Bridges were destroyed, the Israelis said, to prevent the kidnappers removing the soldiers deeper into Lebanon, although why hardened Hizbullah fighters could not simply stroll across the water-free bridge was not clear. The raid last week on the power plant in Gaza would kind of suggest that there is an element of revenge rather than prudent self defence. Gaza has the highest birth rate in the world, I think. These helpless children are going to grow up. They will be angry, not fearful.
The new Israeli leader is having a baptism of fire and is struggling as to how not to turn into another Sharon. The presently hospitalised Sharon was barred, at first, from holding office, by his own people, because he had allowed the massacres of thousands of Palestinians in 82 in Beirut. The Israelis do not defend the Palestinians with a great deal of vigour, normally, so it seems likely that he had been clearly and demonstrably in the wrong. He was rehabilitated as the "Bulldozer".
Now, I never knew whether this referred to his impressive size, or to his method of negotiating with the Palestinians. The way the Jewish people were removed from Gaza, as compared to the rather more robust demolition of homes of the Palestinians near to Israel, made independent observers wonder if he was being altogether fair.
Some months ago I saw an Israeli Major being interviewed by Channel 4 news. She seemed a very assured, highly intelligent spokesperson, clearly chosen for her looks and obvious poise. She was, however, struggling to explain how the children that had just been machine gunned by a tank, had posed a threat to one of the best trained and equipped armies in the world.
Jon Snow, the anchor, was allowing this clearly very capable soldier to hang herself, as only he can do. It was something like.."Is this....is this (shakes his head sadly)..why you... (looks ,waits, picks up pen).. joined.. the Israeli army....to...to machine gun.. (raises his pen hand )...children to death...(looks up, waits)... using tanks?" What do you say? No? Yes? Nothing was the reply. This was wise. She knew Snow would have made the tank seem an easy option if she had answered. She clumsily pretended her ear piece needed adjusting.
The next night, there she was again, Snow again carving her up "Are you..are you (shakes head sadly)..eager to get up in the morning to ..to ( waits, pen ready, looks up)...support actions like this?" I then felt panic. I wanted him to stop. The Israelis had just splattered a quadriplegic in the middle of a crowded plaza.
They can cross continents to kidnap Nazis. I remember the celebration in my home when they got Eichmann. They can go to Africa and pull off spectacular rescues of hostages from horrible dictators. No argument. But they can also lift peaceful people in London, like Vanunu and our authorities do nothing to prevent them.
So what happens now in the area, now that Sharon is gone and Hamas is in power in the Palestinian community? What example are we giving? The Israelis will take comfort from us 'intervening' in Iraq and will smile when the Brit Government calls for restraint. Balance? The total number of deaths globally, due to Muslims, of whatever hue, is thousands, whereas recently so-called Christians have killed a hundred thousand in Iraq alone. However violence from war is just a small issue.
Ghandi said that poverty is the most extreme form of violence. Our sacking of the resources of the world is going to ensure this poverty will continue and as we become richer we seem to need even more. The fact that Israel is, in many people's eyes, merely the guard dog of the west, ensuring the oil will flow and keep us pampered, will not matter to alienated and humiliated Muslims. They see Israel as the main enemy. This is wrong. Arafat was more accurate, when he called Israel, "America's spoilt child."
It is the west that set up and financed Israel and the west that must sort the situation. More to the point, we can. Instead of giving each Israeli a thousand dollars a year to buy weapons, as the US does, why not give them a thousand each to buy a semi-detached home. On condition, of course, that the other half is given to a Palestinian family, financed similarly. My guess is that you would be unlikely to bulldoze a home if you lived in the other half, similarly, you would not allow militants to fire rockets from your home, if you heard them exploding next door.
Peace to all..especially those who need it most.