justify continued armed “resistance.” Syria—which wanted the “Resistance” to continue as a pressure point on Israel—fell quickly into line with Hizballah’s claim.

Despite the fraudulent nature of the claim, successive Lebanese governments have been obliged by Iran, working through Hezbollah, to accept it as genuine. The subject was addressed during my February 28, 2011, meeting with Assad. . . . [T]he land, said Assad, is Syrian. Full stop. So much for the “Resistance”!

Read more at Newlines

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Golan Heights, Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon


Spain’s Anti-Israel Agenda

What interest does Madrid have in the creation of a Palestinian state? Elliott Abrams raised this question a few days ago, when discussing ongoing Spanish efforts to block the transfer of arms to Israel. He points to multiple opinion surveys suggesting that Spain is among Europe’s most anti-Semitic countries:

The point of including that information here is to explain the obvious: Spain’s anti-Israel extremism is not based in fancy international political analyses, but instead reflects both the extreme views of hard-left parties in the governing coalition and a very traditional Spanish anti-Semitism. Spain’s government lacks the moral standing to lecture the state of Israel on how to defend itself against terrorist murderers. Its effort to deprive Israel of the means of defense is deeply immoral. Every effort should be made to prevent these views from further infecting the politics and foreign policy of the European Union and its member states.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Palestinian statehood, Spain