The Proxy War A View from Down Under

By Ron Finkel

We are three days into the latest war in the Middle East — a war in which Hezbollah and Hamas serve as the violent and lethal proxies for the extermination fanaticism of Iran on the one side and the cynical political opportunism of Syria on the other.

As hundreds of thousands of Israelis in northern Israel shelter in their bunkers, a barrage of katyushas rains down on them from over the internationally recognised Lebanon-Israel border. Has anyone stopped to consider how it is that Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrullah can confidently boast that he has “10,000 Katyushas aimed at Israel”? This incredible armoury, including powerful missiles buried in concrete protected shelters, has been supplied by Iran with the overt assistance of Syria and the acquiescence of the Lebanese government.

Hezbollah (a Lebanese political party with members in the Lebanese cabinet) has declared war on Israel. It launched its offensive on July 11 attacking an Israeli military position killing eight Israelis and kidnapping two soldiers. It immediately followed with a barrage of rockets across the border. Terror and destruction are raining down across a wide swathe of northern Israel– from Nahariya on the coast, to Rosh Pina in the east and as far south as Haifa, Israel’ s third largest city. Israeli civilians have been killed; families terrorised and tens of thousands of children traumatised.

Since 2000, when Israel completely withdrew to the UN-endorsed and internationally-recognised boundaries, Hezbollah has been building up its military presence in southern Lebanon. Under the cover of ceasefire, it has been establishing bases, building fortifications and locating its operating centers in the midst of the local Lebanese population. All of this completely defies UN resolutions calling on the Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah and demilitarise the South.

Israel has repeatedly warned the Lebanese that this situation is intolerable, to no avail. The Lebanese have chosen to ignore the reality on the ground. In doing so, they have have left themselves hostage to exploitation by the Ayatollahs in Iran and their Syrian allies.

Israel’s response to the unprovoked assault by Hezbollah has been swift and strong. Lebanon can no longer hide behind its veneer of cynical disingenuity. It is no surprise that Israel holds the Lebanese government, and ultimately the Lebanese people, responsible for the sanctuary they are giving to Hezbollah.

Israel has also made it clear that Hezbollah’s masters and arms suppliers, Iran and Syria, must ultimately be held accountable. The Ayatollahs have regularly called for the destruction of the Jewish State. Their words are echoed by their surrogates, Hamas and Hezbollah. The events of the past few days sound an ominous warning to all of us that the fanatics in the Muslim world have no qualms about letting their actions match their words.

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