Seemingly, an organization so depraved that it turns ordinary houses into military bases on the one hand, and—should such a war break out—a hail of lethal projectiles on all parts of Israel’s civilian population on the other, would conduce to the conclusion that Israel’s only moral responsibility at that point would be to salvage its own people, not those whom its enemy, Hizbullah, has reduced to fodder in a manner that is in no way Israel’s fault.
But the problem is that Hizbullah knows all too well what it is doing, and that when it comes to the blame game, all the precedent will be on its side.
Thus, in the winter 2008-2009 Gaza War, Hamas—while it did not use the human-shield strategy with the utter, systematic depravity now demonstrated by Hizbullah—greatly bolstered its own fortunes by ensconcing its fighters in mosques, schools, and hospitals.
The inevitable result was civilian casualties—and the Western chorus demanding that Israel end the war became monolithic, culminating in the infamous Goldstone Report (later essentially retracted by its main author).
Bowing to the pressure, Israel—while having dealt a significant blow to Hamas—ended the war without defeating the terror group. By now, of course, Hamas too has rebuilt and rearmed, making an eventual further round of war inevitable. But aside from Goldstone himself, there is no sign that thisoutcome has prompted any reconsideration of knee-jerk condemnation of Israel in such situations and the harm it ultimately causes.
As in the case of AFP’s military official, Israel has been conveying the message (here, for instance) that in the event of a further confrontation with Hizbullah—whether or not in the context of a wider war involving Iran—its goal will be to win as quickly and decisively as possible, not to protect a civilian population—even at the expense of its own population—that has been deliberately endangered by the enemy it is fighting.
If so, the condemnations will come rolling in anyway, particularly from Western countries that cannot even imagine what it means to be under rocket attack by terror organizations on their borders. It’s to be hoped that this time Israel will stay the course. Survival has to come first.
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