27.8.06

A couple of questions...

I am very intrested in knowing how some of you stands in regards of these questions that i have been asking myself over the last week. However, let me first state very clearly that targeting civilians for any reasons, and I stress any reasons is morally wrong, and should be severely condemned. So regardless of who started this mess, Israel should not have targeted civilians, and no excuse can forgive this criminal act.

So with that out of the way, let’s move to my questions: Al Jazeera Network the program where Ghassan Bin Jeddo (a famous anchor of Al Jazeera with close ties to Hezbollah- he made the interview during the war with Nassrallah-) went with a couple of Hezbollah fighters to a southern village just on the border, that goes by the name Aita al Shaaeb.

There the Hezbollah fighters showed Ghassan some of Hezbollah's network of bunkers and tunnels that crisscrossed the ground of the village. To my utter amazement the fighters also showed the anchor that the tunnel entrances and exists were inside homes.

The fact that Hezbollah used civilians buildings in their activities (and through the program it was clear that they used them to attack the Israeli army and launch their missiles) has sever consequences, and raise many questions, such as:

a-How morally acceptable is this use of civilian building for military activities, and how responsible will Hezbollah be for the death of any civilians that are in or near the homes that they used in their military activities?

b-If Hezbollah used some civilian building for their military activities, then doesn't that blur the line between what is considered civilian buildings and what is military and may lead to the targeting of many more civilian building by the Israeli army.

c-How would you personally feel if your own home was used for military activities, and then was destroyed by Israel? Who will you blame Israel only or Hezbollah too, knowing that if it was not used then it would not have been targeted?


And finally allow me to indicate that this is not a effort to render Israel blameless of the atrocities of the past few weeks, on the contrary they caused them and should be held responsible. But what I am trying to find out whether Hezbollah share some of the blame in what happened, and to what extent.

26 Comments:

At Sunday, August 27, 2006 8:02:00 PM, Blogger Ghassan said...

All the questions that you raise are legitimate and must be asked.

Based on the Al Jazzera report that you mention, the story emerging from the peole of Marwaheen among other villages seem to point the finger to HA culpability in the death brought on many civilians. It is true that in each of these cases it was the Israelis who pulled the trigger but it appears that HA actions were often designed to put the civilians in harms way.

I will leave it to competent legal authorities to determine whether the basic laws that govern war were violated by any or maybe both of the opponents but I have no doubt in my mind that both sides have failed to uphold the principles of moral behaviour, but then the very act of war and violence is immoral. Do we have the right to expect moral behaviour from immoral means?

 
At Sunday, August 27, 2006 9:56:00 PM, Blogger Hakeem said...

Hezbollah only cares about Lebanese life when it serves its purposes. If Israel hits a Hezbollah military target which is intentionally and strategically hidden in a civilian home, Israel losses both ways. Even if Israel hits the target, it losses in the media war. Hezbollah knows this fact and does a great job of using Lebanese life to further its interest.
Think of it this way, if a kidnapper is holding an innocent person hostage while firing at police and the police fire back in self defense and hit the hostage by mistake, who is to blame? In this case, Israel is the police and while they may pull the trigger, the kidnapper is really to blame. Hezbollah (aka Iran) does not care at all about the loss of Lebanese life.

 
At Sunday, August 27, 2006 10:40:00 PM, Blogger Emil , Jerusalem said...

I completely agree with Hakeem.

PLS. don't consider it an Israeli propaganda , but I'm sure , that my govt. and army did everything to avoid ( or at least decrease the number of ) civil casualties.

But sadly for me , Israeli govt. made a lot of strategic mistakes so it will have to resign soon.

 
At Sunday, August 27, 2006 11:14:00 PM, Blogger jooj said...

Did it occur to you bob that this might have been the home of an actual HA member? HA do have homes, wives, children ... right?

I don't know about you but if I lived there I would dig tunnels in my own home to ensure an exit in anticipation of an Israeli aggression.

Isn't this how guerillas work?

 
At Sunday, August 27, 2006 11:22:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

Joojle

for me it was not an exit hatch it was part of a network of tunnels that seems to included a great number of houses and was being used to launch attack from and then to hide in. Not as a mean of escape.

But in all case whether this was a HA house or not it does not change the basic premises of my question.

Peace

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 12:11:00 AM, Blogger Angry Anarchist said...

1. what's immoral about it? killing civilians to kill a few fighters, however, IS immoral.
2. no. why would it? a civilian building is a civilian building.
3. israel only. but do you mean that israel has not targeted buildings and houses that were not used by H.A?

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 1:40:00 AM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

I would take a few steps back before beginning such an analysis. Hizb said from the get-go that they did not want an escalation and would not fire rockets into Israel UNLESS Israel attacked civilian targets in Lebanon. Thus they called for a cease-fire from the very beginning. Israel, on the other hand, knew full well that the assault would not weaken Hizb, would not result in the group's diasarmament and would not result in the return of the soldiers. I do not believe that Israel intentionally attacks civilian targets, but they are aware of the value of collective punishment (see West Bank and Gaza) and if Israel knew as it did that it cannot achieve its military objectives and knows that its assault will kill civilians, we do have moral questions that need to be answered.

As for Hizb actions, I would argue that they probably do use civilian infrastructure, but like the Israelis, do so sparingly and only when necessary as they are shrewd politically and do not want the population of the south to work against them. There is a very article in Salon about this. I will try and find the link ...

Anecdotally, I once knew an Israeli who had served in the South and he told me that Hizb, and other resistance forces, did in fact use civilian infrastructure from time to time. I tended to believe him because he was sincere and in fact supported a unitary binational state in Palestine.

Finally, I will add, as was suggested in the post, that sides in every modern war use civilians as instruments of their war objectives ... It is a necessary part of the calculus of war ...

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 4:38:00 AM, Blogger Kodder said...

apokraphyte. Interesting is what you said(a la yoda :P)
one of the few objective people around.
and more of that you seem American which is a first since a very long time.
congrats (seriously...no sarcasm what's so ever...I am trully impressed)

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 4:54:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Bob,

In the premise of your questions there is the rather naive assumption that people on the Lebanese side fall into 2 categories: either a Hizbullah militant, or an innocent civilian. What you seem to overlook is that people's sympathies and support for Hizbullah, especially in the South, are not so categorical. Which is why the point that Joojle raised is very valid. I presume that people in the South fall on a spectrum of support. There is a very reductive assumption by some when talking about Hizbullah that it is this foreign force that occupies the South. While the funding for Hizbullah is primarily foreign, it is nevertheless comprised in large part of the people from the South. Hizbullah is a resistance movement. And I would argue that many people in the South who have endured the brunt of the Israeli occupation are highly sympathetic with Hizbullah.

And that blurred spectrum is the main premise behind guerilla warfare. Because it is a war that is necessitated by an imbalance of powers, it tends to resort to less than "fair" rules of the game. The questions you raise are certainly valid, though perhaps simplistic. I would be interested in knowing the answer for your last question from people who lived in the occupied South, not from anyone who has a Blogger account. It’s a very different dynamic, and the stance of mind of someone living in the comfort of their air-conditioned homes is very different from someone living in the crossfire.

I am glad that you emphasized at the beginning and conclusion of your post Israel’s unquestionable culpability in this war. And as important as these questions are on our side, there are other questions that we still need to ask, for example, about Israel’s use of unlawful weapons in this war. And I’m not just talking about cluster bombs here. I know from first hand accounts of people in the Dahyeh (and I am sure people know of similar accounts) that people have died or got wounded in some very unorthodox and highly disturbing ways. That might be less pleasant to discuss, but just as morally pressing, if not more.

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 5:05:00 AM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

lebanese flattery: is there anything so dangerous ? ... ;)

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 5:06:00 AM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

Israeli cluster bombs, i would think ...

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 5:23:00 AM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

Archmemory,

I dont know if you were taking aim at me (because the a/c is on), but I agree with you one hundred percent. When I say Hizb is shrewd politically, I am saying their actions are guided by what they think the people in the south will tolerate and what they won't. That seems so obvious, it is probably not worth saying.

The party of god is not beyond reproach or fallibility, but were I scientist, I would use their tactics as a proxy for what the people in the south will and will not tolerate. That is not to exclude error or the disgruntled, but if we are talking about the aggregate, I would think that would be right.

I would add that I think this would be a good gauge of aggregate attitudes in the south, because Hizb does enjoy high levels of legitimacy there, but I think language to the effect of "of the people" is probably a tad too much and risks ignoring the social and political diversity of the south.

Again, though, I agree, or I think I agree.

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 6:37:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Apokraphyte,
No, I wasn't taking aim at you; my AC is on as well :P
And I agree with you, I am perhaps guilty of what I was criticizing: oversimplification. The South is certainly far from a homogenous entity, socially and politically. Absolutely. I was just trying to counter the implicit idea that Hizbullah is a "foreign" entity. It certainly isn't representative of all Lebanese, or even southern Lebanese people; but they are Lebanese, when all is said and done, despite their foreign support and funding.

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 7:15:00 AM, Blogger Mirvat said...

that’s what we mean bob when we say all the south is hizballah. Your country has been attacked and occupied man, and the people who have been affected the most are the people who are fighting. You should have been fighting next to them against a foreign country that has been the oppressor. These are the rules of the war. Sadly our country doesn’t work like that and we both know why. They don’t ask you to due your duty or to help them but you’re also denying them the right to defend their lives. Did you bother in these past years, since 1990, to ask what was going on in the south? So before you go into those details I suggest you rethink your moral evaluation for the resistance movement. So where were you in 1996? Were you holding a red cross donation box in Brumana?

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 7:21:00 AM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

Well, I would wager that in these times repeating again and again and again in a loud voice that Hizbullah is not a foreign entity is justifiable and perhaps necessary, especially given the mindless propaganda to the opposite.

I would also add to my earlier thoughts that what I find really, really frightening is not that an American such as myself could be so clueless as to the minds and hearts of the southern Lebanese, but that so many Lebanese in Beirut and elsewhere would appear to be so. Rather than accuse them of some pernicious will to misrecognize (an allegation with some merit), I will instead just call it a legacy of the occupation and leave the moralizing to the co-nationals who would like to speak in their name.

PS: It would seem from your site that you have both a good eye and ear.

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 8:09:00 AM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

At the risk of straining the patience of whomever might be reading this, I would add that I only included the reference to the Israeli soldier, because no Hizbullah member or resistance fighter has ever indicated to me how they operate in the South -- go figure.

While I have heard from many southern Lebanese on this issue, honesty prevents me from extrapolating that anecdotal evidence into a broader conclusion. A compunction that seems not to register with many in the blogosphere or in the Arab or international media.

Okay, that's enough. Sorry and thanks for indulgence.

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 1:32:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

Arch and Apokraphyte,
First nowhere in my post did i say or imply that Hezbollah is a foreign entity. And i know very well that they are from the South.
However the problem is not about this issue. Even if one willingly transform his own house into a military installation that still leaves my questions valid, and would not that blur the distinction between civilian and military, and lead to more attack on civilian.
Second it is funny when u said that Hezbollah did not want any escalation yet they started the whole mess and kidnapped two soldiers outside the sheeba farm, where it was by a common understanding ( between Hezbollah and Israel) the only place they could perform their "resistance". Moreover they had in front of their eyes the example of Gaza and what happened when a soldiers was kidnapped. So you can't tell me that they did not except this kind of reactions. Because if they did not they are totally blind or stupid, and I do not believe that Hezballah leadership is either

Anarchist Revolution is Coming,
A civilian house used for military purposes is no longer civilian it is considered military. And how can you find the use of civilian houses for military activities moral? Wouldn't that endanger the people in it, and lead to more hits on civilian buildings? Regardless of the affiliation of the people in the house, it does not matter! And if you do a little search about the rules of war you will find that it is forbidden to use civilian houses for military activities…

Mirvat,
Frankly when you start attacking me personally, without giving any argument or input to the discussion, I consider that you have crossed the line of common decency and etiquette, therefore I will ignore you and I will not demean myself in answering your accusations or innuendos.
So thank you and grow up…
And by the way not all the south is Hezbollah and will never be, not in your wildest dreams. This time Hezbollah started the attack so your "defense of their land" argument does not stand the road. And what I am denying them is not resisting the occupier but dragging me into a war I never wanted and never will…
And finally I live in Saida, in the south. As opposed to you who is living in the US…

Peace

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 8:57:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Bob,

Additional protocol I to the Geneva Conventions answers your questions:

"Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions, Article 51(7)-Protection of the Civilian Population, which contains the key rule regarding human shields, states, "The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations. The parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military objectives." (20) This provision applies to passive and active human shields whether they are considered proximity, involuntary, or voluntary human shields. Article 51 notably does not excuse considering the presence of human shields during the targeting process. (21)

Article 52(2), General Protection of Civilian Objects, states that attacks shall be limited strictly to military objectives and defines military objectives as "those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage." (22) Article 52(1) says, "Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives as defined in paragraph 2." (23)

Article 58, Precautions Against the Effects of Attacks, creates a duty against the passive creation of proximity human shields: "Parties to a conflict, to the extent feasible, shall remove the civilian population and material under their control from the vicinity of military objectives, avoid locating military objectives within or proximate to densely populated areas, and take other necessary precautions to safeguard the civilian population and civilian objects under their control against the dangers of military operations." (24)"

In other words, under international law placing military tunnels under civillian buildings, or launching attacks from civillian buildings, does not just blur the line between civillian and military, it obliterates it.

The only obligation remaining is the obligation to attempt to minimize collateral damage (the obligation I believe Israel failed miserably at), but when used as you describe, otherwise "civillian" buildings become legitimate military targets.

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Angry Anarchist said...

A civilian house used for military purposes is no longer civilian it is considered military.
Wrong. Draft Rules for the Limitation of the Dangers incurred by the Civilian Population in Time of War, Article 7.
Only objectives belonging to the categories of objective which, in view of their essential characteristics, are generally acknowledged to be of military importance, may be considered as military objectives. Those categories are listed in an annex to the present rules.
However, even if they belong to one of those categories, they cannot be considered as a military objective where their total or partial destruction, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers no military advantage.


Article 8.
He is required to refrain from the attack if, after due consideration, it is apparent that the loss and destruction would be disproportionate to the military advantage anticipated.

The above cover the case of south Lebanon. As for da7iye, it is not even justifiable in any way, both based on the above articles (i.e. military advantage issue), and:

Article 9. In particular, in towns and other places with a large civilian population, which are not in the vicinity of military or naval operations, the attack shall be conducted with the greatest degree of precision. It must not cause losses or destruction beyond the immediate surroundings of the objective attacked.

Article 10. It is forbidden to attack without distinction, as a single objective, an area including several military objectives at a distance from one another where elements of the civilian population, or dwellings, are situated in between the said military objectives.

And, article 12. The Parties to the conflict shall facilitate the work of the civilian bodies exclusively engaged in protecting and assisting the civilian population in case of attack.

Instead, Israel continued to attack Red Cross and Red Crescent ambulances with clearly marked emblems.

Article 15, violated by Israel for more than 18 years: If the Parties to the conflict make use of mines, they are bound, without prejudice to the stipulations of the VIIIth Hague Convention of 1907, to chart the mine-fields. The charts shall be handed over, at the close of active hostilities, to the adverse Party, and also to all other authorities responsible for the safety of the population.

Just to name a few...

if you do a little search about the rules of war you will find that it is forbidden to use civilian houses for military activities…
Illegal does not mean immoral. Unless you are taking into account that it's not allowed to use civilian houses for military purposes, but it IS allowed to target civilian houses that are used for military purposes, with the full knowledge that civilians might be inside.

Also, puh-leez, let us not talk about the Geneva Conventions as if Israel has been observing them. One example among many, article 34 of the 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the taking of hostages (to be distinguished from prisoners of war). And yet, Hassan Dib Nasrallah, and many other Lebanese civilians have been kidnapped in "daring raids").

 
At Monday, August 28, 2006 11:35:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

>>A civilian house used for military purposes is no longer civilian it is considered military.
Wrong. Draft Rules for the Limitation of the Dangers incurred by the Civilian Population in Time of War, Article 7.
Only objectives belonging to the categories of objective which, in view of their essential characteristics, are generally acknowledged to be of military importance, may be considered as military objectives. Those categories are listed in an annex to the present rules.
However, even if they belong to one of those categories, they cannot be considered as a military objective where their total or partial destruction, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers no military advantage.<<

and this supports your point how? Destroying a house containing an entrance to a tunnel, or a cache of weapons, or that is used as a launch site, offers a direct military advantage.

This is clear from the simple mental exercise of imagining the consequences of not doing so - Hezbollah could fire rockets with impunity without any possible Israeli response.

Please explain to me how preventing that would not qualify as "military advantage"?

>>Article 8.
He is required to refrain from the attack if, after due consideration, it is apparent that the loss and destruction would be disproportionate to the military advantage anticipated.

The above cover the case of south Lebanon. As for da7iye, it is not even justifiable in any way, both based on the above articles (i.e. military advantage issue), and:<<

The military advantage is clear, as is the military disadvantage of not destroying such targets. If you can explain to me how being left effectively helpless against rocket barrages is not enough to justify the destruction of said property as "proportionate" I'd like to hear it.

>>Article 9. In particular, in towns and other places with a large civilian population, which are not in the vicinity of military or naval operations, the attack shall be conducted with the greatest degree of precision. It must not cause losses or destruction beyond the immediate surroundings of the objective attacked.<<

Well, this certainly points out why Hezbollah is guilty of war crimes for lobbing missiles randomly into "towns and other places with a large civilian population, which are not in the vicinity of military or naval operations" but by its own termsdoesn't cover Israeli attacks on sites from which Hezbollah is fighting, since those are clearly "in the vicinity of military operations" when used by Hezbollah as launch sites.

>>Article 10. It is forbidden to attack without distinction, as a single objective, an area including several military objectives at a distance from one another where elements of the civilian population, or dwellings, are situated in between the said military objectives.<<

certainly. Again, by its own terms, this does not apply; it requires "several military objectives at a distance from one another"; tunnels under civillian homes present a single military objective. Cluster bombing is the major exception to my defense of Israeli tactics; their rationale was that they assumed the only people left in the villages were hezbollah fighters. That's a ridiculous and legally indefensible argument.

>>And, article 12. The Parties to the conflict shall facilitate the work of the civilian bodies exclusively engaged in protecting and assisting the civilian population in case of attack.

Instead, Israel continued to attack Red Cross and Red Crescent ambulances with clearly marked emblems.<<

Unfortunately, that protection goes by the wayside when ambulances are used to transport weapons, as they have indisputedly been.

>>Article 15, violated by Israel for more than 18 years: If the Parties to the conflict make use of mines, they are bound, without prejudice to the stipulations of the VIIIth Hague Convention of 1907, to chart the mine-fields. The charts shall be handed over, at the close of active hostilities, to the adverse Party, and also to all other authorities responsible for the safety of the population.<<

The UN shows that Israel did hand its minefield maps over; perhaps the mines you are complaining of were laid by Hezbollah, an organization that clearly ignores international law and probably did not take the time to make its own mine maps??

>>if you do a little search about the rules of war you will find that it is forbidden to use civilian houses for military activities…
Illegal does not mean immoral. Unless you are taking into account that it's not allowed to use civilian houses for military purposes, but it IS allowed to target civilian houses that are used for military purposes, with the full knowledge that civilians might be inside.<<

Illegal certainly does mean immoral, in this instance, precisely because doing so removes the protections of civillian status.

>>Also, puh-leez, let us not talk about the Geneva Conventions as if Israel has been observing them. One example among many, article 34 of the 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the taking of hostages (to be distinguished from prisoners of war). And yet, Hassan Dib Nasrallah, and many other Lebanese civilians have been kidnapped in "daring raids"). <<

Puh-leez back atcha (when is the revolution coming, btw?). Yes, they captured Mr. Dib Nasrallah; yes, he was a civillian; no, the act did not violate the Geneva Conventions because they did not capture him as a civillian - they captured him based on intelligence that he was a combatant. When they realized the intelligence was wrong, they released him.

He clearly was not taken as a hostage; the definition of taking hostages is "seiz[ing] or detain[ing] and threaten[ing] to kill, to injure, or to continue to detain another person in order to compel a third party, namely, a State, an international intergovernmental organization, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the offence of taking of hostage within the meaning of this Convention"

Israel released Mr. Dib Nasrallah freely and made no demands - implicit or explicit - as a condition of his release. Thus, his capture does not constitute hostage taking.

On the other hand, the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, done explicitly to secure the release of Samir Kuntar (the murderer of civillians, including a 4 year old girl), falls squarely within the definition of hostage taking and is yet another war crime engaged in by Hezbollah.

 
At Tuesday, August 29, 2006 1:04:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Akiva,

You wrote: "Unfortunately, that protection goes by the wayside when ambulances are used to transport weapons, as they have indisputedly been." What indisputable proof do you have? And where does it say that if ambulances are suspected of transporting weapons then it is okay to bomb them? It is immoral. One moral wrong does not justify another.

And Israel may have handed over mine maps, but did they hand over maps of the cluster bombs they left littering the South and southern suburbs of Beirut? And I do hope that you don't even try to justify the use of cluster bombs in densely populated civilian areas. Aside from being illegal, it is certainly immoral.

 
At Tuesday, August 29, 2006 1:42:00 AM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Ash,

reread my post, you'll see what I think of cluster bombs (short version: indefensible in the circumstances they were used in)

As for the ambulances, the reason an ambulance gets immunity is because the red cross/crescent is a flag that says "this vehicle is not involved in offensive combat operations - it is a purely medical or humanitarian vehicle."

When even on ambulance is used to transport weapons, that meaning is no longer true, and the source of their immunity is no longer valid.

It's been well documented that red crescent ambulances have been used to transport weapons in the Palestinian territories. See:

http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:hmG86kXQOu4J:www.standwithus.com/pdfs/flyers/UNAmbulance.pdf+red+crescent+ambulance+weapons&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=9

There is a report that Syria has admitted to using the same tactics to resupply Hezbollah during this conflict:

http://rastibini.blogspot.com/2006/08/by-way-of-deception-more-on-turkish.html

"NEWSDESK, Aug 18 (DozaMe.org) The Turkish Red Crescent was used twice to arm Hezbollah, a Syrian Red Crescent official told the Kurdish news agency ANF yesterday.

The Turkish humanitarian organization’s vehicles were loaded with small arms, unidentified electronic gadgets, and ammunition, the Syrian official said.

The supplies were sent during the 34-day conflict in Lebanon between Israeli Defense Forces and the Hezbollah. The vehicles were driven to Syrian territory before the weapons and logistic supplies swapped hands, the Syrian official said. In Syria, the supplies were loaded onto Syrian Red Crescent vehicles before being sent to Lebanon.

The controversial Syrian claim comes after information reached media that Turkish authorities had forced Iranian planes to land on July 27 and August 8 in the city of Amed (Diyarbakir) in northern Kurdistan (southeastern Turkey) after a tip from the Israeli intelligence that the planes were used to supply Hezbollah with weapons. No weapons were found in the planes, the Turkish officials claimed."

 
At Tuesday, August 29, 2006 2:05:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Akiva,
Re: cluster bombs - sorry for not reading your response carefully (that was a long one, even by your standards, you must admit.)

As for the ambulances:
1) I do not consider that to be "indisputable proof"; only claims. (But thanks for the thoroughness in documenting the sources.) I am certain, as an attorney, you wouldn't accept that either if you were trying a murder case. I would hope that you require much more proof to substantiate such a claim "beyond the shadow of a doubt".
2) Given the indisputable shadow of doubt that exists in such circumstances, one cannot conscientiously reach a conclusion that "the source of [ambulances'] immunity is no longer valid". Even if there was no doubt that ambulances have been used in that manner, unless it is known for sure that that particular ambulance is carrying weapons, then there is no moral justification for targeting it. And so, either there was intelligence failure here that would rival that in Iraq, or there was pure criminal malice.

 
At Tuesday, August 29, 2006 2:19:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

I must say that I find this a very interesting and informative discussion.

Let me point out a couple of issues:
1- I believe that outside of the Hezbollah's headquarters in Dahih all the building that were bombed fall under the unlawful attacks category. Meanwhile in the south if thee was a Hezbollah activity close to the building that were bombed then this is "lawful" according tot he Geneva accords.

2- There is a big difference between lawful and moral. For start, I believe that war in it self is immoral, therefore all action by both parties will also be...

So once again violence does not solve anything even "lawful" violence, it only begets more and more violence...

Peace

 
At Tuesday, August 29, 2006 3:03:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Me? Long posts? never! ;)

On the ambulances - with respect to the use of ambulances in Palestine, I believe it is not disputed (I've seen nothing so much as resembling a denial and it's been fairly well documented). With respect to ambulances in Lebanon, no, that's not proof at all - the source gives me added doubt, among other things. However, the fact that red crescent ambulances were used that way in Palestine makes it easier for me to believe they would be used that way in Lebanon, and - more importantly, I think - easier to understand why Israel would believe it if they received intelligence indicating that was happening.

 
At Tuesday, August 29, 2006 3:14:00 PM, Blogger Akiva M said...

Bob - the legal/moral issue is the important one, I think; states are going to need to begin thinking past the legal issues ("can I do this") and to the moral issues ("granted that I can, should I"). I don't believe that transition has happened yet, if only because the laws of war between states really solve all of the moral issues - it's only in the context of non-state actors operating in violation of the laws of war that the moral issue really rears its head, and there is a relatively short history of that.

As for violence *never* solving anything, respectfully, that's not true. For example, until Israel entered the west bank and gaza under Sharon in 2002, they were suffering waves of daily terror attacks and massive casualties. Since, the number of attacks has dropped dramatically. Of course, the underlying problem is not "solved", but minimizing the number of attacks is no small thing. There are other cases where violence worked, and was necessary (kosovo, WWII, for example) and cases where no violence was used and the lack of will to fight caused terrible suffering (Rwanda, Darfur, for example).

That said, while I believe the attack on Lebanon was necessary (if nothing else, compare Nasrallah today - all but pledging no more cross border attacks, now that he's painted himself into a corner by saying he "did not anticipate the Israeli response" - with Nasrallah in 2000 - openly pledging further kidnapping attempts) the execution of it was terrible and in the main, uneffective. And because of that, yes, it likely engendered more violence.

 

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