TEL AVIV – Israel “bombs” Lebanon to keep the country from competing with the Jewish state economically, claimed former U.S. official Lawrence Wilkerson, who has reportedly advised Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.
Wilkerson made the point in an interview with The Real News Network, after the site’s senior editor, Paul Jay, stated that “Israel keeps invading Lebanon.”
That claim led to the following exchange:
WILKERSON: You know why I think that is? My community thinks I’m crazy. I think that’s economic. I think every time Israel sees that the only country with the real capability in the Eastern Mediterranean to compete with them and surpass them is Lebanon. And so every time it looks like Lebanon is building the infrastructure, hotels for tourists, and industry and so forth, and is going to arrive at that point within a decade or two, Israel bombs them. Look it, why else would you bomb the things that Israel bombs?
JAY: Yeah, ’cause they’re not just bombing Hezbollah rockets.
WILKERSON: Yeah. They’re bombing the infrastructure of Lebanon.
In the December 2014 interview, Wilkerson was largely referring to the Second Lebanon War of 2006, which started after Hezbollah committed an unprovoked attack on Israel’s northern border. On July 12, 2006, Hezbollah fired rockets into Israel as a diversion while the group’s fighters stormed the Israeli side of the border and ambushed two Israel Defense Force vehicles, killing three soldiers and kidnapping two more.
The war broke out amid the wider context of Hezbollah building a massive military and terror rocket infrastructure along Israel’s border with southern Lebanon, creating a de facto terror state there in the years following Israel’s withdrawal from the Israel-Lebanon border buffer zone in May, 2000.
Hezbollah used its southern Lebanon fiefdom to commit numerous attacks against Israel, including rocket attacks that killed Israeli civilians.
Regarding Wilkerson’s claim of Israel “bombing the infrastructure of Lebanon,” the Jewish state during the war carried out surgical strikes targeting Hezbollah’s vast terrorist infrastructure.
As Israel’s Foreign Ministry explained, Hezbollah utilized civilian zones to house its military and terrorist equipment in contravention of international law:
While Israel directed its operations against the Hezbollah, it faced serious difficulties due to the fact that Hezbollah fighters made no attempt to comply with the legal and moral humanitarian obligation to distinguish themselves from civilians. To the contrary, Hezbollah fighters wore civilian clothes to render themselves indistinguishable from Lebanese civilians and deliberately hid weapons and ammunition in the heart of populated civilian areas in a cynical attempt to exploit the protections associated with civilian status under international law and in reckless disregard for the safety of those civilians and civilian objects.
In contrast to Hezbollah, Israel only aimed at targets which directly served the terrorist organizations in their attacks against Israel. Israel did not attack the government of Lebanon, but rather, Hezbollah military assets within Lebanon. Israel avoided striking at Lebanese military installations, unless these were used to assist the Hezbollah, as were a number of radar facilities which Israel destroyed after they helped the terrorists fire a shore-to-ship missile at an Israeli naval vessel.
In February, Politico reported that Sanders is being advised by Wilkerson, a retired U.S. Army colonel who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and later became a staunch opponent of the war in Iraq.
“Of late, I’ve been asked by quite a number of people or groups to advise on national security and foreign policy. The Sanders campaign has been one of these and I have spoken directly to the senator on one occasion, at this point,” Wilkerson told Politico.
Since then, Wilkerson’s views have come under closer scrutiny, including his previous assertion, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported, that Israel may have carried out chemical attacks in Syria as a false-flag operation against the Bashar al-Assad regime.
The Sanders did not respond to repeated Breitbart Jerusalem requests seeking comment about whether Wilkerson continues to advise the campaign.
Earlier this week, Breitbart Jerusalem reported Wilkerson stated during a recent interview that Israeli behavior will see the Jewish state “eliminated by the international community if not the 350 to 400 million people around it who are opposed to it.”
He used the same interview to call for a total reassessment of the U.S. relationship with Israel, claiming that “Israel is becoming such a strategic liability for us, that it’s detrimental to our own national security.”
Without citing any specific evidence, Wilkerson espoused a conspiracy theory that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has designs for a “greater Israel” that would encompass parts of Lebanon and Syria, and possibly all of Jordan.
In the interview, Wilkerson recognized that his words would probably ensure against his working in American politics in the future.
“The last time I spoke this way on your show, I compromised my ability to work for the Bernie Sanders campaign,” he said in his interview with The Real News Network.
So now I’ve probably foreclosed my ability to work for anyone. It’s very hard to see how, at present pace, this situation is going to change, because the ultra right- wing of Israel has captured AIPAC, and AIPAC has captured the United States Congress. And to a certain extent the oval office as well.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.