Time out

07.30.06

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.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Michael 07.31.06 at 5:55 PM

Qana was not a blunder. People were warned to leave. 40 rockets were fired from that location. It is unfortunate, but nothing to apologize for.

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