a different side of Israel

Q&A With A Beirut Resident – Part 1

The following is part of a series of discussions by one of OJ’s writers and a Lebanese person living in Beirut (going by the name of VJ) who is very concerned with what is now happening to his country. His full comments concerning the Israeli-Lebanese problem will be included in next posts. These were some of the questions VJ had for our writer.
These are all personal views.

Dear Sir,

Well I always thank you for your replies, although they are always shorter than mine. But, now that I understand your situation, I salute your hard work.

I won’t take much of your time in this e-mail. I just need a quick reply from you on a few questions based on our previous e-mails to see where we’ve reached in our agreements or disagreements. I’d like to see where you stand regarding those main issues:

Do you agree with me that many of the Israeli policies in the region for the past several decades have proven to be one of the main reasons behind many of the conflicts and wars we’re experiencing today? This war included?

As (former) U.S. President Bill Clinton once said, “It depends on what you mean by ‘reasons’ and ‘policies’. You may recall my writing that military response by Israel, since independence in 1948, has been the result of being confronted by force. This was especially true when after being in existence as a declared independent state less. than 24 hours, Israel was aggressively attacked on all fronts by a much larger and better equipped Arab Legion. The term ‘confrontation’ also has included drastic economic ones as well, as in the 1956 Sinai Campaign when Egyptian President Nasser tried to nationalize the Suez Canal as well as Block shipping in and out of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Six Day War of 1967 began due to the same Mr. Nasser again attempting to put an economic stranglehold on Israel, as well as massing troops and armor for an eminent attack on Israel. Israel just decided to beat him to the draw by attacking first. All the rest of the conflicts have been the result of being attacked or confronted by either direct military force, or by acts by guerilla forces or terrorists. This includes both previous confrontations involving IDF forays into Lebanon.

Some policies which now appear to have created more problems than solutions, have been the intense settlement policies of previous right-winged governments; involving both the West Bank and Gaza – resulting in two ‘intifadas’ and the present state of near-anarchy in Gaza and PA “governed” parts of the West Bank.

As for this present state of affairs in the conflict involving both our countries, all this might not have happened if an elderly man, lying comatose in Tel Hashomer Hospital, had been able to still be heading things, instead of the ones who are now governing in his stead. I won’t comment more on this problem as others, more qualified than myself, already have.

Do you agree with me that the IDF’s military strategies have proven, at least in this war, to be ineffective to a great extent?

I’m definitely not an authority on military strategy, other than what I’ve often seen on good war movies. My two article series: A Hill Too Far; and the one I wrote concerning whether the tank is still an effective instrument of modern warfare, notes my comments concerning battlefield strategies. Again, though professing not to be an authority on such matters, putting an Air Force Commander in the position of Chief of Staff, is not something I would have done, if in a position to do so. As for who is presently sitting in the chair of the Defense Ministry, I don’t need to comment on this any further.

Do you agree that many of the IDF’s military actions are planting more and more hatred within the hearts of innocent civilians who are seeing their families dying every single hour?

Definitely! How can people hold any regard for us if we’re trashing their country, no matter what the reason? That your country’s government didn’t do anything to try to disarm the Hezbollah, despite a U.N. resolution requiring the Lebanese government to do so, means that most Lebanese either accept the Hezbollah within their midst, or are simply too intimidated to try to throw them out. It is true that they (Hezbollah) have provided various services and helped rebuild your country following the ravages of both the Civil War, and the 1982 Lebanese War. Those services, however, have come at a price. And even if Hezbollah helps rebuild Lebanon after this conflict ends, you may wake up one day to find yourselves living in a Narsrallah ruled Islamic Republic, similar to (or even worse than) Iran; complete with strict Sa’ari Islamic Law.

Be safe.


  1. Who is this VJ guy anyway? Is he a Lebanese Christian, or a Muslim? And if he ‘accept’s the presence of Hezbollah, is he willing to live with the possibility of Hezbollah taking over his country one day?

  2. Ed, this is me, VJ.

    Who am I ? I’m a Lebanese Muslim living in Beirut. Do I accept Hezbollah taking over my country? Never, since this country should be ruled by a diverse set of confessional and political mainstreams, not only one or two of them.

    I only accept the presence of Hezbollah as long as it doesn’t work against the interests of my country as a whole. Hezbollah’s capture of the 2 Israeli soldiers in the beginning of July was a wrong step in the wrong direction at the wrong time, in my opinion.

  3. VJ,

    I’ve been an avid reader of this site for a while now, and have been following the postings made since teh ooutbreak of hostilities. I have very enjoyed the postings by Picow, who appears to be able to express a variety of views concerning this most dreadful conflict.

    Being a Muslim, I presume you are from the
    Sunni branch of Islam which includes more than 80% of all Muslims worldwide. Though Islamic radicals & terror groups seem to come from both
    spectras of Islam (after all, Usama bin Ladin and most of his close followers appear to come from the Wahaabi branch of Sunni Islam) Narshallah and his Hezbollah appear to have cast their lot with the Shiite Iranians (for the most part) although Syria, almost dominantely Sunni, also give them aid and comfort. I hope that things will begin to quiet down in your area soon. Enough death and destruction has occured to both sides in this conflict.

  4. Ed;

    Well, although I am a Muslim, I give no importance or value to the divisions in Islam. Sunni, Shiite or the rest of the groups mean nothing to me. I only identify myself with Islam as a faith and an ideology, and not subdivisions.

    Just a note about Usama Bin Laden and his followers: Such terrorists are the biggest threat on Islam in modern times. They represent a shame and a deep problem in the Muslim community and they should be eradicated primarily by the Muslims before anyone else. By hijacking my religion and killing innocents around the world in the name of Islam, Bin Laden and his followers are my number 1 enemy.

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