Those are leaflets being dropped by the “disproportionate and indiscriminate” IDF warning residents of S. Lebanon villages to evacuate. Of course, Hizbullah fighters can also read which means that this advance warning to civilians puts IDF soldiers in greater jeopardy. Gosh, how disproportionate and indiscriminate!

Coming into this shabbat, many of Israel’s finest young men are probably headed into battle against a tough, well armed and dedicated enemy that has spent 6 years planning and preparing for precisely this type of warfare. That is one of the reasons Israel tried to conduct this war from the air. I’m sure these soldiers feel fear, but they also feel courage, are well trained and will be following in the footsteps of many Israeli soldiers who have fought bravely for Israel over the past decades. Like their predecessors, they have no choice but to win.

On this shabbat, let’s hope and pray Israel’s soldiers come home safely. Let’s hope and pray that civilians on both sides of the border remain safe and unharmed. And let’s hope that when this war concludes, Israel will find partners for peace so that this never-ending cycle of sending young men and reservists who are often fathers and husbands to war will end.

Shalom, among its other meanings, also means peace. Shabbat shalom to all.

(photo source)

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  • Mideast Youth, you are, I guess, quite youthful and in need of some seasoning. Your post is ridiculous.

    The point I am making is that they should and do strive to avoid as many civilian casualties as possible.

    Where are the civilians supposed to go? North of the Litani; away from their villages and particularly out of areas where Hizbullah forces have a presence of some sort – and yes, the villagers surely know considering how elaborate the tunneling systems are.

    Would you rather the Israelis didn\’t drop leaflets? Then you would accuse them of randomly attacking civilians. Would you rather they didn\’t attack at all? Then why aren\’t you writing posts about getting Hizbullah out of there?

    As for my statements about courage, are you suggesting they shouldn\’t be or aren\’t brave? Are you suggesting their predecessors weren\’t? Who knows, they might be or they might not be. I hope they are.

    As for your comment out of left field about soldiers\’ suicide rates, it appears they are in line with other young people in the same age groups who are civilians and correlate with rates in other countries. Sorry your positions don\’t bear out about that:

    Suicides among male soldiers were more common than among female soldiers, the IDF representatives said, noting also that there was a correlation between suicide rates among conscripts and citizens in the same age group. Suicide rates among youth in the Western world were similar to those found in the IDF, the sources said.

    The stupidest part of your comment, however, is the remark about how \\\”nice\\\” this looks to me. And how great it is to sit from a distance and encourage the fighting.

    Nice? Great? I realize you have an agenda but don\’t be daft. I don\’t want Israel in Lebanon at all. I don\’t want this war and I certainly don\’t want ground troops in there. As far as I\’m concerned Hizbullah should walk away tomorrow and we can all enjoy peace. Since they won\’t go away and since the air attacks have not destroyed them, it seems that Israel will either have to attack them from the ground or walk away from this war and watch them resume their buildup of 12000 rockets and missiles all pointed at Israel, with their incursions into Israeli territory at will. I don\’t care either way what Israel chooses to do because it is their choice and the choice of their elected leaders and military commanders. However, if they have chosen to go in there, you can bet they have my whole-hearted support, just as they do that of any person who values the continued existence of Israel and something like 80% of the Israeli public, many of whose kids, husbands and fathers are and will be fighting.

    Oh, and seriously, if you really want to talk about armchair generals, your friend Juan Cole can surely tell us all where bombs should drop and why and how Israel should fight this. Oh wait, he\’s too busy screaming hysterically about the lie that Israel wants \”ethnic cleansing\” in Lebanon.

  • Thanks CN. While the war here enjoys something like 81% popular support, we ought not forget the very human dimension of it. I don’t think anyone normal in Israel is pleased at the dammage caused to the Lebanese people and to otherwise innocent civilians. I know that given our druthers, we’d rather have peace any day than this insanity. Here’s hoping this war ends quicklly and that Lebanon is finally free from the Syrian/Iranian occupation that the continued presence of Hezbollah in the south represents.

  • Achtung terrorists! Come and get yours! We’ve got a whole bag full with your name on it, motherfuckers!

    “Now, off the coast of the sea, the warship which attacked … the southern suburbs … watch it burning and drowning.”

    Hezbollah! Long live the glorious resistance to the pariah settler/apartheid state! The destruction by rocket of the terrorist naval vessel blockading our coast won’t be your last surprise! This is true!

    “Hezbollah has so far stood fast, absorbed the strike, retaken the initiative and made the surprises that it had promised, and there are more surprises.”

    Yes yes, more surprises for the criminal oppressor and occupier. You will pay for your crimes–the apartheid wall, theft of the Golan Heights, and oppression against the people of Palestinian. Hezbollah resists and thwarts your terrorist aims; this is the reason behind your criminal assault on Lebanon. But your puny terror state’s days are numbered–That’s right! Six million criminals are no match for the united Arab population of the world, who rising up to bring justice to occupied Palestine. You’ll be sorry when Sheikh Nasrallah preaches from Al-Aqsa! Then you’ll be held accountable.

  • Hey Sheikh Nazzi Nasrallah! You are really frightening! I am sooo scared of you all the way out there in Allston, MA. Please don’t hurt me!

    ISRAEL SOLIDARITY RALLY, London, Sunday, 23 July

    The call at the rally will be for peace and an end to terror. Peace for Israelis and peace with Israel’s neighbours, but the terrorism has to end. Without a permanent end to terror there can be no peace because those who loudly and unashamedly call for Israel’s destruction have shown that both in word and in deed, they are committed to this end. They shall not succeed.

    Those who claim as martyrs for their cause the two little Arab Israeli boys that they themselves murdered in Nazareth show an utter contempt for the lives of innocents, a fact repeated again and again as Hezbollah fights from amongst the civilian population centres of southern Lebanon. They will not prevail.

    The British Jewish community mourns the loss of innocent lives in this present conflict and as we send a clear and unequivocal message of support to the people of Israel as they face the terrorists onslaught, Hezbollah stands accused. They, the people of Israel, will not be cowed and we are proud to call them our brothers and sisters.

    Jon Benjamin
    Board of Deputies of British Jews

    Solidarity Rally, 5-6pm, Sunday, 23rd July, at:
    JFS, The Mall, Kenton, HA3 9TE.
    For more information: contact 0207 543 0105.
    Email: [email protected]

  • This will be re-printed as a post:

    Thank you CN, that was a touching letter. Your writer’s questions are strong. How can Amos Oz claim that Israel is different a decade ago in a different war against the same country. How can he differentiate between the harm, killing and destruction of that war versus this one? After all, it is again Israel inside Lebanon and once again Lebanese are dying and watching parts of their country lie in ruins.

    I find the conclusion of the letter to be the most salient part:

    I have been touched by your words, Amos Oz, and so I will end this letter with those words that I hope will inspire you once again: “among the victims of the Lebanon War was ‘the Land of Israel, small and brave, determined and righteous.’ It died in Lebanon perhaps precisely because, in Lebanon, its back was not to the wall. After Lebanon, we can no longer ignore the monster, even when it is dormant, or half asleep, or when it peers out from behind the lunatic fringe. After Lebanon, we must not pretend that the monster dwells only in the offices of Meir Kahane; or only on General Sharon’s ranch, or only in Raful’s carpentry shop, or only in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. It dwells, drowsing, virtually everywhere, even in the folk-singing guts of our common myths. Even in our soul-melodies. We did not leave it behind in Lebanon, with the Hezbollah. It is here, among us, a part of us. That which you have done-whether it be only once in your life, in one moment of stupidity or in an outburst of anger-that which you were capable of doing-even if you have forgotten, or have chosen to forget, how and why you did it-that which you have done and regretted bitterly, you may never do again. But you are capable of doing it. You may do it. It is curled up inside you.”

    I think a key phrase there is “backs against the wall.” This is not like 1985 in Lebanon or 1987 or 1999. This is 2006 and the world, as well as Israel’s situation, have changed.

    A couple of days ago Ted Koppel published an op-ed in the NY Times (you can find it in the Times Select section) entitled “Look What Democratic Reform Dragged In.” I think he articulates the case very well that in essence what we have on our hands in the Middle East as the fruits of attempts at democracy is a successful power play by Iran and its religious revolution. We see Islamism take root and become more powerful, watching as Iraq becomes controlled by a Shia leadership with links to Iran that has taken effective control of the government. We see it in the Palestinian Authority with Hamas, and we see it in Lebanon with Hizbullah’s outsized military and political influence.

    Common to Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas (and their many supporters) is the declared intent to destroy Israel. They also share vile anti-Semitism, hatred of not only “Zionists” but Jews in general (note Nasrallah’s comments a few years ago that it would be easier to destroy them if all the Jews of the world gathered in Israel). I see commentators like Juan Cole and your writer comment that Hizbullah isn’t as strong as the Israeli military or in Cole’s case that Iran doesn’t really mean it when it declares its desire to see Israel annihilated.

    Yet, that is precisely what they mean.

    So a nation with 60 million Muslims, a declared enemy to Israel, is providing arms, funds, tactical assistance and state-level propaganda to its two proxies abutting Israel, Hamas and Hizbullah. Furthermore, it is doing so with the explicit consent, and perhaps partnership, with the Syrian regime which is a bitter enemy of Israel’s and no less committed to its destruction.

    Israel has been quiet about these developments for the past couple of years. It watched as 1000 Qassems rained on its head AFTER it left Gaza. It watched, AFTER leaving Lebanon in its entirety (let’s not discuss Shabaa farms here because Israel is following international views on this piece of land), as Hizbullah would launch its raids into Israel, sometimes causing death, and build up an arsenal of 12,000+ rockets plus a strong fighting infrastructure. It watched and watched. Sometimes it might target a terrorist in Palestinian areas, or send planes over Lebanese territory, but the ongoing screaming by pro-Palestinians about those practices just shows how small a response it was relative to what Israel could do if it wished to cause damage.

    Voices inside Israel screamed that this relative quiet on Israel’s part was folly, but the democratically elected government and the majority of Israelis agreed that is was best not to react on a large scale.

    Then these two recent attacks on Israel changed a great deal. These were successful military efforts against military targets (Hizbullah also attacked a civilian area to draw attention away from the main attack). They were unprovoked attacks seeking to gain advantage on Israel by proxies of a state, ten times the size of Israel, bent on destroying it. The attacks have come at a time when the Iranians feel more open than ever to declare their intentions to destroy Israel; a time when their proxies are stronger and better armed than ever before.

    As Koppel suggests, perhaps the Israelis, at the forefront of these attacks by the Islamists, see a danger that others cannot see as readily. Perhaps the Israelis recognize that if they don’t go in now to destroy and weaken these proxies, and thereby also harm their benefactors’ objectives, then they will find themselves under more and more severe attacks and greater danger. After all, Hizbullah used to have only Katyusha rockets but now possess missiles like the Fajr series, able to reach Haifa, and the Zalzals with a range reaching Tel Aviv. As I write this, 160 such rockets have fallen on Israel 10 days into the fighting and just less than an hour ago two Israelis were killed by these rockets in Haifa. How long before the warheads on those are given chemical weapons or worse? How long before Iran decides to upgrade Hizbullah’s infrastructure even further, as they did by providing an 802C missile which they launched successfully against the Israeli ship?

    There was nothing defensive about Hizbullah’s posture, or that of Hamas for that matter, they are all about destroying Israel and their benefactors – at least Iran, and possibly Syria – share this goal. However, the attacks are coming from Lebanon, with at least tacit consent at the Lebanese government that Hizbullah has the right to array itself against Israel and attack it at will.

    I recognize that everybody wants to tell Israel how to fight this war: not a single civilian should be killed; not a single non-military building should be destroyed. Perhaps they are right that in an ideal world this would happen. I, personally, would not wish to have a single civilian casualty in this war. Not one. I believe that the IDF has attempted to minimize civilian injury and death. I say that knowing that many have died and have been injured. But to say that Israel came out seeking to cause these civilian deaths is untrue. If after thousands of sorties and 1800 targets bombed (these are published IDF numbers), 350 civilians have been killed – and among those I’m sure there are many, some analysts are saying half, who are Hizbullah members – doesn’t this suggest that the something that “is curled up inside [Israelis]” is far from the hatred, destructiveness or desire to harm that perhaps he saw as part of that earlier war? Wouldn’t 3000 air force attacks leave far more than 350 dead if the intent was some inherent evil?

    If the other side seeks war and Israel’s destruction, at what point may Israel respond as if it’s in a war? After 500 Qassems? 1000? 5000? After a third attack on its North? A fifth attack? A tenth attack? After the 10th soldier is killed or injured? The 20th soldier? Who should it attack if not the attacker in the place from which the attacks are coming?

    When Israel responds, what should it try to do when the other side mocks it and believes it is indestructible? Should it show further weakness by not responding again, thereby encouraging even more attacks (as we have now seen conclusively, this is what happens)? Should it attack in ways that don’t destroy the capacity of its enemies? What is the right way to fight a war against somebody who seeks to destroy you? And what is the right way to negotiate with somebody who not only seeks to destroy you, but has launched similar attacks in the past and believes they can do so with impunity at any time? When do you stop talking or accepting unacceptable conditions?

    I believe the complexity of these issues perhaps signals the difference between Oz’s comments years into an occupation of Lebanon that was a mistake on many levels, and where the conflict stands now.

    I want to conclude with a couple of last points. One of the key claims in these arguments against Israel is that Israel is using disproportionate force. What does that mean in the context of war against an enemy who seeks to destroy you? If the force was disproportionate, wouldn’t Hizbullah be destroyed already? It is far from destroyed. If Israel drops 23 tons of explosives on a bunker in Beirut and the bunker remains relatively unharmed, would those who complain agree that Israel should drop 46 tons? Should they send in ground forces? Should the stop distributing warning leaflets to residents of areas slated to be attacked? Walking away from a confrontation is not a ready option because, as we have learned, the attacks will return and the arming will continue unabated. So what is disproportionate here? How can war be avoided?

    I write this as somebody who, prior to recent events, wrote on this site, Jewlicious.com, that the Lebanese border has been relatively quiet and Israel’s departure from Lebanon was, in effect, a success. I was wrong!! It was a false quiet; a quiet before the storm. It was a time of retrenchment and heavy organization for war against Israel.

    If Israel has now lashed back, it has done so because it has been attacked and because the attack is a significant one, signaling a new stage of a new war. If Israel loses this war, nobody will be talking about proportionate or disproportionate force.

    In the meantime, Israel may make some mistakes and those mistakes will tragically cost lives on both sides, but especially the Lebanese side. For this reason, I hope the parties involved will begin diplomatic talks soon. In many respects, Israel’s reaction may also open a door to discussions among all the principal players. Would Syria wish to see Damascus in the condition parts of S. Beirut currently stand? Would Israel wish to see Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the line of fire as Haifa is? In 1967, the Arab countries refused to speak to Israel after its victory and certainly refused to make peace. We’re in 2006 now, let us hope that a different outcome can be had this time

  • as a human i wish there is no war only peace but as a human i cant be so nieve so sit here reading blogs and all the newz i can get my hands on
    i do hate jewz or even israel as an concept but for what the israeli government with aid of the noeclonial imperial united states of america there is nothing in my heart but hate and at same time my heart goes out not the IDF soldiers but to the resistance espacially hizbollah. not cuz the way they are doing things is write but what they stand for freedom of a nation that has been hostage since the 1960’s. i have seen israel and the quality of life people enjoy and i m sure the constant threat fo suacid bombing is really stressfull but u have a govenment that can protect u a land the does not fully belong to you but have a land in ur name. what do palestenians have a strip and the ghetto of west bank which i day after getting smaller cuz israel is bringing more jews form across the world giving them that does not belong to them in the first place and then u expect the plaestenian to not hate u. since the starting f fence plastenin fertile lands and water resources are getting smaller they are caged in land where ansectors have lived for thousands of years unlike most of the jewish israelies whoz ansestors left a long long time ago. so dont expect the world to love u cuz its the israeli govt and idf that are real terror without their tacticts there would be no reason for hizballah or hamas or any of that.
    as i leave i have more massage
    vive la resistance
    the free world supports ( and i mean people that arnt blinded by cnn and foxnew bullshit)the people of lebanon and phalastine and condem the actions of israel

    one last thing you cant kill some who is ready to die. to hizballah martyrdom is more the enough reward. they are shias of ali they practice the patience of iman hassan they fight like imam hussain and they the followers muhammads (pbuh) islam
    my prayers and the prayers of the people of the world are wit u long live the resistance
    i hope one day israel can exist with out its greed with peace in the mideast

  • Kam: It’s easy to vilify Israel, and therefore justify terrorism against it; but the simple fact is that the enemy of the Arab world is to be found within it. Many Africans and African apologists, for instance, are quick to blame colonialism and imperialism for our troubles but the truth is we ourselves are to blame. I do not think that the Arab experience is any different. The Arab world is angry, as they should be. But at the wrong people.

    To dehumanise other people, and so make it your goal to hurt them, simply because you can’t take responsibility for your own failures is foolish and self destructive.
    Sure there are problems with Israel but the Isrealis are more than willing to negotiate. Of course they cannot negotiate their country out of existence, which outcome is what Hezbollah wants. And so they fight. But Israel’s not going anywhere. When they get that, then they’ll be ready for peace. That resistance bullshit of yours is just that and you know it.