Thursday, August 03, 2006
O.K., we'll stop the slaughter for a couple days -- just kidding! Thanks, I'll be here all week! Or maybe two or three . . .
That might as well have been what Olmert said to Lebanon this week:
"On Monday, the first day of a temporary suspension of Israeli airstrikes, dozens of people emerged, squinting in the searing sun at a scene of destruction so complete that they barely understood what they were looking at. Their town had been crushed, its very heart torn out and pulverized into a chalky dust.
. . . . . . . ."
For Lebanese, Calm Moment to Flee Ruins
And then . . .
"As Israel poured soldiers and artillery shells into southern Lebanon, it vowed Monday to press ahead with its war on Hezbollah and made a number of airstrikes after promising a 48-hour pause in its air campaign.
“The fighting continues,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. “There is no cease-fire, and there will not be any cease-fire in the coming days.”
Israel promised Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday that it would halt air operations for two days, except to respond to “imminent threats,” like rocket-launching teams, and to support ground forces.
Ms. Rice said she had accepted Israel’s explanation for resuming airstrikes barely 12 hours after the suspension was announced.
. . . . . . . .
Meanwhile, Hezbollah held its fire, with the Israeli Army counting only three mortar shells landing in Israel on Monday and no rockets, compared with a record 156 rockets launched on Sunday and about 100 daily before.
. . . . . . . ."
Israel Pushes On Despite Agreeing To Airstrike Lull
"We cannot be expected to negotiate or discuss anything else while the ruthless, pitiless sword of the Israeli war machine continues to drip with the blood of innocent women and children." -- Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, at the UN
See! You can't negotiate with these "terrorists"! A ceasefire won't do any good! Um, no -- they're simply saying that if you stop bombing us, we'll talk. (Seems pretty reasonable to me.) Israel stopped, and Hezbollah stopped. That very brief ceasfire could have lasted -- but obviously Israel didn't want that, because then when they started bombing again they would naturally look like the aggressor; better just to keep the bombs falling -- that way you can still claim to be "defending yourself" against the Hizbollah rockets.
What pisses me off most about the news reporting on this crisis is how fast history gets revised. It's almost universally reported now (even on Air America at times) that Israel was "attacked" by Hezbollah and "responded" in order to "defend itself." Ed Schultz is constantly yelling about how "Hezbollah was launching rockets into Israel -- what the heck is Israel supposed to do, anyway? What would YOU do?" Etc. Yes, it's true that Hezbollah "started it" by killing a few Israeli soldiers and capturing two others. Which side of the border it was on (which is important) is unclear; but in any case that was (at least ostensibly) the provocation that Israel was responding to. (Though, again, it has been documented that Israel was looking for an excuse to invade anyway. But put that aside.)
However: when you hear reporters talking about Israel "responding" to the rocket fire, they're quite simply lying. All this started because of the capture of TWO FUCKING SOLDIERS -- after which Israel began air strikes, and Hezbollah responded in kind (if by "in kind" we mean "with puny rockets, rather than F-16's, bombs weighing several tons, hellicopter gunships, tanks, guided missiles, and quite possibly chemical weapons").
In short, YES Israel was provoked. But if you think that justifies killing hundreds of innocent women, children, and elderly people (not to mention "military-aged males," who are all cynically presumed to be "militants") -- you are quite simply deranged. All of this could have been prevented with a prisoner swap. (It's estimated that as many as 20,000 Palestinians have been rotting in Israeli jails for years -- but I guess that's not "kidnapping.") Furthermore, Israel didn't even TRY to negotiate, to work with the Lebanese government, or U.N., or the European Union, or even the U.S. -- let alone with Hezbollah.
So, yes, I condemn both sides for the unnecessary killing. But I'm not going to support this senseless destruction and slaughter just because the perpetrators happen to be Jewish.