Monday, July 17, 2006

"Are Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organisations, or Israel?"

"In terms of effect it is impossible to choose. I find it intellectually repugnant that state-supported violence and terror should somehow be represented as valid and
guerilla fighting and resistance not"...

The above is a quote from an e-mail sent to me by a friend in relation to the current crisis.

Here is part of my response:

"I agree entirely that neither militarism nor violence of any other sort solves things in any fundamental or long-term sense

"However, i do think that you don't understand the nature of what is meant by a government in our world - a government is intended to be the only legitimate wielder of violence in, or in relation, to its country (internally and externally)

"That is, it is part of a government's duty (and part of its claim to legitimacy) to effectively have that role in relation to violence

"Which is why, though neither state-supported violence/ terror nor guerilla attacks are ultimately morally acceptable (though each may have some apparent provisional and temporary justification), there is a legal, moral and ethical difference between them

My argument is a simple one and does not relate to the long history of "who did what first": if Hezbollah had laid down their arms at or after the time that they sought recognition as a political party and then stood for elections (winning several seats) and, if they had, by laying down arms, thus become a proper part of the Lebanese polity (instead of an improper part of it, being represented in Parliament but refusing to lay down their arms) then it would have been much more likely that an Israeli government elected precisely on a "peace ticket" (for a change!) would actually have been able to work for peace, instead of being driven, as it has at present, to war - though that "war" has been "wrongly and excessively" pursued, I agree...

However, even now, if Hezbollah agrees to lay down its arms and become a proper part of the Lebanese polity, there might be some chance of peace. Without that, there is no chance of peace, because any agreement reached by the Lebanese Government can be torpedoed by Hezbollah and Hezbollah of course won't talk to Israel because it does not recognise that country's right to exist....

we have two sides, both of whom tend to be intransigent and to suspect the motivations of the other side, putting the worst possible interpretation on each action and move... Sphere: Related Content

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