Israel at War 2006

Life in Haifa and north of Israel during the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The case for Israel's operation

Here are some myths about the war in Lebanon.

Disproportionate response. This is what a lot of European officials and others are saying about Israel's reaction to the killing and capturing of Israeli sodiers and rockets being fired by hezbollah. This is to deliberately misunderstand Israel's position which is not to retaliate but to go in and cause a major change in Hezbollah's power in Lebanon and restore the Lebanese government's control over that area as called for by UN resolution 1559 (which provided Israel UN guarantees 6 years ago that this would happen). Perhaps UN Secretary General Kofi Anan who has been in office all this time, should address this failure to live up to guarantees when he calls for a ceasefire.

The continued existence of Hezbollah's military wing after 1990 also violates the Taif Agreement that ended the Lebanese civil war, which requires the "disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias" and requires the government to "deploy the Lebanese army in the border area adjacent to Israel."

Israel is destroying all the infrastructure of Lebanon:
Infrastructure that can be used by Hezbollah (like roads and airstrips) to restock weapons or remove the captured soldiers are being targeted. However, I noticed that they did not hit the airport terminal and 5 planes were able to take off one day after the runway was bombed. The Israeli forces avoid vital civilian infrastructure like hospitals, schools, electricity networks or water plants.

Israeli attacks are not targetted or surgical and are not considerate of civilian casualties: Considering the massive firepower available to the Israeli forces, this is a restrained operation and is very careful about minimizing civilian casualties. They are going against a a well-armed and well-trained rogue Guerrila army with 10,000 rockets and missiles. Israel could have retained the element of surprise, used massive, indiscriminate firepower and finished by now, saving more Israeli lives, but at a great cost to Lebanase lives. They did not do this because this is not who we are and as an open democracy the Israeli public would not allow it.

Israel has dropped hundreds of thousands of leaflets warning non-terrorists to leave the area. Not even the US or UK forces did this in Iraq.

Does anyone seriously doubt that any European power like England or France would show more restraint if 1500 rockets landed on its shores? They could not afford to lose the deterrence and the public would demand it. Remember the reaction of the UK to Argentinian aggression on the Falkland Islands?

Another problem is that rockets, weapons caches, and even Hezbollah operations centers are not placed away from civilian infrastructure - they are placed on purpose in places where, if we have to hit them (like in homes and mosques) there will be maximum Lebanese casualties and turn world-opinion against us. One has to despise this cynical use of innocents as human shields. This is not propaganda - I know it from personal stories of many soldiers (friends) who were there before 2000. Just today, Fox News reported Israeli troops found a weapons cache in a Mosque. CNN's Christiane Amanpour showed the same weapons cache but neglected to mention that it was found in a Mosque.

The sides should sit down together to talk to resolve this: When the destruction of Israel is at the very core of Hezbollah's beliefs there is no room for negotiation. They believe that all of Israel is occupied territory. The fact that that we are here, just breathing, is reason enough for them to try to kill us.

There should be an immediate ceasefire: As Secretary of state Rice said yesterday, this would only allow Hezbollah to reload and bring us back to the same situation we are at now unless Hezbollah is significantly weakened. That would lead to even more violence and unnecessary deaths.

There are many more myths but it is late so I will add to it tomorrow. In the meantime I, like many Israelis, pray that the deaths and causualties, ON BOTH SIDES, will be as low as possible and may this operation end soon. As one woman recently told me, we are shooting and crying.

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