As a Jew, having known holocaust survivors who lost loved ones, partly because the Jews of Europe had nowhere to go, when all the world rejected their efforts to emigrate out of Germany and the nexus of Nazi danger, I see Israel as a place that must exist.
As a person, I am not a total peace activist. I supported the first gulf war and the incursion into Afghanistan.
I believe suicide bombing is not an acceptable means of protest or resistance and that any nation has a right to do what it must to prevent attacks on innocent civilians. That said, I think Israel has gone too far on multiple occassions, with military incursions into Gaza and other Palestinian areas.
I believe that Hezbollah's use of inaccurate Katyusha missiles that often hit civilian targets is unacceptable. They cannot justify what they have been doing for years.
Israel has a right, like any other nation would, to defend itself against such attacks. But no nation has the right to produce the vast destruction that Israel has wreaked upon both Lebanon and Gaza.
Hezbollah doesn't have the right to perpetrate its violence, destruction and death. Israel doesn't have the right to perpetrate its violence, destruction and death.
These destructors do not operate in a vaccuum. Hezbollah is encouraged and supplied by both Iran and Syria, for starters, and possibly other "benefactors" as well, since we know the Saudis have been generous to suicide bomber families. But, since the Saudis are Sunni, and Hezbollah tends to be Shiite, getting support from Shiite Iran, that may not be the case. The Saudis are mosltly known for supporting Sunni Hamas.
Israel's primary benefactor is the USA. This has been the case for decades, but since the appointment of George Bush as president, in 2000, the US mideast policy has changed to one of tough balance and nuanced, close contact, dialogue and "disciplined parenting," to a casual, detached, aloof, do-what-you-want attitude. Bush and his team have allowed Isreal to do whatever the hell it wanted to, emphasis on hell. There are a number of reasons for this. NEOCONs and AIPAC, fundamentalist Rapturists, Oil Companies,
There is a strong pro-Israel, AIPAC friendly lobby that is part of the right wing Neocon, PNAC (Project for a New American Century) inner circle. Some of these insiders are jews, others include Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Dan Quayle, Donald Rumsfeld, R. James Woolsey, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Gary Bauer, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Zalmay Khalilzad.... Read more about PNAC and see a more complete list here Both the NEOCONS and AIPAC support Israel, with some overlapping reasons but also for different reasons. The NEOCONS are imperialists who want to make sure that the US rules the world, in the process, taking out opposing governmental powers. This translates into hyperaggressive militarism, trumping up excuses to attack or make enemies of countries that don't meet the PNAC requirements, and that enable the US to demonstrate it's hegemony and power. Israel is a PNAC ally that allows the US to, by proxy, with heavy funding, do some of the dirty work that the PNAC wants done, but that would be awkward for the US to do. By Israel being a "bad boy" of terrorism fighting, going to enormous extremes in reacting to terrorist attacks, it sets extreme bounds for responses to terrorism, so, when the US does things that might ordinarily seem extreme, the US can refer to Israel's really, really extreme behavior. The US can hide behind these ridiculous bounds.
Then we have Israel's history. Israel took out Saddam's soon to become operational nuclear reactor, in Iraq, several decades ago. You'd think this would have caused universal outrage and consternation in the Arab/Muslim world. But things are never so simple in the middle east. This was a massive favor for Iran, Iraq's mortal enemy at the time. The Saudis were not very comfortable with Saddam either, and while I don't know for sure, I'd guess that the Kuwaitis, who were later attacked by Iraq, were also, probably relieved. I am sure that there are members of PNAC and AIPAC who would love to have Israel do a similar job on Iran's nuclear reactors. I am sure that deep within the pentagon, planners are working, on assignment from Rumsfeld, on attack strategies for an Israeli attack, aided secretly by US high altitude surveilance and sattelite data, on Iran's nuclear assets. Some may call these fantasies, but I'm guessing to others, they are hoped for steps that will become reality.
AIPAC is a PAC that supports Israel, by my perception, it supports the interests of right wing extremist, hawkish Israelis, primarily those influenced by fundamentalist, extremist ultra-orthodox Isrealis who don't even consider most of the Jews in the world to be real jews. These fundamentalist share some of the same interests that fundamentalist Christian Rapture, end-times believers have. They want increased conflict with Palestinians, with Hezbollah, would love to see Iran's nuclear facilities bombed, they love the destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure, since it has permitted Hezbollah to operate, and they would love to see the US come into the conflict by attacking Syria and Iraq. The rapture nuts and the ultra-orthodox jewish bomb Iran nuts both want to see things heat up a lot. But the rapture nuts are breathlessly, hearts-racingly waiting for the end times, to be followed by the destruction of one or two thirds of the rest of humanity, including the jews.
An old Twilight Zone TV story once told of aliens from another planet that came with a book, "To Serve Man," which made the people of earth feel good about these alien visitors. Thousands of humans went on the alien ships, only to learn that "To Serve Man" was a cookbook. It feels like the rapturist Christians have the same predatory eye upon Israel and its increased participation in conflict. They get anticipatory rapture orgasms as the conflict, the death, the destruction heats up. It's very disgusting.
Then we we have the Arab/Muslim world. While protesting Israels attacks, many are rejoicing that Hezbollah is actually doing something, standing up to Israel, throwing in some good licks, inflicting some damage and suffering. While Israel is inflicting its damage upon Lebanon, throughout the Arab world, mullahs are preaching and teaching how the whole western world is evil, now the US and its allies are backing Israel. They are using the suffering in Lebanon to preach their hate, their Islamfascist, imperialist ideas of Islamic world domination, or at least, the Islamic, Sharia driven leadership and control of the Arab-Islamic world. It's not like Israel has to do much to help them, For the past few years, the opinion most Arabs have had of the US has been very bad, with over 90% of them in many Arab countries already hating the US. Bush's Laisse Faire attitude and Condoleeza's long liesurely delay in going to the site of the conflict must surely be adding fuel to the fire of hate. Iran is the winner in this dimension of the dynamics. They get the pressure lifted off them as the world focuses on Lebanon, Israel and Gaza, and their surrogate-- Hizbollah-- gets street cred that they also benefit from.
Then there's Syria. They want their Golan Heights back, which they used to bombard Israel with routinely, before Israel took it from them. Syria is surely helping add fuel to the fire. My guess is that under it all, behind their protests, they're happy for what's being done to Lebanon, since it is making Israel look pretty bad and could translate into greater leverage for them in terms of getting the land they want back.
With so many parties benefitting from the conflict, it is no wonder that there is no simple solution, yet that is what are callilng for.