Recently I’ve been carefully following the conflict between the Israelis, Lebanese and Palestinians. If you don’t follow this yourself, you should, because this kind of thing is the type of conflict that causes much bigger problems and might actually cause a few Americans to question the wisdom of voting into power a bunch of war-loving corporate sponsored megalomaniacs.
What both sides of this fight are doing is unbelievable and completely undermines the international laws set up specifically to prevent the kind of damage that is currently being done to thousands of innocent civilians. In the latest spate of air attacks on Lebanon, sixty people died as Israel directly targeted civilian infrastructure (and continues to do so), which is in contravention of humanitarian law, and yet all I see in response is further attacks by Israel and rhetoric from all sides, especially from the American U.N. ambassador John Bolton, predictably playing the loyal ally to Israeli interests. In response to the attacks:
Hezbollah fighters fired 20 Katyusha rockets in three attacks on northern Israel on Friday, with six people injured, one of them seriously.
The strikes hit Nahariya, Hatzor and Safed, about 15km from Lebanon.
Of the injured, five were in Safed where a house was directly hit, and one person was hurt in Hatzor where a rocket landed near a car.
The attacks raised to about 160 the number of rockets that have hit northern Israel in the past two days.
Israeli aggression was expanded from the Gaza strip to attacks against Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of a further two Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers. Israel government threatened to “turn the clock back 20 years in Lebanon’ by attacking civilian infrastructure. Israel has also stated that they “refuse to negotiate the release of the two soldiers believed to be in Lebanon… (as well as) Cpl. Shalit who is believed to be held somewhere in the Gaza Strip.” To me this sounds idiotic, a refusal to negotiate for the lives of soldiers, and instead to resort to violence, which so far is doing nothing but alienate Israel from the rest of the Arab world, making any attempts at peace in the area much more complicated. Also attacking civilian infrastructure (that is water plants, power plants, beaurocratic facilities) is likely to simply create more and more anger against Israeli aggression, filling the ranks of the militant organisations.
Overall, it’s going to hell over there, and there is no end in sight to this violence. The U.N. have thrown out a plea by the Lebanese to enforce a cease-fire between Lebanon and Israel. Nouhad Mahmoud, a Lebanese Foreign Ministry Official states that the Israeli government aims are “bringing Lebanon to its knees and subverting it by any means”. The Americans opposed the measure to enforce ceasefire, with John Bolton’s statement that the claims were “not only untimely, but already outmoded” and biased against Israel. So no ceasefire. Thanks again America. However a U.N. team has been sent over to ‘encourage restraint.’ I don’t know what that means. I can only assume it involves a couple of brave U.N. workers standing between the two sides and yelling at them to keep the shooting to a minimum.
One glimmer of hope (thus the title) was this article about that damned border wall being punctured allowing people to get home to their families. Thousands of people were trapped on the Egyptian border after two Israeli soldiers were killed in an attack and the border was closed down almost two weeks ago. What’s even worse was that a few people actually died of heat exhaustion while waiting for it to re-open. Palestinian militants blew a 20ft hole in the wall, allowing thousands to return home after pushing past Palestinian and Egyptian border troops. To me, in that awful wall being breached, there is a sign of something noble being done amongst all the suffering and death. It’s symbolic to me of a hole created through all the pain and suffering to allow a little joy and contentment to pass through. People will lose their jobs and homes, but at least they are with their families in this time of crisis. There’s hope there I think.