What would we do?
As usual in any Middle East crisis there are a queue of worthy figures calling for a ceasefire - undoubtedly for the best humanitarian reasons. The BBC today reports a list of them - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5202216.stm - the Archbishop of Canterbury, Kofi Annan, Chris Mullin, Claire Short, the Lib Dems.
As usual what's missing is any empathy with the position Israel finds itself in. If we in the UK had a country only 20 miles wide at one point, much of which could be randomly shelled by artillery fire from neighbours, if we had a history as victims of genocide, as having had to fight three wars of national survival in the first 40 years of our national existance, if we had a recent history of suicide bombings - not the once that we experienced on 7/7 but as a repeated risk every time you take a bus or go with your family for a pizza - would we be so quick to rush to judgement?
What do the well-meaning ceasefire callers think would be acheived if a ceasefire came before Hezbollah has been disarmed and the kidnapped IDF soldiers returned?
What would we do if were in Israel's strategic situation - the analogy is of the south of Scotland - a weak and failed state - being occupied by a terrorist army that preached the genocide of the English and the liquidation of England as a state, armed and financed by neighbouring fascist countries, one of which has a state ideology of wanting your state removed from the map and is developing nuclear weapons to enable it to do it. This terrorist army is equipped with rocketry and missiles which it fires across the border, hitting Newcastle and Sunderland. In Berwick and other border towns the population are living in air raid shelters. The terrorist army crosses the border and kills members of an army patrol and kidnaps two of them, taking them north of the border and suggesting they are swapped for many hundred convicted terrorist prisoners.
If this was our strategic situation we would be demonstrating in the streets demanding our government acted in exactly the way the Israelis are doing. But we are lucky and we don't have such neighbours or such a history, so our Archbishops and our former Ministers can take the moral highground.
Thankfully we have leaders in the UK and USA who are for the moment standing firm behind Israel. If the IDF do destroy Hezbollah they will have struck a blow for the whole democratic world, not just Israel. I'm content for that to be done "in my name."