Friday, July 28, 2006

The Choice for Lebanese to Make

I now ask you to signI now ask you to sign this electronic petition set up by Amnesty International addressed to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister..."I urge you to take urgent steps to put an immediate end to deliberate attacks by Israeli forces against civilian and civilian property and infrastructure in Lebanon. These attacks constitute collective punishment. I call on you to end the use of excessive and disproportionate force, and to ensure that Israeli forces respect the principle of proportionality when targeting any military objective or civilian objective that may be used for military purposes."

Not until someone explains to me what, exactly, "the principle of proportionality" is.
Roa said...

Solomon2, I believe I speak for a significant number of Ramzi's readers when I say your contribution to this forum is getting tedious. You've already treated us to a healthy dose of willful blindness, double standards, and pathetic insight into the issue at hand. Now it’s plain stupidity or worse, malice. What part of 400 Lebanese dead, to say nothing of the infrastructure and an evolving environmental disaster on our shores secondary to the leakage of 15,000 tons of fuel oil from the bombarded Jieh power plant, don’t you get?
And can you for the love of God spare us the silly refrain along the lines of “you reap what you sow” for not disarming Hizbollah? For all its military might the US is still unable to stem the insurgency in Iraq after three bloody years. Did you seriously expect a multi-confessional society fresh from its precariously won independence from Syria (no less than 15 prominent journalists and politicians died in that single year); did you seriously expect it to disarm Hizbollah in less than a year? Listen, you’re welcome to live in a fantasy world where most Arabs are feckless or worse evil and most Israelis are God fearing citizens of peace. I’m sure there are many who will share it with you. Likewise, we are plagued “on the other side” with unilateral visions of the world. But if you’re serious about this, I suggest you adopt a more mature attitude towards this tragedy. Our hearts are full with the news of the dead and the destruction so have the decency, if not for the Lebanese casualties then at least for the Israeli ones, to say something constructive and humane.

It's more like "plain stupidity". Please don't mistake wilful blindness for real blindness. I really don't understand this "proportionality" bit. I suppose if Hezbollah hadn't been so competent at hiding away the soldiers they kidnapped and killing the squad that tried to retrieve them the soldiers would have been rescued quickly without a single bomb dropping or artillery shell fired. But Hezbollah has more resources than that so efforts to retrieve them have to be involve more intensive. To accept the principle of trading the kidnapped soldiers for convicted felons sets back international law for hundreds of years and accepting Hezbollah's right to bombard Israel in "peacetime" essentially creates the conditions that make it O.K. to destroy Israel, slowly or quickly, without international repercussions and with great loss of Israeli life. So for Israel this is a struggle for its very existence.

People who accuse other people of "double standards" may themselves simply be insufficiently informed of the complexity of the situation, so always be specific about these things, please.

No, I wouldn't have expected Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah in a year. Things were starting to return to normal, and Hezb saw that very fact as a threat to its power over the country and its citizens, as well as its relevancy to jihad. Yet Hezb knew that all diplomatic avenues to restrain them had been exhausted. So once they kidnapped the soldiers Israel had no choice but to respond militarily and drag most of Lebanon into the current mess. Didn't Nasrallah say that Lebanon is in a war whether it wishes to or not? Is it not true that all that has to be done to stop the war is for Nasrallah to give back the kidnapped soldiers and stop the rockets?

Nasrallah could thus stop the war in an instant, yet he considers Hezbollah's "honor" proportionately more important than the lives of hundreds of Lebanese citizens. Hezb fighters get to stay in bunkers while citizens above them take the punishment. I always expected that Hezb would have to start up the fight again. But I didn't think that after March 14th the Lebanese would be so craven as to fall for this kind of trick.

Tragedy? Decency? Were there mass demonstrations after the kidnappings denouncing Hezbollah or in sympathy to Israel? It is difficult to have sympathy for people who display no sympathy for the sufferings of others.

You can take to the streets en masse or by yourself and make a statement, even at the risk of your life by Hezbollah goons. Is it not better to risk death for a return to a better life than to cower in the shelter, knowing that if you don't act, a miserable existence under Hezbollah rule (with the occasional Israeli bomb thrown in) is certain? That's the choice for you to make.

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