Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pulling in Perspective

Peace is in everyone's long-term interest.

President Bush and many in the American media continue to characterize Israel's attacks upon Lebanon as an act of defense in response to an unprovoked attack. In my first post on the current events I showed how the strike by Hezbollah hardly occurred in isolation. I want to push that a bit notion a bit further - this time looking forward.

The continued occupation of the Palestinian territories (which is deliberate, brutal, and illegal) by the Israeli military breeds resentment, and justifiably so. That resentment is hardly limited to the territories themselves. Some take that resentment too far and commit the violence they deplore, but this is a common result of occupation (particularly after the deaths of over 3,000 people between the years 2000 and 2004 alone). For each person killed by the Israeli military, greater resentment grows for the surviving family and friends. This is true no matter how "accidental" the incident is said to be. The principle works in reverse, of course, explaining the natural calls for military actions against groups such as Hezbollah. And herein lies the problem.

Even if Israel moves into Lebanon and successfully disarms Hezbollah (and history is not on the side of this sort of action being successful), in doing so they have already caused hundreds of civilian deaths, breeding yet more resentment for Israel. In the long-term, these heavy-handed actions, particularly the targeting of civilian infrastructure make Israel far less safe. Of course, any long-term plan for the security of Israel MUST include an end to the occupation and the creation of a truly autonomous Palestinian state. (On this matter, there is an excellent free documentary available - set aside an hour and half and prepare to learn).

Peace in the short-term is vital, but not at the expense of peace in the long-term. Yesterday, Tony Blair and Kofi Annan put forth a plan for a U.N. force, empowered to end the violence against both Lebanon and Israel, to be dispatch to the area to stabilize the situation. This option is far preferable to perpetuating the violence (though our president doesn't seem to agree).

As I mentioned at the outset of this post, Peace is in everyone's long-term interest.

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