So the death toll from the escalating Israeli conflict continues to grow. As of this morning 215 people have died in Lebanon, 85 Palestinians have died in Gaza, and 24 Israelis have died in Northern Israel.
Add to this that the Israeli bombings have displaced more than 400,000 Lebanese residents from their homes and the World Health Organization expects the number of Lebanese residents displaced from their homes to reach 900,000 by the end of today.
I understand that every country has the right to defend themselves, but the more this situation escalates the more it appears that the Israeli assault on Lebanon is collective punishment on the Lebanese people rather then self-defense. Israel is punishing the Lebanese people because their government, in this very fragile democracy, is incapable of disarming Hezbollah, much like Israel after 22 years of occupation was never able to disarm Hezbollah.
Add to this collective punishment that Israel is basically destroying Lebanon’s entire infrastructure. Lebanon’s airports and seaports have been destroyed. Thirty-Eight roads have been cut off by bombs or shells and 42 bridges have been destroyed. Power stations, water-processing plants, grain silos and gas stations have also been targeted as well as communication and television antennas. In addition to the destruction of the countries infrastructure Israel is specifically targeting civilian neighborhoods. All of this is in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Even the Vatican is speaking out against Israel. A spokesperson for the Pope stated that Israel's right to self-defense "does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations."
Israel may also be in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act by using U.S.-made fighter planes and missiles to kill civilians and to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure. Defense experts say Israel has over five-hundred F-16 and F-15 fighter planes – all of them supplied by the United States.
So my question is what is the difference between terrorist acts, such as detonating a bomb in a coffee shop, and being a terrorist state? I think we would all agree that any specific targeting of civilians, like my example of a suicide bomber in an Israeli coffee shop, constitutes terrorism. So f the state of Israel is targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure then by definition doesn’t this constitute state terrorism.
I make the argument that Israel’s excessively harsh military response and the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure constitutes that Israel has become a terrorist state. Israel’s response to the kidnapping of two soldiers is basically the military equivalent of beating the shit out of someone with a baseball bat for stepping on your foot, an extreme and unnecessary response.