Weighing In On The Israel-Lebanon Thing

Ken AshfordMiddle EastLeave a Comment

Look, I know it’s complicated.  And I don’t feel compelled to pick a side.  This much I will say.

There’s no question that Hezbollah is, or certainly acts like, a terrorist organization, and Israel is justified in defending itself from those attacks.

But to my mind, Israel’s response is disproportionate, over-the-top, and reckless.  Two example in the past 24 hours:

(1)  "Ooops" attack on the Red Cross.  Look at the picture — a missile entered the van with bullseye precision.

AmbulanceIn Sunday’s attack, Chaalan was thrown backward while the other medics rushed to pull the wounded from the smashed vehicle. As they pulled the child out, the Israelis struck again, blowing up the second ambulance.

"I felt like I was dying," Chaalan said Monday, after his release from a hospital. "I thought, ‘I’m dead.’ "

Fortunately, he was only stunned and needed three stitches to close a wound on his chin.

After the attack, a Red Cross volunteer reached the organization’s headquarters in Tyre, which relayed news of the assault to the International Red Cross headquarters in Geneva. After nearly two hours of negotiations, the Israelis guaranteed safe passage for the volunteers and the wounded back to Tyre.

Despite a donation of blood from Chaalan, the wounded man, 40-year-old Ahmed Mustafa Farwaz, lost his right leg below the knee, while his son Mohammed Farwaz, 14, remained in serious condition with shrapnel wounds to his abdomen. The elder Farwaz’s unidentified mother suffered severe nerve damage to her legs.

(2)  "Ooops" attack on the UN, killing 4 U.N. observers, including a Canadian, a Chinese, an Austrian and a Finn. Kofi Annan is calling the attack deliberate.

Annan said in his statement the post had been there for a long time and was marked clearly, and was hit despite assurances from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that UN positions would not be attacked.

"I call on the government of Israel to conduct a full investigation into this very disturbing incident and demand that any further attack on UN positions and personnel must stop," Annan said in the statement.