Friday, July 14, 2006

Israeli Military Action: Disproportionate Use Of Force Endangers Regional Peace

Following the Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers, Israel’s reaction in Lebanon has many wondering whether the retaliation is in proportion to recent events or is simply an excuse to make active a hidden agenda. Few would condone the actions of Hezbollah and the shadowy backing of the militant organisation by Syria and Iran is undoubtedly a major concern of the Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, but with more than 60 Lebanese dead and many more injured as a result of military strikes over the last two days, outsiders could be excused for wondering if this is just another example of Israel using an oversized hammer to shatter any regional opposition, whether real or perceived.

The US stands alone in its defence of the Jewish state, yet again vetoing a UN resolution calling for a halt to action in the Gaza Strip, with ten of the 15 Security Council nations voting in favour and Britain, Denmark, Peru and Slovakia abstaining. Russia and the European Union condemned Israel’s strikes in Lebanon, saying that it endangered the region and adding that the conflict in the region could escalate, while President Bush stated that “Israel has the right to defend herself”. France took a fair and balanced approach by condemning both the Israeli bombardment of Beirut airport and Hezbollah’s firing of rockets into northern Israel, which resulted in the death of innocent civilians, and called for “a return to reason by both sides”.

Are the events of the past week simply a result of months of simmering tension caused mainly by the threat posed by Hezbollah and the power it holds through the Lebanese, Syrian and Iranian governments? Or is this Israel capitalising on the on-going standoff between the US/UN and Iran over the nuclear issue? Or are there more sinister reasons, such as Israel and the US wanting an excuse to wage war against their many shared enemies in the Middle East?

Whatever the reasons, none of the participants appear to have the well-being of their respective civil populations at heart, with ideological politicians being the driving force behind irresponsible actions for which innocent people bear the brunt. The right-wing extremists in the various active factions have their own reasons, none of which seem to benefit anyone else but themselves.

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