Hizballah's Untouchable Launch Districts
In The Age's recent column Neighbourhood bombing 'against humanitarian law', the UN's Jan Egeland seems to have dismissed his earlier principle when he said of Hizballah's deep embedding among civilians, “Consistently, from the Hizballah heartland, my message was that Hizballah must stop this cowardly blending … among women and children. I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don’t think anyone should be proud of having many more women and children dead than armed men.”
Now, however, after seeing the destruction Hizballah has truly wrought upon its own civilians, he appears to have changed course. From The Age:
Israel's bombing of a crowded Beirut neighbourhood where Hezbollah had its headquarters has breached humanitarian law, a senior UN official has said, as reports emerged of heavy fighting on Lebanon's southern border.
"It is horrific. I did not know it was block after block of houses," Jan Egeland, the UN emergency relief co-ordinator, told reporters as he toured the shattered Haret Hreik district. "It makes it a violation of humanitarian law."
Mr Egeland was visibly shocked by the devastation in the Shiite Muslim quarter where air raids have flattened a Hezbollah compound. He said it was hard to distinguish between military and civilian targets. [Emphasis added]
One wonders if it crosses Mr. Egeland's mind how the Israelis might feel observing precisely the same frustrating circumstance. It appears Mr. Egeland’s view – as well as others’ view – that it is the Israelis who are responsible. This view irresponsibly dismisses the fact that this reaction is the precise reason that Hizballah has embedded itself among its own civilians, sacrificing them knowingly and readily.
Tyre neighborhoods, for instance, are where many of the missiles striking Haifa daily are launched. From among its own civilians and intentionally targeting Israeli civilians with bearing-laden warheads. Is this not ‘against humanitarian law’?
Is Israel to cede Hizballah a Tyre (or Beirut) free-to-fire zone from which to rain unguided missiles purposely down upon Israeli cities and civilians?
Who is going to stop the launches within these civilian neighborhoods, UNIFIL? How does one propose any potential ‘international peacekeeping force’ effectively put an end to these apparent untouchable launch districts?
According to the rationale put forth, fighting them is clearly not possible in their perfect 'humanitarian' defensive firing positions. What is the UN going to do, impose sanctions on Hizballah?
Yet one more time, please consider:
The IDF is not in force in Haifa. The aim is clear: Kill Israeli civilians.
This intent is what separates the Israelis (and the West) from the terrorist enemy. Civilian casualties from Israeli attacks are because the enemy embeds himself among them.
To not engage him, even with as much precision as possible, is to cede him victory and condemn one’s own civilians to undefended slaughter.
This is unacceptable.
As the rockets rain on the general population of Israel, there is no free ‘Home Base’ safety zone for Hizballah to hide them in. The Israeli Defense Force is not playing tag.