Makdisi’s Revisionist History on Hezbollah Rockets

In a July 19 Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, UCLA English professor Saree Makdisi minimizes Hezbollah’s provocation of the crisis with Israel by distorting the chronology of events (“Israel’s Outrageous Attacks”). He erroneously asserts:

Israel’s blanket bombardment of Lebanon was sparked not by rockets (which came in retaliation) but by a guerilla operation against a military target. . .

Makdisi’s claim that Hezbollah’s rocket attacks on Israel came after, or in retaliation, for “Israel’s blanket bombardment of Lebanon” is absolutely false; Hezbollah attacked Israel with rockets during the course of the Hezbollah raid on sovereign Israeli land in which IDF soldiers were killed and captured.

The Los Angeles Times’ own coverage of the conflict’s initial events disproves Makdisi. Thus, Laura King and Vita Bekker report July 13:

Under cover of rocket and shell fire at northern Israeli hamlets and border army posts, the guerillas sprayed gunfire at two armored Israeli jeeps patrolling the frontier. It was at the site of that attack, which left three soldiers dead, that two Israelis were captured, Israeli news reports said.

Likewise, the New York Times reported:

The Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah surprised Israel with a bold daylight assault across the border on Wednesday [July 12]…. The fighting on the Lebanese border erupted around 9 a.m., when Hezbollah attacked several Israeli towns with rocket fire, wounding several civilians, the Israeli military said. But that attack was a diversion for the main operation, several miles to the east, where Hezbollah militants fired antitank missiles at two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence, the military said. Of the seven soldiers in the two jeeps, three were killed, two wounded and two abducted, the military said. (Clashes Spread to Lebanon as Hezbollah Raids Israel, July 13, 2006)

AFP coverage on July 12 also is very clear on the chronology, that Hezbollah rocket attacks accompanied the Hezbollah raid on Israel. Thus, AFP’s Aita Shaab reports at 9:00 AM GMT on Hezbollah’s claim that it has two Israeli soldiers:

The claim came after intense cross-border clashes that left at least four Israeli civilians wounded, according to Israeli military sources.

Hezbollah fighters fired dozens of Katyusha rockets and mortar rounds on the disputed Shebaa Farms border area, security sources said.

There was also a barrage of fire on northern Israel at the other end of the frontier close to the Mediterraenan [sic] coast, the sources added.

Also, a BBC timeline of the crisis confirms that the Hezbollah raid into Israel was accompanied by rocket fire. The very first entry of the timeline notes that:

Hezbollah fighters based in southern Lebanon launch Katuysha rockets across the border with Israel, targeting the town of Shlomi and outposts in the Shebaa Farms area.

CAMERA provided Times editors with this information, yet the paper has failed to correct the record.

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