Thursday, August 03, 2006

My First Guest Blogger: Davenelli on Israel v. Lebanon

I am proud to introduce my first guest Blogger, Davenelli!  Davenelli, of The World According to Davenelli, chose to write on the current conflict between Israel and Lebanon, as well as the United State’s present hands-off approach to the conflict.

While it should be noted that the views of the author are not necessarily the views of the site, and in this case they certainly aren’t the views of the site, the post is brilliant, thought provoking, and well worth a read. I have strong views on the conflict, and wound up having them challenged by this post.

Finally, note that I will write a counter-point to this, but not for at least 12 hours, so people can write their own opinions without being influenced by mine. Readers, enjoy this; Davenelli’s writing is truly a treat, and I’m extremely happy to host it.  Without further ado, Davenelli:

Davenelli’s Take on Israel V. The Lebanon 2006

I would like to start this piece by saying thank you to Scott for trusting me with the task in hand. I would also like to make it clear from the outset that I write this article without an “agenda”. I am merely providing comment on a current event which causes me concern. I believe that each and every human is equal and deserves the right to live in peace.

The politics of the middle-east are complex to say the least. In putting this article together I have discovered myriad facts that I was previously unaware of. I have attempted to lay these out as simply as possible to assist understanding. It was important to review the history of the area in order to clarify the situation; I hope I have achieved this.

Whilst I have endeavoured to ensure the accuracy of this article I am no expert in middle-eastern affairs so one or two errors may remain. If this turns out to be the case then I offer my unreserved apologies. As for a solution, I’m not sure that I have one. Suffice to say that I don’t believe that things can continue as they are.

We, the west, are currently standing by whilst Israel attempts to bomb the recently reconstructed Lebanon back to the Stone Age. For me this hands-off approach is wholly wrong and morally reprehensible. Bold words I’m sure you will agree but let me explain my reasons for these feelings.

The current dispute was triggered by the kidnap of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah guerrillas. In response to this incident the Israeli government partook in some sabre rattling before launching ferocious air strikes against The Lebanon. Whilst this has been going on Hezbollah has predictably reacted in kind by launching counter strikes into Israel. Confirmed casualties as of today (2 August 2006) Israel 36 soldiers plus 19 civilians = 55. Lebanon 750 dead, the majority civilians, of which The UN estimate that at least one third are children. In addition The UN estimates that 900,000 (25%) Lebanese citizens have been displaced by this conflict. To put that figure in perspective 900,000 is approximately the population of Miami & Seattle combined (source US census 2000). At which point does the west decide that enough is enough?

Whilst I sympathise with the captured Israeli soldiers and their families I feel that the innocent people of The Lebanon deserve the majority of my sympathy. Two soldiers on border patrol were aware of the risks involved in their duties. The Lebanese people however do not deserve the wrath that continues to rain down on it. Especially as it is freely acknowledged in the corridors of power that Hezbollah is sponsored by not The Lebanon but actually Syria & Iran.

As I am sure you are all aware until recently Ireland (my neighbour) was involved in a bloody civil war and continues to exist under partition to this day. For me the ongoing Israeli offensive would be the equivalent of Great Britain deciding to bomb Dublin because of the existence of The Provisional Irish Republican Army. This is clearly wrong.

As a decent human being I was appalled by the outrage that took place at The World Trade Centre 11th September. I was therefore not surprised by George W’s decision to wage a “War on Terror” in the immediate aftermath. I have however always had reservations about the manner in which it was to be executed (oops bad choice of word).

To understand the lack of action so far we should examine the perceived status of Hezbollah. Israel and George W. routinely state that they are a terrorist organisation. Both seem to have lost sight of the fact that sixty years ago the founding fathers of Israel were also considered to be terrorists. Likewise a mere twenty years ago Nelson Mandela was viewed as being nothing but an incarcerated kaffer terrorist. Now he is one of the most respected statesmen in the world, and rightly so.

For those who are not aware Israel came into being when Britain handed control of Palestine over to the UN in 1947. The UN then decided to partition Palestine creating separate Jewish & Arab states. The conflict between the sides began almost at once and continues to this day fuelled by fear and paranoia on both sides. Each believes that the other will not rest until they have been driven to extinction.

Now this may well be the case but after sixty years of bitter and often bloody conflict you’d think one or two lessons would have been learned. My point is simply that things change. Whilst the west may not currently accept the aims of Hezbollah, and to be honest I’m not even too sure what they are, I am not bold enough to denounce them out of hand.

From the outside looking in on this one my own opinion is that the USA & Great Britain have consciously decided to look the other way and allow Israel to act with impunity. Perhaps the Israeli goal suits their aims for the Middle East.

Certainly the fact that Israel is the number one customer for American arms sales must assist in this respect. However it is worth noting that Israel has a habit of “reverse engineering” the technology it purchases. These weapons have subsequently been sold on to, amongst others, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, China, Burma, Zambia and ironically enough the South Lebanon Army. (Source Jonathan Reingold from Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute)

As the US has provided Israel with $64billion in aid since the formation of the nation I’m sure they could apply some pressure to the Israeli government. Perhaps suggest that all future aid payments are dependent on them learning to play nice with the other kids. In the current financial year Israel has enjoyed a “hand-out” from the US which is the equivalent of $11,000 for each man, woman & child in their country.

I hope that you have learned something from this article. I also hope that you take the time to consider the content before replying rather than just providing knee jerk responses like f*** the terrorists.

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Posted by Scottage at 11:14 AM / | |