Robert Pape ("Ground to a Halt", Aug. 3) asserts that Israel misunderstands the nature of its enemy, the Hezbollah. Its motivation, he suggests, is "not a religious or political ideology but simply a commitment to resisting a foreign occupation".
Pape's understanding, however, is problematic in that it awards to this terrorist group the sole right to define what is that "occupation". Based on previous patterns, Hezbollah will always up the ante. Israel withdrew from Lebanon, achieved United Nations recognition and yet the Shebaa Farms remain. We can assume that soon we will hear of claims based on the border fixing immediately after World War I.
For the Hezbollah to call its long-range missile the Haibar recalls the slaughter Muhammed instigated against the Jewish tribes Bani Ghaftan, Bani Asad and Bani Kanana outside of Medina in the 7th century. Indeed, this current engagement possesses deep religious and historical roots and little to do with current politics.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
My response to an op-ed too clever to be believed in today's NYTimes.