Thursday, July 27, 2006

Another Kneejerk Reaction?

Reading the blogs (too many to list and link) it seems there are three basic reactions to the current situation in Southern Lebanon:
  1. Championing Israel and anything it sees fit to do in its battle against terrorism,
  2. Slamming the Zionist Entity and anything it inflicts upon the innocent Palestinians/Lebanese/Arabs/etc., or
  3. Scratching one's head (or ass) and wondering what the F is going on.
If forced to chose among only those three reactions, I suppose I'd have to choose #3. I just wish that somebody - anybody - could find some balance between #1 and #2 without assuming that one side has to be completely "right" and the other side completely "evil."

Let me tell you a little of what I know about Hezbollah - or, at least, what I believe I know about them. The reason they exist - their mission statement, if you will - is to destroy the state of Israel. Their tactics and methods of operation make them a terrorist organization. Over many years they have killed Israeli soldiers (soldiers, it seems, should expect to die) and civilians as well.

There are also many who consider them heroes. They testify before CNN's cameras that in the chaos that has often described Lebanon, Hezbollah has been the community's savior. They have provided food and services for a population in need.

I have no reason to doubt these "hero" accounts. That doesn't justify terrorism, however. Whatever good they may do in the communities where they set up shop, it doesn't change that their ultimate purpose is the murder and elimination of Jews from the region.

I am an American Jew, and I support the right of Israel to exist. Technically, I suppose, that makes me a Zionist. I do not, however, support the current actions of Israel. Nor do I believe that they are justified in the their current campaign to destroy all of Southern Lebanon in order to weaken Hezbollah.

Just as I believe our current war in Iraq only fuels the fans of hatred for America (and the recruitment of anti-American terrorists), so do I believe that Israel's current actions will fuel anti-Semitism and bring more people to join Hezbollah (etc.).

I believe that the international community is correct in calling for an immediate ceasefire and a return to multi-party talks. But let's be clear: any discussions between Israel and Hezbollah are not a discussion among equals. One is a recognized nation with the right of self-defense and internationally accepted borders. The other is a terrorist organization that refuses to recognize the legitimacy of that nation.

Ceasefire, yes. But where are also the calls to disarm Hezbollah and all other terrorist groups? A lasting peace along the Israeli-Lebanese border requires that the armies of Israel and Lebanon are the only ones who are armed.

If Lebanon allows the launching of missiles from its territory by third parties, it must be assumed that they condone those attacks and are a party to them. And that is an act of war. Enough of war, already. Let's challenge each other to a peace.

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