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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Time will tell Israel’s true character

By Aaron Zundel

Like a group of petulant school children, Israel and its neighbors just can’t seem to get along. For decades, they have fought and squabbled among themselves, starting one low-intensity brushfire after another and burning up whatever political progress was made in-between.

But now it looks as though we might have more than a brushfire on our hands.

On July 12, militants from the terrorist organization Hezbollah, a Lebanese-based terror group-the sworn goal of which is to destroy Israel-crossed the Israel-Lebanon border and executed a well-planned raid against Israeli border guards, killing eight and kidnapping two. Hezbollah claims that the raid was conducted to secure leverage for a prisoner exchange it wishes to initiate, but it’s more likely that Hezbollah’s financial backer-the country of Iran-ordered the attacks to divert attention from its maturing nuclear program.

Whatever the reason for the attacks, Israel’s response was swift and strong. It launched immediate air strikes on known Hezbollah targets. In return, Hezbollah launched rockets into Israeli neighborhoods. Now, as of July 19, the civilian death toll stands at a little more than 330 people. At least 29 Israeli and 300 Lebanese citizens have lost their lives in the fighting. These were innocent people who didn’t deserve to die.

At first glance, one would look at these numbers and blame Israel for being a reckless warmonger with no respect for civilians. In fact, one might wonder how-after killing so many civilians-Israel is any different from the terrorists it says it is trying to destroy. There is, however, one very important difference between the two factions that people should be aware of: Hezbollah deliberately places its munitions stockpiles, leaders and other potential targets in heavily populated civilian areas.

Israel does not.

This barbaric disregard for human life by Hezbollah speaks to its character-not to mention the fact that Hezbollah has launched its rockets on nothing but civilian targets since the conflict began. Fortunately for Israel, Hezbollah just doesn’t have sophisticated enough weaponry to inflict as many casualties as its opponents?something I’m sure Hezbollah regrets.

The most unfortunate part of it all is the plight of Lebanon itself. Generally speaking, the country and its citizens are not affiliated with the terror group that hides inside its borders. In fact, many people in Lebanon dislike Hezbollah and the tensions it stokes with Israel; many people go so far as to call for the official dissolution of Hezbollah. True, Hezbollah does have some political power in Lebanon, but the group is not officially part of the Lebanese government and the government therefore has little to no control of its activities-nor is it in much of a position to disband it.

So, sadly, when the Israelis strike against the infrastructure of Lebanon (an infrastructure painstakingly rebuilt since the civil war ended 16 years ago) in an effort to cripple Hezbollah’s ability to mobilize, the citizens and the government are the real losers. It’s a sticky situation with no immediate solution.

In the end, there’s no question that Israel has every right to hunt down and completely destroy Hezbollah for all the grief it has caused over the years.

However, while Israel has been careful to minimize damage to Lebanon’s infrastructure (such as only blowing holes in expensive bridges, not destroying them completely), it still has a moral responsibility to keep the conflict from spreading, as well as to assist in the rebuilding of Lebanon when the dust settles. Who knows-if Israel takes the opportunity to show it can be compassionate as well as strong, perhaps its neighbor might reconsider how it feels.

Then again, if Israel drops the ball on this one and gets carried away-blowing up every terrorist and target in a three- country radius-it’s possible the fire might engulf all of us this time.

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