Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | August 1, 2006

What’s it all about?

What the hell is wrong with the Israeli government? Don’t answer that. If you try, we could be here forever. I have stated in previous entries that I support the premise for this war. It is absurd that we, as a sovereign nation recognized by most other nations in the world (and even supported by a few of them), should have to put up with and accept the continual threats and cross-border incursions made by a terror organization based in another sovereign nation that has turned a blind eye for years to its activities and amassing of weapons. It is inconceivable that Israel’s citizens should be forced to live with this threat day in and day out, never knowing when a Katyusha rocket will suddenly fall from the sky, never knowing if it’s soldiers will return from routine border patrols. What other country in the world would be asked to put up with such a situation, asked to show restraint in the face of constant threats to its sovereignty, to its very existence?

For those of you who think that the current war is about two kidnapped soldiers, you are very, very wrong. The kidnapping of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev was simply the catalyst. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Israel left Lebanon six years ago, with no desire to return (why would we want to return to a place where so many of our soldiers lost their lives?). The Hezbollah left us no choice. We could not take anymore. Lebanon refused to act against the Hezbollah, choosing instead to ignore the fact that it was building up a well-armed militia on its soil. The UN, great friends of Israel that they are, proved once again that they could not be relied upon to play the role of peacekeeper, instead taking the meaning of the term “observer” to whole new levels as they observed the Hezbollah gaining strength and carrying out actions that could be considered dubious at best. What is Israel expected to do at this point, just sit back and take it? Accept it as “the way things are”? We did the only thing we could do. We did what we had to do. We took it upon ourselves to eliminate the threat. Dare I speculate as to what other countries would have done in Israel’s situation? If the state of Washington was repeatedly coming under attack by a well-armed group of renegade Canadians, do you think the US would stand by and take it? If a rogue Belgian militia was periodically lobbing rockets into Amsterdam, would the Dutch sit back and accept this status quo? If a bunch of cheeky Slovaks were occasionally hopping across the border to kidnap Czech soldiers, don’t you think that the Czechs would be more than a little bit miffed?

And then you claim that we should negotiate. With whom, exactly? With the organization that questions our very existence? With the organization that attacks our citizens while hiding behind its own? What would be the goal of the negotiations? To get our soldiers back? For the sake of argument, let’s say that Israel goes this route (as we have done a number of times in the past). What will stop the Hezbollah from kidnapping more soldiers the next time it suits their needs to do so (as they have done a number of times in the past)?

All of that being said, I am heartsick and nauseous when I see what we are doing in Lebanon. How can we claim to be moral with all of the damage that we are inflicting? Do the Israeli officials realize how petulant and childish they sound with regard to their defense of the Qana debacle? “We didn’t know there were civilians in the building.” “We warned them beforehand to leave.” Clearly, for whatever reasons, they didn’t or couldn’t leave, and our excuses sound hollow and lame when so many innocent people are dead. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that it is entirely our fault – the Hezbollah is just as much to blame for purposely using Lebanese citizens as human shields, and the stories I’ve heard about their treatment of the local population are absolutely frightening.

But still, in our exuberant rush to finish the job, we are committing sloppy, inexcusable errors, errors explained away with poor reasoning that only serves the interests of our unscrupulous, murderous enemies, and once again turns Israel into the world pariah, no matter how righteous and just our long-term goals may be in this case. Granted, I do not have alternative solutions, but I cannot help but question our methods as we sink deeper and deeper into the mire, and I fear that once all is said and done, we will have set ourselves and our region back by many, many years.

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Responses

  1. Can you believe that over here a quick survey yielded the result that almost everyone I knew assumed that Hezbollah was the governing political party in Lebanon?!

  2. Don’t take the constant whining and moaning on the news channels as gospel about how people feel. You’d be surprised at the level of support Israel enjoys in the U.S.

    Don’t be too hard on your Air Force, either. When the drone located the rocket launcher, the Air Force had a short time to respond. Those launchers are mobile and they “shoot and scoot.”
    The USAF, faced with a confirmed target and a short response time, would have hit it as well. There is no way, at all, to run an air war without collateral damage, so no sense in beating yourself up over it.

  3. Unfortunately (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) there actually does seem to be one rule for Israel and another for everywhere else: Other places have this whole moral high horse, and take issue with the legitimacy of Israel’s existence- as if war, partition, occupation, and civilian casualties were exclusive to here. Ridiculous.

    Great post.

  4. It’s possible that the Qana debacle was staged by Hizbollah. (Note to self: Don’t underestimate the cynicism of those guys.) If so, the Israel government apologists may actually have been telling the truth!

  5. beth: Given the way they seem to be directing foreign policy these days, I’m not surprised…

    frank: I can see your point, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not disturbed by the loss of life being caused by this conflict. I’m also frustrated by the way that Israel is dealing with the conflict on the PR front, for even when we are in the right, we couldn’t explain it to the world to save our lives.

    tafka pp: I know what you mean. It hurts me to admit it as well, but unfortunately, it’s the truth.

    Thanks for the compliment!

    savtadotty: Welcome back!

    I am also beginning to doubt the facts about Qana as they’ve been presented in the press, by the other side, etc., but that doesn’t mean that I’m happy with the way that we responded to the allegations. PR has never been our strong suit, especially in cases like these, when we really need to be more on the ball. It is absurd that we cannot make the world see that Israel had to go after the Hezbollah, and that while we are obviously not perfect, the Hezbollah is a lot less perfect than we are!


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