Yes, Israel had the right-if not the duty- to retaliate for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. But did those kidnappings deserve the level of a response that has come from Israel. The answer is an emphatic NO.
It is absolutely crystal clear that Israel used the kidnappings as an excuse to mount a full fledged assault on Hezbollah. It is not a response – it is house cleaning. Hezbollah is a dangerous group with ties to a very dangerous Iranian regime, but this full scale assault is affecting the fledgling Lebanese democracy and Lebanese citizens that have absolutely no ties to Hezbollah.
The Israeli government deserves the condemnation of the entire international community for its overblown response. Israel does have the right to protect its borders but it does it have the right to use this situation to wage what amounts to a preemptive strike against Lebanon?
Israel would not act so boldly if not for the support of the United States- specifically the Bush administration. But the Bush administration will not condemn Israel and refuses to ask for a cease fire. The Lebanese government, which has nothing to do with Hezbollah, has pleaded for a cease fire, but the
United States refuses to get on that bandwagon.
It is clear that Israel’s response is just a ruse to destroy Hezbollah- saying that it will take a couple of weeks to achieve their goal of eliminating the Hezbollah threat – makes their allegation that this is a response to the kidnappings bogus at best. The United States is refusing to use diplomatic clout to end this powder keg- but maybe it is because it has no diplomatic clout to use. As far as the Arab world is concerned, the United States has no credibility. That sentiment is understandable. Our Iraqi debacle, our inability to get terrorism under control, our ignoring of the Iranian threat due to Iraq and our genuine disregard for Islamic culture have certainly lessened any credibility that this administration has with the Arab world. We have also supported Israel blindly. While I support Israel in many actions, I do not think that they should have carte blanche to do whatever they wish. They need to be a sensitive neighbor or else they lose credibility and in this writer’s opinion- they have lost credibilty here.
But it is President Bush who has squandered his position as the “leader of the free world”. Almost every previous President has made the Israeli-Arab issue a huge portion of their foreign policy portfolios. But this President has gotten sidetracked by an untenable situation in Iraq- a quagmire that worsens by the minute. Additionally this President has poor diplomatic skills at best.
If this administration had done its due diligence with the issues facing
Israel – both Palestinian and from Hezbollah, the current incendiary situation in the Middle East may not have happened. It is sure that if the United States asked for a cease fire- it would happen.