|The response by the Israeli Defense Forces has (crazy) ATTACK written all over it! Guest posted by Michal Biletzki
Six years ago, on May 24, 2000, the IDF withdrew from Lebanon, after having occupied it and fought in it for 18 years. A year ago, on August
29, 2005 the IDF withdrew from the Gaza Strip, after having occupied it and fought in it for 38 years. Both were done unilaterally - no negotiations, no talks, and no acknowledgment of the other side (which is not to say that these were not important steps in the right direction!).
Now, July 2006, the IDF is back in both places. Both have called for negotiations and a cease-fire, to both Israel has replied NO!
YES - Hamas and Hezbollah have kidnapped IDF soldiers.
BUT - The Palestinians in Gaza have been under IDF attacks for most of the past year, regardless of the disengagement. And soldiers, like it or not, are legitimate targets. Civilians are not. Collective punishment is not.
TRUE - the Hezbollah crossed the line and violated Israeli sovereignty.
BUT - They’ve done it before in October 2000, and Israel negotiated. Israel did not only negotiate - it set free many prisoners in exchange for three bodies of kidnapped soldiers.
TRUE - Both the Palestinians and the Hezbollah are throwing missiles of various types into Israel.
TRUE - there are Israeli casualties, and many wounded.
BUT - why is their counter attack any less legitimate than Israel’s fierce attacks on Palestinians and Lebanese soil?
Comparing numbers of casualties is meaningless (even though, looking at the numbers shows very clearly which side is causing more civilian casualties). It is painfully obvious that Israel has a bigger, stronger, better military ability than that of the Palestinians and the Hezbollah put together.
YES - If they could cause more civilian casualties in Israel, they probably would. But they can’t! Israel can, and does!
Pointing fingers is also quite useless - does it really matter who started?
The point, at this moment in time, is simply to say that Israel’s response in both cases is so disproportionate that it’s aim (getting the soldiers’ back? Driving Hezbollah away from the border? Weakening the Hamas government?) has to be questioned.
It isn’t enough for an army to claim that it is attempting not to hurt civilians - it has to do everything and anything it can to actually not hurt them!
It isn’t enough that an army’s pride be hurt to justify such extreme measures!
It isn’t enough to justify the destruction and deaths in Lebanon, and it isn’t enough to justify the risk to Israeli civilians (not to mention their deaths).
The way things look right now, Israel is heading to yet another one of its long, pointless, unnecessary wars. It is doing so with immense force, which is neither needed nor justified. It is doing so, even though the other option, that of negotiation, has been offered. It has rejected it, even though it is clear that this mess, like all others of its kind, will have to end via negotiations. It is doing so even though people from both sides are being killed. It is doing so even though it is well within its power not to!