Israel’s war on civilians

Many Western leaders’ perceptions of Israel’s two wars reek of hyprocrisy.

Hamas and Hezbollah long have been recognized for using terrorist tactics, but now they are attacking military targets and kidnapping soldiers. They are not bombing popular sites and attacking civilians. In this conflict, Israel has emerged as the terrorist, responding with mass punishment and heavy attacks on civilian-congested areas.

Israel really has no sense of whom it is attacking, often attacking targets that are outside of Hezbollah’s center. As it stands, approximately 230 Lebanese have been killed, a considerable majority of which were civilian deaths. Twelve Israeli civilians and 249 Palestinians in Gaza also have lost their lives.

Before the abduction of a soldier, Israel had been engaging in intense shelling and raiding escapades in Gaza. Few knew of these attacks. Western media often ignore the deaths of Arabs, and people now are surprised that Arabs are defending themselves against what they perceive as Israeli aggression.

Many mark the beginning of the conflict with the day that Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers, overlooking the preceding assault on Gaza by Israeli forces after Israel refused to exchange an abducted soldier for the numerous Arab prisoners in Israeli cells. Hezbollah acted on its own accord, in part to swap the soldiers in exchange for Arabs, including its own detained by Israel.

Many Americans view the situation as an episode of Arab rage, and because of the tremendous terror stigma attached to Hamas and Hezbollah, too many have been blind to the fact these two groups have largely honored the laws of warfare.

There is a psychological component to this conflict, propped by biased journalism and lofty vocabulary. Employing the word terrorism is a political strategy aimed at painting an enemy, and consequently creating a victim. More importantly, to condemn the Syria-Hezbollah allegiance while turning away from the U.S.-Israel relationship is simply irrational.

In the end, Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah cannot be absolved of their wrongdoings. Instead of selectively punishing people, more rational and less hypocritical diplomacy is necessary to prevent further chaos.