Friday, July 14, 2006

Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah

I just heard a Palestinian on NPR complaining about the way Israel was attacking the Palestinians in Gaza and the Lebanese in Lebanon. After several minutes of his tirade, the reporter asked if it wasn't true that Hamas had first kidnapped an Israeli soldier and then demanded the release of all Hamas prisoners in exchange, then continued to fire rockets into Israel. The Hezbollah in Lebanon also kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, demanded the freedom of hundreds of prisoners and fired rockets into northern Israel.

The Palestinian spokesperson agreed that those facts were true, but the problem was that Israel's reaction was disproportionate.

Sorry. I don't see it. The provocations were unnecessary and designed to call out massive retaliation.

The first kidnapping was essentially either a criminal or terrorist action by the party that controls the Palestinian Parliament. That is an act of war. So it the business of firing rockets from Gaza into Israel. Hamas is the elected Palestinian government. The actions of Hezbollah are the same. Hezbollah is an accepted Lebanese political party holding seats in the Lebanese Parliament. Their actions of kidnapping and firing missiles into northern Israel are acts of war.

When you conduct acts of war, you cannot be excused because the victim of your actions reacts in ways you consider "disproportionate." Those acts of war against Israel must be responded to and the criminals of Hamas and Hezbollah have no right to complain that the responses are somehow disproportionate.

On top of that, when you use the term "disproportionate," how do you describe kidnapping a single soldier and then demanding the release of over a thousand prisoners in exchange? That is clearly disproportionate. Such ridiculous demands clearly justify strong reactions.

Hamas and Hezbollah have instigated the violence in these two cases. They have no right to complain about the extremity of the response they were demanding. Israel is the victim here, not the Arabs.

I am making this determination based on these Hamas and Hezbollah incidents only. Don't bug me with the history of the whole damned conflict.

You have irrational religion on both sides instigating actions that no reasonable civilized person would accept as anything other than criminal. Religious irrationality passed down from parent to child is unacceptable. The idea that people who pray to the same damned God have to fight each other over land is ridiculous. The fault is heavier on the Islamic side because the Israelis have nowhere else to go. The Palestinians do. But the other Islamic peoples won't permit it because it lets the Israelis appear to be the winners.

Both sides have a great deal that is good about them, and if they worked together the ground that is today Palestine and Israel could well become a true Garden of Eden. Even if it has no oil under it. Perhaps even because it has no oil under it. The idea that one side or the other must win is irrational and horribly destructive of people and of the land. The history of the land alone is a world treasure. It should be available to the entire world.

The anger and bloodletting must be stopped. The problem is with those who instigate the bloodletting, not in who did what historically. IN the most recent case, the problem belongs to Hamas, Hezbollah, and those who are handing them weapons and pointing them at someone to kill. The Israelis can either leave or counterattack. Unfortunately, there is no place for them to go to, so they have to counterattack.

That leaves it up to the terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah to stop the bloodletting and start talking seriously. Iran and Syria seem to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

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