Posts Tagged ‘qana’
- The London Times reports that Iran is trying to mine Uranium in Africa, with the goal of importing it to make, well, I’ll give you three guesses. (Via IrisBlog).
- Related to the above, Mark C. at Daimnation links to this excellent editorial in the New York Times by a French writer explaining the existential threat to Israel that made the Lebanon war necessary. (Link requires registration).
- The big story making the rounds online, of course, is about the doctored Qana photos, a story that LGF has been all over for a couple of days now. Allison links to Reuters’ (belated) response to this fiasco. (My personal opinion? While I’m sure Reuters will end up with some egg on their face over this one, it won’t be nearly enough, and in fifty years people will still be quoting some of the exaggerations from Qana as fact, just as they’re still quoting the exaggerations from Deir Yassin today. And you know what else? I can’t even bring myself to get worked up about it, because symbols last longer than facts in any case, and innocent civilians were killed in Qana, and even though Hezbollah is deliberately doing much, much worse on a daily basis, the focusing on the conspiracies and exaggerations is going to ring hollow no matter what. But I’ve ranted about this already, so I’ll leave it at that for now.)
- And while the attention of the world is focused on Israel and Lebanon, things in Sri Lanka are getting worse. But is anyone noticing? When will 15,000 people will turn up in downtown Montreal to protest this war? (Oh, right, that’s just reserved for wars they can blame on the J-E-W-S).
On that note, time for bed.
This piece by Jerusalem-based writer Naomi Ragen has been making the rounds online. I expect it will show up in my e-mail inbox about a dozen times over the next few days:
Please remember this when you hear about the “atrocity” of the Israeli bomb that killed many civilians in Kafr Qana, a place from which Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel. Unlike previous administrations, Mr. Olmert has my respect when he says: “They were warned to leave. It is the responsibility of Hezbollah for firing rockets amid civilians.”
Terrorists and their supporters have lost the right to complain about civilian casualties, since all they have is one goal: this entire war is to target civilians. Every single one of the more than 2,500 rockets launched into Israel, is launched into populated towns filled with women and children. Just today, another explosive belt meant to kill civilians in Israel was detonated harmlessly by our forces in Nablus.
So don’t cry to me about civilian casualties. Cry to those using babies and wives and mothers; cry to those who store weapons in mosques, ambulances, hospitals and private homes. Cry to those launching deadly rockets from the backyards of kindergartens and schools. Cry to the heartless men who love death, and however many of their troops or civilians die, consider themselves victorious as long as they can keep on firing rockets at our women and children.
Everything Ms. Ragen says is right. But I think she’s wrong.
There are too many people in the world who can’t tell the difference between a legitimate democracy fighting for survival, and a terrorist organization trying to wipe a nation off the map. They draw false moral equivalences. They put on blinders. They say ridiculous things.
I refuse to be one of them.
Yes, it’s true that Israel is better than Hezbollah. Anyone with half a brain can see that. And it should be obvious. It should be a given. There are too many people in the world who don’t get that, but by arguing the point again and again, we’re giving them credence. It shouldn’t even be up for debate.
But here’s the thing: that’s not good enough.
Israel shouldn’t be content to simply be held to a higher standard than Hezbollah. Frankly, that’s not saying much, is it?
When Israel fights a war, I don’t need anyone to convince me that civilian casualties are anything other than a tragic an accident. I take that for granted, because I know Israel and I know the truth about this and any war that she fights. These are wars of survival, fought by people with faults but with the best of intentions: to protect the security of Israel.
I’ve decided there aren’t nearly enough West Wing references on this blog. So here’s a quote from Amy Gardner:
“Jed Bartlet: Not quite as mean-spirited as the other guy.” Doesn’t really send me running to my polling place.
Israel isn’t quite as mean-spirited as Hezbollah. Hezbollah wants to kill Israeli civilians. Israel doesn’t want to kill Lebanese civilians. I get it. But I’m not content to simply make that point. It doesn’t send me running to the polling place either, so to speak.
The point is, all of the above isn’t enough. Being “not quite as mean-spirited as Hezbollah” isn’t enough for Israel. Nobody who loves Israel should say otherwise. We can’t simply be satisfied with the knowledge that we’re on the side of the angels here. When a tragedy happens, like dead children in Qana, the only way to truly show love for Israel is to ask the tough questions and demand the tough answers and the soul-searching that comes along with it. That’s how a country grows: with openness and freedom and a lively exchange of debate. And with a constant striving to do better, to do what’s right, to face up to blunders and wrongdoings and claim not only the relative moral high ground, but the absolute moral high ground too.
And so, I maintain that Naomi Ragen is right about the facts but wrong in her sentiment. I demand more from Israel, because I love and respect it so much and I know we need to judge it by the standard that it deserves.
The Israeli blogosphere is already reacting to the Qana strike. Here is some of what is being said:
Allison smells a rat, sensing that not all is as it may seem:
I am waiting patiently for a logical explanation of how a building gets bombed between 12 midnight and 1 AM, remains full of people and then 7-8 hours later, collapses the next morning.
Dave asks the same question:
An IDF investigation has so far found that the building in Qana fell approximately eight hours after being hit by the IAF. Some possibilities being examined are:
Hizbullah explosives in the building were behind the explosion that caused the collapse The rickety building remained standing for a few hours, but eventually collapsed.
And for something a little different, Sarah talks about what it’s like to mingle at a singles event during a war:
Just before the meal started, someone dropped a box with something heavy, such as silverware, and it came down with a crash. Everyone from the north jumped about six feet. Talk about being on edge. I felt so bad for them.
Then, as the meal began . . . well, normally the conversation between singles goes like this:
What’s your name?
Where do you live?
What do you do?
But this time, it was:
What’s your name?
Where do you live?
How many rockets have you been getting?
How many minutes of warning do you get?
Talk about surreal.
Well, Sarah, you know what they say about relationships that begin under tense circumstances…
Israel has agreed to temporarily suspend aerial bombardment of Lebanon for 48 hours, to permit “investigation” of today’s strike that killed dozens of civilians, including an estimated 37 children:
“Israel deeply regrets, is greatly saddened, by this attack on innocent civilians in Lebanon. Israel takes full responsibility and is going to start an open investigation to find out how this happened,” government spokeswoman Miri Eisin said.
Of course, this is a unilateral move. And Hezbollah will merely use the respite to re-arm and re-group.
But never mind all that. Never mind that Hezbollah deliberately targets civilians, while Israelis do their best to avoid doing so. Never mind that Hezbollah’s tactics of using civilians as human shields are designed to lead to exactly this kind of disaster.
The point is, it happened. And Israel must hold itself to a higher standard than a terrorist group. The fact that most of the criticism of Israel is unfounded or exaggerated can’t allow us to hide from the fact that no nation is infallible.
The general sentiment in reaction to what happened in Qana is understandably defensive. After all, the Israeli army had dropped leaflets warning civilians to leave. Hezbollah was using the spot as a missile launch site. There is no doubt that there ought to be ample justification. And yet… none of that matters. And the sooner the spin doctors realize that images of dead children will negate all their efforts, the sooner everyone can get past denial and onto reality. Israel is going to take more of a punishment on this one than it deserves… but to claim that it did nothing wrong is to walk around with blinders.
I wish to G-d that this had never happened. But it did. And it frightens me, because when Israel is right, it already pays too heavy a price. But when Israel is wrong, her enemies have long memories. And while my support for Israel is unwavering as ever, I – along with most Israelis – will not try to justify this one. And I am scared that the price Israel will have to pay for this blunder will be wholly “disproportionate” in the true sense of the word.