It’s a little hard to believe that I landed in Israel after a five week visit to the States, only to witness a war starting. I’ve never been in a country that was being bombed. As the bombs are still landing far away (in Israeli terms – about an hour north of here), it still hasn’t really struck me personally. But I have a sinking suspicion that before long, I’ll be spending nights in the bomb shelter of my building in Tel Aviv. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.
But at the same time, much to my amazement, I support the Israeli offensive against Hezbollah and Lebanon. Those who know me, know that I’ve typically leaned toward being an advocate of restraint, diplomacy, and giving the Palestinian people a chance to prove what I hope are their good-natured intentions. But now it seems as though this policy has, at least in part, led us to where we are today. Israel can no longer afford to sit idly by as its young soliders are kidnapped – the time for action has come, as much as I had hoped it could have been avoided.
I, by all means, feel sorry for the Lebanese people and the Israelis in the north of the country. Lebanese infrastructure is being wiped out and the ordinary Lebanese citizen is paying the price for the extremism practiced by the terrorists. It’s sad for me to think that the Lebanese probably view the IDF in much the same way as we view Hezbollah – terrorists inflicting needless pain. Even so, I believe that it’s imperative for Israel to take this action – it is time to change the rules of the game. If Israel can weaken Hezbollah and provide the Lebanese government the incentive to dismantle the organization, then the region will be better off. I think that there’s little chance of that happening for several reasons: the Lebanese army is afraid of Hezbollah, even in an a weekend state and the Lebanese are probably unlikely to want to attack other Lebanese after 20 years of civil war. But still, it is about the only thing I can see Israel doing at this point.
I’d be very interested to hear what the average Lebanese citizen thinks of Hezbollah and the Israeli offensive.
In Israel, Israelis are taking the situation in stride, though it’s clearly more than another suicide bombing. People are a bit shaken, as most people have friends and family in the north. The situation is young and is likely to continue for some time. In the mean time, let’s hope that some progress can be made, either diplomatically or in damaging Hezbollah to the point where they can no longer attack northern Israel.