Monday, July 31, 2006

The Guardian report from Qana makes for grim reading.

The Israeli government has apparently announced a 48 hour suspension of air strikes while they carry out an investigation. On the face of it, this is a small positive development. Looked at optimistically, this could be a window of opportunity in which a ceasefire could be agreed.

But it's hard not to be cynical. Hezbollah have vowed to retaliate as the Israeli government undoubtedly knew they would. Declaring a suspension at the very moment when Hezbollah is least likely to stop their rocket attacks may simply be a means to provide the justification for the IDF onslaught to continue. "We stopped, they didn't. Destroying them is the only way..."

Too cynical? Sadly, I'm not sure it is.

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Neil Craig said...

Which means that if Israel doesn't offer a cease fire they are evil & if they do they are evil whereas if hezbollah use children as human shields they are victims & if they break the cease fire to kill Israeli civilians they are victims?

Niels Rakhorst said...

Don't be obtuse, Neil. A ceasefire offered in order to extend the offensive would make Israel evil.
With the Israeli government openly claiming to treat anyone they see in southern Lebanon as a terrorist, and showing no signs of restraint, such cynicism is not surprising.

Oh, and please drop the 'human shields' line? Hezbollah and Israel are both guilty, but the numbers are a bit uneven. As always, it seems.
Moreover, Israel is using that line as an excuse for their atrocities (while condemning Hezbollah for same), which doesn't wash: "We had to kill the kids, they were being used as human shields! Don't you see?"

Anyone claiming it's better to risk foreign kids' lives than the lives of their own soldiers (who have had some degree of choice in the matter) is racist, or xenophobic, or whatever the word I'm looking for. To a disgusting degree.

Bag said...

A ceasfire is a ceasefire. Both sides may be doing it for political reasons but the first to shoot must be the one the condemnation of the world comes down on.

I thought a ceasefire was what was wanted. Now you have one. Celebrate and put pressue on both sides to ensure it is kept for longer than 48 hours.

CuriousHamster said...

Neil, I've never said that Hezbollah were victims. I've condemned their indescriminate rocket attacks on Israel before and I do so again now. I'm simply suggesting that the Israeli government may be looking to cynically exploit the situation which exists after Qana.

The human shields/moral agency thing confuses me slightly. If a suicide bomber attacked Israeli military personel in an Israeli town and killed 1 soldier and 10 Israeli civilians, who is morally responsible for the civilian deaths? Is it the suicide bomber or the Israeli military personel operating in a civilian area? I know the sutuation is not directly comparable but the whole moral agency argument seems to disappear when Israeli bombs kill Lebanese civilians. (And on a related note, is it terrorism if the bomber clearly intended to hit a military target?)

Bag, sadly, this isn't a ceasefire, even a temporary one. It's a temporary halt to air strikes only. The IDF continues to shell Lebanese villages today.

Bag said...

I read that as I went round my travels on the blogs and news. BSSC is one of my first ports of call and the first where I read about the 'ceasefire'. Oh well. Maybe a ceasation of air strikes will lead to more.

. said...

There has still been no evidence presented at all to suggest Hizbullah are using children as human shields - Israeli propaganda is determined that you think they are, even though the evidence suggests it's the other way round in the occupied territories.

Steve G said...

Out of interest, were Hezbollah to kidnap a bus full of 50 young Israeli children, drive them over the border and then use them as human shields, does anyone think that the Israelis would bomb those children, explaining they greatly regretted, of course, the children's deaths but these were sadly unavoidable and, anyway, were Hezbollah's responsibility?

Mark said...

As Lily Tomlin once said, "No matter how cynical you become, you can never keep up".

I guess I came in a bit late to rebut Neil and that "human shields" tack. Try looking at it this way, Neil; the Israeli Defence Forces are conscripts, both men and women. Therefore, in broad terms, everybody in Israel who is neither too young or too old to serve, is a viable active-service member of the IDF.

Are they using those elderly people and children as human shields?

The majority of Israeli victims thus far have been soldiers. The vast majority of Lebanese victims have been civilians. Hezbollah can't see what they're shooting at. Israel can. Is the lopsided casualty list a result of deliberately targeting civilians? You tell me. Not by "the most moral army in the world", surely?

I'm sure I won't be first to point out that, if not for Israel's 18-year occupation of Southern Lebanon, there would never have been a Hezbollah. Stop buying into the Israeli culture of victimhood.