Saturday, August 19, 2006

What do the Israelis not understand about the words, "cease fire"?

Not even one week into the UN-engineered cease fire in Lebanon, the Israelis apparently can't seem to stop their aggression as they pull their troops back into Israel. While Hezbollah is already helping the Lebanese people to salvage and re-build their devastated communities, Israeli Defense Forces continue to blow things up. And the terrorists would be....?

Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold deep inside Lebanon Saturday, sparking a fierce clash with militants that killed one Israeli. Lebanon called the raid a "flagrant violation" of the U.N.-brokered cease-fire, while Israel said it was aimed at disrupting arms shipments from Iran and Syria.

Witnesses said Israeli missiles also destroyed a bridge during the raid in what would be the first such airstrike since the cease-fire took effect Monday, ending 34 days of warfare between the two sides.

Israel's month-long assault on Lebanon's burgeoning economy and infrastructure already had turned many, otherwise neutral Lebanese in favor of Hezbollah. Now, with Hezbollah's doling out repair money and Israel's continuing to shell Lebanon's countryside, is it any wonder that this conflict may have done more to hurt Israel's propaganda-driven cause than any other recent event? Hezbollah has come off looking like the good guys while the Israelis look, well, pathetic.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora called Saturday's commando raid a "flagrant violation" of the cease-fire, and said he would take the issue up with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Murr said the raid could spark Hezbollah retaliation, which in turn could lead to Israeli reprisals. He suggested Israel might be trying to provoke a response, so it could have an excuse to attack the Lebanese army. "We will not send the army to be prey in an Israeli trap," he said.

Under the cease-fire terms, Israel has said it will conduct defensive operations if its troops are threatened. But the raid took place far from positions of Israeli troops in southern Lebanon.

Given that most observers believe Israel was the big loser, both militarily and politically, in the conflict with Hezbollah, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised to see a desperate attempt by Israel to reclaim its self-styled "moral high ground". Even if it means creating smoke screens to justify further action. They've done it before. They'll do it again.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese people just want to get their lives back to normal. And the helping hand assisting in that effort appears to be that of Hezbollah. In the age-old tug of war between guns and butter, methinks the Lebanese choose butter. Hezbollah butter.


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