The official Palestinian Authority daily news Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published an article on Thursday stating the theory that Israel was responsible for the explosion in Beirut Harbor last Tuesday. The article was translated and reported on by Palestinian Media Watch.
“It’s impossible that any Arab with a shred of a conscience was not shocked at what happened, and did not feel in his heart the great downfall and the low point that we, the Arabs, have reached,” the Al-Hayat article read. “I do not want to sink into commentaries and analyses, but all of this is the result of a long path of defeat that has continued for hundreds of years, and which reached its peak when the Arabs allowed colonialism to tear them apart… and when the Arabs accepted the loss of Palestine and agreed to [the presence of] the Zionist entity in the heart of their land…”
“We, who in 1982 had a blockade imposed on us in Beirut [refers to the First Lebanon War], do not rule out the possibility that Israel had a hand in this catastrophe [there is no evidence indicating Israel was involved in the incident in any way –Editor’s note], since this is what it exists for – to destroy the [Arab] nation and any chance of its revival. What is sad, without getting into interpretations, is that the Lebanese people continue to exchange blame at a time when Lebanon’s Arab and cultural presence is being eliminated…”
It should be noted that the Lebanese government, the Israeli government, and even Hezbollah all announced that Israel had no part in the explosion. The Lebanese government blamed the initial explosion on a fire that set off stored fireworks and Hezbollah blamed the massive explosions on 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer stored in a portside warehouse.
This claim was echoed by Richard Silverstein in his Tikkun Olam blog, which he describes as a “liberal Jewish blog” that “focuses on exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state.” On the same day as the explosion and before any verifiable information was available, Silverstein blamed Israel in a post titled, “BREAKING: Israel Bombed Beirut.”
“A confidential highly-informed Israeli source has told me that Israel caused the massive explosion at the Beirut port earlier today which killed over 100 and injured thousands,” Silverstein wrote. “The source received this information from an Israeli official having special knowledge concerning the matter.
“Israel targeted a Hezbollah weapons depot at the port and planned to destroy it with an explosive device. Tragically, Israeli intelligence did not perform due diligence on its target. Thus they did not know (or if they did know, they didn’t care) that there were 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a next-door warehouse.”
It should be noted that neither the Lebanese government has identified the ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the warehouse as belonging to Hezbollah.
Ironically, Silverstein pointed to Israel’s offer of humanitarian assistance to Lebanon as “proof” of culpability. He also noted that President Trump referred to the explosion as an attack, though the president did not point the blame at Israel. The president has called for an impartial investigation into the cause of the explosion.
He also cited Gideon Levy, the editor of the left-wing Israeli news service, Haaretz, as an assenting opinion. Levy cited the Dahiya Doctrine endorsed by some in the IDF. The Dahiya doctrine is a military strategy of asymmetric warfare that encompasses the destruction of the civilian infrastructure of regimes deemed to be hostile as a measure calculated to deny combatants the use of that infrastructure and endorses the employment of “disproportionate power” to secure that end. The doctrine is named after the Dahieh neighborhood of Beirut, where Hezbollah was headquartered during the 2006 Lebanon War, which was heavily damaged by the IDF. The doctrine is controversial though some military experts acknowledge it as an effective strategy for coping with asymmetrical conflicts in which one side utilizes guerrilla tactics in which civilians are used as human shields.
“It looks just like what was seen in Beirut on Tuesday,” Levy wrote.
Asia Times also blamed Israel for the attack, citing President Trump’s description of the event.
“A number of Lebanese defense analysts believe Israel did likely carry out the attack but did not intend for damage of this magnitude,” Asia Times wrote.
“The official word, is this was an accident,” Riad Kahwaji, head of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, told Asia Times. “Everyone was surprised by the magnitude of the explosion, including the Israelis themselves, and hence they don’t want to take responsibility. Hezbollah won’t say because they don’t want to admit having weapons in the city.”
Australia’s Channel 10’s The Project interviewed Beirut based photographer João Sousa, who claimed the Lebanese people widely believed Israel was to blame.
Less than 24 hours after devastating explosions at a Beirut port killed at least 100 people and injured thousands more, Israel, which has offered humanitarian and medical assistance to Lebanon, is being blamed for the catastrophe.
Here’s a snippet from The Project on Australia’s Channel 10 tonight. Interviewed by host Waleed Aly is Beirut-based photographer João Sousa.
As the IDF said on Twitter this morning, “This is the time to transcend conflict.”
Posted by The Australian Jewish News on Wednesday, August 5, 2020
This claim was spread on social media, with some posts claiming that Netanyhau the explosion was the result of an Israeli drone strike in Beirut.
It should be noted that many fact-checkers including USA Today, Forbes, and Politifact have all debunked that there is any evidence linking Israel to the blast and Israel has categorically denied any connection to the incident.