Lefties have an obligation to recognise all attacks on civilians as crimes against humanity. In deploring what Israel is doing, I believe I have an obligation to tackle this question in a less than polemic manner.
Assuming Israel is not without rights in a situation where they continue to be targetted by homocidal maniacs, but also assuming that actions designed to (or recklessly likely to) exterminate civilians in reprisal are never allowable, what would be legitimate? I believe I may depart from many of Israel's detractors in this post, which I am writing entirely off-the-cuff as 'gut' analysis.
I welcome constructive elaboration.
1) Israel has the right to erect the wall, but on their own territory.
That's pretty self-explanatory. The current position of the wall makes it into a substantial land grab. I'm not going to enter the 'where's the border' debate here, but give or take a bit of thrashing you all know what I'm referring to. The left need to acknowledge that, leaving aside the land grab aspect, this wall has reduced suicide attacks and can therefore be justified as a defensive measure. However, see point 3) below.
2) Israel has the right to target those attacking them.
Some civilian casualties in these circumstances are inevitable. Although what is currently going on is clearly sledgehammer-swinging reprisal, it cannot be said that they can never take action that is aimed in good faith at directly hitting their protagonists that may also result in some civilian casualties.
Israel has, due to its experience and high expenditure on the military, an extremely capable air force and commandos as good as (or better than) the SAS, Delta Force and Spetznaz. It simply beggars belief that they could not attack their opponents with far more accuracy, if that was their aim.
In fact, their sprawling attack on Lebanon is a sign of weakness, because it suggests they really don't know where to start.
3) Israel may have a right to create buffer zones.
Let us assume that their attackers are too deeply embedded in civilian populations in Gaza and Southern Lebanon to be targetted without killing large numbers of civilians. It isn't reasonable in my view to simply make bland statements in relation to 'correct' borders and leave Israelis to suffer the consequences.
I have the same view regarding the Golan Heights- until Syria demonstrate that they are not a threat and won't revert to shelling Israel from that strategically advantageous piece of land, no-one can expect Israel to give it back.
It may have been a reasonable response that Israel would drive a few hundred metres, maybe even a couple of kilometres, into Gaza and Southern Lebanon and claim this as a buffer zone. If this was genuine then they would not populate it with 'settlers'.
Settler populations create 'civilian' targets and suggest that the land is intended as a national acquisition rather than a strategic buffer. However a short strip that could be watched and covered by anti-rocket missiles would appear to be justified.
Israel's reprisal slaughter will not win this for them. It is strategically foolish as well as being utterly and indefensibly illegal and immoral. There are other more nuanced steps they could have taken; instead, their conduct demonstrates that this is more about pure, vicious reprisal against civilian populations.
20 eyes for each eye, apparently.
Other lefties say...
If Western governments and leaders demand that the Muslim community do more to criticise “them”, it is not surprising that Muslims look askance when extreme disproportionate action by Israel, clearly involving collective punishment of whole civilian communities, is only met with minimalists murmurings of concern by the West, when Israel is clearly linked to “us”.Guy at Polemica:
Hezbollah is calling Israel’s bluff, continuing to attack Israel while estimating (probably accurately) that Israel is going to come off decidedly second-best in the public relation stakes, particular in relation to the other Arab nations in the region and the Palestinians.Shaun at LP:
Hezbollah cannot hope to win a war against Israel and it is unlikely that they even care.I must respectfully disagree; this flailing response shows that Hezbollah are winning. And they didn't exactly lose last time around.
Eric Lee on why the left should support Israel:
But while the West Bank remained relatively calm, and the Golan completely quiet, Israel suddenly found itself under attack from precisely those territories which it had evacuated. Let's be absolutely clear about the nature of the attack. It was not the case that some Palestinian "militants" (as the BBC calls them) seized one Israeli soldier near Gaza. Those same terrorists (let us call things by their right names), having interpreted the 2005 withdrawal as a sign of Israeli weakness, have been bombarding the western Negev desert for months with their Qassam missiles.OK Eric, but is slaughtering hundreds of civilians and destroying Lebanon from top to bottom the best response? One the left should, without reservation, support?
UPDATE: Israel are fine-tuning their targetting of terrorists:
Israel has extended its air campaign to northernmost Lebanon, killing at least 14 people, including nine soldiers, in the port of Abdeh near Tripoli.All terrorists! At least this should stop those pesky rocket attacks from Northern Lebanon.
Beirut's port and northern suburbs were also hit overnight. About 130 Lebanese have been killed since Israeli operations began on Wednesday.
....attacks on a border village killed seven Canadians of Lebanese origin who were on a family holiday.That will teach Canada to be soft on terror!