On August 4, a massive explosion ravaged the Lebanese capital of Beirut, leveling large swathes of the city’s port, killing nearly 200 people and injuring more than 6,000 others, in one of the world’s largest non-nuclear explosions. powerful never recorded in the history of mankind.
The explosion, which caused billions of dollars in property damage, was caused by a fire in a warehouse housing nearly three thousand tons of ammonium nitrate, a volatile chemical and a key ingredient in fertilizers and bombs. This chemical has been stored inappropriately and dangerously for more than six years, with the knowledge of Lebanese officials who knew of the danger but did nothing. Although Hezbollah did not accept responsibility for the explosion, the Shiite terrorist group is one of the most likely culprits of storing these explosive materials in civilian areas, a bona fide war crime.
While the explosions made international news at the time, in part because much of it was captured on a video that went viral, it has now disappeared from the front pages. But in reality, the biggest news related to the explosions has only arrived in recent days. In a virtual address to the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented overwhelming evidence that the explosions were caused by the reckless storage of massive quantities of explosive materials by Hezbollah, and that currently he there would be even more stored all over town.
In his speech, Netanyahu posted declassified satellite images showing negligent storage sites of explosive materials and missile depots by Hezbollah throughout the Lebanese capital, located near civilian housing and next to dangerous buildings like a station- service and a gas company. It is estimated that Hezbollah has an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles.
Netanyahu made a direct appeal to the Lebanese people, imploring citizens to hold Hezbollah responsible for transforming Beirut into a military depot, and stressed that it was not Israel, but Iran, the boss of Hezbollah, which endangered the lives of the Lebanese.
Just days ago, another explosion rocked Lebanon, this time in the city of Ain Qana, near the city of Sidon, which Israel says was caused by another fire at a materials depot. explosives owned and operated by Hezbollah.
These explosions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the real danger and threat of Hezbollah, the so-called “party of God”, in the Middle East and abroad.
Hezbollah, although approaching its 40th year of existence, has not gained moderation with age, and its long, blind disregard for human life is nothing new. Established in the early 1980s as an armed faction aimed at combating Israel during the country’s war against Lebanon, it has established itself as a vicious terrorist group that targets Israeli and Jewish civilians not only in Israel, but across the country. overseas in Europe and South America. Remember the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that left 85 dead and hundreds injured. Resolutely opposed to the West and to America, Hezbollah is also known for the bombings of the Beirut barracks in 1983 which killed 241 American soldiers.
Apparently, Hezbollah was created to fight Israel during the Lebanese war, but Israel no longer has a presence on Lebanese soil, as Israel voluntarily withdrew from all Lebanese territory twenty years ago. Today, Hezbollah – as proxy for the Islamic Republic of Iran – is motivated not by a real estate dispute with Israel, but by a visceral hatred of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state in middle of the Middle East.
For the past 10 years, he has supported Assad’s murderous regime in Syria and has been complicit in the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Hezbollah is bigger, better trained, and more funded and armed than the Lebanese army. It is, in fact, the de facto Lebanese army, and in the previous Lebanese parliament, Hezbollah had 13 seats and senior officials in the Lebanese government. Today, Hezbollah is more than just part of Lebanon – it is Lebanon and is often referred to as a “state within a state”.
This is tragically the reality, in part because much of the world has let it all happen. Even today, the European Union distinguishes between the so-called “political wing” of Hezbollah and its “military wing” – when in reality it is a distinction without a difference. Alarmingly, this massive loophole allows Hezbollah to operate legally in the EU and ultimately benefit from its increased credibility, fundraising, and recruitment for its nefarious efforts.
Canada is well positioned to make change for the benefit of the Lebanese people and has already provided $ 30 million in humanitarian assistance. Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who recently visited the country, must put pressure on his colleagues in the European Union to fill this gap, ensuring that all the activities of the Hezbollah be punished equally. They are, after all, just different tentacles of a massive terrorist operation around the world. Finally, Canada should use its good offices to put pressure on the UN to implement resolution 1701 which calls on the Lebanese government to forcibly withdraw Hezbollah from Lebanon, from its government, and to dissolve and disarm the terrorist group.
Hezbollah is not a human rights organization, nor is it just a ragged street gang. It is a bloody and ruthless terrorist organization operating at the will and discretion of its Iranian bosses, and which seeks to cause death and chaos. Any minimization of this basic reality is tantamount to whitewashing the horrific crimes of this brutal terrorist syndicate. It’s now or never, the Lebanese people need Canada’s help.
- Mike Fegelman is Managing Director of HonestReporting Canada, a non-profit organization that provides fair and accurate media coverage of Israel and the Middle East. www.HonestReporting.ca.