This bloody business in the Middle East is quite disturbing... and confusing for people like me who tend to tune out as soon as they hear the words "internationally recognized border." I found today's online chat with Conflict Management expert Janice Gross Stein somewhat helpful in clearing a few things up. Her answer to this question helped me bring the current conflict home and imagine it on North American soil:
Pro Canada from Toronto writes: Dear Ms. Stein, Israel appears to me to be very unreasonable to attack its neighbours over the abduction of a couple of Israeli soldiers, when there are plenty of Lebanese captive in Israel's jails--the legality of which I assume Lebanon would dispute. If my understanding of the situation is correct, how can Israel expect to get international support and/or sympathy when it acts so arrogantly.I can imagine. Because a similar thing did happen, and repeatedly: the Fenian Raids.
Janice Gross Stein: The issue was not the abduction of a couple of Israeli soldiers, as you put it. The issue is that Hamas and Hezbollah crossed an internationally recognized border — following an Israeli withdrawal and captured these soldiers within the 1967 lines inside Israel. Can you imagine what Canada would do if a militia crossed the 49th parallel and captured our soldiers and then retreated back across the border while the U.S. government stood by and made no effort to stop the militias. That's a tough sell in any democratic society. The real issues here are borders, the role of militias, and states.
And what was British North America's response to a terrorist militia crossing the 49th parallel and killing our soldiers and then retreating back across the border while the U.S. government stood by and made little effort to stop the militias? Why, we joined together and made ourselves a country.