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October, 2006

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Hezbollah must be condemned for unnecessary war
Those who preach against Israel’s vigorous response to Hezbollah’s actions in July are forgetting some essential facts. Virtually unique in the world today, Israel is surrounded by nations and armed groups that deny its legitimacy and will do whatever is necessary to eliminate it or erode its security. When an armed group that has asserted its right to independent action in the context of a tenuous central force invades its neighbour, kills three soldiers and kidnaps two, that by all definitions, is an act of war. Did Israel use excessive force? Should it have negotiated with a group dedicated to its destruction? The resulting three weeks of armed conflict showed that it acted reasonably.

Hezbollah is a state within a state, armed, financed and supported by Iran and Syria. It has managed to stockpile huge numbers of rockets and missiles, build underground bunkers to conceal them, and integrate its offensive weaponry in populated areas both as subterfuge and to discourage Israeli retaliation.
Those who accept Israel — and many on the left will not — must accept that the rain of rockets Hezbollah unleashed over northern Israel demonstrates that the Jewish state, even with its powerful armed forces and huge arsenal, indeed faced an existential threat. Imagine the worst case scenario: acting independent of the legitimate Lebanese government, Hezbollah developed its missile capability to the point where it could target and strike Israel’s large petrochemical industry in Haifa. There is little doubt that, given radical Islam’s contempt for Jews and its hatred of Israel as an illegitimate intruder in an overwhelmingly Muslim area, Hezbollah would have gladly launched such an attack. It is only the inaccuracy of its rockets which prevented this nightmare scenario from developing and which limited civilian casualties in Israel proper.
In using its airpower to smash Lebanese infrastructure, Israel sought to limit casualties to its own forces, avoid a prolonged ground offensive, and still turn Hezbollah’s brazen and reckless action into a major international issue. In so doing, Israel has reportedly destroyed about half of Hezbollah’s long-range rockets and awakened it to a form of conflict different from the nation-to-nation battles of the past.
The words of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader and secretary general, must be taken seriously, we have always been told. He threatened to unleash rockets on Haifa and did. And after the cease-fire, he said that, had he known in advance of the force with which Israel would respond, he would not have ordered the abduction of soldiers. He also said he did not expect a second round of fighting and that his organization would not react to what he termed Israeli provocation.
In this continuing war by fire and rhetoric, the Hezbollah chief’s failure to claim victory underscores the fact that, though Israel was severely shaken, it was not defeated.
The world mourns the civilian victims on both sides. Their totally unnecessary deaths can only be attributed to that evil combination of fanaticism and adventurism which Hezbollah represents.


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