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Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Captured territory?

AP writes today:
Israel began slowly withdrawing its forces from southern Lebanon on Tuesday and made plans to hand over its captured territory as hopes were raised that a U.N.-imposed cease-fire would stick, despite early tests on its first day.
"Captured territory"? It's true that there are Israeli troops in Lebanon. But I don't see any evidence they have actually "captured territory," in the sense of being able to occupy a particular location and remain there indefinitely. As of a few hours before the ceasefire, there were still reports of fighting in Bint Jubeil, a town they allegedly "captured" in the first days of the war. If there is a single Israeli soldier anywhere in Lebanon feeling safe from attack right now, it's only because of the ceasefire, not because they are sitting on "captured territory."

In another language question, the New York Times Steven Erlanger asks if "ordinary Lebanese...will...ultimately blame Hezbollah for attacking Israel." But Hizbollah didn't "attack Israel." They attacked a small group of Israeli soldiers on the border. Describing such an attack as "attacking Israel" is deliberate hyperbole, fitting in with the idea that the Arabs are trying to "drive Israelis into the sea," as if Hizbollah could have, even if they had wanted to, taken control of Kiryat Shimonah, much less the state of Israel. In the same article, Erlanger refers derisively to "the kingdom [Hizbollah] built in southern Lebanon," as if Hizbollah has been lording it over the residents of southern Lebanon, rather than serving them.

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