The recent attacks on Israel and the kidnappings of three Israeli soldiers by militants in Gaza and Lebanon have provoked a furious Israeli onslaught which has killed scores of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians.
In response to the attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah militants, Israel has re-occupied northern Gaza and embarked on a relentless bombing campaign in Lebanon. The air strikes against Lebanon have killed over 100 civilians and destroyed vital infrastructure like the international airport, roads, bridges and ports. Over in Gaza, Israel’s campaign to free its captured soldier has so far left 82 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead. (The Israeli solder died as a result of “friendly fire”.) According to Al-Jazeera news channel, Palestinian doctors have reported that some patients treated in a hospital in Gaza and bodies at the mortuary had unusual burns, prompting concerns that Israel has used chemical weapons.
The attacks by Israel, which has the most powerful military in the Middle East, amounts to a collective punishment of ordinary Palestinians and Lebanese, and their democratically-elected governments for the actions of militants whom neither have much influence over. Obviously, Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorism. However, surely the killing of almost 200 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians to free three captured soldiers cannot be considered to be simply self-defence.
All this while, the US has done little to restrain its ally Israel. President George Bush has instead blamed Syria and Iran for supporting Hezbollah, whose actions provoked Israel’s response. Since, by the US’ indirect admission, the Lebanese government is not primarily responsible for Hezbollah’s actions, why does the US appear to be turning a blind eye to Israel’s attacks on Lebanon? The US has even blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
The actions of Israeli military and the indifference of the Americans will further increase Arab and Muslim anger against Israel and the West, and will add fuel to the fire of Islamic terrorists around the world. The US needs to reign in Israel immediately to prevent any more lives from being lost in this senseless conflict.