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 ago.
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 Israel 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."
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
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
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.
"The 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)."
Before independent 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