In his August 15 column for the South Florida Jewish Journal, our friend J. Zel Lurie reveals an expected turn in his thinking. This war has done that for a number of stalwart peaceniks, among whom Zel has always been counted.
I find myself in an uncomfortable position. I am supporting the government of Israel in its difficult war against the katyusha-firing Hezbollah, an action that is foreign to my dissident soul. I haven’t supported the government since [the time that] Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.
I have willy-nilly joined with the vast majority of Jews in Israel – 93 percent according to Tel Aviv University’s Peace Index [conducted July 31 and Aug. 1] – who view the campaign in Lebanon as justified….
I am uncomfortable because my good friends, the majority of the Jews and Arabs who live in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, are on the minority side. On Saturday evening, August 4, many of them trooped down to Tel Aviv to participate in a large protest march….
“At the demonstration,” one NSWAS resident reported, “some, like Yael Dayan called to “END THIS JUST WAR, but the majority called to “just end the war.” Based on our experience as a bi-national community, we join those who call for an immediate end to the violence, as well as a determined effort to address the focus of the conflict. Without the latter, we will be needing that banner again in future years, long before the colors fade.”
Gush Shalom, which publishes an ad every day in Ha’aretz, put the case for negotiations succinctly. The ad for August 8 was three sentences;
“This war is against Hezbollah. The cease-fire must be with Hezbollah. A settlement without Hezbollah and Syria will not be worth the paper it is written on.”
… I would add Iran to the equation. Hezbollah fighters were trained by Iranian Shiite officers. Hezbollah arms come from Iran and Syria. Hezbollah hospitals were built by Iran. Most important, Hezbollah started the war at the direction of Iran to take the heat off its nuclear ambitions.
Hezbollah… doesn’t give a damn about the destruction of Lebanon’s civil society, Hezbollah, acting as Iraninian proxies, will find excuses to delay and postpone a cease-fire until it has fired its last katyusha.
My friends, the Jews and Arabs of NSWAS, are appalled at what the katyushas have done to northern Israel and at what Israeli bombers have done to Lebanon. End the war now, they say. Withdraw from Lebanon…. My friends, the Jews and Arabs of NSWAS, are wrong.
What would happen if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Kadima and Defense Minister Amir Peretz of Labor followed their advice? What would happen if they withdrew from Lebanon without the assurance that the Hezbollah militia would be disarmed in accordance with the two-year-old Security Council Resolution 1559?
What would happen is that Iran would rearm Hezbollah with new and better missiles. More powerful missiles that could be precisely targeted, for instance on the oil tank farm in Haifa Bay, or might carry gas and biological weapons.
Israel cannot live under this threat. That is why the war must continue until Hezbollah is defeated, or as Condi Rice said, “’a sustainable cease-fire” can be achieved.
This war is a continuation of Israel’s War of Independence. Once more Israel is fighting those who openly declare their objective to wipe out Israel.
The casualties in 1948 were catastrophic. One percent of the population, 6000 young men and women were killed. Now the population has grown ten times; the army is much better armed and more cautious.
And in the words of my Israeli granddaughter: “Why doesn’t the world see how humanitarian we are, sending messages to civilians to leave before we bomb while the Hezbollah fire katyushas to kill Israeli civilians including Israeli Arabs.”
I hope Israel will fight on until Hezbollah is permanently defeated, until the hypocritical members of the UN Security Council take steps to implement their two-year-old resolution calling for disarming the Hezbollah militia.