25.7.06

The Independent Cover (21 / 07 / 2006)

42 Comments:

At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 4:50:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Not that I think this graphic will stop being posted, but it's inaccurate. Just two quick examples:

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper [of Canada] blamed Hezbollah for the current crisis during remarks in France, a sentiment shared later by U.S. President George W. Bush.

"Hezbollah's objective is violence,'' Harper told reporters in France on Tuesday after meeting with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

"Hezbollah believes that through violence it can bring about the destruction of Israel. Violence will not bring about the destruction of Israel. Violence will only bring about more violence. And inevitably the result of the violence will be the deaths primarily of innocent people.''

Harper has taken a pro-Israel position since the current crisis began on July 12. But he points to the statement unanimously supported by the G8 leaders at their recent summit meeting in Russia.

The statement called for Hezbollah to return the two kidnapped soldiers and stop attacks on Israel, and for Israel to halt its military action.

Harper said that document showed Canada is onside the with the international community.

The first step in ending the fighting is for Hezbollah to return the soldiers, he said -- a view shared by Bush."

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060718/mideast_bush_060718/20060718?hub=CTVNewsAt11

"AUSTRALIAN leaders from both sides of politics have expressed support and understanding for Israel’s military campaign in Lebanon, with Prime Minister John Howard describing Hezbollah’s actions as “provocative and illegal” and Labor leader Kim Beazley emphatically assuring Israel: “You are not alone.”

In an exclusive interview with the AJN from Perth, Beazley said: “The outcome of this conflict, whenever there’s a cease-fire – and there will be a cease-fire – must be the disarming of Hezbollah.” Beazley added that Syria should be held accountable for its support of Hezbollah, whose missile capability “has clearly been built up to be used at Syria’s disposal. This is a serious threat to Israel,” he said.

Beazley, who last visited Israel in 2003 during the Iraq war, also suggested Hamas bears significant responsibility for Israel’s re-invasion of Gaza because of its refusal to rein in terrorist attacks.

Prime Minister Howard – branding himself a “well-known friend and supporter of the State of Israel” – said Israel was justified in responding to an “unprovoked attack” by Hezbollah.

He said the kidnappings of Israeli soldiers was a “clear breach of international understandings, potentially in breach of international law and certainly against the wishes of the United Nations”.

The reaction across the Tasman was more “balanced”, with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark citing the saying, “violence begets violence”, urging “both sides” to “pull back” and asserting that “there’s no way out of this spiral of violence for anybody to ‘win’”.

But in Australia, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Labor’s foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, were just as unambiguous as their leaders.

Downer said that Hezbollah and Hamas “should not be trying to kill Israelis” and that the Israeli response was “inevitable”.

“For Israel, this is a matter of life and death,” Downer said.

Rudd also laid the blame squarely on the “terrorists” Hamas and Hezbollah, saying that the two organisations have violated Israeli sovereignty and binding United Nations Security Council resolutions, and that “all states have a right under international law to self-defence”."

http://www.ajn.com.au/news/news.asp?pgID=1156

But since when has good propaganda ever needed to be true, huh?

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 4:54:00 PM, Blogger SC said...

Thank God for Israel, Britain, America and Canada for actually having the moral high ground on this issue.

Majority is always right, Hilal? So if the majority of Israelis think killing every last Lebanese is good then that would make it good, right?

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 4:55:00 PM, Blogger SC said...

And boy, that "Independent" newspaper sure seems independent!

If they were any more independent they might be hugging Nasrallah.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 5:01:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

sc,
"Majority is always right, Hilal?"

go on generalizing using bush way of thinking.

akiva m,
the cover was on who supports immediate cease fire.. not supporting hizbollah or not supporting it.
now if u wanna relate this postto previous posts, it's something else.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 6:16:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Hilal - I know that. It's still inaccurate. Simply look at this quote from Canadian PM Harper: "The first step in ending the fighting is for Hezbollah to return the soldiers" and you can see that he doesn't support an immediate - read, unconditional - ceasefire.

Of course, if you mean "who supports an immediate ceasefire if Hezbollah turns over the Israeli soldiers and moves from the border" then that graphic would also look dramatically different, no?

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 6:27:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

ps.
the cover is like 3 days old (or 2 days.. i will chck it out), when was harper's declaration?
just to clarify that.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 6:32:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

it was published on 21 july 2006

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 7:06:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

ps2:
the title was for immediate ceasefire.. they didn't mention unconditional.
immediate ceasefire might be with conditions and negotiations no?
ps3, harpers declrations was on 18 july.

the journal graphic is about statements clearly said by bush and blair.
other countries' statements may differ from supporter to attacks to clearly backing immediate ceasefire..


here is te first paragraph of the editorial:
Britain and US defy demand for immediate ceasefire
By Anne Penketh, Ben Russell, Colin Brown and Stephen Castle
Published: 21 July 2006
Israeli warplanes continued their bombardment of Lebanon yesterday, defying a demand by Kofi Annan for an immediate end to fighting on the ninth day of a war that has led to the "collective punishment of the Lebanese people" .

"Two countries, the US and Britain, defiantly refused to back the international clamour for an immediate ceasfire between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas. Their ambivalence about civilian deaths in Lebanon has given Israel a powerful signal that it can continue its attacks with impunity."

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 7:56:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Hilal, if you're talking about with conditions then the whole thing is nonsensical. Hell, Israel would take an immediate ceasefire if its conditions were met - Hezbollah moved to North of the Litani and the soldiers returned.

So if you're asking "who supports an immediate ceasefire if the conditions are met" the answer is "everybody".

Kind of irrelevant, but there you are . . .

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 8:34:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

*sigh*
u wanna a region with ou civilian south of litani?

so u wanna people out of there as well?

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 8:56:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

*sigh back atcha*

No - just a region with ONLY civillians - or Lebanese army members - south of the Litani.

No armed Hezbollah operatives. No rocket launchers. No artillery emplacements. No Hezbollah murder holes, or bunkers, or tunnels.

Don't be deliberately obtuse. If the civillians south of the Litani feel like continuing to support the existence of a non-state controlled, armed militia beholden to foreign states for its budget and supplies, with a goal of destroying its vastly more powerful southern neighbor and Islamizing Lebanon's open society . . . well, that's between you and some of the other people on these blogs.

Personally, I think its national suicide to allow such a group to exist, but as long as they aren't lobbing bombs into Israel that's a purely internal Lebanese discussion, and you're welcome to it.

And again, if your point is that all of the civillians south of the Litani are the equivalent of Hezbollah, well, then stop complaining that their deaths are illegal, because if they are Hezbollah then Israel has every right to target them. I'd say you're wrong if you think that, of course, but if you do actually think that then you should try to be a little more intellectually honest in your blog posts, don't you think? If nothing else, it would make them harder to dismiss out of hand quite so easily.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 9:10:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

ok akiva
there are civilaians emotionally supporting hizballah (No Hezbollah operatives)
what do we do with them?

"then stop complaining that their deaths are illegal,"

???
btw did u read human rights watch post??

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 9:13:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

as for the posts, u r permitted to give ur opinion, no?
what do u think about that?

as for "hizballah equivalent to people" refer to my post:
14+8=22, 14x8=?

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 9:20:00 PM, Blogger Ayeyuya said...

Tony Blair does not speak for the British people

The British by a 3 to 1 majority want Tony Blair to call for an immediate ceasefire
His own Labour Party ,the Conservative opposition and the Democratic Liberal party are all demanding he stops being G Bushs poodle and stands with the rest of the World in denouncing Israels destruction of the Lebanon and the slaughter of so many innocents.
The British Population stand right behind all the innocent Lebanese who are enduring this dispicable onslaught as the Israelis attack using Phosphorus and cluster bombs against Civillian targets.

My heart also goes out to the innocents of Israel coming under terrorist attacks

But why should the Lebanese civillians as a whole pay for the Hezbollah attacks

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 9:35:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Hilal, you are misunderstanding me (I hope not deliberately).

1) Let's recap - in response to a post saying "Hezbollah north of the Litani" you said "*sigh*
u wanna a region with out civilian south of litani?"

So, you were the one who equated Hezbollah with civillians, not me.

2) civillians emotionally supporting Hezbollah get to stay south of the Litani, if they want to. Nobody has ever suggested otherwise.

Civillians emotionally supporting Hezbollah have serious problems, IMO, but they aren't going to fire a rocket or engage in a cross border attack, so there's no need for them to go anywhere as part of a ceasefire

3) My point was that if you are going to equate civillians with Hezbollah when it suits you to do so - "how can they ask for Hezbollah to move north of the Litani?? They want a region with no civillians?? :outrage!:" - then don't disagregate them when it suits you to do so.

btw, did you read my blog??

As for being permitted to give my opinion, absolutely. And my opinion is, if you want credibility then be intellectually honest. If you want credibility, stand up and condemn Hezbollah for indiscriminately firing at civillian targets with warheads designed to maximize civillian casualties. Pretty basic stuff, I think.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 9:38:00 PM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

This is one th emost most honest writings I found so far!
I also think that the newspaper article explain quite well why Israel cares little about what the media thinks (well, they're not very good at explaining themselves, that's for sure...) and I believe that it's more important for the Lebanese - who obviously suffer more - to listen much more to what the Israelis think than to what The Independent thinks.
To the issue: the title means nothing. As Akiva well said, Israel is in favor of a cease-fire, under the conditions they've declared up front. I think that the vast majority in Europe accepts that it wasn't Israel who initiated this conflict, so I can also understand their wish to make sure that this doesn't repeat.
As for the civilian emotionally supporting civilians: again, Akiva made his point clear: no "private" arms pointing at Israel, the rest is a Lebanese problem.
The crucial point for a solution is to understand - and hopefully agree with - the other side's grievances and provide a credible solution.
A cease-fire doesn't seem to do it; the Israelis seem to think that a cease prior to understanding will weaken their position ("what's changed?"), and my understanding is that the Lebanese government is not willing to commit to any of the 2 Israeli requests.
Quo vadis?

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:21:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

akiva m,
"Civillians emotionally supporting Hezbollah have serious problems"

" be intellectually honest"


i won't overestimate ur opinion, but remener that no body has the one-only-one truth.
now u wanna consider me unhonest and a millon of people having serious problems, that's ur own decision.

ps. just a question: do u consider"settlements" as civil areas? ( i am not talking about israeli civil areas)
just wanna know ur opinion.
i will check ur blog.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:33:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

akiva now i repeat the *sigh*.
i just began to browse ur blog, but i saw "hilal a pro-hizbollah"
?
did u read enough posts written by me to judje me like that?
did u read my political analysis, and the explanation of my point of view.
I don't know if u were following lebanese politics but lebanon is very delicate reffering to the sects positions in it. hizbollah represents shee3a "troubled" people in politics (quoting u)
no body must be excluded from the political process in lebanon, or it will be an additional push to civil war.
this what i was explaining over and over..

i would ask u kindly to tak out ur judjement and i will continue to read ur blog wether u do it or not.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:38:00 PM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Hilal, this is an excellent cover! Not only do they have the wonderful Robert Fisk, but such eloquent covers, as well!

(I just skim over all those comments now; I have no patience left... I applaud the fact that you still have the patience to reply!)

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:40:00 PM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:45:00 PM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

Sorry, should have said: what in your opinion should Israel do while Lebanon solves its delicate politics?

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:46:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

maxzurich,
just stop violating the laws.
and "stop building spying cells" in lebanon.and and and....
i love ur sarcasm while people are dying.
now u r gonna tell me about the reasons of the "self defence", well i am dealing with a humanitarian catastrophe now.
what is done is done.
sit to the table and negotiate.
anyway they will do that after destroying all the country.
i recommend u to wait and see.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:49:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

ps. this comment was for maxzurich's 1st comment before being deleted so the sarcasm statement said by me is taken out

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:51:00 PM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

sorry, No sarcasm intended...
My question to Akiva is: what is the price that Israel is willing to pay - in Lebanese civilians, which even by the Israelis are the majority of the victims (yes, I do believe that some of them were HA) - to reach its goal?

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:57:00 PM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

Hilal,
Israel will continue to have spy cells in Lebanon; France also has...
I wrote earlier: in my opinion - when trying to reach a lasting solution - the sides MUST understand each other and provide credible proposals.

The suffering is terrible, and there're more people suffering in Lebanon than in Israel. But this - I'm afraid - isn't a fact that is very relevant to the situation...

Lacking other means, I'm trying to rationalize...

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:58:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

hilal, the posts I've seen from you on this forum have been pro-Hezbollah, for the most part, as have your responses to posts such as Bob's. If I'm misreading you, then that's my mistake, but I haven't seen it in your posts. I will take it out if it bothers you, though. (though it may take a while - I'm not great with HTML and between work and family I don't get a chance to update the blog as often as some do)

as for the rest:

1) civillians are civillians, regardless of where they live.

2) I'm not saying I consider you dishonest. I am saying that you - conciously or not - are taking contradictory opinions on similar issues to justify your conclusions, rather than maintaining a logically coherent framework that serves as a basis for your conclusions. Could I be wrong? Of course. Based on what I've seen, do I think I am? Of course not (if I thought that I wouldn't have posted it, after all :)

3) Any civillian supporting an armed militia outside of central government control has serious problems, IMO, not least of which is the idealization of sect over country. Any government faced with an independent, uncontrolled fighting force within its borders doesn't have actual sovereignty over its territory.

The attitude that leads to civil war is the "us against them" mode of thought inherent in a political system that divides the citizens of a country on the basis of religion. As long as you think "I'm a shia, I must look out for the shiites at the expense of the sunnis and christians . . . I'm a christian, I must look out for the christians at the expense of the sunnis and shiites . . ." you will never have a stable polity. The only attitude that makes sense, the only attitude that can be the basis for a stable, peaceful, prosperous Lebanon (in the opinion of this semi-ignorant American, granted) is this one:

"I am Lebanese, and I must be concerned with what is best for Lebanon"

As JFK said - "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" - not what you can do for your family, or your tribe, or your sect, or your state, but your country.

As for Hezbollah representing the shia in politics, well, even with the inherent problems of sectarianism if that was all they did I'd say 'it's a problem, but not a major one'. But they are an armed faction, repeatedly threatening your more powerful neighbor, repeatedly acting unilaterally and endangering your entire country. And anyone who puts "they represent my sect" ahead of "they endanger my country" has major problems, IMO.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:58:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

maxzurich,
i have to say but what i scanned till now from akiva's blog makes me like to continue this discussion.

akiva,
we have been receiving hatred emails and comments for the last 2o days so it is difficult now to deferentiate a commentor from another, and i ask u not to classify people according to media sayings.

my opinions fall in a political section. I really laugh when i hear media comparing hizballa to alqa'ida cause this assures that the don't read previous 20 years history.
i would like to continue this discussion with u, but i don't have internet in home, so i will recomment on ur comments tomorrow.
let's try to keep it in politics.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 11:07:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Max,

How much lebanese suffering is Israel willing to tolerate? A lot.

Why? Because Hezbollah is an existential threat to Israel that will only get stronger if it is not defeated now. Nasrallah has openly and repeatedly proclaimed that his goal is the destruction of Israel, and he's the proxy of an Iranian regime that has done the same. For Israel to allow Hezbollah to remain perched on its northern border, engaging in a war of attrition when it suits them and allowed to choose its moment to launch an all out attack on Israel is national suicide. The future price of israel's inaction for Israeli civillians would likely dwarf the price Lebanon's civillians are paying, particularly given Hezbollah's unabashed targeting of civillians to date.

Does this mean everything Israel has done in this war is justified? No - read my blog if you want more analysis on that. But it does mean that:

1) some of it is justified; and

2) the war as a whole is justified, even if Lebanese civillians are harmed by it.

As a sovereign state, Israel has a responsibility and an obligation to protect its own citizens from an existential threat such as Hezbollah, and its demand that this armed militia famous for terror attacks and targeting civillians not be allowed to remain on its border is both reasonable and necessary.

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 11:09:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

ok just saw ur comment,

1) civillians are civillians, regardless of where they live.

correct me if i am wrong, but according to peace agreement between palestinians and israel the settelemets are 'illegeal'? no?
and i think some extremistic jews refuse to obey israeli government disions of evacuating them??
so they are violating the rights of others on purpose.. for a declared extremsit political positions? no.
for palestinians these are not considered "civilians". i know that some of them are armed and threaten palestinian people and israeli-arabs and maybe moderate-israelis.. no?

2) look about the pos, i corrected things and put the date and yet gave u the date of canadian pm which was prior to the title and tried to explain the english news paper title by saying they are reffering to "sated statements by blair and bush and ofcourse olmert"
so i know what i am doing. we r trying to give the sources as much as possible. we didn't even quote manar in our sources.
(to be continued)

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 11:23:00 PM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

Hilal, I will also continue later, so just 2 comments:
1. Linking Lebanon's cause to the Palestinians' doesn't make much sense and certainly won't make it easier for Lebanon in the current situation
2. So far Israel evacuated ALL the civilians it decided to evacuate, whether they liked it or not
3. The very odd thing - hilarious actually - is that by international law Israel was probably NOT allowed to evacuate its own civilians from Gaza after they've been sitting there for so long, under the government's invitation.
But as I wrote, these are anecdotes that I don't think should be brought up here: I don't think the issue is whether or not Israel always acts legally or correctly (whatever these terms mean, I'm sure Israel does not, not is - presumably - any country in conflict)

 
At Tuesday, July 25, 2006 11:26:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

3) Any civillian supporting an armed militia outside of central government control has serious problems, IMO, not least of which is the idealization of sect over country. Any government faced with an independent, uncontrolled fighting force within its borders doesn't have actual sovereignty over its territory.

there is difference between resistance and uncontrolled melitia. even when the "islamic resistance" was praised by all lebanese, israel considered them terrorsit
just to remind you that in 82 when israel invaded beirut, there was civilian resistance composed of all parties ans sects, yet israel considered them terrorists.
now since 2 years, hizballah was not agreed on between all lebanese but it was discussed on the able. were they going to reach a solution maybe not. but there was agreement to sit to the table and that's important.
if u look at the map of targets posted in lbf u notice that it's not about hizballah nor about two sloldiers. it is a plan taken out from the drawers and they needed a justification. hizballah gave them the reason, maybe.. ut i believe that war will have been done even if the soldiers were not kiddnapped. it is very easy to create a cause

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 12:06:00 AM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

Hilal,
Your latest posting doesn't make sense to me...
Let's start with the end: beliefs can't be contested, only thoughts...
The bombings that I saw (I checked Lebanse press in English & French) made quite some sense: mostly transportation, some banks, HA strongholds, TV (I disagree with) and 2 others which I disagree with.
Emotions aside (it's difficult, even for an outsider like me), the objectively high number of casualties is low compared to the intensity of the bombings, and the IDF did warn (I'm sure there were thousands of people living in the destroyed quarter).
Sorry, it sounds cold, which I'm not... but I strongly disagree with you: I'm sure Israel had a plan, as every army should have. But if you look at the countries that made peace with Israel, I think you could as well realize that there's no basis to your belief...

As for terrorists: I consider an organization that declares it wants to anihilate another country as its enemy. When they in addition kill mostly civilians (that's what rockets are for) I consider them terrorists.

Then, you refer to resistance: I understand that Israel retreated to the internationally recognized border. So resistance to what?

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 12:09:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Ok, not that this heated debate needs any more fuel, but Akiva here are a couple of thoughts that I have already expressed to you in one form or another by e-mail and I believe your reaction was along the lines of "wish that things were that simple". Well, especially in politics when it is human life and not only ideas that we are discussing, I think it is sometimes imperative to be reminded of certain simple but sacrosanct principles: human life and international law. In that regard Israel's actions have been even more terroristic than Hizbollahs. So if you think that people who support Hizbollah have serious problems, the same applies to those who support Israel. The terrorism of states is not any more acceptable than that of militias. And similarly as ineffective as international law might be, that does not mean it is irrelevant. It is people (and states) that make it so, and but that does not diminish its moral authority but rather that of those who make it so. Israel is guilty of way more international law violations than Hizbollah, so again, any supporter of the policies of the Israeli government is a criminal by proxy. People and states cannot ridicule the call of self-defense and take the law into their own hands as such. The equation here is simple: Israel has the might US on its side which is why it thinks it is right. But it isn't. I don't care what spineless prime minister said what, and I don't normally care what the majority thinks (because I firmly believe that the majority are sheep if not idiots), but in this case I think Israel's crimes is so blatant that even the majority sees that. And Akiva, I respect your intellectual acuity, but I think you are the one being obtuse and intellectually dishonest by not admiting to Israel's hideous crimes. Sometimes our human empathy is a better moral guide than sheer "intellect" (think Nazi). Shame...

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 12:28:00 AM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

Hmmm... newspaper articles or videos don't decide on justice... luckily, or else the correct legal term is "lynch".

Th eonly question - legally - is whether Israel can explain why the targets had military importance.
In addition, the head of the UN help to Lebanon said hundreds of civialians are dead because of HA's cowardice and hiding amongst them.

So it's really a humanitarian issue (and security, from Akiva's side), certainly not a legal one, despite all the news articles.

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 12:50:00 AM, Blogger BeeBee said...

It is sad and siappointing to read such a comment: "Linking Lebanon's cause to the Palestinians' doesn't make much sense and certainly won't make it easier for Lebanon in the current situation".... We are, after all, the Arab world... We should stand togther against all this... Regardless of even more personla factors, scuh as religion.

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 12:57:00 AM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

so in your opinion Lebanon is more helping the Palestinian cause than Jordan and Egypt?
More to the issue: if you link it, you tell Israel that it's absolutely right in fighting Lebanon, not only HA.

So without getting into moral issues, I just wanted to pint out that it's not in your interest to die for others. Lebanon seems to have enough problems of its own...

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 2:38:00 AM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Hilal -

1) Settlements are not illegal under any Israel/Palestinian deals; they are an issue to be left for negotiation. What Israel agreed was to prevent expansion of settlements, which is a wholly separate issue. (Of course, whether the palestinians have held up their side of the deal is also a separate issue).

Also, when settlers have refused to leave, they have been forcibly removed (as Israel did in Gaza, unilaterally, and with the result that Kassam fire has increased both in frequency and in range)

BTW, why are we discussing the palestinians??

2) yes, that was my point - the graphic was inaccurate and misleading, as many other countries have said that there should not be an immediate and unconditional ceasefire (such as canada, which said as much before the article was published)

3)Of course Israel had a plan ready and waiting. Hezbollah has been sitting on the northern border for years with an ever growing arsenal and making ever more belligerent threats, as their patrons in Iran have been ever more bellicose as well. Did you expect Israel to say "eh, they'll probably never attack anyway, so lets not think about what we should do if they did attack"?

That would be beyond irresponsible. So OF COURSE they planned ahead.

4) I don't want to get into a debate about pre-2000 Lebanon, because it's irrelevant (as I said to someone on my blog, you go back to 82, I go back to 79, you go back to 67, I go back to 48, so do you, I go back to 23 and it never ends). Since 2000 Hezbollah has simply been a militia, not a "resistance". And even if they were a "resistence" there would be no need for them to exist as a separate military group - Lebanon has an army and a government to do those jobs.

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 3:14:00 AM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Ash,

a few points:

1) Go read my blog and come back and tell me if you've rethought your comments.

2)"Well, especially in politics when it is human life and not only ideas that we are discussing, I think it is sometimes imperative to be reminded of certain simple but sacrosanct principles: human life and international law."

Absolutely. And international law fully recognizes that it is sometimes legal to cause civillian death - such as where a military installation is placed in a civillian location and any attack on the military installation will automatically result in civillian death. The Geneva Conventions are very clear that locating military targets in civillian areas is a war crime, that doing so does not immunize them from attack (despite the resultant loss of innocent life) and that the legal responsibility for the loss of life is on the party who placed the military target in the civillian location.

And as I said in our emails, sometimes not responding is worse than responding. How many civillians were killed when NATO bombed the balkans? How many were saved because those bombs stopped the Serbian war machine? How many innocents died in Rwanda because the world limited itself to a diplomatic response?

In the email, you said "you don't kill to stop killing, you just stop killing to stop the killing" That is what I wish were so simple - because as the examples above demonstrate, often non-violence simply allows killing to go on.

Which, of course, is exactly why the Geneva Conventions are written as they are. If it weren't legal to bomb a military base placed in a hospital, then you would have two results:

1) the only countries that would win wars would be those who ignored international law (because in a fight between a country adhering to the law and one breaking it, the country breaking the law could not be attacked legally so long as it surrounded its military targets with civillians); and

2) No country would sign on to such a rule, due to point 1.

A great American jurist once wrote that the Constitution "is not a suicide pact" - meaning that given two interpretations, one of which would encourage or enable the destruction of America, the other interpretation is the correct one. As with the constitution, International Law is not a suicide pact.

3) "In that regard Israel's actions have been even more terroristic than Hizbollahs."

All due respect - and that's a lot - if you think this you haven't been paying attention to what Hezbollah is doing. Aside from firing rockets only at civillian cities and not at any military targets at all, they are packing their missile warheads with shrapnel such as ball bearings and jagged metal to increase the number of civillian casualties. Another Lebanese blogger put it best in an e-mail to me: the IDF (he said) is not sincerely attempting to avoid causing civillian casualties, and Hezbollah is ignoring the issue entirely.

(As a side note, I can't tell you how touched I was by Nasrallah's apology to the arab family in Nazareth: "We didn't mean it, we were only aiming for the Jews."

I also thought it was a particularly nice touch the way he called those kids "victims of Israeli aggression" - it had all the sincerity and just all around good-personness of a husband standing over the wife he beat saying "look what you made me do")

As an aside, states cannot be terrorists, or commit acts of terrorism. Only non-state actors can be terrorists. States are subject to the laws of war, and state actors can be war criminals. Just semantics.

Finally, if you think this is heated, migrate over to Jetsinsider.com after this is over and check out the jets-patriots exchanges during football season. This is calm.

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 3:15:00 AM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Beebee

It doesn't make sense to link the two, any more than it makes sense for Israel to link the palestinian issue to the disarmament of Hezbollah. Look at it in reverse -how would you react if Israel said "we'll give the Palestinians a state only if Hezbollah lays down its arms"

They are two entirely different issues, and should be treated as such.

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 3:18:00 AM, Blogger Akiva M said...

"Th eonly question - legally - is whether Israel can explain why the targets had military importance.
In addition, the head of the UN help to Lebanon said hundreds of civialians are dead because of HA's cowardice and hiding amongst them.

So it's really a humanitarian issue (and security, from Akiva's side), certainly not a legal one, despite all the news articles."

Exactly - though there have been some strikes that seem to me to have had no legal military objective, or which were at the very least reckless with regard to civillian death (such as targeting a bridge, in daylight, while in use by civillians)

But as much as some people here seem to think otherwise, not every dead civillian is a war crime (and that goes for dead Israeli civillians as well, in theory, though in this particular war the fact is that all dead Israeli civillians are war crimes)

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 3:20:00 AM, Blogger Akiva M said...

"The bombings that I saw (I checked Lebanse press in English & French) made quite some sense: mostly transportation, some banks, HA strongholds, TV (I disagree with) and 2 others which I disagree with.
Emotions aside (it's difficult, even for an outsider like me), the objectively high number of casualties is low compared to the intensity of the bombings, and the IDF did warn (I'm sure there were thousands of people living in the destroyed quarter).
Sorry, it sounds cold, which I'm not... but I strongly disagree with you: I'm sure Israel had a plan, as every army should have. But if you look at the countries that made peace with Israel, I think you could as well realize that there's no basis to your belief...
"

Max - another great post

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 9:49:00 AM, Blogger MaxZurich said...

Here's a sad realization:
I live in a very rich country: I'm lucky because I'm here. Others aren't so lucky. Is it fair? Is it just? These words - fair, just - are irrelevant in this context. I can do my part to help by donating and other means, but not becase I think it's unjust. These terms simply do not belong in this context; it's part of the context of living in one state or another: I could be doing nothing and still live better than someone who works his/her ass off in a poor country, and yet I'm not to be blamed.
The same holds for this conflict, and many others.
We look at suffering as a personal experience, which it it. However, the suffering - for the innocents - can't be judged as unfair or unjust. It's part of living in that place.
And then it's everybody's personal responsibility - if s/he cares about the situation - to try to change things. But not as a matter of justice.
So my conclusion is: as terrible as it is, comparing suffering is of no use - they don't balance each other and aren't a reason for state reasoning, unless you're not a part of the directly involved; unlike financial aid to the poor. Talking of justice (unless war crimes or terrorism - legal terms - are concerned) is of no use.
The best way out - and on the long term the only one, I think - is to understand each other's motives and come up with credible alternatives to the current situation. You have to look beyond the personal suffering if you want to move forwards...
Unless, of course, if you think that winning the media's sympathy will help solve the problem (in contrast to just shifting it a bit in time).
When I negotiate in business, I have to understand the other side's reasons and requirements, even if I don't accept them, or else I know we'll fail (unless I can force my will); I see it the same when 2 countries negotiate and therefore when trying to find a better future!

 

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