Last night when I returned home to watch TV I saw that Israel is in fact interfering with the television broadcasts. I only noticed this on two stations: Al Manar (Hezbollah's TV) and NBN (Nabih Berri's TV), both stations watched by the most die-hard Hezbollah/Amal supporters. Al-Manar was interrupted to screen a text that warned not to support Hezbollah, who are "destroying the country", and NBN was kind of out of focus and fuzzy.
Unless the sole point of propaganda is to show the enemy's supporters that you have the power to disrupt their media, this is hardly effective. Again, disrupting cooking- and fashion shows is the way to go. Anyone now watching fashion shows is more likely to be swayed by the false promises of the advancing Israeli army than the Hezbollah supporters, especially if "surrendering" entails duty-free shopping trips to Tel Aviv.
It continues to surprise me how out of touch the Israeli propaganda machine is with the populations it is trying to bomb into submission. Ok, so the US doesn't know its ass from its elbow in the Middle East, but the Israelis have been doing it continuously for close to sixty years! And yes, they've managed to get crude autocratic regimes to whisper sweet nothings to them and have perfected, in many ways, the elaborate, humiliating and cruel details of the occupation of the Palestinian people.
But if the Israeli public is being sold that they are helping the "good Lebanese" against the "bad Lebanese" (an Israeli told me that), no one here buys it. Not even Tony the killer mechanic.
What they do buy, is that there's a consensus in the west that Israeli lives are worth more than Arab ones. In fact, two living Israeli soldiers and a few dead ones, are worth hundreds of Lebanese lives. They don't need John Bolton to spell it out in these terms: "There's no moral equivalence between the civilian casualties from the Israeli raids in Lebanon and those killed in Israel from malicious terrorist acts."
At the heart of this lies the fact that, the state or nation-state-- the entity that was sloppily and haphazardly forced upon this region, by those same Europeans (and now Americans) who now condone a ratio of 1:10 in Israeli-to-Arab "casualties"-- is deemed to hold a moral monopoly on violence. If you have a flag and an international airport, then you can kill people.
Condoleeza Rice came to Beirut today and said, "We all want to urgently end the fighting", after she claimed yesterday that it was "too early" for a ceasefire, having rushed a fresh shipment of bombs and planes to the Israelis. Priority mail, free shipping and handling. It looks like Condi is here to save the ass of Saniora's government; when the dust settles, he's not going to look good having been so opportunistic and eager for Bush's support for the past year, and even now while the country is under attack by the US's closest ally. He grossly miscalculated. At the end of the day, the Lebanese hate the Zionists more than the Syrians. And Hezbollah will have proven its point for all Lebanese to see: that Israel is the greatest threat. Now Saniora and his friends can *officially* re-join the private sector. Unfortunately, Condi left before we could wheel out the flowers and baklava. Such is the nature of "shuttle diplomacy". You have to offend the Arab hospitality, in the process. Maybe next time.