One problem that lies at the base of this conflict is that Israel wants to be loved.
Of course, most democratic countries want to be loved. I come from a country that is often accused of wanting to be loved too much – at least as individuals.
It’s all about wanting to be a good neighbor. And, Israel has wanted to be a good neighbor from the very beginning. In the late 1800s, when the first Jewish settlements took root in the Middle East, they brought modern medicine, sanitation, education, etc. And, because of who and what they were, they shared with their Arab neighbors.
They were instinctively upholding the Jewish principle of being a light unto the nations.
They were good neighbors.
Even after all that Israel has suffered at the hands of her Arab neighbors, she STILL seeks to be helpful, rather than hurtful. So much so, that the biggest problem that Israel has in a war is the constraints that Israelis put on their OWN government. Israelis WILL NOT tolerate the indiscriminate killing of Lebanese civilians. They DO NOT tolerate the deaths of innocent Palestinians. Like all truly democratic countries, Israel worries more about domestic public opinion, than about international opinion.
That’s why Israel has spent more than a decade pursuing a policy of restraint. Israel wanted peace. Israel wanted to be a good neighbor. Israel wanted to demonstrate the benefits of peaceful coexistance. That’s why she held back when Hizbullah would send rockets over the border – when they would kidnap soldiers.
Israel has finally realized that she suffers from a failure to communicate. In the past, when Israel responded to atrocity with moderation, she thought that she was investing in peace and reconciliation.
The Arabs saw this as weakness, and in the Middle East, weakness is ALWAYS taken advantage of.
When Mahmoud Komati, of the Hizbullah politburo, stepped up to the microphone and admitted that Israel’s vigorous response was unanticipated… He was making an important statement.
He was saying that Hizbullah had misinterpreted Israel’s restraint over the past decade as weakness – and that Hizbullah had thought to take advantage of that weakness. They chose poorly.
That’s why Israel MUST use disproportionate force when dealing with aggression from her neighbors. She has NO choice. Because, in the Middle East, the only way to be at peace with your neighbors is by making them afraid of you.
I hope that statement is as horrifying to you as it is to me. How can Israel’s neighbors be so barbaric that we must make them afraid of us? Are these humans, or animals?
But, no matter how horrifying this may be, we have no choice but to acknowledge reality. When seeking peace in the Middle East, we must never forget the most important principle:
Fear is the key.