Sunday, July 16, 2006

Update on the Attack on Lebanon

The situation has worsened, but I'm certain no one is surprised by that. It is the natural result of the repeated escalation of violence by all involved. Hezbollah's attacks on the civilian population in Israel have worsened and Israel continues further into the trap of escalating violence. Certainly, Hezbollah's attacks must be stopped. In its public statements, however, even Israel seems to agree that the best method to accomplish this would be for the Lebanese military to reassert control of southern Lebanon, over the Hezbollah militants. (I must laugh, however, as Israel demands Lebanon comply with U.N. resolutions. Perhaps Israel should first take its own advice? also here or here or here... this could go on a very long time...) This all brings us to today's actions.

First, Hezbollah struck the city of Haifa, killing 8 Israelis (this in addition to numerous other strikes on Israeli cities further north). Israel, for its part, continued its bombing of cities in Lebanon. This included as attack on a Lebanese civil defense building. This "tactic" baffles me, for if Israel were serious about allowing Lebanon to regain control of its southern regions from Hezbollah, it would surely refrain from destroying the state's infrastructure. This is a common tactic of Israel's - in response to attacks by militants in the occupied territories of Palestine, Israel attack the Palestinian infrastructure that would be necessary to prevent such attacks (police departments, government buldings, etc).

It is quite disturbing that as Hezbollah launches rockets at civilian targets in Israel they have killed 23 Israelis. And yet Israel, which purports to lead the way in minimizing civilian casualties, has killed over 130 people (including 6 Canadians in Lebanon). The attacks by Hezbollah
on Israeli cities serve only to strengthen the resolve of Israel and the attacks by Israel on the insfrastructure in Lebanon and Gaza only strengthen the resolve of Hezbollah and other groups.

I would reiterate that my concern here is not necessarily Israel's pursuit of Hezbollah - the group made itself a legitimate target through its strike on an Israeli military post and its continuing attacks on Israeli civilians furth demonstrate its illegitimacy (how can they denounce Israel when they are engaged in simliar actions?). My concern is with how Israel is carrying out its actions -
the destruction of civilian infrastructure, the elimination of Lebanese government facilities, and the resultant deaths of civilians.

It is heartening to be reminded that even in Israel there are those who understand:

In Tel Aviv, about 2,000 people, both Jewish and Arab, marched to demand an end to the Israeli offensive in Lebanon.

Peace, it seems, is in everyone's best interests.

Background Reading (Primers on Palestine)

  • A brief post-WWI history of Palestine from the U.N.
  • A website containing figures on the historical population of Palestine from the U.N.
  • A more thorough primer from The Middle EastResearch and Information Report.
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