Monday, August 14, 2006

Reports from Israel and Lebanon

Amnesty's research team is reporting back from Lebanon and Israel on the current conflict. Their initial findings are reported regularly on a special blog set up. You can read it here.

The one thing that strikes me is how similar both stories are. Civilians on both sides are taking the brunt of the casualties. The death toll is higher on the Lebanon side, but the bottom line is that both sides are bringing the full brunt of their military weight against civilians and it has to stop. The focus on international efforts now has to be on protecting civilians.

In that regard, the sale of cluster bombs to Israel is the exact wrong thing to be doing at this time. In a letter to President Bush, AIUSA Executive Director Larry Cox states the well-documented fact that "cluster bombs present a high risk of violating the international humanitarian law prohibition on indiscriminate attacks." Cluster bombs inevitably bring a higher civilan toll. They are not a weapon to use by an army concerned about keeping to the laws of war and reducing civilian casualties. Their sale has once before been cut off to Israel because of these concerns.

At the same time, Amnesty is likewise concerned about the supply of armaments to Hezbollah and the continued attacks against Israeli citizens. These have to be condemned in the strongest terms.

The cease-fire is a good step. My own expectation, however is low. I'm guessing there will be provocation by Hezbollah, but one that is small in nature. The question will be, as it was at in the beginning of the conflict, how should the Israelis act. My argument continues to be is that this conflict is strengthening Hezbollah and that peace will be worth keeping over such provocations.


At 10:11 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

I definately feel civilians need to be a focus. What is so scary is how much war is total war and not soldier on soldier and soldiers are the age of children now.

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