Monday, July 24, 2006

How can the IDF avoid hurting the Lebanese infrastructure?

Anton Efendi points to an eye-opening article in Le-Figaro, showing how deeply Iran is involved in the current conflict. (And here's another interesting post hinting at this involvement).

Some of the user comments to Anton's post criticize Israel's attacks on civilian infrastructure.

According to the IDF, the Hezbolla are using the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon for their own purposes. This IDF video shows Hezbolla firing rockets from *within* a Lebanese village. According to claims I heard on Israeli radio - Hezbolla sometimes hides the rocket launchers inside people's garages! Their attacks are aimed not only at Israeli infrastructure: they are purposely targeting Israeli civilians, and are using weapons that are designed to harm as many people as possible.

The instinctive response of most Israelis to Hezbolla's attacks is unequivocal support for the IDF's actions in Lebanon. However, I personally agree that the damaging of Lebanese infrastructure breeds hatred toward Israel, and will have a long term price. The question is: can Israel avoid harming Lebanese infrastructure, and how many Israeli lives will such avoidance cost?

4 comments:

EngineeringChange said...

IsraeliBlogger,

Assuming Hizballah is using villages as miltary bases which I do not doubt much they do...

It is a tough place that the Israeli army is in. A weak leader may feel like he must hit something, anything as a chest-beating exercise for domestic digestion. But this situation will indefinitely exist as long as Palestinians and Lebanese must resort to guerilla tactics to cause any small discomfort to Israel. Which is to say as long as the US arms Israel to the teeth with the latest weaponry. ie indefinitely Add to this situation that rocket/missile technology is improving on the Palestinian/Lebanese side. Soon rockets regularily falling on Haifa will be rockets falling on Tel Aviv. So as I see Israel has infinitely long quagmire on its hands and will never ever live in security. So I believe there is no short-term solution to your question, only a long-term one:

This is where a strong Israeli leader must take charge and realize this situation is nothing but a waste right now. A waste of lives, a waste of time, a waste of everything. So this leader would stop killing civilians--end of story. Any short term benefit of maybe hitting fighters is outweighed by the good chance of killing innocents, international outrage, and breeding future hate. Then this Israeli leader deftly negotiates with Syria and Lebanon, returning the Golan to Syria and the Shebaa to Lebanon. When this happens, expect Syria to turn into a modern-day Egypt with respect to relations with Israel. As part of this deal, Syria agrees to expel Hamas and IJ reps from Damascus and Hizballah ceases to exist as a militia. And villages that were once military bases in Lebanon revert to villages.

Then Israel can turn its full attention to Palestine. If something along the lines of the Geneva Accord is worked out then a critical mass of Palestinians decide to cut their losses and humiliations and live in peace. If the world sees this critical mass of Palestinians satisfied, it and I will not tolerate any aggressions by Iran or extremists to harm Israel. Until that time, Israel is guilty in my mind and henceforth any attacks on Israeli military apparatus are justified.

Unless some sort of plan as above is followed, I see nothing but absolute doom for Israel, and for the Middle East in general.

Israeli Blogger said...

EngineeringChange,

I agree that in the long term, there is no military solution. And I also agree with your comment on Across the Bay that *purposely targeting* civilians is plain wrong. I certainly hope that the IDF is NOT purposely targeting civilians.

In the short term, though, are you proposing that the IDF stop trying to disable Hezbolla's rockets? I don't believe any country in the world could sit idly by as its citizens are being shelled with thousands of rockets!

BTW, I see that officials in the UN are finally starting to realize this point. See the AP news release U.N. Exec Blames Hezbollah for Deaths.

EngineeringChange said...

Yes I cannot answer. Hizballah should not be putting military targets in civilian areas. The issue should be highlighted and stopped. But it likely will not so there is no end to it though, since like you said the people will demand something gets hit. Thats why I suggest there must be a clean break from this type of situation. With all the hatred in the air, it becomes ever easier for the IDF to hit houses even if there is only a slight chance of it housing militants. I think thats what is happening now. How else can some of these airstrike targets be explained? All the children?

But that line of reasoning only goes so far. The destruction of factories (a milk factory!), bridges, LBC towers, cars full of people, etc etc. The military justification for all this is quite thin. It most definitely looks like the IDF wants to just punish everyone in Lebanon so that in theory they turn against Hizballah.

Thats the strategy I especially don't agree with because it I really believe its just counterproductive. It acheieves the exact opposite effect.

If I may ask, what is your view on the situation of the Palestinian refugees that once lived in present day Israel and were not allowed to return? Most of them can now be found in the dilapidated refugee camps in Lebanon or Syria or Jordan. I assume you believe in the Right of Return for Jews to Israel, so what is your view on a Right of Return for Palestinians who actually lived in Israel? And whatever your opinion is, do you think it holds for the majority of your Jewish countrymen? (I have never had the opportunity to ask this of a someone in Israel. It is an important issue with Palestinians)

Israeli Blogger said...

EngineeringChange,

Again - we are in agreement. I too suspect that the IDF is currently "light on the trigger" with targets. Still - from a helicopter, it is really difficult to tell a minivan full of children from a minivan full of guerilla fighters with anti-aircraft missiles (an Apache pilot told me once about the experience of flying over Lebanon. It's not for the faint of heart). Also, what newspapers call a milk factory might in reality be a milk factory - but I wouldn't bet my life on it. So we come again to Hizballa's use of civilian cover as major underlying cause of these tragic events.

As for your question about the right of return: it's a really good question. I'd like to dedicate a full post to it, so please look for my answer on the blog itself.