Posted on July 25, 2006
I also sit stunned at the sheer number of missiles and the weaponry available — via Syria and Iran — and the COST. I ponder this with respect to Hamas as well, and it compels me to ask: How many hospitals could have been built with the money? How many schools? Roads? Homes? Clinics? How many infant deaths could have been prevented with a Women-Infants-Children’s nutrition and pre‑natal care program? How many businesses could have been started with the money? How many factories and manufacturing facilities could have been built — places to make things and be the linchpins of a sustainable economy? How many Palestinian or Lebanese youth could have been sent to college? How many could now be teachers? Doctors? Lawyers? Statesmen and diplomats?
Which somehow reminded me of a bit of dialogue I heard this morning on NPR – a reporter was asking a journalism professor at the Universtiy of Beirut – by his accent and tone an urbane and eloquent man – whether the current levels of violence were helping or hurting the reputation of Hezbollah in Lebanon. He answered that the terror organization/political party was profiting by Israel’s actions, because, after all, “It has become clear to us now that Hezbollah is the last line of defense against Israel.”
Which statement made me blink. Defense against Israel doing what, exactly? They voluntarily left Lebanon six years ago, voluntarily withdrew from Gaza last year, and are willing to pretty much do anything but slit their own throats – they tried that once before – in order to guarantee peaceful relations with their neighbors. Lebanon’s current agony stems from their polity’s inabilty or unwillingness to marshall sovereignty over the entirety of the state and disarm Hezbollah’s military wing, as required by UN resolution. What they could not or would not accomplish, Israel, goaded at last beyond endurance, is attempting to do for them. If it was peace they wanted, and the benefits which Mom alludes to that go with peace, it could all be theirs for the asking.
And then I finally realized the unchallenged assumption at the core of this urbane and educated professor’s statement: Nearly everyone else in the region has at least tacitly acceded to the fact of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. Only Hezbollah(and, more ambiguously, Hamas) stand against that. They are the last defense against Israel’s continued existence.
Boiled down then, the recurring, inescapable truth: A democracy’s fight for survival against those who yearn to kill them all, who have claimed that goal as their own and acted in accordance with that claim. A fight even against urbane university professors with PHD’s, and honeyed voices, and fevered dreams of pushing the Jews into the sea.
All else, as they say, is commentary.