The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Proportionality and Restraint

And so it begins … with facial expressions that reflect the extreme gravity of their concern, EU politicians begin the drumbeat, castigating Israel for a “disproportionate response” in Gaza and Lebanon. A number of US politicians, including our own Secretary of State, ask for all sides to “act with restraint.” Hmmm.

Proportionality and restraint--that’s the ticket! A column in the Opinion Journal suggests the following:
In the case of Hamas, perhaps Israel could rain indiscriminate artillery fire on Gaza City, surely a proportionate response to the 800 rockets Hamas has fired at Israeli towns in the last year alone. In the case of Hezbollah, it might mean carpet bombing a section of south Beirut, another equally proportionate response to Hezbollah's attacks on civilian Jewish and Israeli targets in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s.

We aren't being serious, but neither is a feckless international community that refuses to proportionately denounce the outrages to which Israel is being subjected. That goes also for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who says "all sides must act with restraint." But Israel's current problems result in part from an excess of restraint in responding to previous Hamas and Hezbollah provocations.

Ex-senator George Mitchell along with many current members of the house and senate) suggest that we name a top-level emissary (e.g., Colon Powell) to travel to Middle East and work with both sides until a negotiated cease fire can be achieved. I suppose that’s a lot like the “road map” negotiated by President Clinton, and then virtually ignored by the Palestinians, who violated every aspect of the document.

Are the people who suggest this really serious? And if they are, do they really believe that any cease fire will be honored by Hamas and Hezbollah. Oh sure, these terrorist groups might sign on – after all, the great Satan is good for something – holding back Israel when it can take no more and proceeds to hit them with a ferocity that is completely justified. But after a few weeks or months (just enough time to resupply), their sniping will begin anew. A Hezbollah rocket attack here, a Hamas bomb blast there.

Maybe it’s time to give Israel a chance to cripple these terrorist groups, to degrade their ability to conduct their unique brand of warfare, to destroy weapons caches and the terrorists themselves in numbers that will matter. No one denies that this will result in the deaths of civilians and the destruction of property and infrastructure. But that’s what war is about—and Israel did NOT start this war.

Is this a solution to the problems in the Middle East—absolutely not! But neither is meaningless negotiation with terror organizations and vacuous agreements that only one side honors.

A “solution” will occur only when the people of Gaza and the Lebanese decide that they’re sick of being sucked into a war they do not want by Islamofascists they do not support. When the people of Gaza and Lebanon recognize that they are being used as pawns by a corrupt regime in Syria and a fanatical government in Iran, they may finally decide that they want to control their own destiny. And if they don’t, well, then this cycle of violence will occur over and over and over again. But guess what? That’s what’s already happening, even though negotiation has been tried repeatedly.

Proportionality and restraint. Israel has tried them for decades, and they've failed to impress a single Arab. Maybe it's time to try a different approach.