Since Israel was carved out in 1948, creating the largest refugee population at that time, a few things have stood the test of time: Israel enjoying a free hand without facing any consequences whatsoever, Arab refugees never having their concerns really addressed, the US pursuing a sugar daddy policy towards Israel and ignoring pleas for a more compassionate and balanced approach, and the United Nations failing to do any better than thumb-sucking.
Over the years, the dynamics of the Arab-Israel conflict changed, most notably after the Iranian revolution: the mullahs in Tehran promptly recognized the crisis and, ambitious as they are, engaged themselves in the proxy war against Israel through Hezbollah, a Shiite militia group formed to resist the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
The current war, entering its twenty-eighth day, has already claimed almost a thousand Lebanese civilian lives, displaced more than a quarter of its population, destroyed elements of the country’s infrastructure, and pushed the country’s recovery from past war damage back by a decade, if not more. What both sides don’t realize is that ruining lives is not in anyone’s best interest.
One can argue that the Israeli military should have shown more prudence before lunging into a wholesale assault on Lebanon, for they knew they were more than capable of inflicting incomparable damage. It’s a pity that after almost 60 years of brutality against the Arabs, they have failed to grasp what constitutes the right way to act and react.
We urgently need a resolution acceptable to both sides without further delay and before more innocent lives are lost. The task is not easy and is now in serious jeopardy after the recent UN draft proposal jointly worked out by France and the United States was flatly rejected by Hezbollah, Lebanon and Syria.
As opposed to the Iraq war, where the United States invaded a sovereign country for no palatable reasons, the irony of the Lebanon-Israel war lies in both sides claiming to be exercising their right to defend, their right to exist, and each blames the other side as the aggressor. Surprisingly enough, both sides make sense.
Here is where the slippery slope to peace gets a bit tricky. Standing in the way of an effective and long-lasting peace is a now well-defined binary object: either the terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, supported by the rogue states of Syria and Iran, or the heavy handedness of the Israelis and their disgraceful attitude toward their Arab neighbors.
For a peace resolution to be effective everything above must change. And a meaningful change can only be attained with sincerity and accountability. The resolution must be fair to both sides, keeping them on an equal footing. Israel shouldn’t receive the kind of preferential treatment they have always enjoyed under the US umbrella. If Israel wants good neighbors, it’s time they start behaving like one.
Following a cease-fire, Israeli forces should be required to leave Lebanon immediately. Before the UN forces take over, the Lebanese army can do the job temporarily. Whether they can do a thorough job is anybody’s guess, but as long as Israeli forces remain in Lebanon, a cease-fire will not work.
The buffer zone that has been proposed should be on both sides of the border. Having one comprised only of Lebanese territory just highlights the partisan treatment the Arabs have become accustomed to.
Why there should not be any buffer zone on the Israeli side when they routinely abduct Arab leaders? If the objective is to prevent the kind of incidents that led to this war, it should also address the concerns of the Arabs: only couple of weeks before this all started, Israel abducted two Palestinians from Gaza.
Let’s remember that invoking moral authority in an environment of distrust requires fairness and equality. Asking Hezbollah to disarm following the Security Council Resolution 1559 of September 2004 is the right thing to do, but lest we forget Israel ignored Security Council Resolution 425 of March 1978 calling for its unconditional retreat from Lebanon for 22 years.
The double standards must go.Powered by Sidelines