Monday, August 07, 2006

Violence in the Middle East

As Israel and Hezbollah continue to clash in southern Lebanon, efforts continue on the diplomatic front to bring about a cease-fire. Earlier today, from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, President George W. Bush held a press conference in which he described the contents of to resolutions being pursued at the United Nations to attempt to bring about the ceasefire. My reason for blogging arises from a particular phrase that Mr. Bush used several times during the course of his presentation, and during the question-and-answer period that followed; specifically, that the long-term efforts to bring peace to the region require the ceasefire so that the "root cause" of the violence can be addressed.

According to a report by, the "root cause" is the fact that Hezbollah is acting as a "state within a state" in the nation of Lebanon. However, this wasn't clear to me as I listened to the press conference -- I may have missed its initial reference. As such, I couldn't help but think that the real root cause is the desire on the part of many in the Islamic world for the destruction of the nation of Israel. On that level, there is no diplomatic solution to be obtained, until either the state of Israel ceases to exist (not a likely outcome), or the leaders of the Muslim nations accept the existence of Israel, and restrain their followers, and the groups they support, with both money and arms, who today lead the fight against Israel.

I am not a supporter of Israel, as are many among the American Protestant Evangelical spectrum. By the same token, I am not anti-Israeli. If I support any group in the Middle East, it is the embattled Arab Christian population, who are my brothers and sisters in the Orthodox faith; and who are suffering at the hands of both the Israelis and groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Unfortunately, they do not have a voice in the negotiations...

A note in passing: Not many people, I think, are aware that "Hezbollah" means, "the Party of God" (as in, "the Party of Allah"). Failure to understand the linkage between the political aims of Hezbollah on the one hand, and the religious underpinnings from which these political aims arise, dooms our efforts -- once again -- to almost certain failure.

And we -- the United States, that is -- never seem to learn...