Israel clearly has the right to defend its’ borders and its’ citizens, particularly from those who refuse even to accept Israel’s right to exist. Indeed, civilized countries everywhere need to be prepared to share the burden of defending democracies against radical terrorists, whether they be in the Middle East, Canada, the US, Britain, India or anywhere else.
First, Hezbollah has provoked the response that we are now witnessing in Lebanon and, like Hamas, has made a habit of targeting civilians in the past. Mr. Harper should have underlined, at the outset, the need for all parties to respect civilians.
Secondly, Mr. Harper was too slow in responding to the worsening crisis. The experienced professionals in our foreign service have been criticized for the slow development of an evacuation plan, the lack of relief supplies, including food for evacuees, and the late arrival of boats. The criticism would be more appropriately leveled at the Prime Minister and his Office, both of whom have already earned a reputation for an iron-fisted micromanagement of government activities. Their involvement clearly interfered with the timely evacuation of Canadian citizens in Lebanon.
2. As Prime Minister, I would continue to promote Canada’s unique and special role at the UN and in NATO. Canada must continue to play a leadership role in any future multilateral responses. As a starting point, we need to ensure UN resolutions are respected. Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank were constructive steps and I am confident that Israel will continue to act to respect its international obligations. Unfortunately, Lebanon is clearly in need of assistance in implementing Resolution 1559, which calls for the Lebanese Government to ensure the disarming of Hezbollah. Terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah have no place in society. Only duly elected governments, through their properly established police and military organizations have the legal right to use force in society.