Here are additional responses from leading Meretz activists. From Susie Becher, a member of the Meretz-Yahad party executive:
I have to say that I find the question irrelevant. Regardless of whether the Israeli Government was indeed responding to the border incident and the capture of the two soldiers or exploiting them as an excuse to try to eliminate Hezbollah, the fact is that its response was excessive, visceral, and – as it now appears – ineffective. After a month of fighting that left hundreds dead and paralyzed half the country, that highlighted the shameful inequality in the protection of Israel’s Arab population and exposed the socio-economic disparity that turned our northern cities into ghost towns inhabited only by the poor and elderly who lacked the means or the strength to relocate, we are doing what we should have done to begin with – negotiate.
While nothing comes close to the terrible price paid in the tragic and futile loss of human life, the erosion in Israel’s deterrent power is another worrisome outcome of this war. Not the deterrence lost by the success of the initial Hezbollah operation, but the deterrence lost through four weeks of military ineptitude, government indecision, and constantly changing objectives. No variation on the much-touted “we will win,” “we are winning,” and even “we won” will convince our enemies that Hezbollah did not bring the neighborhood bully to its knees.
The war has proven to be a military fiasco. Let us hope that the government wises up and uses the opportunity that has opened to turn it into a diplomatic success.
From Meretz-Yahad Knesset Member Chaim Oron (aka, Jumes):
I think that Israel has the right to act through self-defense in response to the Hezbollah attack on Israel. From the beginning of the war, Meretz called upon the Israeli government to reach an agreed cease-fire in which the kidnaped Israeli soldiers will be returned to Israel, the Lebanon army will be in charge in south Lebanon and all the terror acts will stop. This act should be parallel to accelerated political activity to achieve peace agreements with Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Authority. Meretz protested against a long war of attrition, drafting thousands of soldiers and expanding the ground activity in South Lebanon.
And from Mossi Raz, a former Meretz candidate for Knesset, a veteran organizer for Shalom Achshav and administrator for Givat Haviva:
Yes, I do accept the government assertion that the current Lebanon war is a response to the border incident. Yes, it does affect my view that the government overacted and caused many casualties on both sides.