Thursday, January 8, 2009

Here We Go Again


Two rockets landed in Israel. One of them in a retirement home. Two Israelis were slightly injured, countless others terrified. Sounds like old news. In a way it is, and in a way it is not because these rockets were not fired from Gaza, but from Lebanon, landing in the northern Israeli city of Nahariya.
It now appears that one or two break-off factions of Hezbollah have joined in the fighting, though no one has taken official responsibility for these rockets as of yet. But it does open up the possibility of a two front war, though Israel has expressed it has no desire for this whatsoever. We should note Hezbollah's missiles are even more powerful, can travel farther than those under the control of Hamas, and are capable of inflicting even greater damage and terror.
The Lebanese government has also strongly condemned these attacks as it does not want another conflict with Israel like in 2006, which decimated much of Southern Lebanon. The rockets were most likely fired as a demonstration of solidarity with the ongoing battle in Gaza.
This of course gets to the heart of the problem. Israel is surrounded on several sides by differing extremist groups all with the same ideology of making life as miserable for Israelis as possible. Instead of demonstrations, what do extremists do? They fire rockets hoping to cause as much collateral damage as possible. How does one retaliate in a 'proportional' way to such hate? This is not Ghandi's India. This is not Mandela's South Africa. This is the reality of the Middle East.
The problem for Israel is that in world opinion many simply do not seem to understand, to quote Golda Meir, "We don't want wars, even when we win." Israel does not want this. Israel wants security. Israel wants quiet. Israel wants peace.
I am asked on occasion, what then is the solution? Unfortunately, as Golda Meir so prophetically proclaimed in her 1957 statement to the National Press Club in Washington, "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us."
Until then, Israel will always have to be prepared for war, no matter how much she desires peace.

Related to this topic there is a fascinating analysis of the ongoing crises between Israel and Gaza explaining how it is so much more than a local conflict. The article is by Sally Buzbee, Chief of Middle East News for The Associated Press. Feel free to follow the link:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/01/07/world/AP-ML-Mideast-Gaza-Stakes-Analysis.html

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