By: E&P Staff
Nicholas Krisof, one of the few major mainstream (or even blog) columnists to criticize the extent of Israel’s bombing campaign against Lebanon, returned with a second column on this theme for The New York Times on Sunday.
He opened by recalling how friends of Israel had supported the 1982 invasion of Lebanon on much the same grounds heard today, and that turned into a disaster for the long-term secruity of Israel — for one thing, it spawned Hezbollah. .
“Today again, Israel believes that it is improving its long-term security by attacking Lebanon. And once again, I believe, that will prove counterproductive,” Kristof writes.
“Israel is likely to kill enough Lebanese to outrage the world, increase anti-Israeli and anti-American attitudes, nurture a new generation of anti-Israeli guerrillas, and help hard-liners throughout the region and beyond. …
“More broadly, one reason this bombardment ? like the invasion in 1982 ? is against Israel?s own long-term interest has to do with the way terrorism is likely to change over the next couple of decades.
“In the past, terror attacks spilled blood and spread fear, but they did not challenge the survival of Israel itself. At some point, though, militant groups will recruit teams of scientists and give them a couple of years and a $300,000 research budget, and the result will be attacks with nerve gas, anthrax, or ‘dirty bombs’ that render areas uninhabitable for years.
“All this suggests that the only way for Israel to achieve security is to reach a final peace agreement, involving the establishment of a Palestinian state (because states can be deterred more easily than independent groups like Hamas). Such an agreement is not feasible now, but it might be five or 15 years from now. Israel?s self-interest lies in doing everything it can to make such a deal more likely ? not in using force in ways that strengthen militants and make an agreement less likely.”
Kristof closed by pointing to the positive examples of Britain (in recent dealings with the IRA) and Spain (the Basques).
“That admirable restraint should be the model for Israel, with the aim of making a comprehensive peace agreement more likely ? in 2010 or 2020 if not in 2007. The record of Spain and Britain suggests that restraint and conciliation can seem maddeningly ineffective ? but they are still the last, best hope for peace. “
The rest of Kristof’s column can be found at www.nytimes.com, via TimesSelect.