There can be no doubt that the combatants in the battle between Hezbollah and Israel engulfing southern Lebanon have lost all moral credibility. Both sides are waging a war without any regard for innocent human life, except insofar as it is regard for the public relations problems it causes.
The conflict across the border between Lebanon and Israel has now displaced up to 1 million people in Lebanon, of which nearly 700 000 are living in temporary accommodations, and another 220 000 are in Syria, Jordan, Cyprus and the Gulf area. Addressing the vital needs of the displaced and other affected populations, including access to safe drinking water, health care, vaccines and life-saving medications, remains the priority. Infrastructure in Lebanon has been severely damaged, hampering the delivery of humanitarian relief. Fuel shortages threaten to paralyse all lifeline systems, and it is estimated that if fuel is not delivered this week, 60% of all hospitals in Lebanon, in addition to other health facilities, will cease to function. (WHO)
Israel is intentionally bombing roads and bridges that are the only routes into the beleaguered area for relief supplies and out of the area for refugees. Civilians are now trapped in a free fire zone. Israeli claims they are making allowances for humanitarian aid are false. Report after report demonstrates they are lying. As for Hezbollah, they continue to fire rockets into areas with civilians. These rockets cannot be controlled or directed to military targets. Like the mirror image assault on the Lebanese population by Israel, this is a war crime.
The immediate issue is not to trade charges as to who committed war crimes first. Both sides are committing these crimes and continue to do so. They are war criminals, regardless whether Hezbollah has the support of the civilian population in the south or Israel has the support of its own citizens. Civilians do not have the right to authorize war crimes. The immediate issue is to stop the unconscionable bloodshed of innocent people to achieve political aims by both sides.
Not that it matters, but we will be asked, so here is our solution to the Israel – Palestine problem. We cut the Gordian Knot with a multinational force that imposes, by force, the international agreement that created the State of Israel and guarantees its existence. The Palestinians give up forever their right to return to their former properties, perhaps with some compensation. Israel withdraws from all occupied territories in Palestine and Lebanon, dismantling its settlements. Jerusalem becomes an international city.
It is to everyone’s advantage, including the people of the area, that such a solution be imposed, regardless of the sovereignties of Palestine, Israel and Lebanon. Let’s get this over with.