One theme I've noticed floating through commentary on the Lebanon war has been that Israel's battle against Hizbullah is primarily a chapter in a broader war against militant Islam. Imshin links to this example
, and it also comes up in this article noted by Allison Kaplan Sommer
. Israel's enemies may in fact be less than charming people, but Israel is fighting for its own security, not for some grand cause of freedom and democracy. Regardless of whether I agree with its decisions in that regard, I think it's a key point that needs to be kept in mind in commenting on and formulating policy regarding the Middle East. After all, Israelis will need to explain why they take such a hard line against Hamas despite the fact it came to power democratically, just as Americans who support political reform in the Arab world need to understand that Arab attitudes toward Israel stem from a long history of conflict and the continuing occupation rather than a simple politico-religious ideology.
UPDATE: President Bush is now rhetorically linking Israel's war to the prevention of airline bombings in London