Here’s an idea…

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How about Hezbollah just gives back the Israeli soldiers they’re holding hostage? Do you think that might be a simple first step to getting Israel to lay off? Perhaps, once that’s done, there can be an armistice where the Israelis will stop blowing up bridges and airports and the Hezbollah will stop firing their missiles. At least then we can maybe get things back to the uneasy peace that existed a month ago and we can get beck to addressing the issue of the Arab world preaching the obliteration of Israel.

While nations push for the total destruction of Israel, I find it hard to have much sympathy for them when they get bitten back. As Ron points out below, Israel have made concessions to work towards peace and all they get in return is attacks and threats.

I don’t want to get into a point-by-point dissection of anyone’s letter but do want to point out that Lebanese TV is obviously not going to give a balanced account of what’s going on; that the Muslim world doesn’t actually believe that an Arab life is equal to an Israeli or Caucasian life but, in fact, preaches that Israelis and westerners are infidels and worth much less; and, if Lebanon has no means or permission to defend herself then where did the rocket that killed or maimed 38 people in an Israeli railway repair shed come from?

What I think is really going on is that the Arab world is spoiling for a war and has carefully coordinated these kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, calculated to provoke Israel to attack so they can send footage to the rest of the world of all the casualties and make a case for how monstrous Israel is and gain some sort of justification to go to war. The dead Lebanese and Palestinians are simply unwitting martyrs for the cause of the destruction of Israel and acceptable casualties to the religious leaders of the Arab world. But I don’t expect I’ll be reading any letters from Alissar Helena El-murr denouncing the war waged on Israel when that happens.

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It’s more than a game
THE explosion of violence now shaking the Middle East may soon die down, but there will be no true peace until the fear, antagonism, resentment and misery are recognised and action taken to cope with their root causes. This will not happen as long as we – people of the rest of the world – take sides like barracking football fans.

The fear of the people of Israel, feeling that they are surrounded by hostility, is understandable, especially with their historical background of repression and atrocity at the hands of non-Jews, mostly Christians. Likewise, thousands of Palestinians have suffered for half a century after the forced establishment of Israel by Western powers with little regard for the people who had lived there for scores of generations. The US, Britain and others must accept substantial responsibility.

A lasting, wholesome peace will never be reached by military action or intimidation. However difficult it may be – and current events are making it more so – we must all aim at fairness to all those involved and seek compromise and agreement between the currently opposed peoples. They are all human beings who would prefer a calm and assured life for their families.
Robert Corcoran, Edithvale

The missing Mandela
NEARLY everybody in the world reveres Nelson Mandela for the way he brought peace to South Africa. He did this through suffering, forbearance and forgiveness. George Bush, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat, and their successors, have brought suffering to the Middle East through their anger, arrogance and hubris.

If only these men would learn a lesson from Nelson Mandela, how much better the world would be. And so would their reputations.
Chris Burgess, St Kilda

Time to get tough
It is time to call a spade a spade, and haul Israel into the UN Security Council and make it accountable for this outrage in Lebanon.

No one begrudges Israel the right to pursue legitimate terrorist targets when provoked, but bombing a country’s international airport and infrastructure, based on a tenuous view at best, that it supports terrorism, threatens to undermine the fragile democracy in Lebanon. This only encourages extremism and makes Lebanon vulnerable to political implosion that would catapult it back into the dark days of civil war.

The US and Britain also need to forgo, for once, their thinly disguised bias towards Israel and show some robust diplomatic backbone and use their clout to bring Israel to account. This they would do without hesitation with other nations such as Iran or Syria if they committed such a disproportionate military act.
Tim Hamilton, Coburg

Overkill
IF POLICE officers responded to a dangerous criminal gang holed up in a house by blowing up the entire street block, including numerous civilians who lived in the area, the police would, quite rightly, end up on homicide charges. When the Israeli Government reacts in a comparable way to attacks by some members of Hamas and Hezbollah, there should be no doubt about how wrong its conduct is.
Brent Howard, Rydalmere, NSW

The price of weakness
ISRAEL is unfortunately now paying the price for its past displays of weakness. It retreated from Lebanon six years ago and from Gaza last year. Rather than using these opportunities to build self sustaining societies, Israel’s neighbours view these concessions as displays of weakness. They have therefore used the land handed back to them as bases to continue fighting.

As Amin Saikal rightly points out (Opinion, 14/7), Israel’s neighbours view themselves as the victims. Even when land is conceded to them, they still view themselves as the victim.

I despair for Israel. How is it supposed to deal with a neighbour that does not understand compromise and prefers victimhood and hence retaliation to building constructive societies?
Ron Holzer, East St Kilda

  • July 17, 2006