While the Western-“Israeli” alliance wanted to believe that they could intimidate and tyrannise the Lebanese into submission, they discovered that the more they pushed, the more the Lebanese resisted. The Resistance of Hizbullah would not relent. This bold defiance of the Islamic Resistance inspired Lebanese of other religious credence to focus on the fundamental principle they all shared: intolerance for subjugation. Their coordinated efforts paid off.
Failing to coerce either a physical or a political concession from the Lebanese, the occupying “Israelis” were forced to retreat. Beginning on the 21st of May 2000, as families returned to Southern Lebanon on the heels of the exiting “Israeli” troops, members of the Resistance ensured the peaceful nature of the transition. And herein lies the greater significance of this accomplishment. Herein lies the reason it is imperative to mark this anniversary in order to reflect on an achievement that far exceeds the laurels of military victory.
For twenty-two years the armies of the Western-“Israeli” alliance and their proxy Lebanese militia—enemy-collaborators known as the “South Lebanon Army” (SLA)—inflicted death and destruction in Lebanon. The statistics we casually list off are typically rounded, averaged and often disputed. There are so many deaths that the injured are seldom counted. The sole undeniable fact is that there were far too many.
Just warming up, in March 1978 the Zionist forces launched an aerial assault on Southern Lebanon. With the proclaimed intent of eradicating the Palestinians whom they had already driven from their homes, the “Israeli” assault destroyed 2500 homes and killed over 2000 Lebanese and Palestinians. Many fled to the North. Many of those who stayed behind were seized by “Israeli” troops on suspicion of supporting the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Those who were seized were then tortured and often killed.
Under such circumstances, in the hours of regaining control, how easy it would have been to lash out against the enemy-collaborators who had suddenly found themselves left behind without the shield of their Zionist chiefs. Under such circumstances, how easy would vengeance have been? How tempting. How understandable.
But the goal of the Resistance had not been power; it had been liberation. And that goal had been achieved. They had not sought to gain political position. The Islamic Resistance understood and respected that the strength to liberate their land was derived ultimately from God. Thus to have flaunted their position as victors—to have succumbed to the temptation of vengeance—would have been to disparage the source of that victory. Such a move, though ever so common in the history of the battles of men, would have violated the fundamental principles of the Islamic Resistance. Consequently, the victors expressly prohibited any act of vengeance. Any enemy-collaborators who had not fled with the “Israelis” were simply turned over to the Lebanese Army for legal processing.
But the Resistance and Liberation was very, very real life. As real as it gets. Ordinary people embraced principle, defied the odds and chose Liberation. They could have run away. They could have shrugged their shoulders and resigned themselves to life on someone else’s terms. But they chose instead to resist—and it worked. Above all, they continued to act with integrity. This was not because it was necessary in practical terms, for surely it would have been more expedient to eliminate enemy-collaborators on the spot. This was because to have set aside the integrity they had fought to defend would have as surely tainted the Liberation they had achieved