Today I have posted David Orchard's lament about the sordid situation on the Northern Israeli frontier. All around the world people share the opinion of Mr. Orchard as violence on this scale is impossible to accept for any civilised individual. Canadians are very divided over the issues of the Middle East and rightly should be, as Canada has since 1956, played an important role trying to produce some peaceful solution to the place where war is normal.
The more one learns about the roots of the conflict the more impossible the situation seems. My first lecture on the topic was as a grade five kid in my class, attempting to explain what it was about and I must say that lecture was about as successful as every peace effort in the region.
Though nothing should ever be considered futile, you have to look at some simple facts. Israel had its northern villages attacked continuously from the time it became a country in 1948 until now. In order to give some security to the region they invaded the area several times. In order to give civil war torn Lebanon a chance to get a hold of its sovereignty the Israelis agreed to withdraw from Lebanon and a 2,000 man United Nations force was put in place to ensure that Israel pulled out and that the Hezbollah disarm and the Lebanese arm regain control of their territory.
When Hezbollah launched a raid into Israel capturing two soldiers, the situation clearly established that the UN force was a failure, the withdrawal was a failure and much more blood would have to be shed.
Just consider for a minute how insane that last statement of mine really is; "much more blood would have to be shed." Outrageously fatalistic and yet completely realistic. The Hezbollah is the de facto government of Southern Lebanon and their action was a clear act of war.
Many state that the Israel response to the kidnapping and raid by Hezbollah was disproportionate. When it comes to war, killing and crippling, creating casualties military and civilian, is there any response that would considered appropriate? Is there some code that says a little killing and kidnapping is okay?
It is the responsibility of a government to protect its people, if it does not act as forcefully as possible it is merely inviting further attacks on its people.
The merits of the plight of the people of Palestine seem to come up in discussions about this century long conflict, but at what point must the world and the neighbours of these conflicting people, accept some responsibility for failing time after time to improve the general conditions of the displaced people and yet what we see is that they are used time after time as pawns, to be used as victims in a struggle that will not end.
In the summer of 2006 there was yet another war begun in the Middle East, like the ones before, it will draw the world into its convolutions and many will have to suffer the anguish of witnessing violent death, most of the dead will be non-combatants, people caught in the midst of a conflagration. Iran is supplying, with Syria, the weapons and encouragement for Hezbollah to die for a worthless cause and the United States will be ready to sell more weapons to the Israelis when they deplete their arsenal of artillery shells and Snake eye bombs. The world will go on and this will happen yet again and again. There is no reason for the conflict to end when it is in the interest of so many for it to be a continuing festering wound among the people of this planet.