July 27, 2006, - 5:08 am
By Debbie Schlussel
How oblivious we are to the hypocrisy of the Lebanese Shi’ite Muslims, who in 1982, welcomed Israel into Lebanon to rescue them.
To rescue them from the P.L.O., whose Palestinian supporters their Hezbollah is now allied with. To rescue them from these people who then allowed their fellow co-religionists in Iran to found a terrorist group in their country, Hezbollah, to attack their rescuers.
Rapes, torture, murders. In 1982, that’s what Shi’ite Muslims (and Christians) in Lebanon suffered daily and en masse at the hands of the Palestinians who controlled the country from West Beirut to Lebanon’s southern border. Their rescuers were the “evil Zionists” whose elimination they and their Hezbollah now seek. South Lebanon was known as Fatah-land. The P.L.O. dominated–allied with a brutal leftist Lebanese militia, the Morabeitoun, headed by Ibrahim Kleilat.
Hezbollah was founded by Shi’ite Muslims in Iran and injected into their country ostensibly to “get Israel out of Lebanon.” But in 1982, Lebanon’s Shia–who now wholeheartedly support Hezbollah–were desperate for rescue from their murderous Palestinian captors. When Israel did invade Lebanon (to stop the P.L.O. and its attacks from Lebanon onto Israel), the now-reviled Israeli Defense Forces were welcomed by Shi’ites with open arms–as liberators.
Yesterday–mass rapes, torture, and murder of thousands of Shi’ites at the hands of P.L.O. soldiers who took over their country. Today–through Hezbollah and HAMAS–they are partners. But in the ’80s, it was a different story.
In a front page story on July 25, 1982, “Lebanese Tell of Anguish of Living Under the P.L.O.,” The New York Times detailed how Arafat and company nearly established a Palestinian State . . . in Lebanon. The article is by David K. Shipler, no friend of Israel.
The hypocrisy of Lebanon’s Shi’ites is thickly evident when reading that account now.
For about six years (beginning in 1976), the P.L.O. controlled Lebanon with Syria. P.L.O. terrorists controlling Lebanon had an army, police, a “judicial system,” and a number of agencies that harassed and sanctioned violence against Shi’ites and Christians. Reported the Times then:
Those who lived within its [the region of Lebanon controlled by the P.L.O.] rough boundaries said they were too terrified then to describe it to outsiders. Now . . . they are telling of theft, intimidation and violence. . . . The major tool of persuasion was the gun, according to those who lived through it. . . . [They] said they felt powerless in their own homes.
Example after example of what the Palestinians–Sunni Muslims–did to the Shi’ites was reported by the New York Times. Example after example of what the Israelis saved them from, which they seem to have forgotten:
* Ali Bader El-Din was imam of Harouf, a Shi’ite village near Nabatiye. When he returned to town after 12 years of religious study in Shi’ite institutes in Iraq, he refused Palestinian demands to “inject Palestinian themes in to his sermons in the mosque.” As a result, in 1980, during Ramadan fasting, he was murdered by the P.L.O. After days of searching, his family found his body, shot through the head, underneath a bridge in Deir Zaharani, a village four miles away.
Fearing a large turnout for his funeral, the P.L.O. forced his family to hold the funeral at night, which is not done in Islam. Yasser Arafat visited El-Din’s family, told his 10-year-old son “the Zionists killed your father,” and gave him a gun, telling him to “take revenge.”
* Sheikh Mohammed Al-Masri, of another Shi’ite village near Nabatiye, refused to comply with Palestinian encroachment on his land. So, they raped and murdered his 15-year-old daughter.
* Hussein Hatib, a 19-year-old from Shi’ite village Harouf, was murdered by Palestinians. His 70-year-old father, Ali Ismaili Hatib, said his son was shot in the back at a P.L.O. checkpoint. They wanted gifts he’d bought for his family after returning from working in Libya.
* Zouhair Ladki, a Shi’ite from Khalde (just south of Beirut), was detained at a P.L.O. checkpoint, blindfolded, and questioned for 36 hours for the crime of having an American visa stamped in his passport after study in the U.S. One day, Palestinian and Syrian troops seized his family’s home, ordering them out and saying they had to find an “American spy” hiding inside. After the “search,” much of the house’s property and furnishings were gone, stolen by the Palestinians.
Later, because Ladki and his friends did rescue work for the International Red Cross in Lebanon and wore red crosses on their shirts, they were detained by Palestinians in Beirut. According to the Times, the Palestinians asked them, “Why are you a Moslem and put a cross on yourself?” Then, they killed three of his Red Cross team in front of him. “I lost too many dear friends [to the Palestinians controlling Lebanon],” he said. “For nine months I have been afraid to make friendships again.”
* The town of Nabatiye, where there were 35,000 Shi’ite Muslims dwindled to just 4,000 due to Palestinian murders of many and fleeing by the rest.
* Dolly Raad, a Christian Lebanese, said her father’s home in Lebaa (east of Sidon) was seized by the Palestinians and turned into a restaurant and casino. She told the New York Times, “[T]hey [Palestinians occupying Lebanon] stopped a bus and said that those who were Christians, come down. My cousin stepped down, and was killed. When we saw the Palestinians were killing us and threatening us and having barricades and shooting innocent people, then came the hatred.”
And other examples from other media in the days of Israel’s welcomed entry into Lebanon are legion:
* An Israeli soldier liberating Lebanon from the P.L.O. in 1982 said saw a P.L.O. tank parked in front of a Shi’ite Muslim’s house. He asked the Shi’ite, “Why did you allow this tank in front of your house?” The man replied that after he initially complained about it, the Palestinians murdered his son and raped his 15-year-old daughter, whom the soldier saw. She was pregnant.
* A Shi’ite OB/GYN doctor at a South Lebanese hospital complained to P.L.O. soldiers after they deliberately entered and watched each time he helped a woman give birth, in violation of Islamic modesty rules. In response, they killed his daughter.
These and a myriad of other stories like them are what Israel–now the enemy of Shia Islam and Hezbollah–rescued Lebanon’s Shi’ite Muslims from. That’s why, in 1982, when Israeli shortwave radio interviewed a local shi’ite military leader from a small town in southern Lebanon, he said, “We’ll gladly join the Israeli Army to attack Beirut.”
As renowned moderate Shia commentator, Fouad Ajami, recently wrote in U.S. News and World Report, of Israel then:
They boarded ships firing in to the air, freeing the Lebanese to embark on a new history of their own. . . . Israel had done for Shi’ites–Lebanon’s largest and most disadvantaged community–what they had been unable to do for themselves. In a chapter now long forgotten, those villages in the southern hinterland had welcomed Israel’s push into Lebanon.
Lebanese shia memories are short, indeed.
When Palestinians controlled Tyre (and maintained an outpost there), they begged Israel to rescue them. Now, Israel enters Tyre to protect itself from Shia Muslim shelling on Israel, and it’s the enemy.
In 1982, the Palestinians had already taken over Tyre. As in most other locales under their control, the entire City Council complied with the P.L.O.’s demand to resign, May Ali Khalid Shaalan told the New York Times:
“The Palestinians pressured me to resign and to leave everything in their hands. But of course I refused and told them I was ready to die before giving them the municipality.” Instead of killing him, they worked around him, stripping him of Authority.
Tyre’s Shia Mayor Shaalan and his entire police force were restored to full power by the Israelis who liberated them. One of the policemen told the Times that under the Palestinians it was deeply humiliating:
“I worked only with paper,” [he said] fingering a crime report. “If somebody shot somebody, he would be protected by the Palestinians.”
How soon the Lebanese Shi’ites forget how desperate they were under their new-found Palestinian buddies, then in the P.L.O. and now reconstituted as HAMAS. How soon they forget that when Israel liberated them from the Palestinians, there was no Hezbollah to do the job instead.
The July 1982 New York Times piece says it all:
Some are still circumspect, afraid the P.L.O. will return after Israel withdraws; others open up in a spirit of relief [about the Israeli liberation].
24 years ago, who knew these same Shi’ite Muslims would show such little appreciation and complete absence of a memory bank? Who knew that instead of the P.L.O.’s return, they’d fervently support their own barbaric Shia version and use it to murder those who rescued them from total destruction?
It’s the epitome of chutzpah.
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