More on Hezbollah's "Vast Social Services Network"
Sabrina Tavernise reports from a village in Lebanon for Friday's "A Girl's Life Bound Close To Hezbollah," and honors the mantra of the terrorist group as a "social services network," just like her colleague John Kifner did on Wednesday - and again, without using the word "terrorism."
"Israel's goal of uprooting Hezbollah from southern Lebanon has frequently been questioned by critics who say the group is deeply woven into society and cannot simply be cut out. An afternoon with the Fadlallah family in this southern Lebanese village shows that the group not only is part of society, but also helps form the shape of life itself.
"It has a vast social services network that pays for health care and education, performs weddings and reduces electric bills - important considerations for Shiites in the south, who are some of the country's poorest citizens."
It's a wonder Hezbollah has any Iranian money left over for killing Israelis, given how much good they do for their local community.
Tavernise suggests Hezbollah is all talk and doesn't really mean to destroy Israel: "But while Hezbollah's political rhetoric sometimes refers to coming to Jerusalem and routinely refuses to acknowledge Israel as a state - maps in bookstores here label northern Israel as Palestine - voices in towns and villages across the south talk not of destroying Israel but of defending themselves from what they see as its aggressiveness."
But this Hezbollah manifesto from 1985 doesn't leave much room for doubt: "Our primary assumption in our fight against Israel states that the Zionist entity is aggressive from its inception, and built on lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people. Therefore our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated. We recognize no treaty with it, no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated."