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Opinion: Border tensions reflect broader tensions

If Israel was within its rights to trim a tree, was it wise to do so in such a place at such a time?

Israel, relying on the doctrine of force to keep Arabs in line, couldn’t let Arabs shoot at them without taking two eyes and an ear for an eye. And Hezbollah was delighted to use the incident as a rationalization of why it needs to re-arm.

Even Syria got into the act, saying it would defend its Lebanese brothers even though the brothers may not want Syria coming back to defend them. Syria has its own history of occupying Lebanese territory.

One can argue over who provoked whom, but all sides seem to agree that the Lebanese escalated what could have remained a shouting match into an exchange of lethal force. The Lebanese should be condemned for shooting first. But even if Israel was within its rights to trim a tree, was it wise to do so in such a place at such a time?

What is needed are wiser heads, but if that’s not possible a wider buffer zone, wide enough to keep Lebanese and Israelis from rubbing up against each other, might suffice. The U.N. has thousands of soldiers in Lebanon to keep the peace, but it never has.

The world has set up elaborate mechanisms to keep border incidents from escalating. There is a process of appeal to the U.N. and to the international court at The Hague. But in the world’s hot temper zones countries act like hockey dads — quick to beat up other dads whose sons have transgressed against their kids.

And as with human beings, all the rules and appeals to reason are swept aside by nations in the volatile, volcanic hot temper zones where abused populations are quick to seek revenge and defend national honor “whatever the sacrifices are.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/worldview/100806/lebanon-israel-border-war-hezbollah