Despite escalating violence, everyone seems very up beat about the border conflict between Israel and Lebanon. President Bush summed up how easily solved these issues are:
“See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over.”
Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? The Israeli army agrees, saying the violence should cease when all of the hostages taken recently are returned unharmed. Yet something about this argument didn’t make sense to me until a journalist asked the Israeli spokesman whether he believed it was realistic to expect that the hostages would be returned. He dodged the question. Similar questions posed to Bush and Condi have gotten evasive answers as well.
That’s really the heart of the matter. Israel has refused to negotiate a ceasefire until the hostages are safely released, but know perfectly well that bombing Lebanese civilians is more likely to get the hostages killed. This isn’t about the hostages anymore. It’s a declaration of war against the tiny, struggling democracy next door. The conflict will not end until Israel is satisfied that Lebanon has been pacified.
The War on Terror justifies any tactics, including terrorism. Israel believes they can scare Hizbollah into peace by bombing power stations, water treatment centers and even government buildings. They have to know, like we do, that if you kill someone’s friends and family they are more likely to take extreme countermeasures than sit down and try to talk it out.
As sad as it seems, this hand full of Israelis, who might already be dead, are just a politically convenient excuse to launch a new war against an old opponent. By repeatedly invoking the fates of these few civilians, they justify 100 times as many civilian casualties at their hands. But because we’ve looked the other way in this situation before, and don’t want to look hypocritical, we’ll all just have to hold out hope for those Israeli prisoners. And look the other way while civilians die.