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Should Israel be beyond criticism? It is in the US, but there's no reason we should cravenly follow foreign positions (whether American, or European).

Nobody of any sense objects to Israel obliterating Hezbollah, but destroying Lebanon's civilian infrastructure is simply collective punishment (which Israel has a long history of). The photos of Beirut tell their own picture - destroying rows of apartment blocks is not "surgical strikes" nor "collateral damage", it's simply criminal.

Must be part of the change agenda...

Being "besieged by terrorist enemies" does not give Israel the right to do as it pleases. Bombing Lebanon back into the stone age is barbaric response to Hezbollah's provocation and makes Israel no better than her enemies.

Just once it would be good for Cameron et al to lead opinion rather than follow it.

They wait to see which way the wind is blowing and then they adopt the prevailing view.

Can anyone think of ONE ISSUE in which Cameron has taken on the established view?

Leaving the EPP WAS his boldest commitment and we all know what happened to that...

Preposterous. You've had plenty of opportunities to put on record what should be your disgust for Bibi's celebration of the murder of British soldiers and civilians. That total silence firmly exposes your pieties and prejudices.

I detest the blanket criticism of Israel that we see on threads like this. Israel waited patiently for the world community to act against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The world community did nothing while Hezbollah fired rocket after rocket at Jewish and Arab homes in Israel.

Israel is waiting again for the world community to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon. The world community will again do nothing against a nation that wants to wipe Israel off the face of the map.

The world always criticises Israel but this is a nation that all of its neighbours want to crush. It already has the nuclear weapons - remember - but doesn't use them. It doesn't use them because it is a free and constitutional democracy. Iran would use them. Because like all of Israel's neighbours it is a totalitarian, oppressive state.

Thank God Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear weapons research facility in the 1980s. That of course was condemned too by the world community at the time. But that act stopped Saddam getting a weapon with which he could have terrorised the world.


Worth reading

Good on Hague!

Israel waited patiently for the world community to act against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The world community did nothing while Hezbollah fired rocket after rocket at Jewish and Arab homes in Israel

On 23 June 1936

Stanley Baldwin told the House of Commons that collective security "failed ultimately because of the reluctance of nearly all the nations in Europe to proceed to what I might call military sanctions.... [T]he real reason, or the main reason, was that we discovered in the process of weeks that there was no country except the aggressor country which was ready for war.... [I]f collective action is to be a reality and not merely a thing to be talked about, it means not only that every country is to be ready for war; but must be ready to go to war at once. That is a terrible thing, but it is an essential part of collective security."

The United Nations was supposed to arrange for the disarming of Hezbollah under Resolution 1559........as part of Israel's withdrawal in 2000..........

UNIFIL was created in 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore the international peace and security, and help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area.


So why did the UN fail ?

Since when was Conservative thinking on Foreign Policy dictated by the agenda of the liberal media? I can appreciate that watchers of BBC news, with its well and truly embedded reporters (Barbara Plett (Who is still working for the World Service by the way!) et al) may well see the Israeli military as jackbooted thugs rather than as citizen soldiers defending their homeland. Biased BBC, Samizdata and other well respected Auntie watchers can set you straight on that.

Israel has a right to defend its citizens. It is a sad day when Margaret Beckett is putting out a tougher line on the fight against this terrorism than a leading member of our party.

What Israel does in its national interest is none of our business unless it clashes with ours.

I agree with what the Editor says about the Tories becoming more like Europe's Christian Democrats but it would be good to see us adopting some of the European healthcare models plus social insurance. The Dorrellisation of Tory health policy suggests that no such movement is going to happen.

I fail absolutely to see what this has to do with a European worldview at all.I suspect Hagues words reflect the feelings of the majority of people in this country.
As I predicted a few days ago Israels bombing campaign has not only failed in its military objectives (Hezbollah fired more rockets today then ever before) but has achieved it seems worldwide condemnation.I don't think Israel gives a damn about world opinion however as they know they will be blindly supported by the United States whatever they do and are therefore impregnable.

"I detest the blanket criticism of Israel that we see on threads like this. Israel waited patiently for the world community to act against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The world community did nothing while Hezbollah fired rocket after rocket at Jewish and Arab homes in Israel"

Most of us have no problem with Israel trying to deal with Hezbollah. We just recognise that obliterating the civilian infrastructure of a defenceless country is neither proportinate, effective or humane.

Richard Allen, if Hezbollah terrorists are content to hide behind human shields, how would Israel best go about destroying them?

It's all very well to criticise without having any viable alternative ideas yourself.

I am very disappointed by this. The way the left rabidly attack Israel at every and any opportunity no matter what the Arabs are doing, we have to counter them we have to support Israel, yes they may be destroying Lebanon, but the UN has had 5 years to get Hezbollah out of there and they have done nothing.

This is the only thing left for Israel to do to stop the terrorists, no state can be allowed to get away with having terrorists firing missiles and claim it is nothing to do with them. People compare it with our experience with the IRA, but it was different. If it was the same though and the Irish government were allowing the IRA to fire missiles from their territory killing British citizens I would expect our government to have acted in the same way.

We should not just blindly follow American foreign policy, but we should if it goes in our advantage or if the left and Europe oppose it. (It usually is our advantage if it is apposed by the left and the French)

Israel has every right to defend itself but there surely ways which are acceptable and ways which are not. I cannot understand what Israel hopes to achieve with their current campaign which seems to be aimed more at the infrastructure of the Lebanon rather than that of Hizbollah. I also cannot think of a better way to pointlessly inflame Arab anger or a better piece of propaganda for the recruiters of Hizbollah, Hamas or Al Qaeda.

Nor can I understand those who believe we should slavishly follow the foreign policy of the United States simply because they are very powerful and speak English. It should be beneath the dignity of this nation to be a poodle of any other country, especially one with a such an insular and frankly, weird view of the world. I think our current stance is based upon a fundamental misreading of the nature of our country's friendship with America during the Cold War - it was never one of subservience, we didn't go into Vietnam and Mrs. T didn't worry about giving Reagan an earful when she thought he needed it. Our slavish obedience merely encourages America's wildest excesses of which their failure even to apply behind the scenes pressure upon Israel is undoubtably one.

Can't wait to read Melanie Phillips's view on Hague's statement! Anybody like to guess how it will go, bet she won't be pleased. Watch your back William.

I don't think the opinion of Melanie Phillips regarding Israel is worth a hill of beans.She can tolerate no criticism whatsoever of Israeli actions whatever the circumstance.If she criticises Hague that will reflect more on her than it does on him.

I was born a Jew, and worked on a kibbutz as a youngster in the '60's. Many prominent Jews at the time Herzl began his mission to establish a Jewish State believed the whole idea to be wrong, and they have been sadly proved right. I think I can also understand it when Palestinians feel they are being made to pay the price for the actions of the Cossacks, Stalin and Hitler.

My heart bleeds for the dead and injured on both sides of this catastrophe, and too many others like it in my life time.

However, the State of Israel exists. Supposing it were to be obliterated by a combination of Syrian and Iranian weaponry, or if by some witchery all its citizens left for other parts of the world tomorrow - would that bring peace to the Arab world, and would it stop anti-Western terrorism? Sadly, and surely, the answer has to be 'no'.

Sunnis and Shias would carry on massacring each other as they have done for centuries, and the belief in the ultimate objective of a world-wide Islamic regime would continue to motivate fanatics.

There is right and wrong on both sides, and truth and lies on both sides - what I would ask ALL those who profess a belief in God as a justification for what they do, is: Do you truly believe in a God who asks for blood sacrifice as the price for a piece of land?

I believe that Hague is merely expressing the view of a majority of Brits. Israel has every right to defend itself, but why bomb the hell out of a Lebanon for the sake of going after 2,000 odd Hezbolah members. This is exactly what Hezbolah wanted!

Re that Haaretz link cited above: a must-read whether one is pro- or anti-Israeli. The material cited is public domain and checkable. The article's principals' interpretations may be open to question, but not the facts, it seems.

The article's thesis, in short:-
Lebanon today is the crux of the new Great Game. With Russia's approval, Iran deliberately provoked Israel into the attacks and plans to supplement Lebanon with attacks on Zionists throughout the West. Bush is ill-informed, the EU blind. All-out regional war (which Israel could not survive) being possible, Russia will broker a Lebanon peace at a time of its choosing, to its and Iran's advantage. Iran will get its nuclear weapons. The USA will be side-lined. Russia will regain superpower status.

Bush/Blair/Hague? Titanic. Deck-chairs.

What planet is the Editor living on? Is he really referring to the Bush Administration as conservative?

Lets see...under Bush:

- Federal govt spending as a % of GDP at a record high....the highest spending US govt in history!

- The largest budget AND trade deficits (as a % of GDP and in absolute terms) in US history

- A complete disregard for individual rights (due process, wire-tapping, Guantanomo)

- No respect for secular state institutions

What on earth is the Editor talking about!

Futhermore, the fact that the US govt supports Israel come hell or highwater has absolutely nothing to do with who runs the White House......the US has to support Israel (the reasons are obvious).

Sounds like the Editor is a bit confused.

Let's be clear about this, as Project Cameron has been clear:

We are sucking up to the liberal European agenda. We wait to see what they think, then we chime in. That's it.

William Hagaue is a spineless coward, and always has been. He couldn't even stand up to Portillo, for heaven's sake.

Cameron doesn't believe anything. He's a worthless adventurer.

They now own the Conservative Party. It's going nowhere - and it deserves to go nowhere.

Their theory is simple: say what the liberal media wants, then if Labour implodes we can win.

They are wrong. These morons will never be in power because they don't deserve to be in power. Simple.

Hague is losing credibility with every utterance. We should always go straight to the bottom line and that is that Israel gambled on trusting Lebanon and has been betrayed because Iran is pulling the strings. Bush is right - it is a crusade against an 'evil empire' (militant Islam) and one that has branch offices in urban Britain. Watch out for the 5th column in the back streets of Beeston.

Just as in Northern Ireland we turn a blind eye to the fact that for every front line terrorist there are thousands of 'passive' supporters who are equally guilty.

So what would be a 'proportionate' response from Israel. What would be a proportionate response from any of us if our neighbour allowed bombs to be thrown from its backyard into ours.

America is not always right - but she is the only real ally we have.

Hague is absolutely right on the approach, I prefer, and probably most Britons, european thinking on foreign policy, we do not like the idea of war, any war or conflict. Isreal is causing a war due to its disproptionate response.

Yes there are problems in the middle-east, but by Isreal invading and bombing Lebannon, do you think in the long-term it will deter terrorism in Isreal or MORE people joining Hezbulla?

So, what you're saying Jaz (and others) is that the Government and people of Israel should just sit back and let the terrorists kill them with rockets - because to fight back would just emflame them further?

Brilliant. I'm so glad you're not in charge and never will be.

That's right, Chris. They never will be in charge, thank goodness. They are idiots. They are suffering so badly from 12 years of being abominated that all they want to do is suck up to whatever the liberal press tells them.

Thank heavens for Tony Blair. This makes me long for the days when Michael Gove supported Tony Blair's foreign policy.

Here's what will happen as the result of Project Cameron: Gordon Brown will be Prime Minister and Conservative principles will be expunged into unloved history. Won't we all look cool then?

Imagine if Israel was built in europe. I'm sure we would all have loved in like a fat kid loves cake. not.

By the way, I'm not 100% convinced of Israel's tactics in this situation. But I support Israel because they are a true democracy whose civilians are being pounded by Syrian and Iranian missiles being fired from Lebanon.

And how would we respond? By an appeal to the UN? Laughable.

Hague really needs to stop allowing the Cameron regime to use him as a political bomb shelter for announcements that they know will be unpopular with right-wingers.

For our part, we need to remember where the blame really lies.

Britain's foreign policy should be independent of both the US and EU - preferably one of non-intervention.

Fascinating quote from Hague 2003: "Those who will not venture out when a criminal is coming down the street should not complain when someone acts as the policeman."

Isn't that what Israel is doing now? Acting as the policeman against a criminal Hizbollah that the UN and Lebanese government have done sweet FA about?

So Bux,you approve of a massive bombing campaign which seemingly takes hundreds of innocent lives all because Israel is a democracy?Democracies can behave disgracefully too and in this instance Israel is certainly doing that.
Blindly supporting Israel in everything she does is truly the laughable policy.

This Israeli government is the lapdog of American 'neo-cons', who've been trying for months to manufacture an excuse to go to war with Iran and Syria. They are comprised largely of right wing Jews and backed by right wing Jewish hacks in the American media. Liberal Jews the world over, and Liberal Americans should stand behind the U.N in condemnation of Israel's attacks and realize they are being manipulated into the 'War on Terror', which will scapegoat ordinary Israeli Jews and Arabs alike.

And Prodicus @ 20.23 once Russia had gained super power status, which I would agree certainly seems to be Putins aim, do you really think that the Iran er leader would be content to take a back seat, no, there would just be another world war!

And Sim @ 20.03 if Israel was somehow emptied of its Jewish population, the most immediate thing that would happen would be every Arab or Muslim tribe that could get to that country would do so to try and avail themselves of all the industries, the technology and everything else that Israel has achieved since it has been a state. Theat is one of the things that the surrounding arabs hate most is the hard work and success of the Israelis.

TomTom @ 18.34 - Why did the UN fail? Well the Secretary General is a weak man who doesn't seem to like decision making, which after all is his job. And the other problem now is, I think, that rather like proportional representation, there are just too many representatives now, and too much politicking going on behind the scenes.

Why do so many Jews take criticism of Israil as criticism of Jews? Do you not see what your policiticnas rae leading you to a road without destination?
Hague is only saying what the whole world is seeing and feeling.
When Israel captures and imprisons thousands of people it’s called arresting.
When Hezbollah captures two soldiers its called kidnapping and is retaliated by full scale war.

When Hezbollah is bombing Israel’s cities, it’s called terrorism.
When Israel is bombing Lebanon and Palestine, it’s called defence.

Such double standards…

Cameron's Tories are increasingly looking more Christian Democrat and less like the successful conservative parties of the Anglosphere.

A profoundly perceptive comment on the shift in Conservative political philosophy. There was a time when Blair was attempting to inherit the mantle of European Christian Democracy. The fact that Project Cameron is attuning its foreign policy to the EPP rather than the centre-right parties of the Anglosphere is ominous, to say the least.

Some of the wilder criticism of DC is absurd but Hague's article was wrong-headed and (a WH trait, I'm afraid) short-termist.

The Left gets hysterical about Israel. There's a serious attempt going on in the UK and other western nations to portray Israel as the moral equivalent of apartheid South Africa.

We hear next to nothing from the left about Darfur. Why? Because the violence isn't being conducted by pro-western elements.

Hizbollah are evil, fascistic terrorists and one of the cutting edges of radical Islam. To attack Israel for attempting to cripple Hizbollah's infrastructure is nothing more than pandering to the self-hating and outrageously biased BBC world view.

It makes one glad that Hague is too busy with his extensive business interests to spend more time on foreign policy!

Chriss Palmer agree with all you write.

However I do wish you so called Tories would stop acting like irate school girls, just because some people in the Tory party might just like the idear of getting elected for a change.

Just shut-up and vote Tory. If you dont like what you get, you can ripp them apart then. If I was a prospective Conservative minister right now I would join Hizbollah myself if I thought it would stop another 5 years of New Labour. This inspite of myself being Jewish.

Come on, non of you people really think that a Conservative government would ever do anything but tailgate Americans FP, do you?

Seems to me a lot of right-wingers have sexual fantasies about hunky Israeli Special Forces boys slaughtering those dirty ragheads.

I fear Islamic terrorism over the next decade and I support Israel and for both those reasons I deplore what Israel has done over the last two weeks.

Indiscriminately attacking a weak state like the Lebanon just creates enemies and bad PR and acts as a recruitment for Hezbollah both locally and in the West. Just because you can throw your weight around doesn't mean you should.

Israel needs better intelligence on Hezbollah and then to send in Mossad at night not the Army during the day.

Unquestioningly backing Israel when it is making a prat fall of its foreign policy doesnt make us her friend

houndtag - "Seems to me a lot of right-wingers have sexual fantasies about hunky Israeli Special Forces boys slaughtering those dirty ragheads."

What is it on the left? Jacques Delors, Douglas Hurd, a pencil sharpener and a can of whipped cream?

If the Scots were shooting a hundred missiles a day into York and Leeds, you betcha we'd storm in with tanks. The simple fact is that if the Arabs quit hassling Israel they'd be happy to coexist. It's one side starting all the fights here!

I consider a person who rushes to criticise Israel, as at best a reflexive and unthinking lefty; at worst, a terrorist cheerleader. Very much like the people who immediately and automatically heap all the blame on Britain for the IRA.

I used to really respect William Hague but this craven coalescence to both the Euro view and racist Muslim opinion following hard on the heels of his EPP failure sets the seal for me. Hague is becoming the antithesis of everything that I believed the Conservative Party stood for and I think he should go right now.

It is sad to see the transatalatic polariastion so welcomed by the EU being perpetuated. Our foreign policy should be decided, and commented upon, on its own merits, not pigeon-holed into "pro-USA" or "pro-EU".

I'm not just "EU-sceptic", I hate the beast and work to lead us out of it back into the freedom of global trade and commerce: but... Hague (whom I despise for his betrayal over the EPP) is absolutley right on this one.

Why do moral judgements and criticism fly out of the window when Israel is involved? If any other country were destroying Lebanon and killing innocent people like this, it would be denounced in hours. Let us not have double standards for the sake of political alignments. We must judge countries on their actions, and applaud or condemn as we find.

Sorry I also forgot to mention Hague talking Bilderberg bollock as well. All round it is best for the Party, himself and my blood pressure if he decides to spend more time with his money.

Israel needs better intelligence on Hezbollah and then to send in Mossad at night not the Army during the day.

What Intelligence do you need on Hezbollah ? It is funded, armed, and directed by Iran. The same Iran which is trying to develop nuclear weapons. The same Iran which is behind Al-Sadr and the killing of British soldiers in Basra; the same Iran which is supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan.

How do you think we should show our respect for Iran and its Great Power ambitions ? Perhaps we could withdraw all female correspondents from the Middle East and replace them with men ?

Maybe SAS men should be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq so MI6 can gain more Intelligence on the Taliban and Hezbollah..................or perhaps John Reid could have Croydon check how many are in the UK under guise of asylum-seekers ?

Antwerp has a Hezbollah man organising Arabs and wanting Arabic as an official language............maybe that is a way forward and BBC newsreaders could wear the jilbab to show our ability to integrate with Iranian views to reduce tension ?

Putting more women on the A-List is however anathema to fundamentalist Muslim opinion and should be dropped or risk being seen as provocative

If the Israelis were black, the arabs - white christians, Hizbollah - white supremacists, but everything else the same, do you really think things wouldn't be different? Of course they would. Every Guardian reading, muesli chomping lefty in the country would support Israel to the hilt.

As things stand, I do not support Israel uncritically, but I will not criticise them for doing exactly as we would in their place. We're supposed to be conservatives. What would we do if missiles were impacting London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow every day? Wet our pants wondering what a proportional response was or ask apoplectically what we had a bloody airforce for?

What would we do if missiles were impacting London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow every day? Wet our pants wondering what a proportional response was or ask apoplectically what we had a bloody airforce for?

I'm afraid that wetting pants might well be the response..........read the words of Permanent Secretary at the FCO Vansittart in 1938:

"I cannot imagine what figure we shall cut in the world when these [Foreign Office] documents come to be published... I am bound to record ... my deep dejection .. There seems to be no longer any strength in our loins or capacity for moral indignation in our natures, and I fear that we shall be judged accordingly..."

Agree wholeheartedly with you Tam Large.Yours is the best post on this thread.

Saying that an action is disproportionate is not saying you disagree with any action being taken whatsoever.

So what are you saying? That The Tories are embracing the philosophy of the EPP at just the moment they are working to get out of it? Schizophrenic or what!

For what it's worth, Hague is right. Last week, Kurdish guerillas sneaked across the Turkish border and captured 15 Turkish soldiers. The Americans are urging restraint! They don't want the Turks bombing Mosul back to the stone age with American soldiers getting hit as "collateral damage". Why can't they say the same thing to Israel? One rule for everyone else, one rule for Israel. That's what is upsetting everyone, fairness requires everyone to be treated just the same. Arn't all humans equal? Wasn't WW2 fought on that principle?

I'm a bit puzzled here: Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel. It's strings are pulled by Iran and Syria. What are the Israelis expected to do differently?

Whilst I appreciate the situation Israel is in to some extent, I believe an Israeli general made the implication that we would have reacted the same way to the IRA taking action similar to that of Hezbollah.

That helped put Israel's response into context for me. Does anyone seriously think that if the IRA operating out the Republic of Ireland had kidnapped two British servicemen that the UK would have launched a naval blockade, artillery bombardment and air-raids on Dublin?

I thought that Israel has attacked Hezbollah positions in Lebanon mainly because they are firing missiles into Northern Israeli cities. This looks like self-defence to me. Or are the Israelis just supposed to sit there and take it?

As for Ireland, the IRA routinely used its defacto safe haven in the Republic to launch murderous attacks into the North (think Warrenpoint). The British Government did not strike back because it was feeble and the Republic was forever making promises on security that it never had any intention of delivering on. So what point are you making? That the Israelis are morally obliged to make the same mistakes as us?

Is this a proportionate response?

Of course Israel has the right to defend itself, and if its actions were confined to clear operations against terrorist targets I doubt we'd be having this debate.

Maybe we should have responded more robustly against the IRA operating out of the Republic, but no matter what the provocation I would like to think we would have stopped short of shelling Dublin or sending the RAF on missions to destroy anything that moved in the border country.

Whether or not israel is justified is irrelevant.

Britain should only intervene when it is in Britains interest to do so.

Anything else is a recipe for perpetual war.

Actually I regret my last post. Peacekeeping is not the same as war. I should've said perpetual interferance in other countries conflicts and sovereignty at risk to British soldiers and at British expense.

In the last few weeks I have heard several people make statements attacking Britain & USA for not acting - "condoning" the killing of women and cildren, "Bush & Blair are creating a new generation of suicide bombers" etc..

We have interfered so often we have created an expectation to act, and now when we dont immediately intervene we are blamed for the worlds troubles. Of course when we do intervene we are denounced as imperialists.

I hope Hague (and Cameron) do turn us toward a more French style foreign policy (but i'm not going to hold my breath) - the French act in their own national interest, as our govt. should.

What evidence do you have that the response is disproportionate.....bearing in mind that all wars are extremely nasty and there is no such thing as a "surgical" strike?

I think the level of bombing we have seen of almost half of Lebanon is entirely dispraportionate Michael.The pictures and stories emanating from newspapers which are normally pro Israeli tells its own story.
Whilst it is true that no air strike is truly 'surgical' Israel does have the ability to target individuals as they have proved when they have taken out various Palestinian terrorists without causing widespread destruction or civilian casualties. Nobody I think would blame theme for doing that.
Using the Irish situation as an anology again,for many years British special forces adopted a policy of 'hot pursuit' against Irish terrorists using the republic as a safe haven.Many terrorists were captured and taken north and a few were killed.Israel could adopt this policy and use Hezbollah prisoners to trade in return for its servicemen.It has done similar things in the past,I can't understand why it is acting so differently now.

but no matter what the provocation I would like to think we would have stopped short of shelling Dublin

We shelled Dublin in 1916; the Germans bombed it during the war.

That helped put Israel's response into context for me. Does anyone seriously think that if the IRA operating out the Republic of Ireland had kidnapped two British servicemen that the UK would have launched a naval blockade, artillery bombardment and air-raids on Dublin?

Had the IRA been members of the Irish Government in control of the border areas and receiving rockets from Libya or the USSR, and firing them at Belfast in addition to pledging to eradicate all British Citizens from the North of Ireland as a prelude to taking over Europe, I think perhaps Dublin should be a smouldering ruin today.

As it is the IRA were real gentlemen compared to Hezbollah - they used to telephone to make an appointment before triggering their bomb, and it was only a Conservative Govt they tried to murder at Brighton - I am sure Lord Tebbit and his wife now feel relaxed about events that night..........the MP for Enfield Southgate was killed that October day in 1984.

Thatcher made some comment:
That is the scale of the outrage in which we have all shared, and the fact that we are gathered here now — shocked, but composed and determined — is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail

but I suppose Conservatives have a laisser-faire attitude towards such things - other people are more interested in lex talionis.

And your point is Tom Tom?

My point is that Britain has not experienced Terrorism - the IRA was quaint compared to Al-Qaeda and Hizbollah - imagine the IRA making a statement like this one today:

TEHRAN, Iran - Hezbollah's representative in
Iran struck a defiant tone Monday, warning that his Islamic militant group plans to widen its attacks on
Israel until "no place" is safe for Israelis.

Hossein Safiadeen also reinforced earlier threats by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah to widen the scope of attacks, which have included unprecedented missile strikes deep into northern Israel.

"We are going to make Israel not safe for Israelis. There will be no place they are safe," Safiadeen told a conference that included the Tehran-based representative of the Palestinian group Hamas and the ambassadors from Lebanon, Syria and the
Palestinian Authority.

"You will see a new Middle East in the way of Hezbollah and Islam, not in the way of Rice and Israel."

Safiadeen told The Associated Press he "had no news" about Syria considering withdrawing its support for Hezbollah, which touched off the crisis July 12 with a cross-border raid that captured two Israeli soldiers.

"We will expand attacks," he said. "The people who came to Israel, (they) moved there to live, not to die. If we continue to attack, they will leave."

It makes me feel sick that the Conservative Party has abandonned its principles because it thinks everyone in the UK is an anti-American, anti-Israeli social democrat eurofederalist environmentalists and they ought to fall into line. Will no one stand up to defend Britain? Churchill must be turning in his grave.

Malcolm, re our earlier exchange, you may find the article "Disproportionate to what?" on the Spectator's website worth a read.

Ok, my last post made me sound like a nut, but I was angry, so forgive me. Anyway, a mroe sensible post:

Britain is not European. There is no such thing as European. There is no such thing as a European world view (more on this later). There is such a thing as the Brussels worldview, and that worldview is that we can become powerful by not having any actual power (called "soft powe") which (they allege) will mean that everyone will respect us for taking the moral high ground and kindly go away, thankyouverymuch. The Unfortunately it's rubbish. When employed against Iran this "soft power" has achieved nothing, and Iran has only hinted that it might achieve something if we make large concessions in the future.

People who believe in soft power were the kids at school who believed that if you ignored the bullies they would go away. There are certain people, and indeed certain nations and certain groups, one of which is Hezbullah, which will not go away unless stood up to. It is Israel's sovereign right to do so. Yes, it has caused them to bomb Israel more. Declaring war on Nazi Germany caused them to bomb Britain more than they were before too, but only a stark raving lunatic would use this to conclude that had we not attacked Nazi Germany it would have ended up weaker than it did.

If Britain becomes a soft power state then we will end up like Germany and Italy - with stagnant economies, limitted overseas interests and little real control over anything beyond our own borders. We're already beginning to see it happen with the systematic decimation of the Royal Navy, but no one complains. No one protests. IT IS THE DUTY OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY TO PROTEST. It is the duty of the Conservative Party to ensure that Britain does not sleepwalk into the European nightmare of statist control, stagnant economy and relegation to the status of a minor regional power.

The Conservative Party is guilty of the most heinous deriliction of this duty.

The Conservative Party as it is can win the next election. Indeed, the Conservative elite only allowed Cameron to steam-roll to power because they started to panic that they weren't winning. They REALLY started to panic. They concluded that because they weren't winning, the only viewpoint that could possibly win - the only viewpoint that could possibly be considered valid in the eys of the British public - is the social democrat Labourite viewpoint. Cameron offered them this (of course, wrapped up in buzz-words like "compassionate governance" and "changing for the future" so as not to scare the old grannies who diligently renew their membership every year) with some coded assurances that he was a "real Tory" such as his pledge to withdraw from the EPP.

We all know what happened to that.

The Labourite viewpoint has become the accepted wisdom because the Conservative Party has failed to oppose it. Now, not only has it failed to oppose it, but it has even begun to AGREE. Regardless of your ideology, the world is a free market. The successful, well-governed, lucky countries will do well. The British people may suffer incompetence and stupidity, but reality does not. If Cameron is not removed before the next election, regardless of the outcome of that election, Britain will be doomed to failure. It could already be too late to recover from the damage Labour has done, but if we have to wait until 2014, it will DEFINATELY be too late.

We're already well on the way to becoming a weak satellite of Brussels with a creaking, regulated economy just like the rest of Europe. The European model does not work but worse it is authoritarian and constrictive and weak - thoroughly unlike Britain. If that's the future you want, then by all means go on supporting Cameron.

As Sim @ 20.03 says: "My heart bleeds for the dead and injured on both sides of this catastrophe, and too many others like it in my life time".
Watching the televised reports of Beirut and other towns in the Labanon, how can any decent person not react in the same way?
I have always admired the Israeli militia and I fully support their right to try and recapture their people kidnapped by Hezbolloh and Hamas. However, the way they are going about it now is inhuman and ineffective. They are hitting civilian targets and wrecking Lebanon's infrastructure; the UN/USA must halt this carnage or Israel must find a more forensic way of identifying and then neutralising Hezbollah units.
The problem, I believe, goes back to before the second Iraq war. It was pretty clear that Saddam by then was no threat to the West, so Bush and Blair, instead of waging a reasonably easy war (so they thought, as Iraq's airforce was hors de combat), should have concentrated their efforts - for as many years as it would take - on establishing a democratic state of Palestine that was recognised by Israel. A real peace in the Middle East would have made statesmen out of Bush and Blair and given both our countries real status in the area.

Your point is that Britain has not experienced terrorism? Rubbish.It is just a question of degree.

on establishing a democratic state of Palestine that was recognised by Israel

Yes but Hezbollah and Hamas intend the capital of that Palestinian State to be Jerusalem and to include cities such as Haifa, Tel-Aviv and Hadera.............since the whole State of Israel represents "Occupied Territories" to these organisations

I can't really add to what Tory T posted above, but I think we could do with more translation into English of the sort of antisemitic filth that is pumped out in the middle eastern media day in, day out, so that the people here - like the horrendous stream of anti-Israeli callers on Saturday's Any Answers? - could have a slightly better idea about what Israel's faces.

Iran is pushing Hizbollah in order to destroy Israel and/or become the dominant power in the region. This is an idea that we should all find truly horrifying. So while I don't mind our foreign affairs spokesman voicing his regret over the innocent lives lost (in Israel as well as Lebanon, by the way; or do we need the Prime Minister to remind us of how this battle began?), I do mind, very much, that he doesn't address this central issue more prominently. I agree with Matthew D'ancona that his article was astonishing.


Mark Steyn

As an American and a foreign supporter of the Conservative Party, let me add a few points here:

1) I know it is fashionable in Britain and elsewhere to assume that US policy supports whatever Israel does, but, in fact, support for Israel here, while strong, is the result of intense, free-wheeling debate. It is one thing to take us to task for that support and its level, but it is an entirely different thing to suggest that the support is the result of the imposition of a policy by some shadowy "Lobby." The fact is that most Americans support Israel, warts and all, because after reflection they support Israel. We don't need any conspiracy to tell us what we believe.

2) If the Conservative Party thinks its increasing its electability by "distancing" itself from the U.S., please go right ahead. But remember that once in government you will have to work with people you've just claimed support a policy of war crimes.
If you think you have better friends in Brussels, by all means, talk the talk. But, as we say here, also be prepared to walk the walk.

3) There will come a time, later rather than sooner, when all of us in the Anglosphere will recognize the foe that we face is civilizational in scope and is thoroughly radicalized and committed to an Islamic version of fascism.

When that day comes, it will be best for all of us to remember that what binds us is a hell of lot larger than what separates us.

David Belchamber -

Let me ask you a question. I mean it honestly, and I hope for a sincere and honest answer. Here goes:

Let's say that three armed men raid a bank in London with automatic weapons and demand money. During the robbery they ruthlessly kill three hostages and take two more. However, by luck, a passing policeman notices something amiss and by the time the robbers complete their task the bank building is surrounded.

A hostage stand-off ensues. To prove their seriousness, the hostage-takers kill one more hostage and, for good measure, lobs a grenade out a second-story window, blowing up a police car and killing one officer.

Some hours later, a police sniper has a bead on one of the hostage-takers. Unfortunately, these dangerous men have taken to surrounding themselves with other hostages. The shot may be taken, but it may go awry.

However, they have killed, have been ruthless and show no sign of surrendering. They have to be stopped. So the shot is taken. Then the police storm the bank. The end result is three dead robbers, but 11 dead hostages, a full 7 of which are found by later investigation to have been killed by shots fired from the police.

Question: who is morally responsible for the deaths?

"Question: who is morally responsible for the deaths?"
Posted by: newsisyphus | July 24, 2006 at 23:30
A fair point but not quite analagous, I feel, with the current situation in the Lebanon. The initial perpetrators of any crime should, in a lawful society, be dealt with by the forces of law and order who may have to use force themselves and, unfortunately innocent bystanders might get killed. The forces of the law must use their professional skill to minimise any such happening.
Israel, however, (for whom I have a great deal of sympathy in this matter) is not a police force; it is a nation state taking the law into its own hands and, in so doing, it is now causing disproportionate harm to the innocent in Lebanon.
I don't know whether Israelis incursions into Lebanon to seek out Hezbollah units on the ground and deal with them in close combat is feasible or not. It it were, I would support it.

newisyphus, the answer to your question depends on how much care is taken by the police in their action. If they go in carefully with the survival of the hostages as a priority then the responsibility for all of the deaths lie with the criminals.

However if the police decide that flattening the building with artillery and shooting everyone trying to escape is the best way to proceed we might think their reaction was somewhat unfortunate and the moral responsibility shifts somewhat.

David -

Besides the fact that I have actually no idea what "it is a nation state taking the law in its own hands" means (what was Israel to do, call the International Police?), I do appreciate your answer. I also don't understand what "disproportionate" harm means. Am I to understand that Israel would have your full backing were it to match the force used against it exactly, as in lobbing hundreds of rockets at Arab cities, sending in Jews to suicide bomb pizza parlors and kidnapping a few Arabs, whose photos are then paraded at Israeli news conferences by leaders wearing ski masks and blue bandanas on their head with writing in Hebrew that says "death to the Muslims!". That would be proportionate, wouldn't it?

You fight a war to win it, in the least amount of time posssible. This isn't some kind of game where the force has to be measured out in drops. Nor is it law enforcement. I for the life of me cannot understand why Britons insist on seeing the world in terms of "law" and "police actions". There is no international system of law on which everyone agrees (and, if there is, could you please tell me where that legislature sits? Because I didn't get a vote and I'd like to lodge a complaint).

Mike -

Thanks for your answer. Your example is right, of course, but I find it very difficult to characterize Israel's response as equal to your example. They no doubt possess the force you describe, but they have hardly used it, despite rockets continuing to land in their cities. They could, if they wish, reduce southern Lebanon to ashes; the fact that they have not and that they have continued to expose their soldiers to hostile fire to drop leaflets telling people to move out of the way is suggestive.

newsisyphus July 25, 2006 at 17:35. I go along very much with the gist of your message but it is very easy for us, as bystanders, to be wise about what to do and what not to do.
I am just horrified at the number of civilian casualties, the flight of some 750,000 people from their homes and the destruction of so much of the infrastructure of the Lebanon, which has taken years to recover from the last war.
Ideally, of course, I would like Israel to use no more force that is strictly necessary to deal with Hezbollah. I fully support Israel going into the Lebanon to find the Hezbollah units that are sending rockets into Israel and then destroy them. I don't know the country or the terrain, so I have no real idea of how large a task this is, though I suspect it is huge and will take time.
The trouble is the longer this carnage goes on, the more extremists will be produced.

David -

Thanks for that. I, too, am horrified at the civilian casualties. But, here is the thing: the Islamists know this. They use this against us.

When we (US) were in Somalia, trying to f'ing deliver food to Muslims who were starving--and, note, there is no f'ing oil in Somalia but we fought there anyway on humanitarian grounds--the Islamists used our values against us.

They used children as spotters and scouts. They used women as runners and messengers. And when the shit hit the fan, they used snipers and mortar teams who conducted their deadly activities with smiling women and children *sitting on their backs*.

They used "holy sites" as staging areas, ammo dumps and bomb making factories.

We see the same story with Muslims, over and over and over again. Check out the mil-blogs on Iraq and you'll find the same story. Children as scouts. Women as messengers. They time their operations at the same moment school buses arrive to drop children off on the street they are about to attack.

Read the Israeli mil-blogs and you'll see the same thing. I know what the BBC and the Guardian are showing you, but do a simple Google image search on Palestinian militants.

What do you see? Masked men with guns, RPGs, bombs, shouting slogans, setting up for attacks. Right, the usual. But look closer? What is *always* around them? Look: children. Who is standing around the podium when Nassrallah speaks? Look: children and women.

Then, after our people getting beheaded, with their bodies then booby-trapped to prevent easy retreival. Then, after getting bombed for the umpteenth time, we finally take military action.

So, three guesses as to what happens? Who pays the price?

When even a high UN official like Jan Egeland, who wouldn't know his ass from a hole in the ground, is appalled by the level of cowardice by Islamists using women and children as shields, you know there is something going on here.

So, what are we supposed to do? Because it is "illegal" to kill woman and children we just let ourselves get blown to bits?

Wrapping ourselves up in our piety will not stop them. As the Hezbollah leader said way back in the 80's "we're not fighting so that you give us something; we're fighting to eliminate you."

They don't care what the cost is. They say they love death more than we love life.

And as much as it pains us, International Law and the International Criminal Court is not going to stop them.

What is going to stop them is what stopped the Nazis: we kill them until they beg us to stop. That's war, that is why it is hell and why it stinks.

Newsisyphus | July 25, 2006 at 20:01: I couldn't argue against such a compelling case; I agree, they are like Saddam who placed his headquarters beneath a school or hospital.
The point I stick with is that I want to see the Israelis doing more of what they are now doing i.e. advancing on land into the Lebanon to fight Hezbollah units on the ground and to destroy them. That is soldier against soldier, though of course some civilians will also get killed.
Although not condoning Hezbollah or Hamas, we have to accept that there can be no prospect of lasting peace in the Middle East until there is an internationally recognised state of Palestine. As TomTom has pointed out, such a state would demand Jerusalem as its capital but maybe that could become a free city state, like the Vatican, with guaranteed neutrality.

Until Israel believes it has neighbours who want to work alongside it in harmony, it is not in its interests for those neighbours to be anything but dirt poor. It saw what happened in 1967 when its relatively prosperous neighbours were prepared to gang up on it, and it nearly lost that war.

The prospect of a rich Lebanon, where there is enough wealth to build an effective defence capability that would prevent Israel from attacking terrorist targets must send shivers through the Israeli cabinet. Israel therefore seizes every opportunity to inflict huge economic damage on its neighbours.

However, the problem is that those actions create a catch-22. Israel's policy fuels hatred, while the ensuing poverty forces people into the arms of the Saudi-backed fundamentalists who are able to dole out a subsistence living.

Moreover, at some point it is conceivable that an Israeli outrage will act as a catalyst for a unified Arab response which would change the balance of power in the region. That change is already happening.

The Gulf states are investing heavily for the 21st Century; Dubai is creating a major financial centre that will reduce their dependence on the West and kick-start their move to a service economy, while the emergence of the Asian economies is creating a huge market for their oil that offsets Western demand. Meanwhile the Chinese would happily pay for their oil in arms, just as we and the Americans have done for years.

There wil be no peace until Israel complies with UN resolutions and dismantles its illegal settlements and get s behind its pre 1967 borders.
Is it any wonder Arabs want to push Israelis into the sea after their appalling brutal suppression of the Palestinians and their complete disregard for international law and common humanity.
I sided with Israel until a few years ago when I saw their soldiers breaking the arms of some young stone throwers with rocks. Barabarianism will never settle anything, nor will American bombs dropped from American planes.
The ineducable Bush is simply laying the foundation for another 9/11, such is the legacy of hate left in Lebanon by Israel's indiscriminate behaviour. When you act like a terrorist, then you are a terrorist.

The only thing that will stop Hezbollah is if they are annihilated, Hamas might at some stage be reconciled to Israel but Hezbollah is a hopeless case.

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