Friday, July 21, 2006

The odor of vengeance is strong in the air of the Middle East

In my opinion, Haaretz, Israel's most respected newspaper, is the best source for those Americans wanting to understand what is happening between Israel and Hamas/Hezbollah.

Here is a thoughtful piece in its opinion section today. I admit to saying it is thoughtful because it is somewhat similar to my view of both the Islamacists and Israeli sides in this continuing conflict.

Another article worth reading, one in which I believe is too optimistic in terms of Israel's military campaign, is from Ze'ev Schiff. Schiff, one of Israel's most respected military reporters, was highly critical of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 (see his co-authored book on the subject, which remains the best book one can read regarding Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon). Schiff has endorsed the Israeli government's actions from the beginning of this current conflict and sets forth a reasoned opinion largely free of propaganda. However, where I disagree with Schiff is that, had the Israeli government, over the past several months, engaged with Palestinian Authority President Abbas in exploiting Hamas' split regarding peace with Israel, and had Israel's government given even tacit support to the Palestinian referendum, it could have withstood the Hamas militants' attempts to undermine peace and avoided invading Gaza--which would have avoided Hezbollah making the move to open a second front against Israel (as the first linked article writer would agree).

From a different perspective, here is an article critical of Israel's actions. However, this article, in my view, is also overly optimistic in suggesting a more immediate and comprehensive diplomatic solution could have been been achieved in terms of disarming Hezbollah. Hezbollah could only be forced to lay down its arms as part of a larger movement toward peace between Palestinians and Israelis, in my view. Still, there is interesting information in the piece regarding the military in Israel and how it sought to provide Israel's current and previous governments with political solutions to consider--and not simply military actions.

Concluding thoughts:

At this point, our nation's president has been clear that he will allow Israel to continue to destroy Lebanon's infrastructure, well beyond Hezbollah holdings. In the short run, Hezbollah is going to be destroyed as an active military force--which, it must be said, is a good thing. But with the Israeli invasion killing far more civilians than Hezbollah militias, and playing a major role in the destruction of Lebanon as a viable nation, Israel is now going to reoccupy south Lebanon. This will lead to a guerrilla "resistance" in that area and in central and eastern Lebanon against Israel, and new recruits in Lebanon (and elsewhere) for Hezbollah--or other new terrorist groups against Israel and possibly the US. Recall that the first invasion of Lebanon gave Israel and the world the Hezbollah.

If the Palestinian people still get to vote for the referendum--and pass that referendum saying they support a two state solution for Palestinians and Israelis--enough people might wake up in the region and a smart international diplomatic effort might lead to a cease-fire and commencement of peace talks. But dead civilians abound on all sides, much more on the Arab side, and the odor of vengeance is likely to prove more resistant against the winds of peace.

(Slight editing)


At July 22, 2006 at 12:33:00 PM PDT, Blogger Nell said...

In the short run, Hezbollah is going to be destroyed as an active military force...

That's the best-case scenario. I'm not sure even that will be accomplished -- much less that the cost paid by everyone at the receiving end of the invasion will be worth it.


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