Today Israel has warned South Lebanese that it will 'escalate its operations' as well as destroy 'moving vehicles' [BBC]. So if you are a family still living there, you can't escape.
As the conflict dragged on, I heard various people say 'well Israel has the right to defend itself'. I don't have any problem with this statement. Any sovereign nation (and I include Israel) has the right to deal (militarily if needed) with threats to its existence. You heard it here on Crescent Canuck - most Arabs accept that Israel is here to stay (some like Jordan and Egypt even have peace treaties with them). This may come as a shock to some people, but most residents in the middle east aren't opposed to peace - even if that means giving up claim to occupied territories - in return for a fair solution to the refugees / displaced people and settlements.
Growing up in the Middle East, every book teaching Arabic used to have a chapter on the Palestinian issue. During 1993, when the Oslo accords were signed, and we saw pictures of Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land exchanging flowers, I remember telling my Arabic teacher - "we don't need this chapter now". There was genuine optimism amongst the Arabs. Sadly, the joy was short lived as the thorny issue of the refugees remained.
In this crisis, I criticize the 'defensive' action of Israel that went too far in proportion. Most Arab states - initially supporting the Israeli action (even *gasp* Saudi) - has now withdrawn that support.
As I posted on June 28,
"Today, in response to the kidnapping of a 19 year-old Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, Israeli forces have invaded the Gaza Strip - cutting off electricity and water, at the height of summer, to some 1.3 million people."
This is what sparked off the chain of events. Israel could have dealt with the militants by
a) sending in a negotiation team.
b) trying to pinpoint where the soldier was being held hostage and attempt a rescue.
c) warn Ham as of consequences if the soldier wasn't released.
They did none of that.
Again, when two soldiers were kidnapped and few others killed in Lebanon, again Israel had the following options
a) give the government of Lebanon time to negotiate a safe release for the hostages and demand punishment for killing eight others, and warn of consequences.
b) send in an elite force to rescue the hostages.
c) restrict military operations in south Lebanon. As Beirut is over 100 km away from the border, and the maximum range of the rockets are 30 km, rocket launchers in Beirut are not a threat.
d) provide positive proof to the UN that Iran was behind this attack.
This didn't do any of this. Instead, Lebanon is being collectively punished. A government that could've been a model of democracy is now terribly weakened. A terr orist organization is now seen as legitimate by the rest of the country.
And finally, Israel could have asked itself why are 342 Palestinian children (under 18) still in custody. Surely, they can't all be terro rists?