Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Israel's window of opportunity to weaken Hezbollah (UPDATE)

Updating a recent post on "the green light" the U.S. has apparently given Israel to weaken Hezbollah, Fox News is reporting this:

The United States has given Israeli forces between 10 and 14 days to finish dealing Hezbollah "a strategic blow," a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official told FOX News, as both Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerrillas continued to volley rockets across the Lebanon-Israel border.

This official explains why the offensive is going so slowly:

While admitting that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is working at a "slow pace," the official insisted the plan was constructed out of concern for human life.

"We could do it much faster if we would be willing to inflict high civilian casualties," the official said. "The decision was made to move in a methodical, slow way."

Well, I hope that's true. I suppose I've given Israel my own green light to do within reason what it needs to do to defend itself against an enemy that seeks to destroy it, but at some point enough will be enough and Israel will need to pull back and allow an international force to secure peace along its border with Lebanon.

And beyond that? Who knows? Whatever peace is secured will likely be short-lived.

In the end, there will only be peace if Hezbollah, Hamas, and other such organizations give up their violent struggle against Israel's very existence and if states throughout the Middle East, notably Iran and Syria, acknowledge and accept Israel's right to exist peacefully as a sovereign state. (And, yes, if a Palestinian state is allowed to exist peacefully next door.)

I'm optimistic that this will happen. I'm far less optimistic that it will happen anytime soon.

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  • You really are a fucking fool, stickings. 4 UN soldiers were killed in blue UN Smocks by Israeli precision bombing. How the hell can you keep on giving the israelis the Carte Blanche.

    do any of the other readers share my opinion? Does anybody else think this is yellow journalism? You might as well be payed by the fox studio network.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:19 PM  

  • If you're so courageous, Anonymous, why don't you come out from behind your cloak of anonymity and have it out with me? Or is it easier just to come here and use foul language in service of an ad hominem attack?

    One wonders why support for Israel disturbs you so? Are you anti-Israel? Anti-Semitic? Would you, like Hezbollah, like to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth?

    Readers may agree or disagree with me. I'm fine with that. Anyone who's bothered to spend some time here (and doesn't just react with venom to opinions one doesn't share) knows that I'm not an absolutist and that I encourage debate and difference. Is that not possible here, or anywhere, without your style of personal attack?

    And your fascination with Fox is humorous, to say the least. Would they have me on to give my views of the Bush presidency? Unlikely. But I guess we're all in it together, eh? Anyone who shows any support for Israel, anyone who even sympathizes with Israel, is just some Zionist neocon supported by some right-wing conspiracy.

    Is that what you're saying, Anonymous? Spreading vitriol is just cowardice.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 12:42 AM  

  • It seems like you're using the same defense the Israeli government uses whenever it is criticized. The same cloak of safety the Israeli government has been donning for the past 30 years, whenever they broke international law or committed atrocities.

    For whenever anyone criticizes the Israeli governments unlawful actions or atrocities, whether they use vulguraties or not,the critic is by virtue of his criticism automatically an anti-semite, an anti-israeli, who wants the destruction of Israel. It becomes no longer an issue about what is right or wrong, but about Israel's right for survival.

    This takes away the rationality of the discussion from the beginning. Forfeiting anything valid the "anti-semite" said for he is a been called an irrational crazy man.

    This being the same tactic used by the mcarthyites against the "communists", the whites against the blacks, and the Nazi's against the Jews.

    Granted, this guy had it coming to him for he began the comment with vulgarities this still doesn't mean you must stoop to an insult even lower than his.

    Also, I find it very interesting the way you responded to that man's attack. For I believe it shows why you are biased towards Israel.

    When you think of Israel being attacked, even though it is when they are on the offensive, it seems as though you thinking in a paragdim that is centered around the question of Israel's survival. (just like many other supporters of Israel's causes)Which forces you to minimize or cast aside any of the present illegalities or atrocities, because you are always looking at the situation shadowed by the holocaust.

    But does the Holocaust justify many of Israel's actions? Will we have to wait until there is as many deaths inflicted upon the arabs as there were inflicted upon the Israeli's ancestors?

    I do not believe you are an absolutist, but I do think you are confused with your issues which gets in the way of an unbiased judgement of current events.

    but that's just my opinion.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:50 PM  

  • You make some good points, Anonymous #2.

    I'm just now sure how I've "stoop[ed] to an insult even lower than [the one hurled at me by Anonymous #1.

    You say that I'm "biased towards Israel". What I would say is that I conditionally support Israel in this conflict, that is, I support Israel's right to defend itself within reason. By within reason, I mean, say, not destroying Lebanon or otherwise slaughtering innocent civilians (although some civilian casualties are, sad to say, inevitable).

    In the past, I've been quite critical of Israel -- particularly of its settlements in Gaza and, going back further, it's occupation of Lebanon. But there is no occupation of Lebanon now, and the settlements have largely been taken down. Which means, as I've argued here in recent days, that this conflict affords us the opportunity to see the true nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of Israel's relations with its neighbours. Where it was possible to be critical of Israel in the past, and to urge a change in Israeli policy, it seems to me that in recent years Israel has adopted a much more defensive posture with regards to its sovereign territory and its relations with its neighbours. This means building a wall, but that's understandable given the problem of suicide bombers coming into Israel from the outside. And it may mean a strong military that can respond quickly to outside provocations. But it also means that critics of Israel can no longer point to such matters as Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Gaza as the justification for their criticism (and violence).

    So why the violence now? What does Hezbollah have against Israel? The same thing Hamas does. The same thing Iran and Syria do. These states and organizations oppose the very existence of Israel. Which means that the larger conflict has gone from a political one to an existential one. And how is Israel supposed to respond to that except with force? I've used the analogy of the house here before, but say someone wants to deprive you of your life and there is no police force to turn to for protection. What do you do? To me, that's very much Israel's current predicament. The trigger for this latest conflict may have been the kidnapping of the Israeli soliders, but what we now know, and what must surely worry the Israelis, is that Hezbollah has an advanced missile system that can attack targets deep within Israel. How long before some group, operating right next door, acquires even more advanced weapons technology? How long before some anti-Israeli group, perhaps supported by Iran, attacks Tel Aviv with precision? How long before there is that kind of devastation?

    I certainly don't think the Holocaust justifies anything and everything Israel does (this moral issue is the subject of some of Elie Wiesel's novels). But the question is: Does Israel have a right to exist as a sovereign state? If yes, then it must be able to defend itself. And it must be able to do so before it's too late.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 3:09 PM  

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