On July 12, Hezbollah fighters crossed the border separating Israel from Lebanon. They killed several Israeli soldiers and captured two others, spiriting them across the border into Lebanon. Those who want to believe the best about Israel will say that this single action started this summer’s war between Hezbollah and Israel.
It’s possible that Hezbollah was inviting a sharp Israeli response when it decided to cross into Israel, ambush an Israeli patrol and kidnap two soldiers. In any case, the Israelis’ decision to launch land and air strikes on Hezbollah strongholds and on Lebanon’s infrastructure has only burnished Hezbollah’s credentials.Far from turning the Lebanese against the “Party of God," Israel’s military response has bolstered Hezbollah’s self-appointed role as defender of the nation. In fact, it has made Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah a hero throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds.
After weeks of Israeli-Hezbollah fighting, waves of people from southern Lebanon holding white flags continued to travel toward Beirut as major relief and church agencies warned that the country faces a humanitarian disaster because of severe difficulties in providing assistance.
It is a measure of my anguish and my desperation as a Jew and an American that I write now in this magazine. While death stalks the skies of Haifa, while bombs and missiles rain down on Beirut and what is left of southern Lebanese cities, my country gives Israel a green light—and expedited weapons shipments—to create a “new Middle East” out of blood and rubble.