Beirut is a tale of two cities. As the Nazis did to Rotterdam and Guernica, the allies did to Dresden and Hamburg, the Israelis have done to Shi'a southern Beirut. Total destruction. The area has been pulverised in a manner that warrants war-crime prosecution of Israel's national leadership. The wanton destruction of a nation's capital and the strategic bombing of this area is clearly a War Crime, a Crime Against Humanity and without question or doubt thrusts Israel into that horrid category of terrorist state.
Hezbollah's attack on Israel and its capture of two soldiers was not terrorism. It was aimed against hard targets, or at least a military target, and was legal under the laws of war. Capturing enemy soldiers is what the Geneva Convention is all about. Humane treatment, visits by the Red Cross, even pay for work is required under its tenets.
West Beirut and northern Beirut are like Paris in the springtime. Israel did not bomb Christian or Sunni areas of the trifurcated capital city but only Shi'a. This was an effort to punish Lebanese solely due to their religious affiliation. This was not necessary in terms of self-defence and a Jewish state, that claims to represent religious liberty and a safe haven for the persecuted, should be ashamed of itself for such brutal and barbaric and inhumane treatment of fellow humans.
The causes of conflict are frequently economic. The Shi'a in Beirut are poor; the rest of the city is more affluent. Israel is a wealthy country by Middle Eastern standards and yet most Muslims are poor or have not enjoyed the impact of petrodollars that their nations may garner. The U.S. and Israel are wealthy, western nations that occupy and bomb poor people, regardless of their nation's economic capacity. Hamas, Hezbollah, the warriors of the two Intifadas are probably teenagers without education, without careers, without many options in life. We can bomb poor people and kill them but many remain and their memories remain and they grow up to liberate their peoples from ruthless aggression, war crimes and colonisation.
Beirut sits partly destroyed and partly unscathed. The poor are suffering and homeless, the rich drive to work and drink lattes in their cafes. When this microcosm is expanded to contrast the gap between western and poorer Muslim nations, we begin to sort out some of the causes of Arab rage against the west.