Thursday, July 13, 2006

No Easy Answers for Israel

Even as Israel has made slow, unsteady but generally persistent progress towards securing peace with its neighbors, the region has remained a powder keg just waiting for a spark to ignite a war. Has that spark come?.

Israel is engaged in military attacks larger than anything we’ve seen since the early-to-mid 1980s. Their goal is to force the release of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah. But make no mistake, this is more than a one-issue conflict. As seriously as Israel obviously takes the kidnappings, this conflagration is the result of years of mounting tensions screwed ever tighter by the unceasing blood-thirst of Hezbollah and its sponsors in Lebanon and Iran.

Whether Israel’s response is likely to succeed, I don’t know. There was a time when I would have harshly criticized what appears on the surface to be an overly intense response. But I am no longer so quick to criticize Israel for her actions against terrorists.

Whenever I consider the issue of culpability and right-vs-wrong, I always ask myself, if Hezbollah and like-minded groups stopped their attacks, stopped spreading hate and started building communities, would Israel stop its military strikes? The answer is a clear yes. But, if Israel were to never again drop a bomb or launch a missile, would Hezbollah and others stop their attacks? I don’t see any indication that they would. And that is why I’m ever slow to criticize Israel.

However, I am not claiming Israel’s current actions are unequivocally wise. What I’m saying is that I am not so naïve as to believe there is necessarily a better way.

The next few days and weeks will reveal whether Israel’s response was wise … and whether we have a serious conflict on our hands or just another series of bloody volleys that will soon end but resolve nothing.


Anonymous david said...

It seems Israel is faced -- now and in so many other confrontations -- with two choices: regret the consequences of its actions, or regret the consequences of its inaction. They've taken the most aggressive stand possible, because it represents the former choice. It gives them the breathing room to assess what they did wrong, rather than wonder what they might have done.

4:28 AM  
Blogger cakreiz said...

I like your very simple and accurate measure of culpability, Alan. Spot on.

5:05 AM  

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