To the Editor:
It is Hezbollah and its infrastructure that is under attack by Israel, not the Lebanese people, as asserted by Saree Makdisi ("Israel's Outrageous Attacks," July 19).
The military action that Israel is conducting in South Lebanon is a necessary and critical reaction to what any democratic government would consider acts of war -- the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, the killing and wounding of Israeli citizens and the unprecedented reach of rocket attacks into Israeli cities.
To eliminate the Hezbollah threat, Israel is forced to target Hezbollah's infrastructure, as would any sovereign nation defending its territory against an enemy who has vowed to eliminate it. Israel takes reasonable measures to reduce tragic civilian casualties. However, unlike democracies that have their military bases away from civilian population centers, Hezbollah has made the Lebanese populace pawns in its quest towards Israel's destruction.
It is only by weakening Hezbollah's firepower and leadership that the Lebanese army can take control of southern Lebanon, something mandated by the United Nations six years ago and reaffirmed in 2004 by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, which called on Syria to remove its troops from Lebanese territory and for Hezbollah to disarm.
Chair, Pacific Southwest Region