Israel-Hezbollah War

A view of the July-August 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war from an Israeli living in Haifa (under Katyusha rocket attack)- send personal comments to david2@lisbona.com

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Israel's two options

As we speak, Israel is at a crossroads in this war. The militarists, the right-wing say "Put massive ground forces in, we must win", the liberals and the pacifists say "Get the beast diplomatic agreement we can".

The Israeli government should indeed coldly evaluate and choose clearly between one of these two options. Choosing a wishy-washy option may be worse - there will be no chance of a significant victory while Israel remains so sensitive to its own and Lebanese civilian casualties and to world opinion.

Let us understand the two options. The first is total determination for a significant victory against the Hezbollah, even at very great cost. This option means calling up thousands of Israeli reserve soldiers and sending a massive force to re-invade southern Lebanon (Israel did this in 1982). The Hezbollah guerilla forces have shown themselves in the 1990's and already in this war as being brave, well-armed and effective fighters and they may cause the deaths of hundreds of Israeli soldiers. To increase its chances of success Israel would have to be merciless, killing everything that moves in southern Lebanon to beat Hezbollah. Israeli planes have dropped leaflets over southern Lebanon telling the civilian population to flee but , contrary to Israel's "humanitarian" intentions, many have not. The Hezbollah is ruthless, including the cynical use of the civilian Shiite population. If Israel is to have a better chance against the Hezbollah, in this option, Israel must be ruthless too, impervious to the killing of thousands of Lebanese civilians and to the inevitable international reaction. Israel should cut off Lebanon's electricity which will hurt all the Lebanese people but also the Hezbollah acting in their midst. Israel should use carpet bombing, maybe even napalm, without compunction. If Israel is crazy and ruthless enough, the Arab world and Iran will take note. If Israel causes sufficiently massive destruction and suffering in Lebanon, it will "succeed" (at least for now) even if it doesn not succeed in severely disabling the Hezbollah fighting force.

The alternative is to realise that Israel does want to maintain some humanity, morality and international legitimacy, to realise that if one wants to limit one's own and the other's civilian casualties then there's a price. The price is one's pride and one's feeling of security. The last days of war have shown the Hezbollah fighters to be effective fighters who fear nothing while the Israeli army leadership suffers from fear, poor intelligence and ineffective management. Israel has wreaked enough destruction already in Lebanon for there to be an improvement for Israel by diplomatic means. Israel has flexed its power of destruction enough. Please let's go the diplomatic way as soon as possible.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to liken the situation to that of the Nazi party in Germany. If the Hezbollah is the strongest force in the government, (like the Nazi's were) and the people support it, (like many did at first in Germnay) then the war MUST be against Lebanon. There was no way the world could have declared war on just the Nazis and not on Germany. It's so unfortunate, but the people of Lebanon who don't support the Hezbollah must either leave, fight against the Hezbollah, or stay and chance being a victim. Lebanon and it's people apparently support the Hezbollah - therefore, Lebanon and Hezbollah are one. The world didn't say, "the Nazis attacked Poland". No, it was said, "Germany attacked Poland". So say I with Lebanon. Lebanon attacked Israel. Israel needs to deal with Lebanon, not in part, but in whole.

And, I also believe this latest aggression by the Hezbollah began as a plan to take the attention away from Iran and its nuclear program.

4:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:42 PM  

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