What will you do for peace?
August 3, 2006
Dear Editor:Going back to the beginning of this terrible atrocity being enacted in Lebanon: Hezbollah militants entered Israel, ambushed an Israeli Defense Force patrol, killed at least one IDF soldier and captured two. Killing any human being is a crime. Hezbollah is guilty. Retaliation by Israel was to be expected, but the actual response is so enormously disproportionate to the offense it amounts, in my mind, to a war crime, a crime against humanity. Our administration’s refusal to demand an immediate ceasefire and Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon amounts to collaboration and a share in Israel’s guilt.Hezbollah offered to exchange the two IDF soldiers for Hezbollah militants held by Israel. Israel refused any exchange, demanded the release of the two soldiers and declared its intention to attack Hezbollah positions in Lebanon and to destroy them. I believe it was only then that Hezbollah fired rockets into Israeli territory.Israel claims the right to defend itself. Of course it has that right, but so far from being a “defense,” this action is so ferocious and so destructive, it can only be seen as a preemptive war against Hezbollah and a war to punish Lebanon for its inability to control Hezbollah.Proportionality is one criterion for judging the justice of a war. It is a simple concept that can be readily understood by considering these examples. One doesn’t crush a child’s fingers if it makes crayon marks on the wallpaper, or disown a son if he wrecks the family car.Israel is smashing Lebanon’s infrastructure, destroying homes, creating thousands of refugees, killing hundreds of non-militant citizens, wrecking Lebanon’s economy, and probably rendering its democratically elected government impotent, paralyzed. This is outrageously disproportionate to the offense. Israel’s actions are unjust and criminal.These actions do not lead to peace. Violence begets violence. Anger invites anger. War sows war, oppression begets resistance.”Everybody sees a difficulty in the question of relations between Arabs and Jews. But not everybody sees that there is no solution to this question, no solution! There Is a gulf and nothing can bridge it. We, as a nation, want this country to be ours; the Arabs, as a nation, want this country to be theirs.” – David Ben-Gurion, June 1919, as quoted in TIME, July 24, 2006.That is the problem and Palestine is the core.Peace can come only when the Israelis recognize the right of the Palestinians to a fair share of Palestine, and the Palestinians recognize Israel.Israel can begin the process by declaring a cease-fire, withdrawing from Lebanon, recognizing Hamas as the democratically elected government of the Palestinians, withdrawing from the West Bank, and entering into fair and honest negotiations with Palestine. Or do they really want peace?Peter LarroweEl Jebel