A Proxy War: The Israeli-anti-Israeli Debacle
The past few days have witnessed continued bombings and tit-for-tat between the IDF Hezbollah’s militants in Beirut.
My friend Lebanon Profile is currently in Beirut and has been writing extensively on the day to day events. Hezbollah unleashed its biggest and deadliest missile in to Israel today killing eight people in the major port city of Haifa. The Israeli cabinet decided to immediately step up their military campaign in order to drive Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon.
Israeli defense minister Amir Peretz stated that, “for those who live in the Hezbollah neighborhood in Beirut and feel protected – the situation has changed.” The crisis has showed no signs of abatement or de-escalation – it has been progressively exacerbating.
Amr Moussa, the current Secretary-General of the League of Arab States stated that the Middle East process is ‘dead.’ The situation is a complete catastrophe for the region.
The IDF has claimed that rockets fired in to Israel have been built by the Syrians and the Iranians (the recent missile fired on Haifa was allegedly a Syrian-produced model of a Iranian Fajr-3). If credible evidence ascertains such claims this would open a new chapter in the history of the region. Syria has been suspected in former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s death in 2005 and Iran has been unsuccessfully pressured by the international community to halt its uranium enrichment program.
If Syria and Iran are implicated, this would be a great opportunity for the US to intervene. Despite the shortcomings in Iraq, the US still has its eyes set on Iran and Syria. Both countries have caused trouble for Israel and they’ve maintained a hard-line attitude towards the West and Ahmadinejad of Iran has been notorious for using ranting rhetoric.
The situation in Lebanon has been disheartening and has cast a dark shadow over the future of security in the Middle East as well as any chance of establishing a Palestinian state. As the situation continues to exacerbate, more refined observations began to surface:
1. The rhetoric exchanged between Israel and Hezbollah has proven that a ceasefire can only take place if a mutual agreement is to be arranged (i.e. exchange the soldiers for prisoners)
2. Sectarianism has become more prominent among Lebanese political factions with a formidable size of the population supporting Hezbollah’s retaliatory attacks against Israel
3. As per Moussa’s statement during the recent Arab League meeting, any chances of peace in the Middle East have been curtailed and possibly rendered merely a fantasy
4. Arabs across the Middle East are frustrated of their respective government’s apathy and nonchalance towards Israeli aggression. Regardless of the peace treaties, Egyptian and Jordanian citizens (for example) express agony and anger towards the Israelis yet their governments cannot take hard-lined decisions towards the situation (vis-à-vis Iran which saw Ayatollah Khomeini praise Hezbollah’s resistance).
5. Pan-Arabism has failed in 1960s and the current situation has revealed its absolute fantasy – it will never work.
What should an Egyptian/Palestinian/Jordanian think of this situation? These are some of the sentiments:
1. Anger towards Israeli aggression
2. Anger towards Hezbollah’s hastiness and irresponsibility
3. Anger towards the destruction of Lebanon
4. Anger towards Arab reaction
5. Disappointment of Arab response
6. Anger towards historical negligence of the Palestinians by the Arabs
7. Anger towards viewing the Palestinians as a liability among certain Arab governments
8. Anger towards Islamic extremism, fanaticism and fascism
9. Approval of general European government opinion (i.e. France, Russia and EU) towards Israeli aggression
10. Disgust towards the US’ laissez-faire attitude with a disregard to Lebanon’s destruction
11. Approval of the G8’s stance on the situation
A ceasefire HAS to take in to effect to give both sides ample time to think and resort to the negotiating table. Prisoners must be returned from both sides and Israel needs to halt its aggressive and unilateral approach to the problem as it has so far achieved absolutely nothing.