chapter  6
21 Pages

Hizballah and Israel: Strategic Threat on the Northern Border

Knesset Member Asmi Bishara is one of the most eloquent spokesmen among Israeli Arabs. A Christian intellectual committed to the idea of Arab nationalism, Bishara rose to prominence in recent years after making a number of statements that incensed the Jewish population and the Israeli authorities. In one case, he was sued for a speech he had made at a ceremony commemorating the first anniversary of the death of Syrian President Hafiz aI-Assad. In that ceremony, held in Damascus on 10 June 2001, Bishara stood next to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizballah, and declared that the Arab world should reject the options Israel was offering: all-out war or a peace settlement tailor-made to suit Israel. Instead, he suggested, the Arabs must choose a different path, that of resistance - in other words, the method of Hizballah and the Palestinians. 1

In another significant statement, Bishara tried to explain why the Palestinians had so far failed to achieve an unconditional victory in their struggle against Israel, as Hizballah had done. According to Bishara, Hizballah's success and the Palestinians' failure had come about for two main reasons. In the first place, Israel had one clearly-defined, principal opponent in Lebanon - Hizballah - which alone led the struggle against

Israel. Hizballah possessed a clear concept and was in complete control of its activists. In contrast, the Palestinians were divided: countless groups participated in the struggle against Israel, without any sort of coordination, central objective, or central control. Each of these groups has its own private agenda - which they promote as a priority.