Monday, July 17, 2006

Well, a rockety day again

Just woke up from my afternoon nap, and there were more and more rockets launched at Israel today. A 3 storeys high building crashed down in Haifa from a direct hit. More rockets hit other civilian buildings. Not casualties so far, looks like most people headed south and so most places are empty up there.

Someone just asked me a question on ICQ, and it's something that I've been hearing quite a lot from friends in Europe. He asked why does Israel bomb Lebanon's international hardbour and airport, as well as civilians, instead of going after the Hezbulla's terrorists. Well, a worthy subject for a blog post, so here goes. Of course, I'm just an Israel mom, not an official spokesperson for my country. What's more I don't always agree with everything my government does. Israel is after all a democracy. So, if you're looking for some answers, and not propaganda, read my views on the subject.

I won't take the easy way out. The easy way out would be saying, hey, they're bombing our civilians, they're shooting rockets at our civilians, they paralysed the harbour of Haifa, and if only our international airport was within range, they would be going for that too, no doubt. But, I don't think this is an "eye for an eye" situation. I do not believe in that, nor do I believe in revenge. I believe in doing what we need to end the constant attacks on Israel and making sure they don't happen again a few weeks from now.

One of the main missions of this operation is re-establishing detrrence. This isn't just the Hezbulla either. This is for any radical terror organization and any neighboring country that is providing a shelter for them. We are trying to get a message across - you let terrorists shoot at us from your territory and you will pay a price. Lebanon is a sovereign country with well defined borders. They have a military, right? They should either take charge of their territory and make sure nobody is shooting at the neighbors, or they should declare this is no longer Lebanese territory and give it up. They can't have their cake and eat it too... Sure, no one is saying this is easy. I know, they keep telling us that the Lebanese government "can't" restrain the Hezbulla. Well, I'm sorry but they better come to their senses and quickly. They are not even making an effort, are they? I mean, the Hezbulla isn't even banned over there, it's a legitimate party with cabinet ministers. The Lebanese need to do just what Egypt and Jordan have done to restrain radical Muslims in their territories. Hey, even Syria won't allow Hezbulla or Hammas to shoot at us from their territory, and it's not because they're in love with us either. It's because they know we'll shoot back, and this is something we need to maintain, that perception that if you let a terror organization reside within your territory and act against Israel, you country will pay a heavy price.

Next, harbors and airports are actually considered legitimate targets at a time of war, according to international law. It means there is no way to bring in more ammunition into a country. Same goes for power stations, they are legitimate targets at a time of war. As I said above, I'm sure the Lebanese people are pretty pissed off at having their infrastructure torn down again, but they should have thought about that before allowing Hezbulla to take over the South of Lebanon.

Now to the more delicate issue, that of civilians getting hurt. According to international law, hurting civilians should be minimized at a time of war. It doesn't say eliminated because that's simply can't happen. Israel has done and is doing everything it can to avoid hurting civilians. Believe me, no one here wants to hurt inocent people. No one. We have families too, and we feel for the Lebanese families caught in this. My heart goes out to them. We don't want to hurt civilians for practical reasons too. It creates more and more international pressure on Israel, never a good thing for a country.

That said, the Hezbulla has knowingly engaged in the same methods as the Hammas. That is, it deliberately located its headquarters, ammunition depots and other legitimate military targets in the middle of civilian population. I have an interesting question in that regard for both supporters and critiques of Israel, but I'll run in on a separate post. Bottom line is, by fighting us from within populated areas, it's the Hezbulla that's putting civilians at risk. Why is Israel bombing cars where civilians get killed? Because when a rocket is launched, we can tell where it's been launched from, and when you see a van running away from there, you blow it up, because it's probably the guys that just launched the rocket. Unfortunately, that is not always the case... and civilians get hurt. That's war for you, a nasty business.

OK, I need to go now, time for my daily workout, part of our new policy here at home, of maintaining routine life. I'll be back later with more about the Israeli way of conducting a war, and maybe some more about the roots of this conflict, as well as the triggers for the recent fighting.


Sandy said...

"As I said above, I'm sure the Lebanese people are pretty pissed off at having their infrastructure torn down again, but they should have thought about that before allowing Hezbulla to take over the South of Lebanon."

That is the single most vexing question in my mind. I don't know much about the Lebanese government ... but why would any right thinking government allow terrorists to set up shop in the middle of their civilian population? Weak? That is an understatement!!

Hope you had a great workout and some semblance of normalcy. Frankly, it's hard to imagine living in that environment.

Thinking of you daily,

steve said...

Sandy said it for me, as well. Hard to imagine how the whole thing got arranged in this way. Hezbollah camping out, virtually owning their own territory with no leash whatsoever.