I heard recently on a news debate (on the BBC I think) that militant Muslim group Hezbollah was set up by the Israeli government. This sounds very unlikely…is it true?
No. Hezbollah (or any of its many spelling variations) was created with the assistance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, basically so that Iran could get in on the action after Operation Peace for Galilee.
Rider, I think either you or the debaters got confused.
During the first intifada of the late 80’s, Israel gave special consideration to Hamas (though it didn’t set Hamas up), in an effort to create a counterweight to the secular forces then driving the intifada. I think that some money went to Hamas surreptitiously, but largely the assistance was in the form of non-interference with Hamas’ activities, which were then mostly humanitarian and social.
I’m don’t agree with everything written here, but this article relates to a fact that might have lead you to have heard this:
I agree with Sua that there is probably a confusion here with Hamas. Hezbollah was established with the introduction of a unit of Iranian Revolutionary Guards ( Pasdaran ) into southern Lebanon back in 1982 ( with Syrian permission ). Though they did not directly incorporate into Hezbollah ( they remained under remote Iranian command ) they helped provide the impetus for its formation theologically, politically and economically - Providing an alternative to the increasingly secular Shi’a Amal militia under Nabih Berri, that had already had been having trouble with Islamist groups splintering off of it ( like the breakaway Islamic Amal which did, I think, eventually merge with Hezbollah ). Since Iranian funding allowed for the payment of higher militia wages and considerable social work, Amal, whose primary funding came from direct taxation of civilians in areas under its control, began to lose ground. Both are still around and still mutually hostile I believe, but Hezbollah is far more dominant now.
Iranian influence waned a bit with the death of Khomeini, as his successor Khamenei has a much weaker theological standing relative to the the Hezbollah spiritual head, Fadlallah ( a rather complex fellow ). Relations with Syria are perennially uneasy and have been actively hostile at times, but recently seem to have improved ( concommittant with the scaled down Iranian presence ).
Far as I have ever heard, Israel never had any significant role in Hezbollah’s genesis or support, though I would not discount the remote possibility of some covert aid at a very early stage in an attempt to divide the Shi’a faction internally. However I don’t think it is very likely because Iranian funding was already more than sufficient and it would have been a bit counter-productive for its south Lebanon proxy forces/ally, the South Lebanon Army ( now largely defunct I understand ) of Saad Haddad and later Antoine Lahad, not to mention their own troops.
Looking at the bigger picture I’d say the UN was largely responsible for the creation of all Anti-Israeli movements when they handed over a sliver of land to European Jewish refugees instead of asking the Palestians if they would take them in.
Hell, cainxinth, let’s just blame the Romans and be done with it!
An interesting point Sua, but I think colonialism was slightly more accepted 2000 years ago, as opposed to just 50 when the UN was ironically becoming an icon of International Law.
Excuse me - but all the UN did was tell the Brits to leave. It didn’t “hand over” anything.
What about the UN partition?
Empty words and lines on a map. Nothing was ever done to enforce it.
But isn’t this a digression?
Alessan, first I mean no disrespect. I’ve visited Israel more than once and I know just what an incredible place those refugees built there in a short span of time, and against such incredible opposition. However, whichever way you want to word it, the people living on that land have a contemporary political claim that is founded in British and UN authority.
It’s a digression if you don’t believe that anti-Israeli political and terror organizations are a consequence of that British/UN decision.
They’re a result of the existance of Israel, period (although I must admit that 1967 is a pretty important factor). The how and why of it are hardly relevant.
What I’m trying to delicately say is that the how and why are of utmost importance. Why were those refugees given that land, and if it was handled differently would Hamas and Hezbollah exist?
And what I’m trying to say, is that in no point of time was any land “given” to anybody. My country’s founding fathers and mothers fought for every inch of land they got. despite the efforts of nearly every nation involved. They were not victims waiting for a handout.
Prior to '48 Jewish immigrants were purchasing land in Palestine, but there is a difference between setting up shop in someone else’s country and campaigning for that country to be renamed as your own.
If we wish to quibble - Palestine was the Palestinians’ homeland, not their country. There was no country of “Palestine” recognized by any other country.
I realize after hitting submit that the term country isn’t acurate, but regardless Jewish people hadn’t held a political claim to that stretch of land since biblical times. The UN and the Brits were in a position to give them just that and did.