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In New Delhi, Tbilisi: What goes around, comes around

Once again, there’s a taboo against stating the obvious. It’s an open secret, and a source of great Israeli satisfaction, that the Mossad killed Hizbullah’s Imad Mughniyeh four years and a day ago, and that the Mossad was behind a half-dozen killings of Iranian nuclear scientists, as well as explosions at Iranian military sites. Israel didn’t have to do any of that – we have the power to deter attacks by Hizbullah and Iran, we don’t have to pick fights. But we did, so this is what we get. Israel provoked the car bomb attack today on the wife of the diplomat in New Delhi, and we’re making life dangerous for Israelis and Jews everywhere.

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    1. Jazzy

      Bizarre post. “we’re making life dangerous”? What of Mughniyeh’s terrorism career? I didn’t think you were one of those who escapes from the discomfort of confronting Israel’s implacable enemies by pretending that “we” are omnipotent. Though I am not unsympathetic to your aversion to striking Iran, it seems denial is motivating your position on that issue more than I imagined.

      Reply to Comment
    2. When we killed Mughniyeh in Feb 2008, we were a year-and-a-half into the cease fire w/Hizbullah that’s lasted until now. We’d bashed up Hizbullah and Lebanon in the war – why did we have to kill Mughniyeh and risk starting everything up again? The answer is: we didn’t. And now this is the price we pay, or the wife of the diplomat pays. How does the saying go? Actions have consequences.

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    3. Danny

      While I sympathize with Mrs. Yehoshua-Koren’s injuries, she and every other Israeli official should know that they are a legitimate target in the eyes of Israel’s enemies, just like Iranian scientists know the same thing about themselves. Yes, what goes around, comes around.

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    4. Jazzy

      The problem with your reasoning is, if someone on their side assumed your perspective about these things, what happened today wouldn’t have. They would say “Well, I guess Mughniyeh’s past caught up to him. Since we’ve fortified Southern Lebanon with miles of bunkers, and have thousands of missiles pointed at Haifa and Tel Aviv, we can rely on deterrence against the Israelis. No need for some tit-for-tat car bomb nonsense.” Are you arguing that this is how they think? Of course not, because what happened happened. So then how would you explain their thinking without acknowledging that the are aggressively, ideologically opposed to Israel? And if this is the case, can we ever, really, avoiding fighting them? Your position boils down to an argument for procrastination. Yeah, maybe if we hadn’t killed this one guy this one time, this exact attack today wouldn’t have taken place. But what is the significance of that conclusion compared the larger one – that Iran and Hezbollah are not going away? Nothing.

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    5. aristeides

      Iran isn’t going away. Israel says it isn’t going away. How does this lead to an argument for escalating violence between them?

      If Israel wants the rest of the world to learn to live with its existence, it needs to learn to live with the existence of the world.

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    6. Jazzy

      In short, to explain what happened today requires admitting that Israel cannot prolong indefinitely the kind of little confrontations you’d like to avoid. If your enemies thought the way you did (actually wanted to live in peace and were satisfied with deterrence against the threat of big wars), OK. but they don’t think that way…

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    7. Jazzy

      The corollary is: it doesn’t make sense to attach moral blameworthiness to Israel’s covert actions by your ‘we should be satisfied with deterrence’ standard, since the same standard applied to Iran/Hezbollah would render them equally blameworthy – they can rely on deterrence too. And if they’re to blame, Israel isn’t.

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    8. When the little confrontations are started by the other side, I don’t want to avoid them. In late 2010, Lebanese soldiers opened fire on Israeli soldiers, and Israeli soldiers fired back. Lebanon was wrong, Israel was right – and Lebanese soldiers haven’t fired another shot at Israeli soldiers since. In July 2006, Hizbullah came across the Israeli border, snatched two soldiers and when it was all finished, 10 Israeli solders were dead. Israel began bombiog the hell out of Hizbullah and Lebanon – and Israel was right to do so. Israel was wrong to carry the war as long as it did, but the initial days of retaliation were justified and necessary. But then the war ended and we had a year and a half of quiet, and Israel decided it had to settle some old score w/Mughniyeh. So unlike the other two examples, WE started the current confrontation, which is why, unlike with those other two examples, I wish we would have avoided it. You see, sometimes we are the aggressor, and I have a problem with that.

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    9. aristeides

      You can trace the chain of provocation/retaliation/counter-retaliation back to the primal slime. To counter Derfner’s example, I could point to the decade of Israeli incursions into Lebanon and kidnapping civilians for ransom. But the important thing isn’t who started it. It’s who’s willing to end it.

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    10. Passerby

      Larry, do you think that when the Iranians bombed the two Jewish community buildings in Argentina, a crime which the Argentinians attempted to cover up for years, that Israel would have been wrong to attack whoever was responsible even 5 years after the fact? Should Israel always turn a blind eye to attacks because they didn’t happen yesterday or it took a while to find or get to the culprit?
      Along those lines, what if the culprit is known to be working in the very same career a number of years later. Should Israel wait until another attack is executed?

      Having said that, I actually believe you are right that if Israel is responsible for the attacks on Iranian nuke scientists, and it’s obviously a possibility that they are, then it should anticipate attacks on its own diplomats and scientists.
      There is one difference and it’s an important one to consider. Attacks on directly-linked parties are not the same as attacks on random Jews, Israeli or not.

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    11. Passerby, the bombing of the Argentinian Jewish centers came in retaliation for ISrael’s killing of Hizbullah leader Sheikh Musawi, which came in retaliation for Hizbullah’s killing of IDF soldiers, which came in retaliation for Israel’s 1982 invvasion of Lebanon, which came in retaliation for Abu Nidal’s shooting of an Israeli ambassador. Most people realize that Israel was wrong to invade Lebanon and stay there for 18 years. It caused problems that are going on literally to this day, such as the creation of Hizbullah. We really hammered the Lebanese, we did the equivalent of hundreds of Argentinian bombings, which came in 1994, six years before we withdrew from Lebanon. We provoked the Argentinian bombings just like we provoked the attacks today. Instead of retaliating all the time, why don’t we just stop provoking people?

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    12. Passerby

      Larry, I’m afraid that while we agree that Israel had no business being in Lebanon for more than 3 months in 1982 (or at least I believe those 3 months were justified), we strongly disagree about what constitutes acceptable revenge. I limit acceptable revenge to that which includes direct participants in the conflict – soldiers, politician. The minute you attack civilians intentionally, you cross every red line. If Hizbullah or Iran were angry, their only justified targets were Israelis involved in the war in Lebanon. Certainly not Jews in Argentina.

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    13. Jazzy

      Why are Mughiyeh’s crimes an ‘old score’ and not the car bomb that killed him? Because there was a mutual understanding that the cycle of violence started by Abu Nidal was concluded by the killing of Argentina’s Jews? Because there was a mutual understanding that the cycle of violence that started with Samir Kuntar was concluded by operation Summer Rains? Please refer me to your Hezbollah counterpart who shares your sense of closure. Your argument is slippery because it mixes moral and pragmatic reasoning. Just because retaliation can reasonably be expected for an Israeli operation doesn’t mean the retaliation is morally justified, does it? While you may have convincingly why what happened did, you haven’t laid out a coherent moral theory about when Israel or its enemies are morally entitlement to act. Your ‘deterrence is good enough’ standard contradicts itself. And now it seems you believe that Iran’s nuclear weapons program doesn’t morally justify Israeli sabotage (a separate question from whether such sabotage is effective) – a confusing position to take given your approval of the early stages of the 2006 war (where much less was at stake for Israel). If you more clearly separated the moral and the pragmatic ideas in your writing, or at least explained how they relate to each other (which would necessarily be unreasonable), it would be much easier to agree with you, at least in part.

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    14. Jazzy

      *which would NOT necessarily be unreasonable

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    15. John Yorke


      No one is willing to end it because no one seems to knows how.
      Is there some special moment in time when everything balances out in a nice orderly fashion and all disputes in the matter can then finally stop? Has there ever been any unwritten understanding that determines when enough is enough and there really are much better things for grown men to be doing instead?

      Sadly, no such stop sign is to be found on this roller-coaster ride to God-knows-where. Even if there were, it would, in all probability, be ignored.

      Yet, somehow, some attempt must be made to slam on the brakes here. Otherwise, this business does not end well. Or at all.


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    16. Niz

      shit…Israel is keeping some 7 million palestinian tied up in its basement. There are 2 million palestinians digging up tunnels with spoons in Gaza. There are 25 years of occupation in southern lebanon and then there is the destruction of Palestine because some asshole from Austria wanted to resurrect some biblical Levant. Your sense that ‘we want to live in peace’ needs some serious contemplation. As Arabs we just can’t understand anything when you say ‘we want peace’…what does that mean exactly other than being able to shoot us, then go home and have a barbeque?

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    17. Niz

      Israel’s obsession with security, as we see your officials repeating it in an obsessive compulsive manner “secu(gh)ity, secu(gh)ity, secu(gh)ity” also beats my mind. Guys, you’ve been occupying a land for more than 40 years, other than those who lost their homes! Also, it’s not like for example you went back home, no, you stayed and stayed, went into the golan and then to Lebanon and made a whole system of occupation, prisons, military courts- a whole system of segregation and occupation…then you unleasehd settlers to ‘settle’ the land?? When Jazzy speaks of “the other”, can you take a deep breath and look how the other perceives you and even worse can you look in the mirror objectively without horror?

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    18. Richard Witty

      I disagree with you on this.

      So long as the Iranian and Hamas declarations are stated as unconditional hatred and desire to never accept Israel, then the only satisfaction of their rage is either removal or annihilation.

      The significance of the prospect of Iranian or Hezbollah attack in India is an escalation of war to a third country. This is to be feared.

      A tertiary motive for prospective Iranian nuclear development was in the fear that India would ally against Iran.

      This is as much an escalation of Indian warning as Israel’s.

      A murder of diplomats is a murder of diplomats. This was in a third country.

      Is there an option for Israel to talk to Iran? I don’t hear ANYONE from any perspective describing that as a possibility.

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    19. Disparishun

      This piece sort of draws an arbitrary line. I mean, why were Mughniyeh and these nuclear scientists killed? When Derfner says “we” have the power to deter attacks by Hizbullah and Iran, what if not that is he talking about? Is there some other, milder form of deterrence he knows about? If so, I think it would be helpful for him to share.

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    20. Larry Derfner

      Jazzy – Hizbullah, by its actions, has a sense of closure after the 2066 war – if they didn’t, they’d still be attacking us over the border, which they haven’t done for 5-1/2 yrs. On that basis, it’s reasonable to believe that if we hadn’t killed Mughniyeh, yesterday’s attack wouldn’t have happened.
      The cycle of violence with Lebanon didn’t begin w/Abu Nidal’s shooting of the ambassador – that shooting, which came after a year’s cease-fire w/the PLO in Lebanon, and which was committed by an enemy of the PLO in Lebanon, did not justify Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. The cycle of violence began with the occupation that started the day after the Six Day War. That occupation made Israel the Palestinians’ master and gave them the right to fight for their freedom, and put Israel in the position of defending the indefensible. This was not the case before the occupation, when Israel was nobody’s master and was defending its itself behind its rightful sovereign borders. Likewise vs. Hizbullah – between 1982 and 2000, Israel was occupying S. Lebanon, which gave Hizbullah the right to try to drive Israel out (just like, for instance, the British occupation of Palestine gave the Jews and Arabs the right to drive to drive Britain out). But after Israel withdrew from Lebanon, Hizbullah’s attacks changed from being self-defense to aggression, so Israel was defending itself when it struck back in 2006. That’s not pragmatism, that’s morality.
      But the line between pragmatism and morality does get blurred on the issue of the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists, so let me try to clarify it. Because the Iranian regime has such an antagonistic ideology, I don’t want it to get nukes. I don’t think they plan to fire them at anybody, but they make people, starting with Israelis, very nervous for very good reason. So I think it’s morally justified to use force to try to pre-empt Iranian nukes. But then there is the pragmatic issue – you don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease, which is what I think Israel’s probable attack will be – it will set off a cycle of violence like we’ve never seen, and make things untenable for Israel and everybody else. So what do you do? I thought the killing of Iranian scientists was a “good” middle way – while I’m not crazy about killing scientists, sometimes the ends justify the means, and the end of trying to gum up Iran’s march to nuclear weapons justified the means of killing scientists. But it’s only “good” as long as you’re getting away with it – once the retaliations begin, and the counter-retaliations, then you’re on your way to war, the cure that’s worse than the disease. What Israel’s doing with Iran isn’t immoral, but it’s unpragmatic to the point of recklessness. I think we should put a lot more trust in deterrence, and our goal should be regime change with a better, saner bunch taking power, which would calm the situation, nukes or not.
      And now I’ve said my piece: Jazzy, Aristeides, Richard, whomever – how do you think we should deal w/Iran and Hizbullah?

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    21. Jazzy

      Niz: I was referring to Larry personally so your criticism is misplaced – sorry for the misunderstanding

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    22. Arib

      Larry “the cure to be worse than the disease”. What cure could ever be worse than a nuclear warhead exploding in Tel Aviv?

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    23. Larry Derfner

      Arib, it’s not inevitable, anymore than it was inevitable that Stalin or Mao would nuke the U.S.

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    24. John Yorke

      Right now, Iranian sources and/or some other group having real or imagined grievances against Israel, have felt the need to channel their anger into violence against Israeli targets and personnel.
      A similar reaction, no doubt, will be observed in many Israelis of a like-minded disposition.

      Such a familiar, sad story, one that has echoed down every century since mankind has walked this earth. Even today, in this, the 21st century, with all its resources and innovations, some ancient verities still hold sway; the mind of Man, for all its advances in other areas, has yet to grapple successfully with this baser aspect of his nature. So ingrained, so instinctive has it become that one has to wonder if it will ever be laid aside and its dominance reduced to more manageable levels.

      If we were minded to make it so, then we must think the matter through in logical terms.

      The instinct is a powerful one; it will require another of even greater power to overcome it. And, in the provision of such a remedy, this is where the true measure of men may be found.


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    25. Richard Witty

      I don’t know how to talk to in Iran or Hezbollah.

      The unconditionality is all around Zionism, around the concept of a Jewish state, even though the concept of other national or religious states is fine by them.

      Although obviously Iran and Salafi jihadists differ and fight each other, brutally, they share the view that Israeli sovereignty over the Al Aqsa plateau is unnacceptable to them. I doubt that they care about the Galilee, the Negev, the coast.

      So, what do you do? Do you say, “I’m no longer Jewish. I convert to the universal religion of Islam (as taught by the last possible prophet Muhammed and interpreted by sharia, heresy punishable by death)?”

      Do you fight?

      Each accomplishes nothing substantive.

      Do you deter? Do you contain? If so, then what is most effective way of doing so?

      Which menu choice do you select?

      I know one can only control one’s own actions. Iran yesterday issued a statement declaring that the actions in India were a false flag operation intended to inflame India.

      Is that statement somehow going to reduce tensions in the region, reduce rather than further heighten tensions between India and Iran.

      The big question to me is how to convince Iran to start thinking of Israelis (Zionists) as human beings, innocents, that do not deserve punishment.

      Some indication of reluctance.

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    26. Richard Witty

      On cycles of violence.
      They are called a cycle because they are circular. There is no starting point.

      There are ending processes. It takes an indication of conditionality, of conditional acceptance.

      Other than that, the best is containment or hudna, knowing that even 10 years is short.

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    27. John Yorke

      @ Richard,
      On cycles of violence.

      ‘Other than that, the best is containment or hudna, knowing that even 10 years is short.’

      There I would entirely agree with you, Richard.

      But how to erect and maintain a stable containment field is the question that is most in need of an answer.
      For the length of time it would take to resolve matters that have remained stubbornly intractable these many decades, the ‘field’ would have to be a very resilient one and quite capable of staying the course in a region where any number of previous attempts have always failed to do so.

      But even as little as 10 months might be more than enough to initiate a permanent plan for peace and, after that, there can still be another 10 months to complete the task. And yet another…..

      We continue to live in ‘interesting times.’ Surely mankind’s primary function cannot simply be to stand idly by while they become only more ‘interesting.’

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    28. aristeides

      The situations of Iran and Lebanon wrt Israel are very different. Israel has done profound, really unforgivable damage to Lebanon, a country weaker than itself. Hezbollah is very clearly a defensive organization. Its purpose is the defence of Lebanon against Israeli aggression – and this is a very reasonable purpose, given the decades of Israeli aggression.

      Iran is a large, populous nation that has never, unlike Lebanon, been at war with Israel. In fact, during the Iran-Iraq war, Israel sold arms to Iran, over and above the arms that were part of the Iran-Contra deal. It’s not likely that it would have done this if Israel at the time perceived Iran to be an existential threat. Unlike Lebanon, Iran is not a contiguous neighbor of Israel, and there are no territorial disputes between them. In short, there is no real reason why Israel and Iran should be at odds, let alone at war, except for geopolitical reasons. Iran insists on being an autonomous regional power. Israel insists that there can be no autonomous regional power; it wrongly regards the very existence of such a power as a threat.


      This attitude is exacerbated and abetted by the US, which has been and would be hostile to a powerful autonomous Iran even without the existence of Israel. It should also be noted that, without the US, Israel could pose no real threat to Iran.

      How Iran and Hezbollah are alike is in their essentially defensive posture wrt Israel. Their alliance is a defensive one. What Israel needs is a profound attitude adjustment to allow it to accept that other nations have a right to defend themselves, and that a defensive capacity does not constitute a threat.

      If Israel actually felt threatened by Iran, the smart thing to do would be to make major overtures of conciliation to Hezbollah. Hezbollah does not really want to be caught in the middle of a war between Iran and Israel or to be an Iranian catspaw in such a war. It knows that Lebanon would again be the biggest sufferer. Significant Israeli concessions might neutralize Hezbollah’s rockets and make Iran’s position significantly weaker.

      Unfortunately, Israel is psychologically incapable of making concessions, even when it would be the primary beneficiary. Israel is its own worst enemy, not Iran.

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    29. Jazzy

      Larry: I am not in a position to know whether it is practical for Israel to attack Iran, or to attack Hezbollah. You may very well be right that the cure is worse than the disease. But if Israel assassinates Nasrallah, or bombs Iran, ‘what goes around comes around’ is not the right way to think about whether it was a good idea – at this point, the war is perpetual and ideological, and it continues entirely at the discretion of Israel’s enemies. Nothing Israel has done in the past justifies compromising the short or long-term security of its people. I take the position that Israel is morally justified in attacking either Hezbollah or Iran if it would be advantageous. I consider Hezbollah’s or Iran’s response to attacks to be entirely a strategic, not a moral, problem. As long as either exists, there is no moral ground for either claim when it comes to using violence against others. Hezbollah isn’t even a state and doesn’t have the privilege of state violence.

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    30. Arib

      @Larry, You state it is not inevitable that once the Iranians have the bomb they will not use it. You seem to group them with the likes of Mao and Stalin. I am not sure how or why you could compare these situations. They do not seem similar whatsoever. Poetic license, possibly, because politically, ideologically and religiously they couldn’t be further apart.

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    31. Richard Witty

      Both Israel and Hezbollah think of themselves as undertaking defense.

      20,000 or 40,000 or whatever number of Hezbollah missiles aimed at civilian centers is not exactly a defensive capacity.

      The cycle of violence between Hezbollah and precursors and Israel and triangulated factions, does not have a definitive starting point.

      Both are actively defending and actively aggressing.

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    32. aristeides

      While I agree that the cycle of violence does not have a definitive starting point, you can’t put the onus exclusively on Hezbollah for its defensive preparations, not when you recall the ruins of Lebanon’s cities.

      Lebanon not only has the right, but the absolutely demonstrated need to defend itself against its aggressive neighbor.

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    33. Piotr Berman

      Passerby: “The minute you attack civilians intentionally, you cross every red line.”

      Wiki: The Dahiya doctrine is a military strategy put forth by the Israeli general Gadi Eizenkot that pertains to asymmetric warfare in an urban setting, in which the army deliberately targets civilian infrastructure, as a means of inducing suffering for the civilian population, thereby establishing deterrence.

      Since Gadi Eizenkot is not institutionalized, neither in penal setting nor in an insane asylum, Israel is a state where depravity is an official doctrine. Converting Arab habitation to “parking lots” seems to be a national pasttime. Sometimes there are some excuses, “they had command centers there”. Sometime, like with villages in Negev and Area C, just for kicks.

      If Israel felt threatened by Iran, it would not organize monthly discussion how to attack Iran. What is the true reason? There were discussions why certain factions in USA (not unrelated to factions in Israel) were promoting attack on Iraq. Any rational reason can be found illogical (including helping Israel). One remains:

      “War is to man what maternity is to a woman. From a philosophical and doctrinal viewpoint, I do not believe in perpetual peace.”

      “War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it.”

      “The function of a citizen and a soldier are inseparable.”

      “It is humiliating to remain with our hands folded while others write history. It matters little who wins. To make a people great it is necessary to send them to battle even if you have to kick them in the pants. That is what I shall do.”

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    34. Niz

      Israel’s search for security is justifiable- like any state or people it tries to maximize its security. However, my maximizing its security and being able to win over all of her enemies together, produces security anxiety to all of its neighbors. This creates a security dilemma. Israel’s approach to security reminds me of Europe in the 19th century. The idea that Israel needs to ‘contain’ Islam or the Arabs is ridiculous. If anything it shows how paranoid the Israelis are. If anything it is the Arabs who have been trying to contain Israel for the past 60 years.
      On the long run and to be blunt. You are living in a Muslim neighborhood, and your security cannot be achieved without some form of understanding and cooperation or interdependence. The idea of Spartan Israel will bring you down, because you become too dangerous to be left alone!

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    35. Richard Witty

      “Both are actively defending and actively aggressing.”

      Its interesting Aristedes, that you would summarize that statement as “you can’t put the onus exclusively on Hezbollah for its defensive preparations, not when you recall the ruins of Lebanon’s cities.”

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    36. Arib

      @Niz, where are the 7 million Palestinians you say are locked up in Israel’s basement? I do quite a bit of travelling around and I do see refugee camps like Balata but around them is 1000’s of acres of Palestinian controlled land, empty, just waiting to be built upon (if they really wanted too), lots and lots of Palestinian Police men, all armed by the way, expensive Mercedes, BMW, Cadillac’s and more all with Palestinian plates. Palestinian houses bigger than those in Herziliya P and a good match for any house in Hollywood. Amazing how people here focus on the small village and not the bigger picture. Probably because if they did it would defeat most of the Palestinians’ arguments they they are “locked up”!!

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    37. John Yorke

      It should always be remembered that the issues here do not commend themselves to reasoned argument.

      If only Israelis do this then Arabs will do that, if this side shows flexibility in one area, then the other will respond in kind. No, this is something that will not happen; it never does. There are simply too many pressures being brought to bear, too many balls in the air at any one given time. We have the religious ball, the military, the political, the economic, the tribal, security aspects, a whole catalogue of past crimes and injustice, personal and public memories of death and destruction, a veritable cocktail of everyday incidents that constantly feed the fires of resentment and fear.

      On reflection, it’s somewhat amazing that the situation is no worse than it already is. That’s not to say that it’s anywhere near acceptable or normal because that is most certainly what it is not.

      This problem has been in existence for at least sixty four years and, in all that time, not one day has passed without the situation becoming more entrenched and unresponsive to whatever human intervention has tried to do. Today, it looks set to enter upon an even deeper and darker phase.

      And our reaction to this has been what? It’s precisely the same as it’s always been. We blame this group or that, we remonstrate with politicians right, left and centre to reach some sort of settlement, we argue for any reasonable outcome, all the time knowing that the chances of it actually happening are virtually zero. In short, we accomplish nothing except to allow more lives to be lost, more treasure to be wasted and more bitterness and hatred to spill over into yet more years of violence.

      After so much experience, mostly bad, in this entire matter, shouldn’t we have delivered something that’s a whole lot better by now? It seems we’ve done nothing but dither and dodge about on the sidelines as this dreadful business sinks slowly under the combined weight of its own historical and cultural baggage.

      Let us at least be able to say that we did something rather than nothing. If conventional tactics will not move matters forward, then unconventional ones may have to be considered. What can we lose? We tried everything else and, every time, we’ve come up empty-handed.

      And that is not how it should be.


      Reply to Comment
    38. sh

      I don’t like bumbling in after John Yorke’s philosophical views from the heights, as his hints that things could be different if we thought differently end our discussions on an encouraging note. But little as I know about strategy, I don’t think Hezbollah is being explained correctly.
      @Larry – “But after Israel withdrew from Lebanon, Hizbullah’s attacks changed from being self-defense to aggression, so Israel was defending itself when it struck back in 2006.”
      They neither had closure after the 2006 war nor was Hezbollah’s struggle over when we left in 2000. We tend to forget that Hezbollah, before it was Hezbollah, was a bunch of bottom-of-the-pile Lebanese Shi’a Muslims from whose areas Palestinians from elsewhere launched attacks on Israel and who, therefore, suffered the brunt of our retaliations, bombings, occupations on top of their previous depredations. There were ruined lives, massive grievances, missing bodies and body parts that had still not been buried by their families. Things didn’t just go back to being OK when we left in 2000. Vicky quoted someone who founded a Hope Flowers School on another thread who said that violence was the product of unhealed wounds. The source of our violence, in that case, is traceable. Why wouldn’t theirs be?
      Iran and Hezbollah are useful to each other but not necessarily on the same page. People more expert than myself could explain that better. Lebanon’s Hezbollah-supporting Shi’ites, who will likely remain our neighbors no matter what happens between us and Iran, will need to be made peace with, just like the Palestinians. Seems to me that Niz (leaving out the math, which I’m not qualified to challenge) has said it just about right.

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    39. John Yorke

      Hezbollah, Hamas, PA, Settlers, Hilltop Youth, Ultra-orthodox, Secular, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Shiites, Sunnis, Jews, Arabs, Christians and, in all probability, one or two atheists as well – these are only some of the people that a future peace settlement will have to contend with in order to get everyone signed up on the dotted line. And, even then, that’s just for starters.

      This business, therefore, cannot be dealt with piecemeal. It’s no good trying to win over one or two elements in so diverse a patchwork of opposing groups. An ‘all-or-nothing’ approach is what’s required, one that can cater for this hugely divergent range of viewpoints and still carry the day, no matter what develops in the interim.
      Otherwise, it just ain’t gonna happen.
      Not now, not ever.

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    40. John Yorke


      ‘….things could be different if we thought differently….’
      Yes, that’s a very good assessment but it’s more especially valid if we decide to act differently as well, to approach the problem from what amounts to the opposite end of the spectrum and zero in on it from there.

      The situation has always been a seriously large one and, perhaps, never more so than now. There will thus be a need for a correspondingly large solution if any serious chance of properly remedying the matter is to be had.

      It would help if there was one we could just take down off the shelf , dust off the cobwebs and put in place right away.

      Failing that, we may just have to soldier on with what we’ve got.

      Which isn’t all that much.

      Reply to Comment
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