Abroad, Israel is criticized for having overreacted and for causing disproportionate damage to Lebanon and its civilian population and even for indiscriminate bombing. But within Israel, the sense is nearly universal that unlike its invasion of Lebanon in 1982, this war is a matter of survival, not choice, and its legitimacy is unquestioned.
Even the bulk of the Israeli left feels that way. There is no real peace camp in Israel right now, says Yariv Oppenheimer, the secretary general of Peace Now, which has pressed hard for a deal with the Palestinians and on June 22, before this Lebanon war, called for a halt to air raids over the Gaza Strip. “We’re a left-wing Zionist movement, and we believe that Israel has the legitimate right to defend itself,” Mr. Oppenheimer said. “We’re not pacifists. Unlike in Gaza or the West Bank, Israel isn’t occupying Lebanese territory or trying to control the lives of Lebanese. The only occupier there is Hezbollah, and Israel is trying to defend itself.”
In the daily newspaper Haaretz, a cartoon satirized the group, showing a Peace Now advocate, balding with a ponytail, in a coffee shop saying, “It won’t end until we wipe Beirut off the map.”
After the war, Mr. Olmert and his defense minister, Amir Peretz, will face hard questioning, particularly from the center-right, about why there was such an early and naïve dependence on air power and why the ground war began so tentatively, especially in the face of so many rocket attacks on northern cities.
But as the fighting against Hezbollah has proved difficult and hazardous, most Israelis have come to believe that it is important to press ahead with the war and try to secure a visibly successful outcome rather than risk leaving Hezbollah emboldened enough to threaten Israel again.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
As the NY Times puts it, those on the left or right in Israel support the right for Israel to defend herself from terrorists.