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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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Killing civilians

I read with concern 2 recent reports
http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2006/08/12/israel-our-pride-that-we-only-hit-hezbollah/ and
http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2006/08/11/idf-approves-refugee-convoy-from-merj-%e2%80%99uyun-then-attacks-it/
about the Israeli Air Force attacking Lebanese civilians nonchalantly or by mistake.

A few comments
1) When we feel under attack (as we in Israel do these days) even the most liberal, empathetic and peace loving amongst us are much more concerned about ourselves and or loved ones than people on the other side. These are simply survival instincts.
2) If an enemy fights from within a civilian environment, civilians are going to get killed. I know of no other military that gives warnings to civilians to leave battle areas and we can only regret if civilians don’t get out in time. To the best of our understanding the majority of the population of south Lebanon support the Hezbollah, Supporting on the one hand and saying we are helpless victims doesn’t work.
3) I seem to remember that most of the free world supported the Second World War against the Germans and the Japanese. I also seem to remember that rather a lot of innocent German and Japanese civilians were killed, many in the intentional bombing of cities by the Allies (that’s you) in order to break enemy morale. I don’t seem to remember any great outcry.
4) It’s really easy to criticise when you’re sitting comfortably in Europe or North America. I suggest you spend some time in a war zone and then we’ll talk about your empathy for the people on the other side.
5) In a previous post I mentioned a survey ttp://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/748012.html in which 91% of the Israeli public justify Israeli Air Force attacks even if they destroy infrastructure and cause suffering to the Lebanese. As we continue to be attacked, and let’s remember that the Hezbollah aims only at the civilian Israeli population, that percentage is not going down.
6) Israel has expressed regret at the deaths of innocent Lebanese civilians and I am sure that no Israeli would target them intentionally. I can’t seem to remember any Hezbollah expressions of regret at Israeli civilian deaths, except for those of Arabs. By them, it’s just great when Jews get killed.
7) Accidents happen in wartime and one has the impression, from the endless reporting, that the Israeli military has had too many foul ups during this war. It is therefore unfortunately quite possible that Israeli planes attacked a convoy whose movement had been coordinated with the relevant people in the Israeli military. It shouldn’t happen but anyone who has served in the military knows that there’s a lot of confusion and mistakes during war. I don’t condone these mistakes and I hope command and control will improve.

3 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

It's all a bunch of vapor. It doesn't address the issues in a straight forward way. Yr arguments are so old, tired & out of date as to be hardly worth addressing. Instead of temporizing in yr "yes, but" way if you tried to really acknowledge the validity of some of the criticism & place it in some context you felt comfortable with (instead of waving off the criticism entirely), yr argument would be much more cogent & effective.

As it is, it makes me yawn.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Yael said...

Dear David,
I completely agree with your first comment, if I were under attack I would feel the same.

As to the second, about civilians in war time. To turn the argument to your side, Israel has the highest military budget per capita in the world. It is continually supporting war and aggression, and then repeatedly portrays itself as a victim; you do it yourself in this very article. You speak of the IDF’s ability to ‘destroy infrastructure’ and bomb civilian areas, and yet end by saying ‘, it’s just great when Jews get killed.’, or describe the effect of sirens on your families life.

To use your own words you ‘support on one hand’, and say you are the ‘helpless victim’ on the other.

Further it seems that you do not really believe the IDF could target civilians, yet you yourself earlier admitted they were violent towards Palestinians. That it was accepted that violence was necessary towards Arabs. There is overwhelming evidence that the IDF deliberately targets civilian populations. In Gaza for example since June 25th 100 civilian Palestinians, including 44 children and 10 women, have been killed by IDF, at least 779 Palestinian civilians, including 218 children and 24 women, have been wounded by the IDF gunfire. The electricity generation plant, providing 45% of the electricity of the Gaza Strip, was destroyed, and electricity networks and transmitters have been repeatedly attacked. Bridges, agricultural land, houses, all destroyed. You do not expect Israel to lie down after rocket attacks why do you expect Palestinians and Lebanese to be quiet and peaceful after such destruction?

The attitude of the IDF needs to be changed; they do not even respect Israeli law. A peaceful and legal -under Israeli law-demonstration in Bi’lin was fired on just last Friday. A peaceful Israeli demonstrator, exercising his rights, is now currently in a coma.

As to the fire bombings, you seem to disapprove, so why commit them to others?

To your fourth point I completely agree with you. I am in the comfort of happy café chat land. I have no bombs; no fear; no relative in danger. So yes it is easy for me and my like to preach what will never be asked of us. And I am convinced that I would fight if Ireland was attacked. I know my own character and I know that I would one of the first to choose violence rather than dialogue. Particularly if my family was involved. But I would expect outsiders to disagree. I would expect them to see that I was only fueling another generation of war.

What astounds me about the conflict is not how many Israelis and Palestinians want to choose violence, or forgive it in their own, but how many outsiders who will never live with the consequences encourage it. People who are safe in their own little armchairs of course talk high ideals, whether it is of the high ideal of endless war of revenge or the high ideal of empathy for an enemy.

You are watching your friends in danger so of course you talk first of defense.

But my point is always the same. Israel is digging its own grave. Its reactions are understandable, I would do them myself. But ultimately Israel will end up eating away at its own society and destroying itself from within.
Yael

4:31 PM  
Blogger barista grazioso said...

I guess I'll be the minority.

I wish Israel would have bombed the hell out of Hezbollah which is a TERRORIST organization (not a militia organization with any type of rights), who would like nothing more than to wipe out Israel and every democracy-loving individual.

Why? Because if the world were democrasized, it would require them to shower more than once a month. Yawn away Richard, you smell just as they do.

The Lezbo's will be back gunning for whoever they can in no time at all. Since when should the world negotiate with terrorists?

Sorry. We ARE talking about the U.N.

I back Israel 110%, and wish my government would have had the same fortitude as they did after 9/11. I find Olmert to be a wishy-washy-lawyer who found himself into too deep a water after changing the game plan. It's really too bad, because it was a ripe opportunity.

Regarding the civilians who stayed after being warned they were in mortal danger. I have a hard time feeling sorry for them because they didn't leave. It's apparent they feel at home with the now-migrant-terrorists, so it was their choice. They could have left.

I would have.

As far as I'm concerned, the U.N. is an ineffectual-tax-payer-sucking-failure and we're heading into another anti-semitic World War. It's coming to a neighborhood near you.

Yawn away Richard. I find you boring.

5:30 AM  

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