From USA Today, July 20:
Annan made clear that his priority was helping the Lebanese people and preventing more civilian casualties.
“Both the deliberate targeting by Hezbollah of Israeli population centers with hundreds of indiscriminate weapons and Israel’s disproportionate use of force and collective punishment of the Lebanese people must stop.” [Kofi Annan]
What would be Annan’s idea of a "proportionate" response? Would he prefer that Israel lob missiles into Lebanon indiscriminately in the way that missiles are being fired from Lebanon into Israel?
The Lebanese government is complaining about "collective punishment" for the acts of a portion of its population. But the Lebanese government had not been able or has not tried to control Hezbollah. How is Israel expected to react? The Lebanese people are suffering, but don’t claim that it is a deliberate attempt to punish the population for allowing Hezbollah to operate. I believe Israel when it claims to be avoiding civilian casualties, although admitting that they can’t avoid collateral casualties while attacking what they believe to be legitimate military targets. They are not necessarily destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure to punish Lebanon. It seems more likely they are doing that to try to limit Hezbollah’s ability to communicate with its leaders and to limit Hezbollah’s ability to move its missiles around the country and to import more missiles through Syria. If it was Israel’s intent to target the civilian popuation, with the firepower they have there would be a much higher number of Lebanese casualties.