Under siege: the moral equation on Lebanon

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am

People discussing the Middle East crisis almost all point out that Israeli troops are killing civilians and that the US is not doing enough to stop Israel. I am far from being pro-Israel or pro-US - I am trying to remain objective here - but I wonder why nobody questions the behaviour of Syria and Iran, who have done nothing to stop Hezbollah. Syria and Iran have supplied Hezbollah with thousands of rockets, not for self-defence or New Year's firework celebrations, but to fire at Israel. So if anyone feels the urge to push outside parties to put an end to this conflict, I suggest they start pushing the leaders of Syria and Iran. The only way to end this is to move Hezbollah out of Lebanon, whether peacefully or by force.


Israel is condemned by many as responding 'disproportionately' to attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas. Given that Hezbollah has sent nearly 2,000 rockets into Israeli cities and towns with the intention of killing as many Jews as possible, and Hamas has done the same in the south, what do Israel's critics maintain would be a proportionate response?

The world still does not understand a fundamental fact: Jews no longer walk passively into the gas chambers. They stopped doing so in May 1948 when the state of Israel was established.


Edward Ng-Cordell's letter calling on the international community to take action against Israel seems to reflect the popular sentiment ('Apathy appalling', July 26). Allow me to respond. Condemnation from 'most developed countries' is hardly a reason for Israel to stop, Mr Ng-Cordell.

In late 1939, Adolf Hitler engaged in a de facto ceasefire which allowed him to amass his troops on the French border. The German and the French troops waved at each other. Germany soon attacked, and France fell within two months. Had Mr Ng-Cordell's 'developed countries' existed at the time, no doubt they would have pushed for a ceasefire, and wrung their hands afterwards.

As for chastising Israel for its lack of restraint, restraint is what you practise in a dispute with rational people willing to compromise. Restraint - let's call it a ceasefire - buys time for fanatics who have no intention of negotiating.

Renowned Israeli novelist Amos Oz, a lifetime critic of Israel's policy towards the Palestinians, recently wrote in the Los Angeles Times: 'Many times in the past, the Israeli peace movement has criticised Israeli military operations. Not this time ... This time, Israel is not invading Lebanon. It is defending itself from daily harassment and bombardment of dozens of our towns and villages ... There can be no moral equation between Hezbollah and Israel. Hezbollah is targeting Israeli civilians wherever they are, while Israel is targeting mostly Hezbollah.'

Israel will not, nor should it, show restraint against a group bent on its annihilation. You fight evil; you don't turn the other cheek.


Day after day, the bombardment of Lebanon dominates headlines. In every news report, the death toll rises. In every picture, there are scared faces and victims in desperate need of help. This is not the time to discuss who is right and who is wrong. What matters is the innocent caught in the fighting. The world is not doing enough to stop the fighting so that no more civilians will suffer.