Another morning, and Israel, after waiting 12 hours of a 48 hour aerial ceasefire, is bombing again. Hezbollah continues shooting rockets indiscriminately into Israel, trying to injure/kill as many people as possible. All I can think is the UK protest singer Leon Rosselson’s song “It goes on”: “It goes it on, it goes on, without wanting, without end, I go round, I go round, I am dust blown in the wind.”
Yesterday’s attack on Qana which killed 56 civilians, at least 37 children amoung them, got the UN and the US to talk about “ceasefire” instead of the previous hand’s off position held by the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Israel, besides the shelling and border clashes has flown over 5,000 aerial sorties against Lebanon in a military action which resulted in the fleeing/displacement of over 500,000 civilians. Civilians fleeing north have been mortared and killed, the crossing out of Lebanon into Syria has been bombed, the UN observers have been bombed, injured and killed including a dark comedy of 11 bombing strikes against a UN observation post which called six times to ask the Israeli forces to stop, before being fatally hit. There are estimated 750 Lebanese dead so far, mostly civilians.
While tens of thousands of elderly, women and children are trapped running out of food and water in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah continue to fire up to 150 Katyusha rockets into northern Israel with the sole intent of hurting someone Israeli. While not as efficient as the Israeli army, killing only 19 by rockets, they have injured over 1,200 civilians, leaving the 2 million civilians of Haifa (a favorite target) to crouch in bomb shelters. Israel responded by saying any village where rockets are launched will be totally destroyed which they have enacted in Operation Just Reward using cluster bombs in civilian Lebanese areas.
While Jordan and the Arab world have launched massive Aid campaigns for the displaced and bombed civilians of Lebanon (something the West still fails to consider), finding an unbombed airstrip or getting the humanitarian aid to the south remains difficult to impossible. According to the UN 750,000 Lebanese civilians are displaced in what US Secretary of State Rice says are merely "birth pangs of a new Middle East."
Last week I decided not to blog about Israel/Lebanon because it was a murky subject on which while I am confused everyone else has a strong opinion. On Saturday I changed my mind, because I realized that huddling terrified and feeling helpless is something I do know about. On one side we have a military force which, while trying hit guerillas, instead has become very good at killing civilians, particularly children. On the other side we have a guerilla group no less eager to kill, but lacking the technical ability to bring their desires to fruition. Between the two groups we have MILLIONS of people scared, displaced, houses bombed, friends and family injured or dead. It is not birth pangs, it is madness. When each side holds their justifications, desires and history strong enough to kill civilians indiscriminately rather than face changing their view about themselves or they people they attack, it is mental illness. Yes, I am naïve; a wide eyed idealistic but when I see two groups running around my neighborhood shooting machine guns through people’s homes in hopes of hitting each other do I need to know and weigh their every validation before deciding their reactions are disproportionate? Israel military policy and Hezbollah are both unwell; they are unable to control themselves and make rational decisions. They need help. And I wish the rest of the world would help them understand that.
1 day ago