"If this is not terrorism, what is?"
An open letter to the American president
By Salim al-Hoss, Special to The Daily Star
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Dear Mr. Bush,
We heard you express your regrets regarding the casualties of Israel's ravaging war against my country, Lebanon.
I hope you have been furnished with a true profile of the atrocities being perpetrated in my country. You pose as being at war with terrorism. Let me honestly tell you: Charity starts at home.
Israel is wantonly indulging in the most horrendous forms of terrorism in Lebanon: indiscriminately killing innocent civilians at random; not sparing children, elderly or handicapped people; demolishing buildings over their residents' heads; and destroying all infrastructure, roads, bridges, water and power arteries, harbors, air strips and storage facilities. Nothing moving on the highways is spared, not even ambulances, trucks, trailers, cars or even motorcycles, all in violation of the Geneva Conventions and human rights.
The displaced population has reached more than one fourth of the total population of my country - all suffering the harshest and most miserable of conditions. The victims include thousands of killed and maimed.
If this is not terrorism, what is?
Israel's savage assault has been labeled retribution for Hizbullah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers. This smacks of collective punishment, which constitutes a brazen violation of the Geneva Conventions and human rights. Furthermore, the alibi is far from plausible. The two Israeli soldiers were abducted for the express purpose of reaching a swap of hostages with Israel. In fact, Israel had acceded more than once to such swaps in the past. Why would a swap of prisoners be acceptable at one time and a taboo, rather a casus belli, at another? This created a conviction among the Lebanese that the sweeping assault against them was premeditated, and the abduction was only a tenuous excuse.
Israel is indulging in terrorism at its worst, at its ugliest, using the most lethal and sophisticated weapons you have supplied them.
We the Lebanese are justified in seeing in Israel as a most atrocious terrorist power, and seeing in you a direct partner. Mr. President: You are indeed a terrorist practicing the worst variant of terrorism as you condone the annihilation of my country, precluding a cease-fire to be announced, supporting the aggression against my people politically and diplomatically and bolstering Israel's destructive arsenal with the most lethal weaponry.
Mr. President: You are not fooling anybody with your alleged war against terrorism. In our perspective, you and Israel are the most unscrupulous terrorists on earth. If you want to fight terrorism, we suggest that you start with your administration and your hideous ally, Israel.
You repeatedly claim that Israel is acting in self-defense. How preposterous! Self-defense on other people's occupied territory is tantamount to one thing: blatant aggression.
You call Hizbullah a terrorist organization. We call it a legitimate resistance movement. There would have been no military wing of Hizbullah if there had been no Lebanese territory under Israeli occupation, if there had been no Lebanese hostages languishing in Israeli jails, and if Lebanon had not been exposed to almost daily Israeli intrusions into its airspace and territorial waters, and to sporadic incursions into Lebanese land and bombardment of civilian targets.
You cannot eliminate a party by demolishing a whole country. This would have been achieved peacefully by Israel withdrawing from the land it occupies, releasing Lebanese prisoners, and desisting from further acts of aggression against Lebanon.
Israel is the most horrendous terrorist power. And you, Mr. President, are unmistakably a direct partner, and hence a straight terrorist. (emphasis added)
Salim al-Hoss, former prime minister of Lebanon
August 1, 2006
Dr Salim al-Hoss is Professor of Economics and several times Prime Minister of Lebanon. Known for his integrity, he is to the Lebanese the conscience of the country.
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