Hizbullah Won't Stop at Shaba Farms

[Jerusalem Post ] Jonathan Spyer - The U.S. administration wants to bolster Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and remove the rationale for Hizbullah's continued bearing of arms. Hizbullah currently uses the Shaba Farms as its central rallying cry; hence, the apparent idea is to induce Israel to cede the farms, probably to UN control. The idea is likely to backfire. Hizbullah will declare any Israeli withdrawal as its own achievement, a delayed result of the 2006 war. The call for the "return" of the Shaba Farms is associated with Hizbullah and was picked up by other elements in Lebanon only later. Hizbullah will claim that Israeli concessions on this issue are proof positive of the successful application of violence against Israel, since the international community declared the matter closed in 2000 and then reopened it as a result of the war of 2006. Should Shaba be ceded, Hizbullah already has a list of subsequent "grievances" against Israel that will be used to justify further "resistance." These include seven Shi'a villages that existed in the Galilee prior to 1948, and the large Palestinian refugee presence in Lebanon. Hizbullah has already issued a statement saying that "anyone who believes that placing Shaba Farms under UN mandate will mean eliminating the rationale behind our resistance is mistaken." Reopening the issue of the Shaba Farms is unlikely to produce the desired results. Rather, the impression given is more likely to be one of confusion, disunity and lack of resolution among pro-Western forces in the region. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC Herzliya.

2008-06-20 01:00:00

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