Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What else can we do? מה לעשות? شو بدنا نسوي؟

Brigadier-General Miri Regev

Miri Regev, the photogenic IDF spokesperson said that the air force is taking all possible measures to avoid civilian casualties. I would love to feel at ease, but it is still very hard for me to hear that more than 200 Lebanese civilians have been killed over the past 6 days, according to the reports so far. Most Israelis are aware of these figures. They are cited in all the broadcasts and newspapers. But to be honest, there has been very little debate about these deaths in the media here, and I do not hear too many people talking about them on the street. As Regev pointed out, the current IDF operation has an astounding approval rate of 83% among the Israeli public. I have to say, that despite my sadness about the deaths of Lebanese civilians, I, too, support this operation.

How is this possible? Some of our "friends" will see this approval as further evidence that Israelis are bloodthirsty criminals, no different from the terrorists whom they are attacking. Such equations are quite common in the Lebanese blogosphere, even among those who oppose Hizbullah. But what is really responsible for the high civilian casualty rates?

So many civilians are dying because this war is being conducted against an enemy who launches missiles from the safety of non-combatant population centers at Israeli cities, towns, and villages with the explicit goal of harming civilians. As much as the equivocators will try to deny this, the IDF does not aim to kill non-combatants. Even if you want to believe that the Israeli army is morally indifferent, you have to concede that civilian deaths cause tremendous harm to the reputation of the country and its ability to operate in the international arena. It is against the IDF's own strategic interests to harm civilians.

This war is once again exploding the myth of the "smart bomb." Without amazing intelligence, it is inevitable that civilians will be killed even when the targets are armed militants, terrorist supply lines, and missile launch sites. To some extent, the air force, at least before the last month, had become extremely successful in carrying out strikes against Palestinian militants on the way to attacks. while avoiding civilian casualties. But let's not kid ourselves, unless Israel exposes its soldiers to extremely high risks, civilians will die in the fight against this kind of an enemy. Israel, like any other state, sees its primary responsibility in protecting the lives of its own citizens - combatants and non-combatants. In this, it is no different from the US or the countries who participated in the NATO intervention in Kosovo.

Let me add also that this is not a war that Israel is fighting in order to hold on to some conquered territory. Nasrallah, backed by Iran, is now waging this war to terrify Israeli civilians in the present and to be able to threaten them at any point in the future. Hizbullah is not fighting for any specific objective that Israel can compromise on.

This is why I think that a cease fire at this point would be a serious mistake, which would allow Iran and Syria to rearm Hizbullah and return us to the status ante. While I am not opposed to an international force a bit further down the line, provided that it has teeth, I find it hard to reconcile myself to the idea of a cease fire that does not include the return of the kidnapped soldiers, and the destruction of Hizbullah's ability to launch as much as a firecracker across the internationally recognized border into Israel.

I pray that future bombs spare the innocent.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

You do know that over 50% of the Lebanese military supports Hezbullah? I feel sorry for the "innocent" Lebanese who have no control over their government... but for those who wish to harm Israel, I say show no mercy! Perhaps I'm just not as forgiving as most.

Fares said...

http://freesyria.wordpress.com/2006/07/18/tragedies-on-both-sides/

PEACE

Anonymous said...

check this article...called out of Beirut..on al jazeera.net

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/5326BE5A-98D7-44F9-B331-D9E6CE849A8D.htm

will give u more insight

Osaid Rasheed said...

Amen

Anonymous said...

Excellent comments Amos,

The "moral equivalency" games played by people like Richard Cohen justify the death of innocent Israelis, while decrying the death both non-Jewish innocent civilians -and- genocidal terrorists. Moral people mourn the death of any innocents while leftists make excuses and blame Jews for any deaths! It’s sick sick stuff. The hearts of those who you would want on your side are with you all.

Anonymous said...

May you Jews and Arabs blow your selves to kingdom come. We Christians pray for both your conversion to the True Faith or we stop praying for this intention at all and let Almighty God deal with this FOREVER FEUD between you 2 peoples. May almighty God have mercy on you 2, forgive your sins and bring you to everlasting life.

Anonymous said...

"May you Jews and Arabs"

Anonymous doesn't speak for genuine Christians. He speaks for bigots.

Anonymous said...

What happen to my lost comment? Anyway, typical Jewish pride that is blind to the fact that Jesus, a fellow Jew, says He is God. Which I firmly believe.. and that His deicide has cursed your race with the blindness of unbelief. What more can I say?

Anonymous said...

"What more can I say?"

That you are a troll?

Anonymous said...

Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound

Noah S. said...

Goodness!

Amos - I disagree with your take on this, or at least with your dismissal of alternatives. The cease fire that some advocate could be a temporary one that would allow the possibility for some action from the Lebanese government and the "international community." The strategy to bomb until the UN resolution is enforced might end up working, but it's also conceivable that political pressure could also work. No?

Anonymous said...

"some action from the Lebanese government"

The Lebanese government is not in a position to fight or control Hezbullah. Not yet. Once Israel does the world a good work by destroying their ability to operate maybe so.

"the international community."

You mean the, essentially, anti-Semitic, politically correct, pro-fascist international community? The one that refused for what, 57 years to accept Magen David Adom into the ICRC and only did so after they adopted the Red Crystal? You mean the international community that knows how to condemn Israel at the drop of the hat but has yet to really face terrorism?


"it's also conceivable that political pressure could also work"

Hezbullah is not a political organization. It is a militant terrorist organization that is happy to do Iran's bidding. You see how non-compliant Iran is to UN "pressure". Not only that, terrorist organizations don't have any reason to follow a negotiated settlement. Negotiations are only used when they need to buy time. What honor would Hezbullah have to maintain an agreement with a nation whose existence they are sworn to destroy?

Noah S. said...

Anonymous:

Please, you misunderstand me. Read my previous posts on this blog for the context of my comments. In terms of your specific critiques:

The international community, not being a cohesive political actor, cannot be antisemitic, pro-fascist, or any other collective adjective. It is merely the collective and constantly shifting political force of its major actors (the traditional ones - U.S., EU, Russia). Believe me, I am under no illusions about the power of the U.N. But surely you agree that the world powers influence events in the middle east - whether or not the events turn out the way the world powers hope? And you agree that the world's opinion of Israel is important? Or is it a foregone conclusion that everyone (except the U.S. of course) will be antisemitic and anti-Israel? (I hope, by the way, you do not take this last question to be sarcastic.)

As far as political pressure, I don't mean negotiations with Nasrallah. I mean an ultimatem that would allow Lebanon one last chance to impose U.N. resolution 1559. I realize that it's been two years since the resolution passed and nothing has been done, but such an ultimatem would at least demonstrate's Israel's attempt to settle the matter based on international consensus. If nothing happens, if no attempt - or a half-hearted one - is made to enforce 1559, then the Israeli army would resume the bombings to destroy Hizbollah itself, and with good conscience.

Anonymous said...

"The international community, not being a cohesive political actor, cannot be antisemitic, pro-fascist, or any other collective adjective."

You are right in saying it is not cohesive but I do not agree that it does not operate as a collective. The stream of anti-Israel resolutions and statements from the UN -- and the predictable anti-Israel worldpress from Islamofascist sympathizers like the BBC -- are proofs of that.


"But surely you agree that the world powers influence events in the middle east - whether or not the events turn out the way the world powers hope?"

I agree...


"And you agree that the world's opinion of Israel is important?"

No! Because Israel is, on the whole, penalized for doing less than what other nations would do to try and maintain national security. If Israel acts according to world opinion my friend, Israel will disappear from the map. This latest round of world press demonstrates that many would be happy to see Israel disappear. When you have such opinions being expressed... you ignore it and do what has to be done for your own life.

Israel does not target innocent civilians. Islamo-terrorists not only target them but they hide amongst them to harm Israel's image. Israel occupies the high ground so Israel must do what has to be done despite the opinion of the world.


"Or is it a foregone conclusion that everyone (except the U.S. of course) will be antisemitic and anti-Israel?"

Should I believe that nations on the world stage will today begin acting any different than they have over the last 2000 years? Sure, there are nations that come and go, or those whose self-interests change but the world uses Israel as its "whipping boy". When I look at who does it, it bothers me not. Friends are real friends. Bigots are bigots.


"I mean an ultimatem that would allow Lebanon one last chance to impose U.N. resolution 1559."

Lebanon does not have the ability to do it. Part of the Lebanese army supports Hezbullah and parts do not. It would fracture and potentially create another civil war. The politicians in Lebanon know this and can only hold their breath and hope. Further, giving the terrorists time to clean their "desk" out and move would not be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Something to ponder. If you allow Hezbollah to store rockets in your home are you really a non-combatant?

Noah S. said...

Anonymous #1: are you arguing with me or with an imaginary interlocutor? I'm no apologist for naive and often (though not ALWAYS - why is it so difficult to admit the plurality of opinions?) antisemitic and double-standard European/left-wing criticism of Israel. I am no pacifist. I support the destruction of Hezbollah by violent means. But these are complicated questions, and each argument should be taken seriously and not prematurely pigeon holed or patronized.

Calling a temporary cease fire would be aimed to give Israel MORE legitimacy in the eyes of the world. It would be a strategic move. It doesn't matter if the Lebanese government can enforce or not.

If you do not care what the world thinks then you are entitled to that opinion. It is not mine.

Anonymous said...

Noah,

"are you arguing with me or with an imaginary interlocutor?"

I am not arguing with you. Not sure why you think I am. I thought we were exchanging view points. You say I have misunderstood you. But I read your posts. I answered your questions. It is not a quarrel but setting forth my reasons for my position. I have assumed you were capable and doing the same.


"these are complicated questions, and each argument should be taken seriously and not prematurely pigeon holed or patronized."

Offering my view of the situation is not pigeon holing it or patronizing. If I disagree with your position, I state my reason for doing so. I understand you want to ponder:

"Calling a temporary cease fire"

I think it would be a serious strategic mistake. That is my argument.

"would be aimed to give Israel MORE legitimacy in the eyes of the world. It would be a strategic move."

You mean political strategy. While the terrorists head for the hills to avoid destruction? No!


"It doesn't matter if the Lebanese government can enforce or not."

But you must care that Hizbullah have everything to gain by playing the clock, and for what? Public opinion? At the cost of more innocent Israeli lives? With no offense intended, I must say, some people learn the hard way.

Noah S. said...

Anonymous,

Fair enough. Sorry, I must have misinterpreted your tone. I didn't mean to suggest that argument was a bad thing. It's my favorite pasttime. Anyway, this has probably gone on long enough - my evening is shot! - but to recap: I stress the political strategy of winning int'l sympathy (not cowing to it); you stress the military strategy of depriving Hizbollah time to breathe. All I know is this: When the bombing is all over, Hizbollah might be weakened, but it will be back, or at least an avatar of it will be. All I wanted to suggest is that the diplomatic capital of international sympathy should not be dismissed as worthless when it's backed by what you call a "pro-fascist, antisemitic, politically correct" world press. (By the way, I think it's a little much to call the BBC Islamofascist sympathizers.) When I said pigeon-holed, I wasn't talking about my argument, but the critical arguments of the entire international community. Okay, basta.

Derek said...

Most of the analysts I've heard here in the US are offering the insight that this is also a strategic move on Iran to rid them of a way to strike Israel in the event of a showdown, possibly over nuclear weapons.

Monsieur Avital said...

Hello, i am stunned, i read what you wrote, and i realised with you that the international community doesn't love us ???
You should learn real stuff :
amar rabbi 'akiva : halakha hi, essav sone le yaakov.
and you think all you can say will change anything in that ?

Anonymous said...

"You should learn real stuff"

"what Esav Sone Es Yaakov means is they hate us regardless of how we dress or our music, even if we look and act exactly like them, they'll still hate us; a premise that many European Jews tested to destruction" source

Amos said...

All the Americans who are expressing their support for us on this blog hate us? Nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Amos,

I am not Jewish. I am an American of European descent. I am maintaining my anonymity but I will say that this week I gave $500 to Magen David Adom and $500 to Yad Sarah. Those two organizations seemed to be the best route to directly infuse some money into helping my brothers and sisters in Israel. I wanted to give to Western Galilee Hospital (in Nahariya) but could not find a way to do it online. It looks like they only take donations via mail.

If you know of a hospital in Northern Israel that takes donations online (and whose identity I can verify so I know my money is not going to the wrong people) please post it here.

I would also recommend that like minded people look at this web site Ways to Help Israel

A friend who wishes he could be there to help encourage in a time of trial.

Amos said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are further evidence (not that we needed any) that M. Avital & co. are wrong. Everyone here thanks you for your generosity and support. Maybe one of our readers here can find out what the best place is.

I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Amos,
The BBC or CNN news this evening gave the name of your blog. I have over the years tried in vain to get in touch with people from Israel.

Greetings from Malaysia.

It is sad to see that Israel has once again been thrust into a war that it did not start.

Both Hamas and Hesbollah get the courage for their acts of terror against the Jewish nation from blind international Muslim solidarity AND the support of the world's most rabid Muslim nations: Iran and Syria.

Israel's survival may necessitate the destruction of these two evil regimes.

Over the past nine days I have often heard comments from some leaders that Israel over-reacted to the kidnappings. It is sad to see that some leaders of friendly nations are not only very hesitant in their support of Israel, they seem to be very cautious about antagonising Muslims.

Israel's citizens should solidly support their leaders in this war. Israel should not hold back anything in this war against terror.

Just remember this: If Iran already had nuclear weapons, the Hasbollah would have loaded their Katyusha's with these bombs.

Israel has a right of self defence. Even pre-emptive strike on Syria and Iran.

May God be with Israel and its people.

Monsieur Avital said...

Sorry for you if you're so naive, and take quotation from anyone for true as long as it goes your way, but what it means is they don't hate us IF we copy them, but they do even though we might try to resemble to them.
but you're free to try what you have learned with your rav...

Anonymous said...

If Hezbullah is Iran's lapdog, how come Israel is not attacking Iran?

Israel should attack Iran and Syria instead of killing innocent civilians in Lebanon.

Why is Israel bombing civilian population? The excuse that the terrorists are hiding among the civilian population is just not acceptable.

I totally agree that Israel has to defend itself. They should destroy Lebanon infrastructure, ports, airports, highways, the Lebanese army, etc until Lebanon does something about the terrorists but not the civilian population.

Anonymous said...

"Monsieur Avital said... Sorry for you if you're so naive, and take quotation from anyone for true as long as it goes your way,"

I do not read/write or speak Hebrew so the quote was my attempt to see if what you were saying in Hebrew was what the quote I found in English said. My guess was that you would "set me straight".

"but what it means is they don't hate us IF we copy them, but they do even though we might try to resemble to them. but you're free to try what you have learned with your rav..."

Well sir, if you really believe that then you are a bitter and ignorant person.

Instead of wielding some bit of false philosophy against me you would have done better to have found me a Hospital in Northern Israel that I can donate to online. Maybe your rav knows of one?

My best wishes and regards to you.

james said...

.....the only thing i have to say and yes this is shallow ....but im male and american....thats the hottest general ive ever seen