From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER107

Events since early June, and specifically the Reagan administration’s complete support for and identification with Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, accentuates the long-standing need to mobilize popular opposition to US policy in the Middle East. The possibilities for such efforts now exist to a greater degree than ever before. Polls show a majority of Americans oppose the invasion. Public attitudes at this moment are far ahead of the politicians and the media.

Saudi Arabia and the War in Lebanon

by A Special Correspondent
published in MER111

People here responded to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in a typically quiet fashion. In my day-to-day business contacts with Saudis, the subject of the war rarely came up unless I raised it. One Saudi friend commented, “We don’t yell and shout, but when we’re among ourselves we talk about it and we say that something has to be done about US support for Israel.”

The scene in any one of the country’s Lebanese shops or restaurants was quite different. Radios blared in the background as men argued loudly over the latest reports and rumors. No doubt some Saudis also viewed the war through Palestinian and Lebanese expatriates, although this community has nowhere near the social and political influence it has in Kuwait.

Sharon and Eitan After Sabra and Shatila

published in MER115

Ariel Sharon: “These Years Have Been Exciting”

What is your assessment of the week? Victory, defeats, the end of a career, of an ambition?

You can make the assessment yourself; there is no doubt that it was tough, but the fact is that I am still a government member.

Is that so important?

Very important. Not the personal aspect but the political implication. I do not deny that these years in the cabinet have been exciting; taking decisions, doing things, creating new situations. But that is not the most important thing. I wanted to remain a member of the government to promote the cause which I regard as most important—the cause of Eretz Israel.

The Kahan Report: Mossad and the Massacres

by Konrad Ege
published in MER115

The final report of the Kahan Commission shows the extent to which the Lebanese Phalangists and Major Sa’ad Haddad’s “Free Lebanon” forces are little more than hired hands in the eyes of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the intelligence agency, Mossad. The Israeli government decides and the Phalangists perform. The Kahan report is quite unambiguous about this hierarchical relationship.

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The Kahan Report: The Commission and the Evidence

by Uri Avnery
published in MER115

I will begin at the end; I am not satisfied by the report of the commission of inquiry....

I have great respect for the three members of the commission. They did an excellent job. The conclusions were reached according to their conscience and understanding. They added honor to Israeli democracy and to the rule of the law. I say this without reservation.

However, the three could not be and perhaps did not want to be free of certain preconceptions, which guided them. All three are members of the establishment—two supreme court justices and one general in the IDF—and they judged as members of the establishment. When two alternatives lay before them, it appears that more than once they discarded in advance the more severe one.

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The Kahan Report: Banishing the Palestinian Ordeal

by Richard Falk
published in MER115

If politics is the art of the possible, then the impact of the Kahan Commission Report has to be understood as “beyond politics,” Israel’s final victory in the Lebanon war is not the expulsion of the PLO or even the extension of its sovereign reach to challenge Lebanese territorial and political independence. The full measure of Israel’s victory is rather its vindication, despite all, as a moral force in the region—as a superior state, especially as compared to its Arab rivals.

The Lebanon War and the Occupied Territories

by Khalil Nakhleh
published in MER115

Until the war in Lebanon, official Israeli policy toward the Palestinians under its occupation rested on the premise that the PLO was the only obstacle on the road to what Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir called “the fullest advancement of the process that began in Camp David.” [1] The elimination of the PLO, according to this logic, would produce Palestinians willing to take part in an Israeli-defined autonomy. Through the so- called Civil Administration, then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon had started the process of extirpating “PLO influence in the territories.”

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Relief Efforts in the South

by James Paul
published in MER108

Richard Butler is director of the Middle East office for the National Council of Churches. Jim Paul interviewed him in New York in August 1982.

When were you in Lebanon?

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US and Israeli Weapons in Lebanon

by June Disney
published in MER108

I visited Muhammad Sannoun, fourteen and a half years old, at his home in Burj al-Barajna to ask him why he had touched the triangle-shaped cluster bomb that had blown off his right arm. “It looked like some kind of aluminum cup painted red on the top, yellow on the bottom, with a black casing on the sides,” he said. “I wanted to open it to see what it was.” Mohammed and two other children accompanying him found the bomb outside a bakery in Burj al-Barajna where they were buying bread, and all suffered shrapnel wounds from the explosion.

The War of Numbers

by Judith Tucker
published in MER108

How many people have been killed and wounded in the course of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon? Precise numbers have been hard to assemble because of unsettled conditions, lack of free access to all areas, the incomplete recovery of bodies buried under the rubble, censorship and the tendency on the part of Israel and its supporters to view casualty statistics as a tool of anti-Israeli propaganda. Still, some have hazarded aggregate numbers: the Lebanese police, in early July, counted 10,134 Lebanese and Palestinians killed and 17,337 wounded; [1] Caritas, the Rome-based Catholic relief agency, had already issued “minimum established figures” of 14,000 dead, 25,000 severely wounded and 400,000 totally homeless on June 28.