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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Friday, August 11, 2006

From the Press

From the leader in The Economist www.economist.com of Aug 5: "It is sometimes no bad things to end with a draw. Lopsided victories, like the ones Israel won in 1948 and 1967, can leave a residue of hubris on one side and shattered pride on the other that block peacemaking for decades. By contrast, the war of 1973, which both Israel and Egypt claimed to have won, restored Egyptian honour and persuaded Israel that it was worth exchanging the Sinai peninsula for peace with its strongest neighbour." I think I'll buy that. Since the start of the war I've been hoping that both sides can declare that they've won. If indeed a cease-fire is close, Hezbollah can claim it has survived, fought heroically against the Israelis and injured Israel with its incessant barrage of Katyusha rockets. Israel will be cable to claim that it has changed (hopefully for good) the situation where a heavily armed militia (that does not accept Israel's exisitence) sits on its border and attacks it.

In a survey published in this morning's Haaretz newspaper more Israelis see the result of the war as a draw or a failure than a victory, and that presages a lot of political mud-slinging, and hopefully some serious soul searching and lesson learning once the fighting is over. The implications of this war, which is the first for over 50 years to be felt painfully by Israel's civilian population, will be enormous.

On Wednesday the Haaretz newspaper www.haaretz.com reported the resignation of veteran Arab affairs journalist Faiz Abbas from the biggest daily newspaper Yediot Achronot www.ynetnews.com because of an article by the newspaper's editor. Faiz Abbas lambasts the Arab affairs commentators on the Israel TV channels for wishful thinking and totally misrepresenting the mood in the Arab world. Without knowing (like 95% of Jewish Israelis I know very little Arabic) my guess is that he is right. The commentators and Arab affairs analysts tell their masters and the viewers what they want to hear and we do not really understand the Arab mindset. We are playing at being a prosperous, democratic, consumerist, fun-loving country in the middle of 100 million under-achieving 3rd world Arabs who don't want us here.

In another article in Wednesday's Haaretz, the virulently pro-Palestinian columnist Amira Hass writes "Israel is convinced that in Lebanon, as in Gaza and the West Bank, its unlimited power to destroy is both a deterrent and a spur to political change............... the Palestinians and Lebanese fortitude grows in lockstep with our strengthening powers of destruction". I suspect she is right. Against all Western logic the Palestinians are showing remarkable (some would say masochistic) powers of endurance in seeking what they see as absolute justice and honour. Destruction and revenge do not work - they are also morally repugnant. But pacificism and soft talk is no alternative. There are too many Moslems who want our elimination. There has to be a middle way.

Every month the Steinmetz Center of Peace Research conducts a survey among the Israelis public. In the survey conducted at the beginning of August http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/748012.html 91% of the public justify Israeli Air Force attacks even if they destroy infrastructure and cause suffering to the Lebanese, and a small majority defines the national mood as good. Well, the mood is not so good now and one wonders what alternatives can be found to the use of force. Israel feels frustrated, unloved and afraid but powerful and that's a very problematic combination.

2 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

"...the virulently pro-Palestinian columnist Amira Hass..."

You've sure revealed yr biases, now haven't you? It just so happens she is the only Israeli journalist actually living in the Territories. She gives you the opportunity to really see things on the Palestinian scene first hand, but through the eyes of an Israeli. And how do you respond? You call her virulently pro-Palestinian. I find those terms objectionable.

She says things you don't like to hear no doubt. She may even tell you things you'd rather not know. Well, I for one who've been reading her for yrs. (along w. many other Israeli media sources) am grateful for her perspective. I only wish you'd show a more open mind to Israeli opinions w. which you disagree.

9:18 AM  
Blogger David Lisbona said...

I wouldn't call my description of Amira Hass bias. I'm fairly sure Amira Hass would not balk at being called pro-Palestinian (I am not anti-Palestinian...) and, yes, virulent, because she presents a conistently negative picture of any Israeli action in the Occupied Territories. By me, neither side is all right or all wrong in this conflict.

The fact that I read Amira Hass's articles and quote from them is merely testimony that I also welcome her perspective even if I don't always agree.
Let's be tolerant of one another
- David

2:03 PM  

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