Thursday, July 13, 2006


It should not come as a surprise that Hezbollah attacked Israel yesterday. The attack, even if it was unsuccessful, would have accomplished numerous goals for Hezbollah. Hezbollah showed solidarity with the Palestinians, something which helps their public image. Additionally, if Hamas was about to release Shalit, this gave a breather, not to mention a possible loosening of pressure that Hamas was facing. Last, and perhaps most important, Hamas threatened to overtake Hezbollah as "the" people fighting Israel. Hezbollah has been quiet, Jihad and Hamas have not. They needed some publicity. And now they have it.

And so the war has begun. What started yesterday with the killing of 8 soldiers and capture of two others continued today with a barrage of Katyusha rockets, which killed at least one and injured a dozen more. More rockets are sure to follow.

But now the scenario is different. When Fatah controlled the PA and Hezbollah was just a militia group, the governments had plausible deniability. Hamas and Hezbollah could be castigated publicly while approbated privately. But no more.

You could have argued that Lebanon couldn't control Hezbollah, that the PA couldn't control Hamas. But that argument doesn't work now. Its not a different faction attacking Israel, its the government. Of the Palestinians. Of the Lebanese.

Imagine a lone gunman comes over the Canadian border, shoots up a school and is killed or escapes. Surely you can argue that its not the fault of the Canadian government. Now imagine a hundred tanks come flowing over the border. Tanks of the Canadian army. With Canadian generals, and maybe a government official or two. Is it anything but an act of war?

We now have the governments of the Palestinians and the Lebanese actively attacking Israel. Remember Hezbollah is part of the government now, just like Hamas. They aren't just bad mouthing, not only inciting. Granted, the Lebanese recalled their ambassador to the US, presumably because of his public statement that he supports a prisoner exchange. His words were telling - "They have prisoners. *We* have prisoners." Not Hezbollah. Not a militia. We, the government. The government Hezbollah is part of.

So when the Lebanese cry, we should tell their government to reign in their forces. The forces loyal to the members of their parliament. Assuming Israel lets their government live.