Rafi Karakachian- the role of Hezbollah
Civil war in Lebanon … Hezbollah … Hassan Nasrallah … You and I have the same right … Western media … People living together with equal rights … One-state country … With will and determination, any unfair situation will have to end.
Rafi and his family resisted the war by staying in Beirut! They were able to go anywhere since they have 3 passports/nationalities and lived abroad before the war which lasted for 13 years!
The initial plan of the Americans was to give Lebanon to the Palestinians and solve the Palestinian issue: to take Lebanon and forget about Israel and Palestine. So at one point, they came all the way to these towns here (above Beirut), which is Christian neighbourhood, with Christian headquarters in another village half an hour from here. So it became very scary, They were basically being able to invade the most critical areas of Lebanon in terms of Palestinians. At that point the Christian leadership asked Syria to intervene. To stop the plan. So the Syrians came in and they stopped the plan basically. So that was the first blow to Israeli-American plan. And The Syrians started pushing them back to where they were, to their camps and they invaded back all the area that Palestinians were taking control of.
And then, when that failed, the next step was for the Israelis to invade. So in 1982 they started. I remember that very very well, like today: 6th of June 1982. We were at the friend’s house in the mountains, having fun, barbecue, a big group of friends. On the way back on the radio we hear that Israeli invasion of Lebanon started. And we went home, you know it was like a shock and then few days later they were at the border of Beirut. And then we had a new elected president Bachir Gemayel, Christian militia leader, according to the Syrians, he was collaborating with the Israelis. So somebody assassinated him, they saying it’s the Syrians, but we don’t know for a fact. So when that happened, the Israelis came and invaded west Beirut, which is the Muslim area and then they went to east Beirut, which is the Christian part. But in the Christian part they were not invaders, they were guests. And there they were going to restaurants… So on the one side of Beirut they were invading it, on the other side they were having fun.
Then in 1982, when Israeli invaded and settled, there was no Hezbollah. It was resistance of all… all kinds of Lebanese wanted to resist. So they started organising themselves, and Hezbollah was one of these parties. And they started resisting. How? Like: they see military car, Israeli car going on the street, they throw a grenade. Soldiers die, one, two tree, four, five, every day, several times a day. It’s starting becoming a problem, the Israeli started pulling out. They pulled out of Beirut and they settled in the south. The Lebanese army was divided, so Lebanese army in the south became their collaborator. The Hezbollah – mostly the Shia – were also mostly in the south, and throughout Lebanese history they were neglected. Basically, Israeli used to come, and do things…I mean, nobody cared about them. Really. The political institution, the army, nobody cared about them. So they had to take care about their own safety… So they organised. And of course, they had the support of other countries – that time Syria, because Syria was also in Lebanon – so we had Israeli army, Syrian army and the Resistance, and the fighting militias. And they (Hezbollah) became very organised. Secrecy – until today they don’t understand how they operate and with the Israelis spying and all their capacities, they can’t locate where they are. Even Nasrallah who is their leader, they don’t know where he is. He’s underground, maybe it’s been for 10 years now.
So the Resistance kept going and then at one point it was becoming unbearable for the Israelis. Year 2000, sometime in the summer, overnight, without telling even their collaborators (the Lebanese), they (Israeli) pulled out. They left in one day. And that was the day of celebrations. And then we had several times many foreign armies coming as if stopping the war.
We (Rafi and wife Arda) lived the first 11 years and then we left to the States. The war between the Lebanese fighting fractions stopped in 1990. But Israel was still here, in the south. In 2000, after the Resistance succeed to push the Israelis out, and they started becoming very strong, in 2006 Israelis decided to invade Lebanon again, to get rid of Hezbollah. There still is a small portion, until today, which is not Israel, it’s Lebanese, but they (Israeli) are still there, and also the official borders are not very clear, whether it belongs to Lebanon or Syria.
And there were always clashes on the border between Israel and Hezbollah: they tried to go in, they do things, the Israeli fly almost every day, as tourists with their air force. So the problem was still there, because the Hezbollah proved to be effective and they started to be a model for Palestinians in Palestine. Reporting of that invasion, the western media – all of them, CNN, BBC, you name it, the western mass media – did a huge campaign to heavily demoralise the Lebanese.
The Israelis started heavily bombarding the south, like crazy, everywhere, villages… So Nasrallah had a speech, he said: all the civilians just leave, go out, wherever you are, let only the Resistance stay. The refugees were here, everywhere, in the mountains, in Beirut, they settled in schools which were opened for them. So the media bombarded us with fake news, bad news to demoralise us, and the point was that Israel is bombarding, destroying Lebanon because of Hezbollah: like we don’t want Hezbollah anymore, just give away your arms and let’s have peace. But fortunately that didn’t happen. And in fact, all the news was fake!
And Nasrallah at the time – they have a TV channel and the Israelis couldn’t find where this TV channel was spreading the news from, where the antennas were – went underground and every day he comes on TV at night and says don’t believe these news, we are advancing, they are retreating, and don’t believe anything they are saying. One day he came on the news and said: OK, to prove myself, whoever is in Tyre, there is an Israeli boat in the sea,10 min from now go on the balconies, we will hit the boat, just to prove myself. People went out the their balconies and saw how they hit the boat.
I can tell you another story of western news mechanism: in 2006, one day the Israeli threatened to hit Beirut so Nasrallah came on TV and said: if you hit Beirut, we will hit Tel Aviv. Five minutes later I turned on CNN. Headline news, breaking news: Nasrallah in threatening to hit Tel Aviv. But the guy didn’t say that, he said if you hit Beirut, we will hit Tel Aviv. So of course, American public opinion: Nasrallah is going to hit Tel Aviv, he’s a terrorist, he will hit the civilians. This type of things we were witnessing every day, every minute, every moment. Anything what western media says, I believe the opposite, because that’s what we saw. The lying mechanism, it’s their expertise.
Finally, with the intervention of Americans and then some other countries, they came and they claim a ceasefire. The war stopped…at the end they made this resolution, which was not to Israeli advantage. It was just something on the paper to stop the war. And to save faces. And Israelis pulled out, the second invasion didn’t succeed either. And from that point on Hezbollah started getting help from Iran, starting getting stronger and stronger. Their policy was OK: we will start manufacturing our own weapons, our own missiles and everything that we need. And they’re doing that. In 2005 the Syrians pulled out, then Israelis went out, and Lebanon now is now Lebanon, with only Lebanon army.
And, to tell you about Hezbollah discipline: in 2000 when all people fled south Lebanon and came into Beirut, settled in schools, we were helping them, volunteering to help them, give them food and whatever. So when the ceasefire happened, Nasrallah came again on TV and he said: tomorrow, everybody goes back to their villages, we will take care of you. Even if you don’t have a place to stay, if your house is underground, don’t worry, we will take care of you.” And they did. The refugees were also in our school, the Armenian school (across the street of our home) and they left the next day. The next day they sent people from their party to clean up the school and give it back to us the way they took it. And they did this in every school…can you imagine? And they are called terrorists…?
Yes, this is the reality. And until today some parties in Lebanon they say OK you did your job, bravo, Israelis are not here anymore, just give away your weapon…the only thing that is stopping the Israeli to do the same thing, is that. Because we (Lebanon) still don’t have an army. We have an army, very good army, but it’s like internal police. They cannot stop any invasion.
And they (Hezbollah) are gaining ground in the whole region. Because what happened in Lebanon, this Resistance, is now happening within Israel, not the West Bank. They decided, I’m saying that unfortunately, but they came to the conclusion that the only way these people will understand and come to the table and negotiate a long term peace, is arm struggle.
And now, there is this Mayadeen channel, which is very pro-Palestinian highly professional TV channel, with amazing journalists and amazing talk shows, with very global view on things and highly connected to centres of power resisting the Americans. If you watch that TV, they are so hopeful that even our generation will see the end of Israel. They are saying it’s coming. We hear things from TV like that in Israel, where Arab-Palestinians and a lot of Jews talk about one state solution: we have one state and we live together like we used to live. DđAnd do you know, there is an amazing Israeli journalist that writes in the Haaretz, he’s called Gideon Levi, he’s a very pro-Palestinian guy and he keeps writing in Haaretz, I don’t know how they allow him, well Haaretz is the leftist newspaper, but still, having the guts to say all these things… So there is an intellectual class in Israel that is with the one state solution, and they see it as the only solution, only logical and long-term solution. Real peace, you know…not with one dominating the other or having doubts on each other.
And also the Hezbollah channel, they have a program where they show the Lebanese people everything that Israelis – the politicians, the military – talk between themselves on their TVs about the situation…and it’s panic mode, they’re saying basically: we have no solution, what can we do? The same thing that happened in Lebanon is happening there now: the guys have decided we have nothing to lose, they’re strangling us. The only way the Israelis understand is “if you kill me I kill you, If you kill my child, I will kill your child, Eye for eye”. So: don’t kill me, I will not kill you. Let’s talk. But if you kill me, I will kill you, this is the only way we can deal with this situation. We have reached the point where we cannot throw stones and then you shoot us. This is over. Unfortunately, but this is it. Because they’re not stopping. You act peacefully, the Israeli act violently, and now they are in a panic mode nobody has seen it like this until now. Because it’s happening with Palestinians within Israel: the Intifada is everywhere and it’s armed.
Hezbollah is not the army, that’s their strength. They do trainings in all kinds of condition. And with “mental training” somehow religion helps: in their thinking you have the same right. You cannot take away my right. It’s religious, it is the message of Allah: you and I have the same right. You cannot step on my foot. I will not step on yours but if you step on my foot I will take care of you. That’s why they call them Islamic resistance – their ideology comes from the religion. They are defending themselves and they have a right to do it, internationally. So I cannot be against them, even if I’m not happy. If you’re defending yourself, and that is causing some problem to me, I cannot tell you not to defend yourself.
The regime in Lebanon is, as I said, the majority is still with the Resistance. So in the parliament they have a majority, And they will continue having; it’s not getting weaker, it’s getting stronger.
So the official government believe that with the Resistance, the end of Israel is close. And this is not analyses, because if you watch their TVs, what they’re talking – the Israeli, the politicians and the Mossad and the military, what they’re talking among themselves, you really feel that. I mean, in the panic mode, they’re saying: we don’t have a solution. The people in Israel are criticising their regime, the military being not able to do anything…it’s over, there’s no way to stop this. It’s what they are saying, so that’s why it’s very interesting and very convincing.
And the next step?…I think, it’s been a while they’ve been talking about two states solution. I think they will go for one state solution. And there will be one country, people living together with equal rights. Not a jewish state, islamic state, not a christian state, a state, let them call it the Holly land, Palestine, whatever they call it :), but they all have the same rights and they will live together, and the refugees, Palestinians, they have to return to their homes. This is an UN resolution, it’s not anything that’s not accepted by the world: UN resolution 425 from 1978 talks about that, about the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, not West Bank. This is an UN resolution, so why every UN resolution should apply to Syria and Jemen and Iraq and all that, and not to Israel? Why? Because the Americans veto it, that’s the only reason.
I believe there is a chance that things will change, maybe in my life, but it doesn’t matter. But eventually, whether now or in hundred years, this will happen…I’m starting to believe that I will see it. Definitely, I don’t mind not seeing but if I see it, it’s a bonus
And the Palestinians they are determined and that’s the way things are evolving. We’re seeing it here very clearly, were seeing how the Israeli-American policy is not moving on, they’re failing everywhere. Because it’s not fair, as simple as that. And when it’s not fair and you have a will to resist, and you have a power to resist. The case is that resistance have the will and the power and capacity to do that. And it’s happening, we’re seeing the result.
Also, for Palestinians, one state solution is the only one. Like, what would you do with those refugees on Israeli land? And UN resolution says that have the right to return. The zionists are scared that if they go back to Israel, they will multiply much faster and demographically things will change over time… OK, which is right, so what do you do? And these people have the right, acknowledge by the international community to return home, there is a resolution. Until when can the US do this, when there is a resolution?
During all the years between 1982 and 2000, when the Israelis were here and the Resistance was resisting, the ones who were not with the Resistance, they always kept saying: what are you guys doing, are you stupid, can you fight the Israeli army? Well, they could, this is a fact. At the end, if you have the will and the determination, any unfair situation will have to end. It cannot go on forever. It’s not sustainable. I mean, who can name one empire that has survived forever, starting with the Romans, ending with the British and the French and the colonialists and everything, and Hitler and Germany and Russia, Soviet Union.
Nasrallah, in many speeches he asks: “guys, do you believe that we’re happy with these situations that our kids are going and being killed, and resisting and being killed? Can a logical mind accept that we’re happy with this situation? Of course we’re not. Once this is over all this will go to Lebanese army. But until that happens and as long the Lebanese army is not allowed to be armed, what can we do? This is the only solution.” This is what says the guy, can you believe it? But the people who criticise them and their supporters, they don’t even listen to what he says, Nasrallah is evil for them, he’s a terrorist.
And why would I support him? I’m neither a Shia nor this nor that, I’m like watching from outside, then why would I support it? If I don’t find it logical? And why would more than half of the Christians support him? If he’s a Shia? That’s not a case, it’s a political issue.
Now there are some information, it’s rumours but most probably very true that the Pope is planning to come to Lebanon, soon. And there are rumours when he comes will meet the Hezbollah leadership. Which is a big big blow to the Christians who are payed by the Saudis and the Americans to discredit Hezbollah.
And the money that these countries threw in this Lebanese elections, which happened in the beginning of July 2022, to gain the elections against Hezbollah, it was unimaginable. And they failed. They were campaigning, like the Saudi ambassador, he was campaigning, openly. The American ambassador was going and meeting all these leaderships of the parties who are against Hezbollah, openly. I mean, diplomatically it’s not acceptable. And we are watching all this and they want us to say bravo, we are with you. And, they lost, they didn’t get the majority over Hezbollah! So I’m very optimistic.
And somehow, staying in Lebanon is my way of participating in this resistance. Because I can very easily leave, I have the passport, I have the citizenship, I can go.