Publications & Statements by Imam

09/21/06: Israel's disregard for life stirs unrest in the Middle East

Detroit News Faith and Policy

Sept. 21, 2006: Israel's disregard for life stirs unrest in the Middle East

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi

After 33 days of blowing up all major roads, bridges and airports in southern, Israeli soldier Gil Ovadia's commander told his troops to be prepared to come back soon and fight again.

The Israeli public still criticizes Olmert's government for not doing enough damage. Uri Avnery, a Jewish writer stated, "If one wants to become prime minister of , one has to walk over dead bodies."

Last month, Rabbi Dov Lior of the Yesha Council of Rabbis announced, "There are no innocent parties in a time of war. Rather, one must battle a bellicose city until it is captured." It gives us a clear picture of who is the warmonger here. Certainly this mind set of disregarding the lives and property of one's neighbors is 's real problem and not that of the people of and .

"We did not think that there was a one percent chance that the capturing would lead to a war of this scale and magnitude," admitted Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah.

Yet the war was not about responding to the capture of two Israeli soldiers because it was planned by and approved by the Bush administration earlier this summer, according to a report by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. The administration dispelled any lingering doubt by rushing arms to despite the world's efforts toward a cease-fire. The United Nations was shocked to find that 90 percent of the cluster bomb strikes occurred after a cease-fire had already been planned. Jan Egeland described 's use of those bombs as "shocking" and "immoral."

Israeli attacks immoral.

Last month's war was not just against Hezbollah. Raining thousands of bombs on Lebanese villages was not an act of self-defense.

Just look at the facts: Who was and still is on whose land? After massacring many women and children in Qana, it still continued its murderous attacks.

"Did the proponents of war, in Israel, understand that there is no sign of a military target in the villages of southern Lebanon where homes, schools, clinics, grocery stores and children's playgrounds have been destroyed?" asked Kathy Kelly, an American eyewitness. If what did in and keeps doing in is not terrorism, then what is terrorism?

It appears that is looking for any excuse to kill whoever refuses to submit to its hegemony. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on to refrain from violating 's sovereignty, but , as usual, rebuffed Annan's demands.

's cowardly blitz bombing made Hezbollah -- as the king of said -- the heroes of the Arab world. An Al-Jazeera poll called Nasrallah the most popular leader in the Arab world. In this war, the blood of martyrdom was victorious over military might. Despite thousands of unexploded bombs left behind, the Lebanese people streamed home, refusing to be ethnically cleansed from their land.

What makes a nation successful is not its power to kill and bring misery to the world, but its ability to bring comfort to our fellow human beings. should realize its aggression and arrogance only fuel more hate, isolation and resistance. People won't forget that they are living under military occupation or that they have been living in refugee camps for six decades.

After six decades of failing to engage in civil discourse with its neighbors, it's time for Israelis to think of a new strategy for survival.

If the Israelis want to live in that neighborhood in peace and security, they better humble themselves and make some courageous changes in the Zionist political culture.

Faith and Policy Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi heads the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights