[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: Middle East Wildfires

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Middle East Wildfires

Looking at CNN's coverage of the Israeli-Lebanese+Gaza conflict and wildifires in California,
I can't help but think both situations are alike. Both cause destruction and can easily spread.
The conflict can certainly escalate as it did today when a rocket or unmanned ship slammed into an Israeli warship - shattering the IDF's might. It can also certainly spread to other countries such as Syria and even Iran, triggering a wider regional conflict. Let's not forget the 100,000 + troops currently in Iraq as they might be later players in the game.It's quite ridiculous when you think all this upsurge in violence is caused by a few kidnapped Israeli soldiers, whom may or may not be still alive. At least 5 Israeli, 30 Palestinian and 70 Lebanese civilians have been killed since the escalation.
I asked Tehila, an Israeli friend of mine about the opposing side's civilian deaths: "Israel need to attack all the Palestians no matter where they are." Tehila's family lives in Haifa, the furthest city to be struck by Hezbollah's rockets. "They dont care that they are dying , they celebrating the fact that they reached to more cities in Israel... they don't care about anything, when they done killing us they start a war with themselves... they're not human!" Back in Ireland, it's not rare to see charities for Palestine or the odd Palestinian flag waving about during protests of some kind. There is a certain air of sympathy in Europe for the Palestinians since we always read or hear about some poor child being killed by troops, strengthening that sympathy. But does that mean we don't like what Israel's doing? Certainly it's easy to criticise them what with their military strength and all. But if Hezbollah or Hamas had the same firepower, they wouldn't hesitate in a heartbeat to unleash it upon the Israeli population.Israelis do live dangerously close to various factions that want to destroy them, not to mention the constant threat of suicide bombers. In their sense, the only way to defend is to attack. "Only the people that live here can understand what is really going on, all the world think that its our fault..." Tehila adds. Should that sympathy change? After all, a majority of Palestinians have elected Hamas into government, a known terrorist organisation. In a recent survey by the Jerusalem Centre of Communications, over 70 percent of Palestinians support the actions of Hamas. Just goes to show how much the hate has become entrenched in their minds. Yet do we still see Palestine as a poverty-stricken people who deserves global sympathy despite the fact they've voted in a terrorist organisation? How would the world react if Ireland or Stormont voted in Sinn Fein? (OK maybe a tame example)

Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah earlier today has officially declared war against Israel in an audio statement: "we have two choices... two enter the Israeli world or remain and standfast against the Zionist enemy." By his language it seems to portray Hezbollah as the victim and will resist Israel. As for the Lebanese government, PM Fouad Siniora in an interview with CNN seems to take a neutral stance and claim his country is being penalised and victimised by both Hezbollah's own militant actions and hence Israel's bombings. In a short answer that describes neatly the egotistical nature of the leaders involved: when asked why he doesn't do something to restrain Hezbollah he reiterates by: "let me put it this way... why are we being asked to stop Hezbollah, at the same time no one is putting the necessary pressure on Israel to resolve the problem? The 'problem' is causing the presence of Hezbollah." In other words, the 'problem' is Israel itself? Israel is probably seething since three of its soldiers had been captured, shattering the belief of their military superiority and underestimating the militants' abilities. Is it a real case of going in to release the soldiers? Or some alterior motive?
From a terrorist's/muslim fundamentalist's point of view, should this conflict grow, it will further spread Israeli forces thin making it ample for attack on all sides - Israel is after all completely surrounded by other countries that want it wiped out - and rising oil prices coupled with falling stocks in the Western world (or infidels as they say) will make the US and other supporters of T.W.O.T. economically weaker and hence unable to sustain their military might and ultimately our way of life. It's certainly a win-win situation for the bad guys.Like the wildfires in California, it just took a small spark to set it off.