The violence in the Middle East rages on, with both Israel and Hezbollah issuing punishing attacks on the other resulting in an appalling amount of civilian deaths. The blood-letting has been horrific. What's taking place in Israel and Lebanon hardly seems believable, and diplomacy at this point seems but a distant possibility. The question remains: how long will this senseless carnage last, and is there truly an opportunity to somehow reach a meaningful and sustainable cease-fire followed by a lasting peace between the combatants?
I'm an optimist, and I'd like to think that someday Israel and its Arab neighbors will have a peaceful co-existence. But the war that Israel fights today is a war like no other, and it has grave consequences. To those who've vilified Israel for its "disproportionate" "over-reaction," please consider the words of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah:
"There is no solution to the conflict in this region except with the disappearance of Israel. ... Peace settlements will not change reality, which is that Israel is the enemy and that it will never be a neighbor or a nation...Peace will not wipe out the memory of the massacres it has committed ... And on this last day of the century, I promise Israel that it will see more suicide attacks, for we will write our history with blood." (December 31, 1999)
How does a sovereign nation "appropriately" defend itself against an enemy whose sole purpose for existence is to wipe it off the face of the Earth? How do we begin to suggest to Israel what a "proportionate" reaction might have been to Hezbollah's act of war when it crossed Israel's borders to kill and capture Israeli soldiers? To the almost non-stop Hezbollah missile attacks Israel's endured since it withdrew from Southern Lebanon in 2000? How does a sovereign nation attempt diplomacy and a negotiated peace with a blood-thirsty, hate-engorged enemy that says there's no peace ever to be had? In the face of such defiant, incendiary rhetoric--which for years has been accentuated with non-stop violence--can someone, anyone, please tell me just what the "proper" Israeli response is supposed to be?