The western corporate media has repeatedly failed to tell the truth about the decades long war between Hizbullah and Israel, and pretty well covered up the fact that Hizbullah comprehensively won the most recent outbreak of war with Israel. Which is why it is so shocking to read an opinion piece like this one from the UK Guardian :
Lebanon celebrated with lavish festivities the return of the last prisoners held in Israeli jails, and clamoured to be the only Arab country to have done so, and to have done so by imposing its demand on a reluctant Israel.
Hizbullah fulfilled yet another pledge, and successfully ended another chapter in its longstanding battle with Israel.
Lebanese dignitaries from across the political and religious spectrum, Muslims and Christians alike, were lined up to welcome the freed prisoners, in a display of unity not seen since the earlier prisoner exchange of 2004.
Hizbullah's success can be added to its already long list of achievements, and reminds Arab and Muslim audiences worldwide of the effectiveness of a steadfast resistance.
In an Arab world used to humiliations and defeats, the list of achievements claimed by Hizbullah in the past decade is indeed noteworthy.
The resistance movement was able to liberate most of Lebanon's territory from a two decade-long Israeli occupation, conducted a successful prisoner exchange in 2004, broke the invulnerability myth of the Israeli Defence Forces in the 2006 war, and managed to return all Lebanese prisoners held in Israel this past week. Hizbullah's charismatic leader has argued that his movement has never capitulated to Israeli demands, and thus never been defeated in its 25-year history – "the era of [Arab] defeats is over".
This is in stark contrast to what "Arab moderates" could show for in the same decade they spent negotiating with the Israeli state. The much-publicised and now barren "peace process" keeps edging "forward" through road maps, countless summits, visits, and vague "visions" of a Palestinian state that fails to materialise, and which remains as elusive as it did 60 years ago.
Expanding Israeli settlements keep shrinking the space of a Palestinian state, and Israeli checkpoints still pepper the West Bank. Half the population are refugees scattered around the globe, and the other half live in confinement behind a segregation wall. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's repeated pleas for the release of some (if any) of the 11,500 Palestinians held prisoner keep falling on Israeli deaf ears.
Only armed resistance seemed able to edge Israeli settlements and checkpoints out of the Gaza strip, and only Hamas seems able to force Israel into negotiating a prisoner release.
Israel seems more likely to yield to the demands of resistance movements (Hamas, Hizbullah) than to friendly pleas and peace offers. This is a strong message that further undermines the US's Arab allies. The difference between the two approaches cannot be stronger and echoes dramatically in Arab public opinion polls.
It is no surprise that the Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah comes on top of the popularity contest in all surveyed Arab countries (including Saudi Arabia and Egypt), and by a large margin.
The battle for hearts and minds was indisputably won by those who offered to resist the "US-Israeli axis of evil".
The festivities in Lebanon brought the flags of resistance movements from across the political divide: the "party of God" and the Communist party joined within the same crowd, highlighting the common denominator that binds all.
This was also made clear by the diversity of nationalities and creeds associated with the 199 bodies Israel returned to Lebanon this day. Current western support for Arab dictators and the associated labelling of resistance movements as terrorist organisations may not be to its best interest.
Striking mutually beneficial deals with those that more closely represent Arab populations rather than with the corrupt dictators that rule them may have better long-term pay-offs. Perhaps the election of a new US president will usher a more peaceful era for the war-weary Middle East.