Response and Responsibility

26 July 2006

We all have a right to defend ourselves, whether individuals, families, communities or states. But when defence becomes beligerent offence, doesn’t that step over the line? “The best defence is a strong offence” I often hear, and sure enough that is true, but not to the extent of preemptive offence against a hapless defender.When one has tremendous power for destruction, one also must have the wisdom and the restraint to use it responsibly, and it is clear that Israel doesn’t. To cause ten times as many casualties, destroy whole towns and city districts, decimate infrastructure, homes and businesses, and displace quarter of a million people, how can anyone argue that it is reponsible, proportionate and just?

For what many, I included, would see as nuisance attacks by Hezbollah into Israel, Israel have come back with the might of a modern armoured military. Yes Israelis have died. Yes Israeli soldiers have been captured. But is there anything, save a full scale war Launched by Hezbollah’s military wing, that can justify the acts of the Israeli government?

But the saddest thing of all, is that we do not act. Admittedly there is very little that can be done by states and governments, let alone us individuals, and the UN, even with their own officials being killed, are toothless beyond condemning Israeli attacks and calling for a ceasefire. The stoongest condemnation has in fact not come from Annan, but from Jan Egeland, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, in the accusation that Israel is committing war crimes. The revelation that the four UN observers killed at a UN post died after 10 calls to the Israeli Military to identify themselves as neutral is another example of the appauling conduct and actions of Israeli aggressive recklessness.

I am sad, disgusted and ashamed, that we can let this happen.

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