Blame cannot lie solely with Israel

Every rational and honorable citizen feels abhorrence when faced with the Israeli offensives in the Middle East that have caused countless casualties among innocent civilians. And most people feel the same disgust when witnessing suicide bombings at cafes, supermarkets and buses against Israeli targets. It has become quite clear that no state and no government can stand on its own two feet if it is unable to defend the life and safety of its citizens. And this fundamental goal becomes even more elusive if that country’s rivals dispute its very right to exist through deeds and words. For many years now, this has been the behavior of Hamas, which has yet to realize that it constitutes an official authority in the Palestinian territories and so ought to act as such; it has also been the behavior of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Perhaps we should acknowledge that Israel has the right, and the obligation, to defend itself and its existence against these threats. The case of Hezbollah is a very particular one. Many maintain it is an organization with its own independent administration and its own heavily armed military within the state of Lebanon, something of a state within a state. With all the unaccountability of a para-state organization, it threatens Israel as well as Lebanon, which showed its desire to live peacefully with its neighbors in its last general elections. Faced with the threat of Hezbollah, Israel has reacted, admittedly with much more powerful missiles, and consequently more victims. But is just one side to blame in this conflict?