Israel and World Opinion

Does the world support Israel’s bombing offensive in Lebanon? Or are they alienating even those inclined to support them? These dueling headlines renew that question:

BBC: Israel says world backs offensive

Israel says Wednesday’s decision by key world powers not to call for a halt to its Lebanon offensive has given it the green light to continue.


Foreign ministers from key countries – including the US, Britain and regional powers – attended emergency talks on the crisis in Rome on Wednesday. They did not call for an immediate ceasefire, vowing instead to work with the “utmost urgency” for a sustainable truce.

“We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the world… to continue the operation,” Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon said. Mr Ramon – a close confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – said “everyone understands that a victory for Hezbollah is a victory for world terror”. He said that in order to prevent casualties among Israeli soldiers battling Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon, villages should be flattened by the Israeli air force before ground troops moved in. He added that Israel had given the civilians of southern Lebanon ample time to quit the area and therefore anyone still remaining there could be considered a Hezbollah supporter. “All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah,” Mr Ramon said.

NYT: Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah

At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments, starting with Saudi Arabia, slammed Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the United States and Israel took as a wink and a nod to continue the fight. Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements.

The Saudi royal family and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington. An outpouring of newspaper columns, cartoons, blogs and public poetry readings have showered praise on Hezbollah while attacking the United States and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for trumpeting American plans for a “new Middle East” that they say has led only to violence and repression.

Even Al Qaeda, run by violent Sunni Muslim extremists normally hostile to all Shiites, has gotten into the act, with its deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, releasing a taped message saying that through its fighting in Iraq, his organization was also trying to liberate Palestine.

Time will tell. The second story certainly seems more plausible.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Ramon better check with his US overlords again. I guess the State Dept reaction is all the proof we need that world opinion is not going Israel’s way.

    Then again, Ramon is doing all he can to keep the spotlight off his own troubles.

  2. legion says:

    I think Israel is right on a tipping point… after their soldiers were kidnapped, most everyone was willing to give them a pass on an offensive response. But they’re on the verge of taking it too far; causing too much damage the Lebanese infrastructure and civilian population. There’s a certain level of violent response that they are on the verge of going beyond…

  3. Fersboo says:

    Israelquote>Does the world support Israel�s bombing offensive in Lebanon? Or are they alienating even those inclined to support them?

    Does anyone really care? World opinion has done nothing to stop the terrorist bombings that Israel has suffered through.

    World opinion might have meant something before the UN became long in the tooth and when the Soviets backed all the little arab Kleptocracies.

  4. McGehee says:

    World opinion is like the crabs in the pot, all dragging each other back down into the boiling water. It serves only those who don’t want to be burdened with survival.

  5. Herb says:

    Fesboo has it right, Who really cares what the other nations think, The Europeans have been anti Israel for the past 70 years and if they had the opportunity, they would have another Holocaust. As for the Arab nations, anyone with any sense at all knows that they have always been pro terrorist and their financial and weapons support proves it.

    The UN is another group of “Diplomats”, who don’t know their a** from a hole in the ground, that don’t give a damn if Israel exists or not and have never supported Israel in their never ending fight against terror.

    The time is near when we here in the US better take the bull by the horns and “TELL” the world to shape up or get ready to fight. We have taken Irans bull for 25 plus years now and it’s time to put them in their place with the rest of those who don’t have the will or guts to do anything but surrender to the Islamic Extremist.

  6. LMB says:

    Fesboo does have it right! The UN is made up of despots that have shifted the UN Council into a Mafia type extortion gang. If you have oil money to give away, I’ll see that you get my countries vote. Saddam showed everyone how well that works, with France, Germany, Russia, etc. Food for Oil Program is just one of the many scams the UN runs.
    Israel has every right to defend and pursue the criminals that never follow any so call UN resolution and most of us knew they wouldn’t follow it, as the cowards they are hiding behind the UN troops, women and children! As for any so called civilian getting killed in the WAR ZONE after the repeated warning to get out, then they are guilty by association and deserve what they get while they dance in the street celebrating the death of Israels from the Iran/Syria supplied rockets!
    Death to all Islamic Fascists! Better over there, then here!

  7. Stevely says:

    “The world” won’t be happy until every last Jew in Israel is dead. That has been so since what, at least the last 40 years? Nothing new here.

  8. legion says:

    Ahhh yes… the ever-popular “kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” school of diplomacy. I’d call you sad little children, but even children have morals.

  9. Herb says:


    I never knew you to cite Hezbollah Doctrine before. Is there a slim possibility that you are “Seeing the Light” ?

    It was good that you mentioned the use of children by Hezbollah and that you are sad for them.

  10. 4200 says:

    World also backs this:

    War reparations refer to the monetary compensation provided to a triumphant nation or coalition from a defeated nation or coalition. The compensation is meant to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.

  11. legion says:

    In every thread that’s come up here about the current festivities, I’ve condemnded Hezbollah. They’re rabid animals that are completely unwilling to accept anything less than the death of every Israeli, and they need to be put down.

    But a willingness, even an enthusiasm in some areas, to simply slaughter everyone in Lebanon to do it is every bit as evil. That’s what I’ve said all along.

  12. Cernig says:

    Shorter LMB (and every other exponent of all-war-all-the-time)

    “Death to ALL fanatics!”

    Regards, Cernig