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July 31, 2006 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-07-31

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 31, 2006 - 5
The repetition of history

t's beginning
to play out
like a broken
record. History is
repeating itself in
the Middle East.
In May 2000, in
accordance with
various United
Nations resolu-
tions, Israel withdrew from southern
Lebanon, an area it had occupied since
the late 1970s. The group known as
Hezbollah, Arabic for "Party of God,"
is credited for forcing Israel's with-
drawal with its continuous attacks.
These past six years have seen much
activity on the border between Lebanon
and Israel. Hezbollah began to use old
Israeli installations in south Lebanon to
launch rockets into northern Israel. The
group claims that, because Israel contin-
ues to occupy the Shebaa Farms region
- internationally recognized as a part of
Syria - further attacks remain justified.
To begin the current outburst of vio-

lence, Hezbollah took Israeli soldiers cap-
tive in order to trade them for Lebanese
and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
This is reminiscent of October 2000,
when three Israeli soldiers were kid-
napped on the Israeli side of the border.
Four years later, Israel released hundreds
of Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in
exchange for the three soldiers' bodies
and the release of an Israeli businessman.
These events have served as a pre-
lude to the current crisis. Let there be
no mistake: This is Hezbollah's war. Its
attack over the border of Israel sparked
the latest violence and was an act of war.
Backed by Iran and Syria, Hezbollah's
purpose is no longer to liberate, but to
oppress and kill. By attacking soldiers
within the internationally recognized
borders of Israel, it has invited the wrath
of the most powerful army in the Middle
East. And rightfully so.
But Hezbollah's infraction does not
give Israel a blank check to bomb and
shell indiscriminately. More than 300
Lebanese civilians have died as a result of

Israeli attacks. The large-scale bombing
of Lebanon is meant as to destroy as much
of Hezbollah as possible. Not only is such
a strategy dangerous, it is also well-placed
in historical precedent. This is the same
reasoning that led not just to the occupa-
tion of southern Lebanon in the 1970s, but
to the occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza Strip in 1967. Prolonged occupation
is hazardous to Israel and devastating to
the Palestinians and the Lebanese.
The results may end upjust the same. In
1982, Israel responded to Palestinian Lib-
eration Organization attacks by bombing
and invading Beirut. Beirut was nearly
destroyed and Christian Phalangist forces
massacred hundreds of Palestinians in
the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila.
Israel had the power to stop them but did
not. While the Israeli Defense Force has
indicated that a long-term occupation of
Lebanon is not the goal, simply bombing
will not remove Hezbollah from Leba-
non. Unless Lebanon and other nations
help, Hezbollah's terror will persist.
At this point, the Lebanese government

has been unable to comply with United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1559,
which requires the disbanding of Hezbol-
lah. Apparently, U.N. resolutions are only
important when Hezbollah wants to use
them as a propaganda tool against Israel.
Thomas Friedman, writing in the New
York Times,has suggested a new strategy:
a multinational force to patrol the border,
similar to the forces deployed during the
war in Kosovo. He writes: "It is time that
The World of Order got its act together.
This is not Israel's fight alone - and if
you really want to see a 'disproportional'
Israeli response, just keep leaving Israel
to fight this war alone. Then you will see
some real craziness."
Friedman may be on to something. By
Israel fighting Hezbollah alone, scores of
civilians have been and will continue to
be killed. This, of course, is unaccept-
able. A multinational force - not the
United Nations Interim Force in Leba-
non, which was basically non-existent on
the border - will create accountability
in a war while reducing such casualties.

In the meantime, negotiations to return
Israeli hostages, as much an insult to
pride as they may be, could be the most
peaceful way out of the conflict.
Though criticisms of Israel's policy in
this war are warranted, demanding that
Israel not respond is just foolish. Dan
Sieradski, editor in chief of the popular
progressive Jewish blogs Jewschool and
Orthodox Anarchist, while condemn-
ing Israel for killing Lebanese civilians,
writes, "The world condemns Israel for
its disproportionate use of force, yet it
provides absolutely no alternatives. What
are we supposed to do here? Pack up
seven million people and go ... where?"
Israel has a right to defend itself. But
no one, from Israel and Hezbollah to
Iran, Lebanon, Syria or the United States
has the right to dismiss the sanctity of
human life, as was the rule in all past
wars. That's one regard in which we can-
not allow history to repeat itself.
Goldberg can be reached at

Breaking down the big boxes

f the shocking-
ly bright fluo-
rescent lights
no longer bother
you, then you have
passed step one of
the Wal-Mart chal-
lenge. Thenextsteps
include accepting
that a majority of
the products in the store are manufactured
and assembled by workers overseas who
receive the equivalent of $.25 an hour for
their hard labor and understanding that
the store is literally taking money away
from the community where it's located.
The final step is coming to terms with the
fact that the smiling "greeter" who greets
you at the door cannot afford to eat three
meals a day. Once you have completed the
challenge, you are free to shop at any Wal-
Mart in the nation and always buy things
at low prices (always).
But if you're like the majority of Amer-

icans, you have completely ignored the
steps of the challenge and simply relish
in the luxury of 24-hour, one-stop shop-
ping with low-priced goods. But thank-
fully, for the working class of Chicago,
city council members have not cheated in
the challenge and have taken issue with
the final step - they refuse to overlook
the underpayment of Wal-Mart's (and
Target's and Home Depot's) employees
within the city's limits.
This refusal led city council to pass
the "big box" living-wage ordinance last
week. Starting next July, the ordinance
will require stores that earn more than
$1 billion annually and occupy more
than 90,000 square feet to pay a mini-
mum of $9.25 per hour and $1.50 per
hour in benefits to employees, a huge
jump from the $6.50 an hour most "big
box" employees make now.
While the ordinance faces an army
of opponents, including the mayor of
Chicago, as well as threats of lawsuits

and concern among employees and
consumers of the 40-plus stores it will
affect, the valiant move by city council
sends an important message to retail
giants: Shape up if you want to continue
operating in the city and Chicago is "not
interested in the creation of low-paying
jobs that fail to provide a living wage or
adequate healthcare benefits for work-
ing families," as the President of Chi-
cago Federation of Labor said.
However, some aldermenandresidents
in the city argue that this bold message and
daring step forward for employee rights
ignores the practical and immediate con-
cerns of employees in the city. They have
the legitimate fear that the affected stores
will simply pack up and move locations
to avoid the wage increase, which would
cause many workers to lose their jobs.
But what these opponents don't realize is
that not only is it unlikely that all of the
stores will move or not be immediately
replaced -- evidence from other cities

with similar legislation shows that corpo-
rations often learn to deal with the wage
increase and stick around due to demand
- but also that what will ultimately be
gained from the ordinance is enough to
endure this period of loss.
Cities only stand to benefit from such
wage boosts because of the increase in
payroll and state taxes. They will also
benefit by forcing corporations to own
up to the significant strain they put on
their communities with the construction
of each new store. In 2004, the Wal-Mart
Corporation received more than $1 bil-
lion in local government subsidies to pay
construction costs for new stores, and
a study at the University of California-
Berkeley's Labor Center found that Wal-
Mart drives down wages in urban areas,
resulting in an annual loss of at least $4.7
billion in earnings for retail workers.
As Barbara Ehrenreich wrote in her
2001 book "Nickel and Dimed," "Some-
day ... (the working poor) are bound to

tire of getting so little in return and to
demand to be paid what they're worth.
There will be a lot of anger when that
day comes, and strikes and disruption.
But the sky will not fall, and we will
all be better off for it in the end." This
day is quickly approaching as more and
more cities around the country realize
that tolerating such unjust working con-
ditions within city limits is unaccept-
able. Yes, it may result in job losses and
stores closing their doors, but, at least
the city of Chicago and many others like
it are willing to take this risk in order to
ensure better working conditions for its
city's employees.
And if this decision by city coun-
cil kick starts a nationwide movement
toward better pay of the unskilled work-
force, then it will be worth losing a couple
of jobs along the way.
Kennelly can be reached at



Historical expansion of the Israeli oCCupatioin Hezbollah denies peace
for Israel and neighbors

Before Then




I am a recent graduate of the Univer-
sity. I have spent the past year working
in London and traveling around the
world. It just so happened that the day
I arrived back to my home in Israel
after back-packing in Australia and
New Zealand, two Israeli soldiers were
kidnapped and eight more were killed
by Hezbollah. Since then, my country
has been under constant rocket fire
from Hezbollah, who fire around 100
missiles daily into residential areas in
northern Israel.
As you can imagine, this cowardly
act of targeting civilians has not only
cost many lives thus far but has also dis-
rupted day-to-day activities to a degree
that life in northern Israel no longer
resembles anything it used to be. Cities

lie in ruins, roughly two million people
have had their lives severely disrupted,
homes have been destroyed, workplac-
es have shut down, which is not to even
mention the loss of human life.
The vast majority of Israelis want
to live in peace with our neighbors,
Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians
alike. However certain parties, Hez-
bollah among them, simply refuse to
acknowledge the right of Israel to exist
and of Israelis to live with any sense
of security. Despite the fact that Israel
withdrew all its forces from Lebanon
in 2000, Hezbollah continues to attack
Israel's northernborder. Israel does not
want war with Lebanon or any other
country for that matter, nor does it see
Lebanon as its enemy. Rather it wants
what any other country wants - to
live in peace and security - some-
thing that Hezbollah and its allies in
Syria and Iran are trying to deny. All
we can do is hope that this situation

will be resolved as soon as possible.
Ron Hertshten
Reader wants the real
Times crossword puzzle
Just a simple request here. In light of
the movie "Wordplay," which played at
the State Theater through Sunday, July 30,
as well as my continued dominance of the
Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle the
Daily prints every day during the fall/win-
ter terms, is it possible to get the Daily to
upgradetotheNewYork Times crossword
puzzle?I'mnot surehow much the Times's
royalties cost, but it would definitely give
me, and probably some other people, more
of a challenge when we should be paying
attention in lectures.
Michael Adams
Engineering senior

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