Here’s why calls for an immediate cease-fire in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict are being ignored by Israel. For one thing, despite universal agreement that a peacekeeping force should go in and separate the two and disarm Hezbollah, not a single country is willing to send in its own troops.
Second, asking the UN to do it is pointless because the UN force that’s been on the ground there has grown so chummy with Hezbollah that their flags fly next to each other at the UN command posts.
Finally, Israel has been here and done this before, back in 2000, and Hezbollah has shown itself incapable of living up to any peace agreement.
Hezbollah captured three Israeli soldiers in 2000. They died during the operation, but four years later, the group was able to exchange their bodies for 430 Palestinians and Lebanese held in Israeli jails.
Israel traded 430 alleged criminals and terrorists for the bodies of two soldiers killed by Hezbollah in 2000. Six years later we’re back in the same situation, with Hezbollah abducting soldiers and demanding the release of yet more Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists and sympathizers.
Let’s say that five years ago a man who has declared himself your enemy kidnapped your child, kills hims, and demands $100,000 as ransom plus your pledge that you wouldn’t seek to have him arrested or prosecuted and wouldn’t retaliate in any way. In the interests of peace and forgiveness, you go along with his demands. Six years later, he kidnaps another of your children. What do you do? What would you have Israel do?
I fully support Pope Benedict’s call for an immediate cease-fire and cessation of hostilities. What I don’t think I can support is a unilateral cease-fire by Israel without an equivalent reaction by Hezbollah. That would be appeasement of evil. If Hezbollah agreed to lay down its arms, if Lebanon—and perhaps an international force to help it while it got up to speed—pledged to take responsibility for keeping Hezbolah from attacking Israel, if Syria and Iran pledged to stop supporting Hezbollah, and if Syria pledged to stop interfering in Lebanon’s internal affairs, then I think Israel could be convinced to stop its bombardment—after the return of its abducted soldiers—alive—of course.
But until the attacks against it stop, under what principle of justice should Israel lie down and surrender?