Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Anger management

Wall-to-wall coverage of Israel's latest forays into the various bandit territories on its borders has left me with little to add. Suffice to say, the usual bunch of Jew-haters are out there bleating about proportionate responses. I think there are some interesting things we should glean from events, that the common person (ie the one who otherwise has to glean versions of the truth from the liberal media) ought to take note of:

1. The Lebanese government has largely kept schtum, given that a fairly comprehensive demolition of their national infrastructure is taking place. This is because they know that they have failed to tackle Hizballah on their patch, and instead have made an awkward compromise of booting the Syrians out but accepting Damascus' and Tehran's indirect influence through having Hizballah in their own parliament and controlling the south. If they complain too much at Israel, they become targets too, and it is worth noting that 40% of the country is Christian and 20% Sunni, hence very anti-Hizballah, as well as another 20% or so made up of Shia factions also not necessarily enamoured with them. So Israel is acting as the neighbourhood policeman. The Lebanese government gets to make muted complaints and look like the victim, whilst someone else comes in to clean up its mess at huge risk and expense.

2. Bush and Blair have for once managed to largely cajole the UN and other leaders into giving Israel no more than a rap over the knuckles for their actions in Gaza and Lebanon. Again, we hear lots of bleating about a "proportionate response" from other quarters, but the leaders have understood that this round of violence was not started by Israel, but in premeditated attacks with rockets and incursions into Israel itself to wreak havoc and kidnap soldiers. Hence the response is more than proportionate - they are not arbitrarily firing shells and rockets back, but making interventions in as surgical a manner as possible. Whilst 200 dead Lebanese civilians is a tragedy, there is a huge moral inequivalence between kids in Shlomi and Haifa being targetted quite deliberately, and kids in Beirut and Tyre being unfortunate enough to live in the same building as a Hizballah arms dump. I thank the American Christian Right every day for keeping Bush in power and behind Zion, because they understand this distinction.

3. All parties understand that Iran and Syria are too gutless to take Israel on in their own territory, so this is a proxy war fought with extreme cowardice from behind the backs of the mostly innocent Lebanese. Also it is worth noting that were it not for Syrian and Iranian influence over the years, and the arrival of Palestinians in the south, Lebanon would still be a majority Christian state, possibly even a liberal democracy, and likely Israel's natural strategic and economic ally. It is not inconceivable that the largely muted reaction of senior world leaders and diplomats is a recognition that a thorough Israeli operation to whittle out the Syrian-Iranian influence could change the balance of power in Lebanon to one even more favourable to the West, thus further isolating Tehran and Damascus, and perhaps eventually even to a "warm peace" with Israel.

4. Bush summed it up best in his apparently off-the-cuff and off-record conversation with Blair: "You see the irony is what they need to is get Syria to get Hizballah to stop doing this shit and it's all over...I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to Assad and make something happen." As always, the whingeing Left and their dhimmified friends are too busy blaming evil old Israel for daring to defend itself, to realise there is a wider issue of a visceral hatred of Israel, a denial of its right to exist, and an endemic anti-Semitism, that runs through most of the Arab world and much of the wider Muslim one. Until we start tackling this at root, Israel will have to keep defending itself in a manner that appears too robust for our increasingly pacifist tastes. I for one say that's just too bad. The day I can walk the streets of an Arab city as a proud Jew in the same way as Arabs walk the streets of Europe, America, and even Israel, is the day the IDF can stand down.

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