July 17, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
Maybe it's just all the movies I've watched growing up, but I have this crazy belief that "good guys" are supposed to prioritize saving innocent lives over just about everything else. If the "bad guys" are threatening to kill fifty people, the good guys have failed their at their job if they kill a hundred people while trying to kill the bad guys. They're just not supposed to do that.

Of course, the real world is more complex than the world in the movies, and the situation in the middle-east, involving Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon is a great example of how complex a conflict can be.


If you read this history of the Israeli/Lebanese conflict, you'll see that Lebanon, after pressure from anti-Israeli groups back in 1969, signed an agreement which allowed the southern portion of Lebanon to be used by Palestinians guerillas. These guerillas wanted a strategic position from which to attack Israel, resulting in decades of conflict, and the death of many civilian lives.


So what started the Israeli/Palistinian conflict? Read all about it. And make sure to check out the timeline as well. The history of current conflict dates back to 1917, so there's a bit of reading to do if you're unfamiliar with it all. Much of the conflict revolves around ownership of religious sites, such as the Wailing Wall, and the Temple Mount. It appears as though a large part of the problem is that key portions of the land were given to Israel by the International community, resulting in Arab anger and retaliation. The fact that many of the surrounding nations are Islamic certainly didn't make many friends for Israel in the midst of the conflict.

... which brings us to today.

Hezbollah (Lebanese Government)

The situation in Lebanon, as Israel attacked the Palestinian guerillas (often killing civilians, which is always a problem), ended up creating Hezbollah, a Muslim political and military group determined to rid itself of Israeli aggression. Hezbollah came into power as a natural outgrowth of the conflict. Not only did they feel a particular religious claim to key sites in Israel/Palestine, they also felt that Israeli is an enemy of Allah -- in their eyes, who else would seize holy lands? Keep in mind that if Lebonese citizens did not feel threatened by Israel, there would be no support for a group with such an overt anti-Israeli agenda. As it is now, most of Lebanon supports Hezbollah and views it as a legitimate political group, responsible for (in the eyes of Lebanese people) protecting the land from Israeli aggression, and for the building of school and hospitals... and easily follow in Hebollah's primary objective: the destruction of Israel and the return of the land to the Palestinians.

Hamas (Palestinian Government)

Time goes on, and Hezbollah trains Hamas. In the same way that Hezbollah turned the Lebanese people against Israel by asserting the blame of innocent civilians on Israeli military activity, Hamas has been trained by Hezbollah to send the same message to Palestinians, which is exactly how Hamas got into power. The Palestinian people saw their schools and homes destroyed by Israeli firepower, and their natural response was to side with anyone who promises to protect them, and to give them back possession of their land.

Complex, no? On the one hand, we have Israeli military action which has killed thousands of civilians (150 civilians dead in the first 6-days of Israel's current bombardment of Lebanon), which is hardly justified - the life of two soldiers captured by Hezbollah cannot possibly be equated with the life of 150 civilians. On the other hand, we have Hezbollah, now equipped with powerful weapons (having recently downed an Israeli F16 fighter jet and gun boat), which has worked hard to create an anti-Israeli atmosphere in both Lebanon and in Palestine, and had made it a part of their agenda to train suicide bombers to kill innocent Israelis.

In the end, there are no good guys. There are only men with weapons in one group, and civilian casualties in another.

On a positive note, Syria is currently waiving visa requirements for entry and offering passage for American and other foreign civilians fleeing Lebanon. They have stated that civilian foreigners will have "safe haven from the barbaric and atrocious acts of the Israel... army in Lebanon." Whether you consider Syria foe or friend, Syria's focus on civilian lives cannot go unmentioned.

UPDATE: While the posts from the angry arab are generally more inflamatory and sarcastic than I appreciate, this post is particularly provactive. He received pictures from Hanady Salman, an editor at As-Safir in Beirut. Here's the text from his message:

Dear friend, Hanady Salman, an editor at As-Safir in Beirut, sent more pictures (some are above), with the following message:

"Dear all,

Some of these pictures are very strong.I can not confirm reports talking about the use of unconventional weapons , but for those of you who dare to look, you will notice the nature of wounds and burns is not very "familiar". Today the Israeli government said its "operations" will not end before at least one week. People are afraid the next few days will be worse than the past ones. They're expecting that as soon as the evacuation of the foreigners will be completed, the israelis will have a "freer" hand. So, the fleeing was at its atmost today. The people who were trying to flee the south and managed to get out of Saida were traped and killed when the Rmayleh bridge was air bombed. Tyre witnessed more raids and massacres today , but tens of people are still under the "remains of their former houses"....
Greetings ,
Hanady Salman"
np category: politics


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