A Question of Values

[Times-UK] Editorial - There will never be peace in the region as long as Hizballah, backed by its sponsoring regimes in Iran and Syria, is allowed to threaten Israel militarily. A cease-fire that left Hizballah claiming victory on the battlefield would hugely strengthen its fighters as well as those of Hamas, draining authority from the Lebanese government and Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian Authority, while unsettling further Western-friendly regimes in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. Defeating Hizballah, though, would strengthen the arm of those Arab leaders who see the benefit of an Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution while also curbing the regional influence of Tehran and Damascus. The criticism that Israeli attacks aimed at Hizballah are disproportionate is lazy and facile in several ways, especially in implying a moral relativism between the two sides that does not exist. One is the region's lone democracy, which for much of its existence has faced a very real existential threat and would like, if possible, to live in peace with its neighbors. The other is a terrorist organization, bent on preventing such a future. Hizballah is not an emancipation movement. It represents a virulent stream of extremist Islam, characterized by utter intolerance of difference even within its own religion, and a belief system rooted several centuries past. That it has been planning this war for some time is clear from its arsenal and fortifications.

2006-08-01 01:00:00

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