Friday, July 28, 2006

Stating the Obvious

There should not be any doubt about the fact that Hizbullah is using civilian areas as a staging ground for its rocket attacks. Nevertheless, I've heard a number of people ridiculing IDF claims that the houses of many Shi'a villagers serve as rocket depots. Hizbullah is successfully duping television audiences around the world with its guided "tours" of destroyed "civilian" buildings and of carefully controlled hospital wards. None of the reporters filing stories from southern Lebanon or Beirut actually have the freedom or ability to investigate what is under the piles of rubble of buildings levelled by the Israeli Air Force. To their credit, a number of reporters have made it clear that they are not being given the access necessary to do their work and to ensure that they can give a balanced picture of the situation. A recent New York Times article by Sabrina Tavernise reveals that Hizbullah is not only using Shi'a villages as weapons depots, but that it is also firing its rockets from Christian villages:

But for some of the Christians who had made it out in this convoy [to Tyre], it was not just privations they wanted to talk about, but their ordeal at the hands of Hezbollah — a contrast to the Shiites, who make up a vast majority of the population in southern Lebanon and broadly support the militia.

“Hezbollah came to Ain Ebel to shoot its rockets,” said Fayad Hanna Amar, a young Christian man, referring to his village. “They are shooting from between our houses.”

“Please,’’ he added, “write that in your newspaper.”


Many Christians from Ramesh and Ain Ebel considered Hezbollah’s fighting methods as much of an outrage as the Israeli strikes. Mr. Amar said Hezbollah fighters in groups of two and three had come into Ain Ebel, less than a mile from Bint Jbail, where most of the fighting has occurred. They were using it as a base to shoot rockets, he said, and the Israelis fired back.

One woman, who would not give her name because she had a government job and feared retribution, said Hezbollah fighters had killed a man who was trying to leave Bint Jbail.

“This is what’s happening, but no one wants to say it” for fear of Hezbollah, she said.

All of these reports seem very credible to me. Obviously, Hizbullah won't think twice about drawing Israeli fire to civilians, especially if they are not Shi'a and are opposed to the group. The bitter truth is that, in the end, they win twice. Not only are their opponents killed, but they can also use the civilian casualties in their propaganda battle against Israel.

Another obvious observation that I'd like to share here is that Israel will almost certainly embark on a more massive operation in southern Lebanon or even beyond in the coming weeks. Three reserve divisions have been called up. There is no way that the Israeli economy can sustain that many young people out of work for a long period of time. Unless there is some kind of active international intervention or unless Hizbullah miraculously folds, those divisions are going to be used. The reason is that it will be quite difficult to send all these people home again without combat, only to call them up once more when the next crisis errupts.

My own view of Israeli strategic security has really changed as a result of this war. I was once convinced that Israel's alliance with the United States and its firepower would be enough to deter any threat posed by Hizbullah's deployment in the south after the withdrawal in 2000. Clearly, Hizbullah, Syria and Iran have done their homework and prepared well for fighting an asymmetrical war of this sort. Obviously, the Iraqi experience has taught them a great deal as well. We have thus come to a point at which Israeli military superiority does not have enough of a deterrence value. It might deter Iran and Syria from launching a conventional attack on Israel, but it will not prevent them from acting through their non-state proxies.


Ontario Wanderer said...

Interesting that the "enemy" also managed to send rockets to Israel from a UN observation post.

Aussie John said...

Am I correct in thinking that the British Mandate over "Palestine" originally included all of modernday Jordan?

If so, when Britain created the Kingdom of Jordan, wasn't that therefore already tantamount to a "Palestinian" State for Arabs?

Yet now the international community is pushing for another independent state to be created, hoping this will end the crisis in the Middle East.

Every ethnic group has a right to their own homeland. The question is, on what basis should those borders be determined?

In the past they may have been determined on the basis of what will hopefully procure peace; or on the basis of which side is most willing to compromise; or on the basis of history, perhaps.

But most importantly, every country's border should be determined on the basis of what is RIGHT.

What is RIGHT has a basis in history - yet foundationally, it is a philosophical question, whether we like it or not.

Researching the Torah, I learned that God Himself decided the appropriate boundaries of the nations.

I learned that the Lord loved the nations and He wanted to bless each one.

He appointed a homeland for Israel, and it was He who set the location of Israel's boundaries with Egypt, Lebanon, and with Syria.

(At that time Israel's territory included all of modern-day Gaza Strip, West Bank, Golan Heights, everything West of the Jordan River, substantial territory East of the Jordan River, a little more of the Sinai Peninsular towards Egypt, and perhaps just a little further North into Southern Lebanon and South-West Syria.)

I also noticed in the Scriptures, that appropriate respect was placed upon Israel's boundaries with her closest neighbours: Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and the Arabian - because God also appointed a homeland for each of them. Iran and Iraq were also mentioned.

I saw in the Scripture that each one of us has been given an appropriate homeland by God: Israel in their right place, and the various Arab nations in their right places.

I think it would be wonderful if one day we see all of Israel's God-appointed territory officially restored to her; and at the same time see Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and the Arabian each prospering in THEIR appointed homelands, as determined by the Lord in Scripture.

Everyone of us who has any opinion at all concerning where those boundaries ought to be, is basing their thoughts on a philosophy of one kind or another, whether or not we are aware of it.

Since God Himself has determined the appropriate boundaries of the nations, we shouldn't think that we can obtain peace by meddling with it.

It is wise also to humble ourselves before Almighty God, because He it is who disciplines and corrects the nations.

In the Psalms David said: "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him" (Ps.2:12)

To each Israeli I say, you have begun to see the goodness of the Lord in causing your people to return (in a measure) to your own land. Why not vouchsafe ALL of God's blessings to yourself by "kissing the Son..." and by "...putting your trust in him" (in the Lord Jesus Christ), as David prophesied?

Jesus through His death and resurrection, is our only guarantee of peace and salvation - to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.

Uri said...


great cartoon expressing the Hizbollah hiding among civilians. you have only to exchange the palestinian flag with Hizbollahs' one...

Yaakova said...

Please help me get the word out that 12 more temporary residences for refugees from the north were just posted on my blog, at
I'll post this on a few other blogs as well.
Thank you!

Passing Observer said...

Hey John,

Just checking to see how you're doing. Though you're Canadian, I can see from your blog that you're doing your bit for your country of origin, good show. By the way whats your email address?