How Many of Those Civilians in Southern Lebanon are Really Civilians?

I have a question for the rest of the world. Just one.

Not big.

A few words and a question mark. It can’t be too hard, right?

(No. NO. That wasn’t the question.)

When the current conflict began, the head of the Israeli armed forces met with the Minister of Defense to discuss their plans for dealing with the situation.

Plan A continued Israel’s policy of restraint. Conscious of the need to preserve innocent life, Israel has consistently avoided targeting civilian areas. Only when they could use precision weapons, have they fired on targets among the civilian population.

The problem is that Hizbullah has acknowledged this restraint by placing their command and control facilities in densely populated urban areas. They’ve stored missiles in the bedrooms of Lebanese civilians. They’ve placed staging areas and launching sites near schools and apartment buildings.

Hizbollah knew (and knows) that Israel hates the thought of civilian lives being lost.

Conversely, travel around Israel sometime and see where military assets are located. That’s right. AWAY from built up areas – because Israel knows that the Arabs consider civilian casualties a bonus.

So, you can already guess what Plan B was – targeting Hizbollah wherever they are, even if they occupy civilian areas.

Imagine the Chief of General Staff’s surprise when Amir Peretz reluctantly Ok’d Plan B.

For all of Peretz’s foolishness in other areas, he knows something that we all know. When someone places a big military target next door, it’s time to move. If you don’t move, you’re either too stupid to live or a tacit supporter.

And think for a moment about those who volunteer to store missiles in their bedrooms. They willingly endanger the lives of their families. They endanger the lives of their neighbors. (I think that we can all imagine what happens when a missile hits an ammunition dump.)

Over the last few years, as Hizbullah built up its capacity, Lebanese civilians were making choices. And like all things in life, choices have consequences attached. And some of those consequences involve crossing that fragile line that separates civilian from combatant.

Ask yourself an awful question. The same awful question that Amir Peretz, the Chief of Staff and everyone else here has had to ask:

How many of those civilians in Southern Lebanon are really civilians?