Leading article: Isolation of the south achieves no end

Share

It is now clear that a key part of the Israeli military strategy in this crisis is to cut off southern Lebanon from the rest of the country. But shutting off access to the south is also making the already dire humanitarian situation in that region even worse.

United Nations officials are warning of a rapidly deteriorating aid situation in southern Lebanon as a result of its isolation. An aid convoy had to be abandoned yesterday. But supplies on the ground have never been more urgently needed. Food is scarce. Refugees lack the gas and appliances to cook. And all the while rubbish is piling up on the streets, heightening the risk of disease.

The Israeli military has so far turned a blind eye to such suffering. United Nations peacekeepers in south Lebanon are ready to repair a crossing over the Litani river, but are, understandably, waiting for Israeli guarantees that they will not be targeted if they do so. Such assurances have not been forthcoming. The Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mark Regev, yesterday maintained that Israel is trying to co-ordinate aid efforts in the south in partnership with the international community, but admitted that the military finds it impossible to differentiate between lorries carrying aid and those carrying weapons.

The result seems to be that everything is bombed, just to make sure. Israeli planes have been dropping leaflets on Tyre, the largest city in the south, warning residents that if they travel in vehicles they will become targets. But how else is it possible to distribute aid and medical supplies?

The isolation of the south further undermines Israel's moral standing in this war. As does the continued suffering of the children of Lebanon, as highlighted by The Independent's appeal in partnership with Save the Children. The Israeli government's strategy is a sign of growing frustration that its operations have not stopped Hizbollah rockets hitting the towns of northern Israel. But there is no indication that isolation of the south will deliver Israel's military objectives. And the more suffering the Israeli forces inflict on the Lebanese population, the more Lebanese solidarity with Hizbollah is bolstered.

It is time for this crisis to be brought to a swift end. Hizbollah should indeed be disarmed, as the Israeli government demands. But it is increasingly clear that Israel cannot accomplish this through bombing. Its best hope of achieving such an outcome lies in a diplomatic solution and the withdrawal of its troops from Lebanon. A humanitarian disaster on Israel's northern border will be as grave a threat to Israel's future security as the rockets of Hizbollah.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Search Account Manager

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive

£25000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an acknowledged...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Central London, Bank

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportunity has ari...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Systems Developer (C/C++, Ruby/ Perl) - £40k

£40000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Systems Developer (C/C+...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: sculpture, silly jokes and a guide to solving all engineering problems

John Rentoul
Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in August  

Ferguson: Sad truth is that Michael Brown was killed because he was a black man

Bonnie Greer
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital