Israel Strikes Back

For the last two weeks the international attention and media attention stands riveted on the West Asian crisis involving Israel's military strikes in Lebanon and preceding that in the Gaza strip. Many nations including India have jumped to criticize Israel's military operations in Lebanon as an act of aggression and condemn Israel for use of disproportionate force. Such responses do not reflect the realities of the ground situation and are made under domestic political considerations ( Indian Government under Leftists and minority vote banks pressure) or religious affinity as in the case of the Islamic world.

The ground realities are however radically different. Israel has not launched a war of aggression against Lebanon for any territorial gains or political aggrandizement. Israel's military operations in Lebanon are targeted at the Hezbollah which is an Islamist fundamentalist organization. Over several years it has been involved in violent terrorism against Israel. Over a period of time with external support it has built up a formidable armed militia equipped with heavy weapons and rocket artillery. It established itself in Southern Lebanon and carved a state within a state from where it launched terror strikes and periodic rocket artillery attacks deep within Israeli territory. United Nations Resolution 1559 demanded that all militias be disbanded and Lebanon should establish effective control over Southern Lebanon . This did not happen as Lebanon's Government was too weak to disarm the Hezbollah. The present military operations by Israel emanated from the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by the Hezbollah reportedly for a swap with its militants in Israeli custody

Israel stands besieged on its southern borders also by Islamic religious terrorism in the form of Hamas which has been running an unending terrorism campaign against Israel. They too abducted an Israeli soldier weeks back resulting in Israeli military strikes in the Gaza strip.

Israel also faces a constant terrorism threat from another direction and that is from the Mediterranean Sea coastline which becomes an attractive avenue for such terrorist organizations.

Both these Islamist religious terrorist organizations involved against Israel are reported to be engaged in a proxy war against Israel at the behest of Syria and Iran besides receiving petro-dollars from the Gulf. The rocket artillery of the Hezbollah is said to being provided increasingly by Iran. Syria has a pressing objective to make Israel vacate the Golan Heights whereas the Iranian objective seems to keep USA preoccupied with this region and deflect its focus on its nuclear programme and also as a strategic pressure point to obviate preventive military strikes by USA and Israel on its nuclear facilities.

In such a security environment Israel has no option but to strike at the roots of terror which have inflicted hundreds of casualties on its civilian population over the years. It was an unavoidable military operation when in the face of such terror which has international ramifications the major powers seem unable to restrain the state sponsors of Islamic religious terrorism in the region. In the case of Lebanon, when a state is rendered powerless by a terrorist organization and impinges on its sovereignty and that organization indulges in an undeclared war against a neigbouring state the Israel cannot await the United Nations to enforce its Resolutions.

It needs to be recalled that Israel withdrew its forces from Southern Lebanon in 2000 on the United Nations and the assurances of the international community that the Hezbollah would be neutralized in Southern Lebanon so that its capacity to wage war against Israel ceases. Israel similarly withdrew its military presence from the Gaza Strip as a gesture to bring peace with the Palestinians. Six years hence nothing of that sort happened and nobody should rightfully fault Israel for military operations in the exercise of the right of self defence which is recognized in the UN Charter.    


More by :  Dr. Subhash Kapila

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