I have been watching the country that I grew up in being destroyed. After decades of war and occupation, Lebanon was rebuilding. Its democracy was fragile but strengthening. Now I worry that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert’s threat to send Lebanon back twenty years will come true.
Hizbullah is not Lebanon. Yes, many Hizbullah members are Lebanese, but it is Syria and Iran that support them not Lebanon. What Hizbullah did to Israel is wrong, but Israel needs to accept responsibility too. Instead of working with its neighbor, and coming to a solution together, Israel has declared war on Lebanon.
Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora has described Lebanon as “a disaster zone,” has called for a cease-fire, and has offered to send troops to secure the south. However, Israel will not end its attacks. The European Union recognizes Lebanon’s attempts at dialogue and has accused Israel of using “disproportionate levels of violence,” while President Bush and the G-8 leaders have only asked Israel “to exercise restraint.” Israel appears to be “exercising restraint” by destroying Lebanon’s newly built infrastructure and its hopes for democracy, killing Lebanese civilians in the process.
The Lebanese people do not deserve this. They have lived through war long enough; they are tired of fleeing their homes and living in bomb shelters and watching their loved ones being killed. They deserve peace and a neighbor that respects them.