I'm reminded this morning of a line in the Asia Times commentary I referenced in this post yesterday: "The past week's events in the Middle East have a disturbing feel of July 1914 about them."
Israel has made an incursion into Lebanon to free two soldiers abducted by terrorist group Hezbollah. The abduction occurred this morning in the Golan Heights.
Tanks were dispatched into Lebanon almost immediately, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to hold the Lebanese government responsible, as did his defense minister:
[He] called the abduction of the soldiers an "act of war" and said Hezbollah would pay a "heavy price," the Associated Press reported. The kidnappings follow the June 25 capture by Palestinian gunmen of an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip.
Israel will hold the government of Lebanon "fully responsible" for Hezbollah's actions, defense minister Amir Peretz said in a statement. He said the government "must act immediately and seriously to locate" the soldiers, "to prevent any harm done to them and to return them to Israel."
This is similar to how the Israeli government spoke of the Palestinian pseudo-state, and now that pseudo-state is nearing collapse because neither its leadership nor its citizenry were capable of controlling their hatred long enough to see the impossibility of their situation.
Lebanon is a different matter. Its citizens have thrown off the Syrian yoke, and unlike Palestinians, it is doubtful that a majority support this action against Israel, or if they support it, are willing to live with the consequences. But still we see from its Muslim citizens the same joyous celebrations that we see whenever a symbol of that which is not Islam is brought low. The photo at right is of a Beirut man celebrating the kidnapping with firecrackers.
The price of their pleasure could likely be a full-scale war. Big Pharaoh provides some live updates. For some background, I'm finding Michael Totten's work more than helpful, especially this post on Lebanese feelings toward Israel, and this one about his encounter with some rural Lebanese.
Meanwhile, the Israeli invasion of Gaza proceeds. An attack on senior Hamas leaders is reported by Reuters thusly:
Israel killed nine members of one Palestinian family in an air strike on Gaza on Wednesday that destroyed a three-storey residential building where the top Hamas commanders were believed to be meeting.
The fact that is presented as most important is that a family was killed; the fact that is actually most important is that Hamas officials used their home to plot warfare against another state. Similarly, three teenagers were killed when an Israeli strike hit a soccer field where they were playing. It is reported as a senseless massacre of peace-loving Gaza teens; Israel insists they fired on a position used by terrorists to launch rockets into Israel. Given the history of deceptive Palestinian propaganda, I'm inclined to believe the Israelis, but ultimately it deosn't matter. The responsibility for the deaths resulting lay with those who had the authority to prevent them, the leadership of the Palestinian pseudo-state and the Gazan terrorists who made war on Israel.