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View Diary: Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing in southern Lebanon [w/update] (205 comments)

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  •  Oh puh-leeze. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddinhead Wilson

    There are almost 300,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and those people are treated worse in Lebanon than anywhere in the Middle East.  Be careful of citing Juan Cole, his Arabic is parlously bad, and he has evil friends.

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 12:30:31 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  and what... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anonymousredvest18

      ...does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

      •  Juan Cole wants to tell us of Ethnic Cleansing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pb, lemon999, Puddinhead Wilson

        while he stands beside Bashar Assad and praises the most repressive regime in the Middle East.  Syria had Rafik Hariri murdered.  The very fucking idea that anyone would ever take Juan Cole seriously amuses me horribly.  I have met him, he cannot speak Arabic.

        People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

        by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 12:34:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but... (8+ / 0-)

          The question here is not "is Juan Cole a hypocrite", the question is, "is Juan Cole wrong about this". And ultimately, this shouldn't be about Juan Cole at all--it should be about what is or is not actually happening to the people in southern Lebanon.

          That having been said, thank you for adding your perspective--I've never met Juan Cole, I can't speak Arabic, and I've never been near the Middle East, so really I couldn't know firsthand one way or the other.

          •  Juan Cole is wrong about this. (4+ / 0-)

            And his remark about Ethnic Cleansing is what precipitated this thread.  The Lebanese of the south have been variously persecuted by the PLO, the Syrians and now the Hizb'allah.  

            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

            by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 12:54:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  so... (5+ / 0-)

              Are you arguing that the people in Southern Lebanon aren't being displaced, or that Israel doesn't have a policy or practice that resulted in that displacement, or what...

              •  What, exactly, would you have Israel do? (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pb, lemon999, Puddinhead Wilson, blueness

                The Hizb'allah has cruelly mistreated the Sunni Palestinians, the Druze, the Christians, they tortured and hanged a friend of mine, Bill Higgins, dragged him from a UN vehicle, videotaped his murder and threw his body into the road.

                Israel didn't evict the people of south Lebanon during their occupation.  They're asking the civilians to get out of the way, a favor the Hizb'allah hasn't returned, rocketing and killing Palestinian children.

                People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

                by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 01:04:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm no military strategist, but... (6+ / 0-)

                  The Hizb'allah has cruelly mistreated the Sunni Palestinians, the Druze, the Christians, they tortured and hanged a friend of mine, Bill Higgins, dragged him from a UN vehicle, videotaped his murder and threw his body into the road.

                  Yes. They are a terrorist organization. They aren't nice people. I think almost everyone agrees about that, and I know I do. That's also entirely not what I've been talking about.

                  Israel didn't evict the people of south Lebanon during their occupation.  They're asking the civilians to get out of the way, a favor the Hizb'allah hasn't returned, rocketing and killing Palestinian children.

                  What if Hizb'allah had been dropping leaflets (not that they have the capacity to do this) as well as shooting rockets--would it have made a difference? Hypothetically speaking, f I hand you a leaflet telling you to get out of your house, and then when you leave, I blow up your car, did that really help you?

                  Now, as to what Israel should have done--obviously they have a lot of options. They could have been more careful in their bombing campaign, more targeted in trying to take out only Hezbollah. They could have taken Hezbollah up on their offer of an 'unconditional ceasefire', and then tried negotiations. If Hezbollah broke the ceasefire first (as many suggest that they would), then Israel would still come out ahead diplomatically. They could have dropped troops to take out specific Hezbollah positions. They could have agreed to a prisoner exchange in the first place. And they probably could have done a whole host of other things. But they didn't, so there isn't much point in talking about what they didn't do.

                  •  Hard to argue with this logic (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    blueness

                    but the Hizb'allah is using human shields.  I wish things could be more sanitary and clear-cut, but war isn't like that.  Hizb'allah doesn't negotiate, they refuse to participate in Lebanese society, they're intent on setting up a theocratic state.  They aren't amenable to negotiation, and never were.

                    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

                    by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 01:15:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Ummmm... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      weirdscenes, anonymousredvest18

                      Hezbollah is part of the ruling government of Lebanon.  They also provide a variety of social services in southern Lebanon.

                      •  um, no. (0+ / 0-)

                        If they were, they would have disarmed according to 1559.  Hariri warned of all this before his murder.

                        People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

                        by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 01:24:54 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You complained about research above (3+ / 0-)

                          Council on Foreign Relations

                          Does Hezbollah play an active role in the Lebanese politics?
                          Yes. After the 2005 elections, Hezbollah won eight new seats, giving the group twenty-three seats in the 128-member Lebanese Parliament. In addition, Hezbollah has two ministers in the government, and a third is endorsed by the group.
                          Hezbollah did not disarm when it entered Lebanese politics, and experts say the group's new political involvement is not an indication that the group is becoming more moderate.

                          Non-enforcement of UN 1559 does not mean that Hezbollah is not part of the Lebanese government, nor does the last paragraph excerpted above.

                          •  Hizb'allah is a rogue state within a state (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            blueness

                            and their aim is the establishment of a theocracy.  Hizb'allah, like the IRA in Ireland, is by no means one thing.  It has Iran's pasdaran, Syrian stooges, and a certain amount of organic support, but it has no desire or inclination to participate in 1559.

                            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

                            by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 01:40:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That is not relevant to their role in the state (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            weirdscenes, anonymousredvest18

                            You can call them what you want in terms of their status in the Lebanese state, but the fact remains that they have severel members of parliament and two ministers.  By definition, Hezbollah is a part of the Lebanese government and does, in fact, participate in Lebanese society.  Whether or not you or I approve of that participation, it is still a fact.  Additionally, Hezbollah is more or less the only provider of state services in southern Lebanon.  Again, this is separate from one's opinion of Hezbollah's politics and methods.  It is simply a fact.

                          •  I gather, based on this opinion (0+ / 0-)

                            I must also grant a measure of legitimacy to Bush's war in Iraq because, after all, he got elected.

                            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

                            by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 02:01:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No (3+ / 0-)

                            I wrote nothing about the legitimacy of Hezbollah's military actions, nor for that matter anything indicating a view on Hezbollah's political legitimacy.

                            You wrote abvoe:

                            Hizb'allah doesn't negotiate, they refuse to participate in Lebanese society, they're intent on setting up a theocratic state.

                            As indicated by the information from CFR among other easily found sources, the second clause in your statement is demonstrably false.  That is all I was pointing out.  Claiming that Hezbollah does not participate in Lebanese society contrary to factual information is distinct from a discussion of Hezbollah's political, military, and moral legitimacy.

                          •  So you are saying that there were (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            anonymousredvest18

                            no christians in southern lebanon?

                            Will America survive 30 more months of a Bushco Administration? Bushco changing hearts and minds everyday!

                            by mattes on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 02:04:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  (savage laughter) (0+ / 0-)

                            The Christians of South Lebanon and the Hizb'allah have become odd bedfellows, politically.  But make no mistake, the Hizb'allah areas are run like Iran, according to Shii rules.

                            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

                            by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 02:11:32 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  savage laughter & BlaiseP (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            anonymousredvest18

                            and even my wizened eyes caught it on a quick scan.  Nice to see you have a new home.

                            And btw, the Dolls and Dylan both have new albums coming out next month.

                    •  If they were using human shields (5+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Kaya, weasel, mattes, anonymousredvest18, Eiron

                      If Hizbollah was using human shields, they wouldn't be letting the civilian population leave, would they?  But in fact, from every report I've seen, the Hizbollah-controlled areas are precisely the areas from which the most people have been fleeing, because they know they're in danger.

                      Hizbollah is an extremist organization which has used terror, but that doesn't make them guilty of every crime known to humanity.

                  •  Genuine question: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pb

                    They could have been more careful in their bombing campaign, more targeted in trying to take out only Hezbollah.

                    Is this the case?  I've heard plenty of reports that the Hezballah military structure is completely interwoven with the civlian structure.  That is, weapons stored in Mosques, rockets fired from civlian apartment buildings, militia travelling with civlians in civlian vehicles.

                    I haven't heard anyone say that that isn't true.

                    What I'm trying to figure out is this: are there any genuine Hezballah military targets that can be attacked without hitting civlians as well?  Or is a call for not hitting civilians equivalent to calling for no military response to Hezballah?

                    Is America finally suffering from Idiot Fatigue?

                    by LarryInNYC on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 01:20:35 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's my supposition... (3+ / 0-)

                      Based on the casualty reports, the number of bombs dropped, and the number and nature of targets that have been hit, either there are thousands of Hezbollah militants hiding all over Israel--in homes, in factories, in trucks, ports, roads, etc., etc.--or Israel could have been more careful in their bombing campaign. We know that over 300 people have been killed so far, most of them civilians, some foreigners, some Lebanese military, with--last I checked--two known Hezbollah members killed early on.

                      are there any genuine Hezballah military targets that can be attacked without hitting civlians as well?

                      Yes, and Israel did this as well. They bombed a Hezbollah headquarters south of Beirut. And they went on to bomb the rest of the area as well.

                      What I'd like to know is what percentage of Israeli targets haven't been 'genuine military targets' at all. My supposition based on my analysis at the top is, that percentage is probably pretty high. Either that, or there's so much of Hezbollah infiltrated so deeply across the entire country of Lebanon that there's no way that Israel will root it all out without an Iraq-style occupation where they occupy and sweep the whole country.

                      •  You mean (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        pb

                        either there are thousands of Hezbollah militants hiding all over Israel--in homes, in factories, in trucks, ports, roads, etc., etc.

                        Lebanon, of course.  I think it is true that there are thousands of Hezballah militants and that they are hiding all over Lebanon (although concentrated in the South) and that they are in factories and trucks and on the road.  At least, that's what's been reported by outlets such as the Beeb, which hardly seems to be carrying a candle for Israel.

                        I think this is actually a pretty important thing to know if someone wants to make any judgements about the situation.

                        Is America finally suffering from Idiot Fatigue?

                        by LarryInNYC on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 01:59:03 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  yes, (3+ / 0-)

                          Lebanon, of course

                          Yes, thank you for catching that! :)

                          I think it is true that there are thousands of Hezballah militants and that they are hiding all over Lebanon (although concentrated in the South) and that they are in factories and trucks and on the road.

                          If that is the case, and assuming that Israel is actually doing a good job with their targeting, then I'd hope to hear about more actual Hezbollah members being killed, and less women and children. But as I said before, if that is the case, then I don't think Israel will be able to get rid of Hezbollah at all, and I imagine that once the dust has settled, Hezbollah recruitment in the wake of this conflict will be stronger than ever.

                          •  I certainly agree. . . (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            pb, dem4evr

                            that Israel will never get rid of Hezballah, at least by bombing.  They're using language like "degrade their weaponry" which I assume means they think they can destroy enough Katushas to eliminate or lesson the weapons fire into Israel.  But even in that sense I doubt they'll keep Hezballah from resupplying when the offensive stops.

                            Hezballah is a large organization, with many supporters, and will continually have more supporters from like minded people.  Support for establishing an Islamic state in place of Israel is obviously quite widespread.  You can't bomb that idea away -- although, unfortunately, I don't think you can negotiate or politic it away either.

                            As far as the number of Hezballah "members" killed, I'm not sure how that's being reported -- I haven't seen or heard any numbers that distinguish between Hezballah and civilians in what I consider to the be the responsible news media (BBC, NPR, and the NY Times -- and yes, I know that someone who disagrees with the latest movie review, or whatever, will flame me for my choice of media).

                            Hezballah is not uniformed.  How do you know who's Hezballah and who isn't, and to what extent?  And when it comes to civilian deaths, if a Hezballah armory is located on the ground floor of an apartment building, and that apartment building is targeted and destroyed, then you may very well kill numerous civlians and few, or no, Hezballah members.  That is still a military strike, albeit one that may have terrible civlian consequences.

                            For those who oppose the Israeli action in Lebanon there are two different possible rationales.  One is that the civlian deaths are too high even if the strikes are being targeted against genuine military targets.  The other is the point you made above -- that the attacks are intended solely to kill civilians with no military objective behind them.

                            I'll be frank and tell you that I have a lot of trouble believing the latter is true -- but I'm genuinely trying to understand what's really going on.

                            Is America finally suffering from Idiot Fatigue?

                            by LarryInNYC on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 02:15:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  great... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            anonymousredvest18

                            As far as the number of Hezballah "members" killed, I'm not sure how that's being reported -- I haven't seen or heard any numbers that distinguish between Hezballah and civilians in what I consider to the be the responsible news media

                            Like I said, the only specific information I've seen anyhwhere is that at least two Hezballah members have been killed, and all the rest is more or less lumped into 'civilians'. However, you can probably infer that the dead Lebanese army members, foreigners, women, and children were not Hezballah members. So while I hope that Israel has actually managed to kill more than just two Hezballah members in their strikes, I'm certain that the majority of the casualties weren't actually Hezballah members.

                            And when it comes to civilian deaths, if a Hezballah armory is located on the ground floor of an apartment building, and that apartment building is targeted and destroyed, then you may very well kill numerous civlians and few, or no, Hezballah members.  That is still a military strike, albeit one that may have terrible civlian consequences.

                            I've heard that (hypothetical) argument, and morally, I couldn't condone it. If I were in a position like that, I'd probably (a) not bomb it in the first place, or (b) send troops in first and then bomb it, or some similar option that didn't involve killing "numerous civlians and few, or no, Hezballah members".

                            For those who oppose the Israeli action in Lebanon there are two different possible rationales.  One is that the civlian deaths are too high even if the strikes are being targeted against genuine military targets.  The other is the point you made above -- that the attacks are intended solely to kill civilians with no military objective behind them.

                            I don't know that for certain, of course, but given all the strikes, all the targets, and all the casualties, I find it hard to believe the former. Of course, there may be a military objective of some sort, but it may be broader than just killing Hezbollah members. However, that wouldn't excuse the results.

                            I'll be frank and tell you that I have a lot of trouble believing the latter is true -- but I'm genuinely trying to understand what's really going on.

                            And that's a very hard thing to do, in any war, especially when you're working from news reports.

                          •  A third rationale (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            pb, Rusty Pipes
                            That the attacks are intended not just to hit military targets, but to make Lebanon ungovernable, by radicalizing the population. Killing a lot of civilians serves that purpose. (Although someone who served in the Israeli army has argued for the second rationale here. "Peretz and Olmert have to provide the Israeli people with a glorious spectacle of merciless retaliation. They have to prove to their keen voters that they have internalised the real biblical meaning of 'an eye for an eye'." I don't want to go into that here because (1) I am at the moment more interested in the third, strategic rationale; (2) I am not Jewish, and I think it's better that Jews push that line of argument, for obvious reasons. But I do recommend that piece, given that you say you're "genuinely trying to understand what's really going on". Sticking to liberal sources of information will only get you so far in understanding this, IMHO. To get the necessary breadth of possible explanations, one needs to go further left.)

                            I get this idea from Targeting Civilians As Deliberate Strategy: Israel's Indiscriminate Onslaughts. Speaking of previous episodes when Israel has killed a lot of civilians, the author writes:

                            The true reasons for these deaths are concealed from credulous observers by Israel's use of language. When it says it is destroying the "infrastructure of terror", Israel means it is crushing all Arab resistance to its territorial ambitions in the region. The "infrastructure" includes most Arab men, women and children because they continue to support -- against Israel's wishes -- their peoples' rights to self-determination without interference from the Israeli army...

                            in Lebanon, Israel is holding Hizbullah less to account with its attacks than the Lebanese people and their government, despite the latter's transparently shaky grip on the country. Israel's military strikes polarize opinion in Lebanon, weaken Fouad Siniora and his ministers, and threaten to push Lebanon over the brink into another civil war.

                            Israel is keen to talk about "changing the balance of power" in Gaza and Lebanon, implying that it is trying to strengthen the "democrats" against the "terrorists". But this impression is entirely false. Israeli actions are destroying what little balance of power exists in Gaza and Lebanon so that the two areas become ungovernable...

                            So why would Israel want Lebanon and Gaza to be ravaged by factional fighting of the kind that might make them more vulnerable to this kind of unwelcome interference from outside?...

                            In both cases it is clear Israel hoped that, by Islamizing its opponents in these regional conflicts, it would delegitimize them in the eyes of Western allies and that it could cultivate sectarianism as a way to further weaken the social cohesiveness of its neighbors.


                            Clearly, explanations of this sort are worth considering. Clearly, the magnitude of Israel's response to the killing of 8 soldiers and the kidnapping of 2 shows that the latter, together with the cover story that this is about getting rid of Hezbollah's missles, cannot be the real explanation for what Israel is doing.

                            Interestingly, what that line of thought comes down to is that Israel wants to do to Lebanon what the US ended up doing to Iraq: destroying a secular state, making a formerly stable country ungovernable. If we know that the US has done such a thing (whether deliberately or unintentionally), why can't we wonder if Israel is doing it?

                            Liberalism is the origin and center of American politics. Thus, to reject liberalism is to reject America.

                            by Alexander on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 04:04:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  PS (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            pb

                            It is a pleasure to be able to discuss this obviously emotional topic dispassionately.

                            Is America finally suffering from Idiot Fatigue?

                            by LarryInNYC on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 02:19:01 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I agree, (0+ / 0-)

                            And I thank you for the discussion as well. It probably helps that I have no real stake in it (besides simply that of being an American citizen, and a human being with some sense of compassion), but even so, it's still difficult. I'm sure it's virtually impossible for most of those who really are involved in it. And, really, if someone bombed my house or shot a rocket at and killed a member of my family, I'd have zero sympathy for them either.

                        •  I gather (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          anonymousredvest18

                          they are also hiding out in UN outposts within Israel with the Ghanains.

                          The fate of the wounded rests with the one who applies the first dressing- Nicholas Senn

                          by Eiron on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 02:49:37 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Bill Higgins (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  pb

                  I didn't know him, but knew people who did.  That was a horrific crime.

                  The fate of the wounded rests with the one who applies the first dressing- Nicholas Senn

                  by Eiron on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 02:46:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's clear (4+ / 0-)

          who runs the most repressive regime in the me: and it's not Assad.

          The very fucking idea that anyone would ever take Juan Cole seriously amuses me horribly

          Let's stick to the issue at hand, not not engage in ad hominums that distract from the diary. Please.

          *resist the urge to be popular

          by coolhappyMax on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 02:17:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wow. (5+ / 0-)

          You can tell what languages a person speaks just by meeting them? That's quite a talent...

          But I was under the impression that Cole does speak Arabic, given the fact that he regularly translates and posts Arabic texts on his website. Guess I was mistaken; guess graduate students must be doing those translations, eh?

          Thanks for setting the record straight.

          •  Could be, who knows... his spoken Arabic is weak (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueness

            and it's not a terribly hard language to learn to speak.  A few odd phonemes, the verbs are tough, but other than that, it's spoken by millions as a second or third language.  I really thought Sheikh Juan was the genuine article, until I engaged him in conversation.  It's astonishing how weak his Arabic is.

            I translate Arabic articles from an Iraqi magazine, Azzaman, many have been posted here.

            Look, Juan Cole is leading a great many of you astray.  He's not a Palestinian, he has never lived among them, he's a recycler of other people's opinions, most of these opinions are not only unwise, but outright lies.  Lord knows the Palestinians need a voice, an advocate in the West.  Hanan Ashrawi is probably the best political voice in the Palestinian community, imho.  She's got her head screwed on, and makes sense.  

            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

            by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 07:21:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  OK (8+ / 0-)

      so you've got someone with better credentials (and presumably better Arabic skills) that says Cole is wrong?

      His argument makes a lot of sense. There are things that cannot be explained any other way. It may seem a bit rash here, but he really did explained it in full in his Salon article a few days ago. It's worth a read.

      Israel's Maximal Option.

      (-9.13, -8.10) Political violence is a perfectly legitimate answer to the persecution handed down by dignitaries of the state. - Riven Turnbull

      by Florida Democrat on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 12:38:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Juan Cole is just whining (0+ / 0-)

        and talk of Ethnic Cleansing from his mouth is horseshit.  Hizb'allah destroyed Beirut in their war against the Amal.  I have spoken Arabic for 40 years, and for my money, Juan Cole is a nasty little pedant, recycling horrible shibboleths without anything of value to add to the equation.

        People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

        by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 12:48:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Juan Cole has 'evil' friends? (0+ / 0-)

      Unsubstantiated, far right wing trolling.

      When you meet the president, you ask yourself, 'How did it ever occur to anybody that he should be governor much less president?' Henry A. Kissinger

      by markymarx on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 04:16:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can you explain why (0+ / 0-)

      ...There are almost 300,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon...?  Can it be because someone is occupying their homeland?

      'Be the change you want to see in the world.' Mahatma Gandhi

      by maracatu on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 01:48:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Heh, tell me aaaaaall about it. (0+ / 0-)

        This is why my conscience gravitates to the Palestinians, and nobody else in this dreadful equation.

        People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

        by BlaiseP on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 07:18:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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