Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Israel, as it seems to me

I hesitated to post on this topic, as the Israel-Arab conflict has always been something I have struggled to understand. But presidential candidate Michael Smith of Corvallis wrote something about it on Sunday (which I didn't get a chance to read until yesterday), and I felt he was wrong on so many levels that I had to chip in my two cents.

First is his concern that Israel is hypocritical because its attacks are hitting residential areas in Lebanon. This is a prime example of why the Geneva Conventions (other than humane treatment provisions) should not apply to terrorists. They have no qualms about putting Katyusha rockets in someone's bedroom or a mosque or a streetmarket, and then waiting for that location to be destroyed so they can accuse their opponents (read: Israel or America) of deliberately targeting civilians.

Israel is shooting at terrorists who have embedded themselves and their weapons in houses. Terrorists who have crossed an international border without provocation and kidnapped Israeli soldiers (coordinated with another terrorist group, Hamas). Terrorists who have killed hundreds of Americans, not to mention thousands of Israelis. Terrorists who are supported by a loose-cannon government that is most assuredly seeking the capability to literally wipe Israel off the map.

Hezbollah is even setting up roadblocks in Lebanese cities so people can't leave their homes near Hezbollah strongholds, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the same people. In other words, they're ensuring civilian casualties that will make Israel look bad.

The Lebanese people are being held hostage by terrorists and their own government, which is unable to control their own territory, and certainly don't deserve to be bombed. But what should Israel do? Ignore the provocation? Tell Lebanon to take care of it? (Considering that the Syrians control the Lebanese parliament, and Syria is a Hezbollah supporter, that's extremely unlikely.)

Or maybe, as Smith and many others hint, the Israelis should respond "proportionally." Does that mean they should just kill a few Hezbollah terrorists, kidnap a few more, throw a few bombs over the border and call it a day? How is it proportional when the Israeli soldiers want to live, and the Hezbollah terrorist want to die in the most glorious way possible? And how was it "proportionate" for Hezbollah to start this battle, anyway?

Any "proportionate" response is open to a wide range of interpretation -- whose do you follow? As this post by Lionel Beehner at the Council on Foreign Relations shows, it's not an easy question.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah has launched more than 1,500 missiles at Israeli neighborhoods over the past nine days. Those are most certainly NOT military targets, and a potential innocent death every 9 minutes, 24 hours a day. Missiles, by the way, that were made by Iran.

Daniel Schorr, senior news analyst for National Public Radio, makes a few interesting observations about this (emphasis mine):
According to American intelligence, Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon have an agreement for joint attacks on Israel. That may explain the look-alike forays across Israel's southern and northern borders. On June 25, Hamas fighters entered Israel by tunnel from Gaza, killing two Israeli soldiers and capturing one. On July 12, Hizbullah fighters crossed Israel's northern border, killing eight soldiers and capturing two.

They could be sure that their provocations would draw a violent response from Israel, and they did. Israel has unleashed a series of rocket and bomber attacks on facilities in Lebanon. Hizbullah is responding in kind. The organization appears to have several thousand missiles made in Iran and shipped through Syria. Some of them have a longer range than Israel has seen before, reaching to Haifa and farther.

As the conflict goes on, the Lebanese government is basically a helpless spectator to an Iranian-Syrian war fought through Hizbullah in Lebanon.
. . .
And meanwhile, Iran has already gained one advantage from the conflict that it helped to launch. It has diverted attention from the issue of Iran's nuclear program.
Smith also claims that Israel has "relatively few defenders," and hints that the US has somehow strong-armed the G8 leaders to take Israel's side. Gee, I thought everyone hated the Americans. I thought we had lost the respect of the world. How could George W. Bush strong-arm the French, the Russians and the Germans -- not to mention the European union -- into anything? Relatively few defenders? Even Egypt, Jordan and the Saudis are critical of Hezbollah.

Smith wants to be president, and his appeal for the middle ground has some draw to it in today's polarized society. I refuse to side with those who link a lack of Israel support with anti-Semitism, but if he's unwilling to offer more than luke-warm support for a strategic ally in the struggle against militant Islam, I will have a hard time supporting his candidacy.

As I said at the start, I've got a lot to learn about this conflict, and I'm sure I'm wrong about something in this rant. But that's how it seems to me.

UPDATE: Welcome, readers of One Jerusalem!


  • At 7/28/2006 11:28 AM, Anonymous keith said…

    Welcome to the club - there is nothing new about "Likud's" collaboration!

    During the unprovoked attacks of the Yom Kippor War of 1973 Israel counter attacked and surrounded Damascus....they failed to bring the Baathist [founded with the help of Germany in 1936] regime to a full surrender by bowing to pressure from the International Community. Now Israel is waffling again concerning a murderous islamic movement which through history has killed million upon million of "infidels" [in various political formats]. In 1982 Israel seized 3-4 million russian arms disguised as "medical supplies"; Israel sold these arms on the black market to the fascists of Central America. Contrary to popular belief; Mossad is working very closely with the American Defense Establishment and is perfoming "covert" operations for them. An Israel citizen cannot leave the country without paying a large tax to the government....Israel citizens are not allowed to earn "large sums of money" but it's favored elite [those who collaborate with the "deviant elite" of Europe and America] have become very wealthy - their wealth does not benefit Israel. It has long been alleged that a handful of the WWII Zionists were collaborating with the enemy and "instituted" various racial policies - especially the persecution and abuse of Sephardic Jewry. Despite all of this - it is written; He who touches Israel touches the Apple of God's Eye.

    It is also written - Not all Israel is Israel; this half baked effort to defeat Hizbollah is another point of order. Beware of Tish B'Av - the remnants of World Fascism are alive and well.

    It is written that the government of Israel will make an agreement with the son of perdition which will last 7 years. Apparently that is the agreement that Ariel Sharon and his Mossad made with the current U.S. Administration and it's British overlords. Am Yitzrael Chai!

  • At 7/29/2006 7:41 PM, Anonymous keith p scharding said…

    Here is some vital information which can explain my comments!

    I saw Mr. Dreyfus on CSPAN today and here is a link to his book


    Why do so many American Jews support the Foreign Policies of the current president?


    Mr. Loftus has written two books which reveal and explain some of the darkness which prevades international affairs.

    "Unholy Trinity" and "The Secret War Against the Jews".

    As a "Messianic Jew" - one who has accepted Jesus as Messiah and a bible believing person....this "intelligence" is especially "devasting" and also emancipating - for it is written.

    The Truth shall set you free.

    He whom the SON sets free is free indeed!

    truly keith scharding
    Pa - USA


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