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Author Topic: State of war between Israel and Lebanon  (Read 33426 times)
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Ari
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« on: July 16, 2006, 03:13:42 PM »

As most of you have probably heard, things have been escalating quite drastically in the Middle East in the last few days.
As an Israeli citizen, I'm very much concerned with how the rest of the world views this conflict, and since this is generally a peaceful forum, not prone to flaming and such, I would very much like to hear your thoughts.
I hope this can remain a civilized discussion. I know I will definitely try to keep it one.

Sooo... Who would like to begin?
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Tom
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2006, 07:05:17 PM »

I think you should begin.  How do YOU feel about what's going on, and WHY it's going on?  

I fear George W. has made pre-emptive strikes a stylish and creative way of gettings one's way that may have been used to influence what I've been hearing about.  Nevertheless, I don't have all the facts at present...haven't had time to tune in the news, recently.  But I'm curious as to your thoughts.
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Ari
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2006, 10:30:35 PM »

Ok, this is going to be long. I hope you take the time to read it.  :oops:

Well, for starters, I'd like to address a point I've been hearing a lot in other international forums. People tend to think it's all about oil prices. That the US is involved in Middle Eastern affairs just so that president Bush can take over another oil well. While this might be true with Iraq, it has nothing to do with the situation in Israel. Neither Israel nor Lebanon have any oil, and the reason the Bush administration is backing Israel (and I stress backing, since it has almost no influence on the Israeli policy in the occupied territories or regarding our border with Lebanon), is because after 9/11, the US seems to finally understand what it is like to live in Israel with the constant threat of suicide bombings. I suppose Bush has some plans for Iran or Syria, but Israel has never been a tool in the hands of the US to carry out it's policy. If anything, we've always been told to sit tight and let the US take care of things.
So, the point is, basically, that this is our war, and has nothing to do with oil prices. (Not directly at least, since the level of tension here certainly has an effect on speculative oil prices)

After this long opening, I'll try and put in my thoughts about the actual crisis.
I'm not sure how much people around the world are aware, but this situation hasn't just decided to pop up without reason. For the past year since Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip dismantling and "importing" thousands of civilians back inside Israeli borders, people who at times have a very difficult time trying to find themselves a proper home and community to reestablish their families at, we've had to deal with constant bombings of border towns by Hamas and other terrorist organizations using home-made rockets, that while not capable of inflicting severe damage, have been taking their toll little by little. Here a boy is killed, there a woman is killed, not to mention dozens and hundreds of people being injured over the course of a year, some severely but most only lightly (and that's just the physical damage. can you imagine what it is for children to live under such circumstances for a year?) . And yet, on the whole, we've tried to refrain from hitting back. On occasion, when our intelligence spots a group of rocket launchers, we try to take them out. Sometimes, we miss, which is regrettable, because innocent people get hurt. Up until 3 weeks ago, I wasn't really happy with my government's policy in Gaza, because too many innocent bystanders were getting killed or injured, and the problem wasn't being solved in any way.
Then came the first kidnapping of the soldier Gilad Shalit. You must understand, that Israelis view every IDF soldier as their own child simply because at any given moment, a soldier getting killed could very well be their son, since military service is compulsory and so is reserve duty.
Without any provocation and in clear violation of Israeli sovereignty of it's territory, Hamas military wing killed 2 soldiers, injured several and kidnapped Shalit. This was an outrage, and at last, we felt we've reached the limits of our tolerance. We had no choice but to try and rescue him and put pressure on the Palastinian leadership to give him up, and I think we've had every reason to do so. There really is a limit to how much beating one can take and not react, and I think any other country would do the same, if not react much earlier.

Then Hezbollah decided to join the battle. It's been 6 years since our forces withdrew from every last piece of territory in southern Lebanon, which we originally occupied because of constant terrorist attacks by the PLO which resulted in dozens of Israeli citizens being killed, and hundreds more wounded. In these last 6 years the border has been relatively peaceful, if you consider 3 soldiers kidnapped and several others killed in bombings of bases along the border. But then, Hezbollah decided to up the ante. They ambushed a border patrol, killed 2 soldiers and kidnapped 2 other soldiers into Lebanon. During the attempt to rescue these soldiers, Hezbollah managed to destroy a tank, killing all it's crew and killing 2 other soldiers trying to help the tank crew.
Since the withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, Israel has been persistently pleading from the Lebanese government to move it's forces south and spread across the border so that there be no contact between us and Hezbollah. They refused. Hezbollah has remained a military force in Southern Lebanon which the Lebanese government refuses to take responsibility over. Think of it. It's as if some Mexican private militia sits on the US Mexican border taking pot shots at your own border patrol and the Mexican government refuses to take responsibility over, effectively telling the US it's their problem.
Does this make any sense to anyone? The only way to solve the problem is to force Lebanon into action against the Hezbollah, and sadly, the only way to do so, is by using military force.
So while the Hezbollah has been launching Katusha rockets at Northern Israeli towns and cities, killing and wounding over 100 citizens, threatening to launch more rockets at cities like Tel-Aviv, Israel has been selectively destroying Infrastructure targets, trying our best not to hit populated areas, warning Lebanese of upcoming attacks and giving them a 2 hour notice to leave their homes before we bomb, thereby destroying mostly empty buildings.
Lebanon has to take control over their territory. They have to show us and the rest of the world they're serious about it, and only then we can talk about a cease fire.
This situation in which the Hezbollah sits on our border ambushing and firing on Israeli towns, and Lebanon not doing anything about it has got to stop. We can't go back to how it's been in the last 6 years since nothing can assure us that these attacks won't occure again.
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Boogeyman
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2006, 11:37:34 PM »

The US being in the Middle East has NOTHING to do with oil. It is about freedom for Iraq.
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kreatorb
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2006, 06:54:59 AM »

I can see both perspectives - Israel had to do something about these provocative attacks and the Lebanese people don't deserve to be targetted and have their infrastructure destroyed for the actions of a terrorist movement (which yes, is part of their government - but it basically had to be, given their role in driving the Israeli occupation out).

A blockade of Lebanon would have been the best option I think (with selected strikes against bona fide Hezbollah targets) - destroying roads and airports and TV stations only makes enemies of the entire country and serves Hezbollah's purposes.  It certainly would have been more justifiable and would have kept most of the world completely on the Israeli side.  

In terms of outcomes I'm unsure what the objectives of the current broad military action are.  If it was to free the captured soldier - they are going about it totally the wrong way.  I'd be surprised if he doesn't end up dead as a direct result of this action.  If it was to stop future attacks - it also will not work unless Israel fully occupies Lebanon (and perhaps Syria), and then we really will be twenty years back.

And I'll refrain from commenting about Iraq to keep this on topic.
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Ari
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2006, 08:05:52 AM »

Quote from: Boogeyman
The US being in the Middle East has NOTHING to do with oil. It is about freedom for Iraq.

This is not what I said. I said the crisis in Lebanon and in Gaza have nothing to do with oil, and so is the backing of the US in this case. I really would suggest you read the 1st part of my message again.

kreatorb:
The reason for bombing roads and airstrips is to keep the Hezbollah from moving the 2 captured soldiers outside Lebanon - to Syria or Iran - like they've done before on other occasions (for example, the captured navigator Ron Arad which was captured 20 years ago and disappeared without a trace). Second, the only bombing of TV stations was the bombing of the Hezbollah's own private TV station Al Manar. We have not bombed any other TV station.

You say doing this to free the soldiers is going about this the wrong way. What do you think we should do? (I'm not being a cynic, I really would like to know what you think)
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shad0wfax
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2006, 10:12:43 AM »

It's, from all perspectives, a very complex issue, and I sincerely cannot see an easy nor quick solution for this conflict. My impression is that this is another manifestation of a problem that goes back at least to the 60's, when the actual borders of Israel were settled and (at least) several hundred thousand palestitian were displaced. But, regarding this very last conflict, the overall impression, though, at least from Western Europe, is that, while Hammas and Hezbollah's actions being absolutely regrettable, Israel is being too much drastic in its response.

Most people here agree that both Hammas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations, despite being in the government of Palestine and Lebanon, respectively. There's also a consensus in that Israel has, as every sovereign state, a right to self-defence. The problem seems to be the way and the intensity of its actions.

Whenever a terrorist act strikes an Israeli target, Israel seems to sistematically neglect legal and judicial proceedings to pursue this very condemnable acts and nearly always seems to opt for a millitary response, for example performing selective killings without proper trials and millitary strikes that usually affect civilian people and cause more damage than the original terrorist strike. Sometimes, we're even talking of proper war acts (like bombing another country's government buildings -I sincerely cannot think about a more evident war act than this-). I don't know what the proper reaction of Israel in Lebanon should be, but I sincerely think that destroying some civil infrastructures like the airport, the harbour or the roads, and causing a quite great amount of civil victims is not the proper way. It's true that there's an obvions connection between Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, but I honestly think that Lebanon simply hasn't got the capacity to control this (terrorist) organization. As I've said, I don't know what's the correct solution, but I think that at least the consensus of the UN and the international community (not the US alone) should be pursued.

Here in Spain we've been suffering the terrorism of ETA during 40 years, which caused more than 1,000 deaths and lots of kidnappings, injurings and extortions. During the democratic period (from 1978), the state's response has always tried to be between the limits of the law and respect of individual rights. This hasn't always been easy, because many times there was the sensation that the punishments (when applied) were too weak (there's no death penaly nor life imprisonment), and a part of the community would have supported some drastic decisions. Luckily, to my opinion, the government always decided to act in the strict limits of legality. I think that what makes us better than the terrorists is precisely that we do respect the law and other people's rights. In other case, if we fall into violence, we are putting ourselves at the same level than the others, and in some sense this could justify or give an excuse for their violent actions.
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Ari
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2006, 10:34:33 AM »

I agree that pursuing legal action first is the proper response. But it really isn't possible in this case. We cannot enter Gaza without risk of police or the army receiving heavy casualties in the arrest attempt. Neither can we arrest Hezbolla operatives, since they are operating from within Lebanon.

Whenever we can, especially in the territories we still occupy, we actually do make arrests and bring terrorists to trial where they are given legal counsil and a fair trial.
But again, Gaza is a totally different story. You can't just waltz in there and arrest someone or issue him a subpena to appear in court. The strip is totally hostile, it is mined heavily, and if an Israeli sets his foot in there, he is lucky if he's shot dead. Gaza is, from this perspective, a totally sovereign state in which Hamas are the head of, and which bombings and rocket launches are issued and carried out by their own military wing.
I don't see how you could carry out any legal action against terrorists when they effectively come from a hostile country.

Edit:
BTW, speaking of legal actions. This morning a soldier was killed and 6 other were injured while trying to arrest a terrorist in the town of Shechem (AKA Nablus) in the West bank (here's the report). So there. We do try to pursue legal action whenever possible, but as you can see, it's not that easy.
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kreatorb
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2006, 11:10:13 AM »

I wasn't aware that was Hezbollah's own TV station - so you're right that would make it a legitimate target.

The airport, a road overpass and ports are unjustifiable targets however - and these have been repeatedly bombed.   These targets are vital infrastructure for the country to continue operating (to give perspective - there are many Australian citizens who can no longer depart from Lebanon as the airport is closed).  I think if they wanted to move the soldiers, nothing will stop them - least of all this.  

There were only two ways Israel could have got their soldiers back - with a military retrieval operation while Hezbollah was off their guard (now impossible) or by cutting a deal (now impossible).  Basically, it's too late for them now I think (killing the soldiers is one of the limited means Hezbollah has of striking back against Israel) - and this is the fault of the Israeli military.

As for the solution?

Israel can't be seen to be using it's might improperly against those with no capacity to retaliate - it loses the sympathy of the world in doing so. It should stop acting so unilaterally and return to international mediation (preferably the UN) to resolve these disputes.  It should also rely on impartial multinational forces to wield the stick (to remove the stigma of anti-arab bias).  

Furthermore, Israel has to start negotiating with whomsoever is causing the problems - irrespective of them being terrorists or not.  The problems with Hamas have been caused by Israel not respecting the mandate given to them by the Palestinian people - bankrupting their state and assasinating their leaders is not doing Israel any good.  

In short, nothing will be solved by these broad punishment operations - it will only make things worse.
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shad0wfax
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« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2006, 11:43:38 AM »

Ari is totally right when pointing out that the legal path (arrests and trials) is not an easy task and in certain circumstances is a very difficult task. The point is, howerer, that those difficulties shouldn't justify other illegal actions and damages to innocent people. The sad truth is that violence usually only generates more violence.

During many years, ETA's terrorists only had to cross the French border after putting a bomb or killling some people in Spain to be safe, because the French government didn't concede the extraditation (ETA's members were considered as pursued for "political reasons"). The truth was that there was the fear that if the French gonvernment were too much "collaborative", ETA would also strike in France. Luckily, this policy changed significantly in the last 10/15 years, and many arrests have been possible. The point is that sometimes arrests aren't possible and this can be very frustrating, but on the other hand this shouldn't justify violent actions. Maybe in the future those people will be able to pay for their crimes.
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Ari
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2006, 12:11:45 PM »

Quote from: kreatorb
I wasn't aware that was Hezbollah's own TV station - so you're right that would make it a legitimate target.

The airport, a road overpass and ports are unjustifiable targets however - and these have been repeatedly bombed.   These targets are vital infrastructure for the country to continue operating (to give perspective - there are many Australian citizens who can no longer depart from Lebanon as the airport is closed).  I think if they wanted to move the soldiers, nothing will stop them - least of all this.  

There were only two ways Israel could have got their soldiers back - with a military retrieval operation while Hezbollah was off their guard (now impossible) or by cutting a deal (now impossible).  Basically, it's too late for them now I think (killing the soldiers is one of the limited means Hezbollah has of striking back against Israel) - and this is the fault of the Israeli military.

As for the solution?

Israel can't be seen to be using it's might improperly against those with no capacity to retaliate - it loses the sympathy of the world in doing so. It should stop acting so unilaterally and return to international mediation (preferably the UN) to resolve these disputes.  It should also rely on impartial multinational forces to wield the stick (to remove the stigma of anti-arab bias).  

Furthermore, Israel has to start negotiating with whomsoever is causing the problems - irrespective of them being terrorists or not.  The problems with Hamas have been caused by Israel not respecting the mandate given to them by the Palestinian people - bankrupting their state and assasinating their leaders is not doing Israel any good.  

In short, nothing will be solved by these broad punishment operations - it will only make things worse.

I would like to remind you that we've been asking the Lebanese government to take charge of their side of the border for 6 years. They declined our requests and have allowed the Hezbollah to entrench and to gather arms, SSMs, SAMs and other weapons. When negotiations fail, and when UN forces sit and do nothing while Israely soldiers are kidnapped from whithin Israeli territory, Sometimes there's no other choice but to use military action to force the other side to take action against forces operating from whithin it's borders.

It's not enough that one side wants to negotiate. Hezbollah Doesn't even recognize Israel as a sovereign state. They call us "The Zionist Government", let alone agree to any talks.

BTW, have you seen the extent of the damage the Hezbollah and Hamas have inflicted on our cities? Would you call a suicide bomb killing 25-30 people in a bus or a hotel, or damage by SSMs to hundreds of buildings and private homes "those with no capacity to retaliate"? (Not to mention the fact that it is the Israelis who are doing the retaliation, not the Hezbollah or the Hamas).

I think that when negotiations fail, there's no choice but to change the balance of forces so that in the future, you can start negotiating again, but for a different standpoint.

Regarding the other options for retrieving our soldiers back:
If we used ground forces to try and get them back, we would be playing into the hands of Hezbollah. For the past 6 years they've been mining the whole area pretty heavily, setting up traps and bombs and just waiting for us to move in and get hit severely. If you knew you were going into a trap, would you do so?

Regarding cutting a deal with Hezbolla. They are asking for thousands of convicted prisoners with blood on their hands in exchange for 3. If they see that this method works, what do you think they'll do? They'll kidnap more. This is not sheer speculation. This is, in fact, exactly what happened last time they kidnapped 3 soldiers in september of 2000 and another Israeli civilian a couple of weeks later. They claimed they were alive for many months but they lied, and after 3 years we got back one citizen alive and 3 bodybags in exchange for almost 4,000 prisoners. Do you really think that under these conditions, Terrorists should be negotiated with?
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Ari
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2006, 12:16:50 PM »

Quote from: shad0wfax
Ari is totally right when pointing out that the legal path (arrests and trials) is not an easy task and in certain circumstances is a very difficult task. The point is, howerer, that those difficulties shouldn't justify other illegal actions and damages to innocent people. The sad truth is that violence usually only generates more violence.

During many years, ETA's terrorists only had to cross the French border after putting a bomb or killling some people in Spain to be safe, because the French government didn't concede the extraditation (ETA's members were considered as pursued for "political reasons"). The truth was that there was the fear that if the French gonvernment were too much "collaborative", ETA would also strike in France. Luckily, this policy changed significantly in the last 10/15 years, and many arrests have been possible. The point is that sometimes arrests aren't possible and this can be very frustrating, but on the other hand this shouldn't justify violent actions. Maybe in the future those people will be able to pay for their crimes.

That's why I brought that article. I agree that when it is "not easy" or "difficult" you should still try. But when it is impossible, then you have no choice.

Let me ask you some questions: What are the ETA's demands? or are they just terrorizing Spain for they're own fun? why is it that you cannot sit down and talk and solve your issues? Have the arrests helped in any way to stop the bombings in your own cities?
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kreatorb
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2006, 01:45:59 PM »

Ari - yes I know often one side doesn't want to negotiate.  That is when a solution must be imposed.. but it has to be a reasonable one, agreed to by other nations in your region who are not necessarily involved in the conflict.  They have to understand they are not just fighting against Israel, but the world.

While both Hezbollah and Hamas do not recognize Israel as a state.. factions within these organizations may be willing to work with Israel to a limited extent - the issue of recognising Israel can be left to one side for now and perhaps if some dialogue could be opened, it may de-radicalize these organizations somewhat.  By the by, I believe both Israel and Hezbollah had unreasonable and unrealistic demands going in to this conflict - a compromise could have been reached with the correct amount of carrot and stick.

As for casualties it is a matter of perspective I guess.. 25-30 civillians on a bus vs how many civillians from countries neighbouring Israel over the years?  It is like comparing the 3000 casualties in the WTC vs all those suffered by civillians in Iraq and Afghanistan.. they are both horrible events but they do not equate to each other.  

The Israeli army is armed with the highest technology of our time, and are backed by the only remaining superpower - while bordering nations are reduced to rocks, human bombs and homemade rockets - I'm sure Hezbollah would use "surgical strikes" if they had the capacity also.
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Marten
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2006, 10:02:36 PM »

I do not envy anyone living in the Middle East.

My perspective is unpleasantly simple:  There is no acceptable solution to the violence there.  If you want to escape it, you have to be willing and able to move away.  The fundamental issue (in my eyes) is multiple peoples all feeling entitled to the same land.  If nobody is willing to give up - if everyone insists that the land is theirs - then there is no solution.

This may not be the most popular opinion here, but I think the creation of Israel in its location was not exactly the best idea ever conceived.  While the creation of Israel had the backing of many large and powerful countries, it didn't have the support of many people in and around the immediate area where it was created.  Furthermore, the peoples already living in the region were not exactly in a state of peace amongst themselves.

Let me put it this way:  In the US, there was a famous feud between two families in the late 1800s:  The Hatfields and the McCoys.  Creating a country in a region where the people who're already there hate each other... that seems a lot like trying to set up a home between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

I am not saying that the Israelis did not deserve a country of their own, nor am I denying the cultural and religious importance of the land that is now Israel, and I am not saying that the creation of Israel created the current problem (I believe it merely complicated an existing problem).

What I am stating is this:  From a pragmatic point of view, placing yourself deliberately in harm's way and trying to establish a home there doesn't seem like the best policy, regardless of whatever religious or politically sanctioned entitlement you might have for the land.
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2006, 10:47:06 PM »

I have a son in Iraq.  

You both have my fervent prayers that wisdom will enter the minds of those obsessed with destruction, and we can all benefit from a collective, human drive to use what little time this Earth has left, wisely.

That being said.........no country, no people could sit by quietly, year after year, and take the hits that Israel has without eventually having to use force against those that hide men, and weapons among civilian populations.  There is no way you can avoid civilian deaths.  Not in Iraq; not in Lebanon/Gaza.

Be prepared for lots of negative coverage, and outrage over the civilian deaths.  It will not be fairly balanced against those Iraelis killed by rockets.  Nothing new there, and nothing you aren't already used to hearing.  

Personally, I believe you are doing the only thing you can do and still survive as a country.  I also believe America will continue to support and aid Israel as one of the few friends we have in the region.

Best wishes from Texas for all of our chances of surviving a future world of nuke bearing madmen.    Alison
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2006, 11:35:09 PM »

I believe Israel acted in good faith by pulling out of southern Lebanon, setting forth (and I feel, successfully so) an honest willingness towards a peaceful solution.  It's unfathomable to me that a people (Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, et al) can actually deny the reality of the Holocost, and I wonder ...  how do you counter such ignorance?  How do you reason with it?  How can you negotiate?   I agree totally with Ari that Israel has shown GREAT restraint thus far.  They're defending themselves against  enemies who will never recognize their sovernty and whose credo is to destroy Israel at all cost --  that's got to be horrible for the Israelis to live with!  I certainly don't believe the US would sit back and show any restraint should anyone start lobbing missles over US borders.  Hell no -- all hell would break loose, and in short order!  The argument over borders seems like it'll never go away, and I wouldn't presume to say that I know how to settle it.  I hope Ari is out of harms way and that a peaceful solution is somehow negotiated.  I fully support Israel's stance in this current conflict.
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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2006, 05:03:33 AM »

Ari, I feel that you need to get out of there - fast, before things get any worse! I wouldn't want you to get hurt.
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2006, 06:14:51 AM »

I'll be concise (for me) with my views, because they're not very well informed. Here in Australia our media is usually saturated with Israel/Palestine coverage, yet very few *facts* filter down to the masses. As in, we'll hear X civilians/militants/suicide bombers/etc were killed on day X, but as far as the intricacies of the politics and actual human side to the ongoing conflict, there's very little real information. I'll also admit to not paying as much attention to it as I probably should (given that I like to be informed about this sort of world issue).

I also appreciate Ari starting the thread- since I found out he was in the Israeli army, I wondered how long it would take before he posted about israel. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I was looking forward to getting his perspective on it actually.

I'd definitely disagree with Tom, though. I don't support Israel's stance on principle. Israel has seemed like a very aggressive country for a long time, making veiled threats to countries (not just Palestine) in the region who they have land/other disputes with. That's not to say other countries haven't, evidently Lebanon and Palestine's governments are not ideal ones as far as peace and democracy and civility (and humanity) is concerned. But, Israel's leaders have always seemed decidedly.. cold and unfriendly, and quite aggresive. Which is understandable given what happens to their people- but on the other hand, I don't see anything to be gained in civil war, for those same people.

Basically, while Jews have and continue to be persecuted and killed, I see no logic behind the "let's kill each other" train of thought that seems to pervade the Israeli and Palestinian cultures.

I also disagree with Tom's pseudo-example, "if people started lobbing missiles over US borders, we'd do the same". That's so far removed from the I/P conflict, it's crazy! It's got NO relevance. Since when did the conflict become a "we're defending our borders" thing, anyway? I thought it was basically civil war by another name (and war is between more than one side, Tom). But, I guess that is the name, the spin.

Interestingly enough, I was pissed off yesterday when a nutter from California wrote in to our state paper (I guess, he wrote to every Australian/English/Coalition of the Willing paper, or every Murdoch one at least), and it read something like "Israel has a right to defend its' citizens and protect from terrorism, they shoud be waging war to do so, and the US should be helping them". Yeah, everybody would be happy then.

I don't think Bush's comments on the matter are particualrly helpful either, but then again I don't think the USA has any satisfactory foreign policy initiatives/commentaries, so that's nothing new for me.

On Israel/Spain/other nations with terrorism- I have to admit the obvious, that it's pretty bloody hard to identify with what you guys have gone through, since Australia obviously hasn't had any major terrorist attacks here (although, we have had lots of lives lost in Indonesian terrorist attacks targeting Westerners- mainly Aussies, USA and English people).

But, we don't have groups like ETA or Al Qaeda here. Jemaah Islamiah is our threat in he close region (though, I guess that's Al Qaeda).

Anyways. The Israel/Lebanon issue has been big since Australia has a lot of Lebanese, and there's.. 20,000 Australian Lebanese there currently, I think. So it's a big deal here.

So much for being concise! Anyways, sorry for my ignorance. Good debate guys.

- Alistair
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shad0wfax
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2006, 07:23:19 AM »

Ari wrote
Quote
Let me ask you some questions: What are the ETA's demands? or are they just terrorizing Spain for they're own fun? why is it that you cannot sit down and talk and solve your issues? Have the arrests helped in any way to stop the bombings in your own cities?


ETA's main demands were (still are) the independence of the Basque Country (a region of northern Spain and south-western France) and the settlement of a marxist-leninist regime on that region. One of its most famous acts was the killing of the prime minister in late 60's (during the dictatorship), using a bomb that made prime minister's car to fly away and surpass a 4-floor building. They attempted again against the prime minister in 1995 and they nearly killed him, and they also have tried several times to kill the king. Besides that, they've killed more than a thousand people, mostly policemen and soldiers, but also politicians, university professors, bussinesmen, doctors, or simply people who were buying at the marketplace.

Luckily, thanks to the good collaboration of the french government in the last years and the good work of spanish police and the judicial power, we can say that ETA's position is nowadays very weak, because most of its members are imprisoned and it has virtually no money to re-generate its structure. That's why some months ago ETA claimed for a negotiation process in order to place its dissolution in exchange for some benefits for their imprisoned members. Despite they're still there, I think we can be confident in saying that finally the rule of law has prevailed over the bombs, and that it's possible to fight terrorism without tanks and missiles.

Returning to Israeli/Palestitian/Lebanese (and its neightbours) conflict, the overall impression here is that Israel is sistematically inflicting more damage when responding the attacks than the damage they have been inflicted, something like "you have cutted-off my finger, so I'm going to cut-off your whole arm". We're talking about more than 200 civilian deaths by now in Lebanon. There's also the impression that it doesn't care what the international community thinks about that, because they (and the Sates) are right and the rest of the world is mistaken. I don't know what the solution should be, but the proposal of a multilateral armed force in southern Lebanon doesn't seem to me a bad idea.
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Alistair
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« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2006, 07:51:51 AM »

Thanks, Shadowfax, for providing the info- I'm way out of touch with Spain news- last I heard was the terrorist attack by ETA, followed by the election!

And, Shadowfax's last paragraph is how I feel too, but more eloquently put of course Smiley

- Alistair
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