Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Israel, Lebanon and 'Hezbollahland'.

Israel is morally and legally justified in going to war in response to the unprovoked kidnap of two of its soldiers and the massacre of several others. The fact that Hezbollah hides amoung civilian sympathisers means that they are responsible for those deaths. However I am uneasy about Israel's attacks outside Hezbollah controlled territory, whilst it is true that the Lebanese government neglected their agreed duty to disarm the terrorists and Hezbollah has bases in Beirut, it is also true that Lebanon was until this week the only Arab country with a significant proportion of the population who liked Israel or at least disliked the regional despots and religious fanatics more. Surely Israel would have been better off trying to make allies out of people who hate Hezbollah and their Iranian and Syrian backers, rather than causing them real suffering. Michael Totten is very well informed about Lebanon, having lived there, says:
What should the Israelis have done instead? They should have treated Hezbollahland as a country, which it basically is, and attacked it. They should have treated Lebanon as a separate country, which it basically is, and left it alone. Mainstream Lebanese have no problem when Israel hammers Hezbollah in its little enclave. Somebody has to do it, and it cannot be them. If you want to embolden Lebanese to work with Israelis against Hezbollah, or at least move in to Hezbollah's bombed out positions, don't attack all of Lebanon.

Israel should not have bombed Central Beirut, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed my old neighborhood, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed the Maronite city of Jounieh, which was not merely anti-Hezbollah but also somewhat pro-Israel.

Israelis thinks everyone hates them. It isn't true, especially not in Lebanon. But they will make it so if they do not pay more attention to the internal characteristics of neighboring countries.
Hezbollahland Delendra Est, but not Beirut surely?

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