Juan Cole puts it well:
Israeli spokesmen are saying that they want to finish off Hizbullah. But you can’t finish off a mass movement among 1.35 million people. Besides, there wouldn’t be any Hizbullah if Israel had not invaded Lebanon in 1982 and occupied the south for 18 years. Israel’s grabby occupation radicalized and helped mobilize the Lebanese Shiites. They aren’t going to become less radical and less mobilized as a result of the current hamfisted Israeli assault.
Americans have to understand that when Israel goes wild and bombs a civilian airport and civilian neighborhoods in Beirut, a lot of the world’s Catholics (Lebanon is partially a Catholic country) and its 1.4 billion Muslims blame the United States for it. Israel is given billions every year by the United States, including sophisticated weaponry that is now being trained on the slums of south Beirut. It should also be remembered that Bin Laden said, at least, that he started thinking about hitting New York when he saw that 1982 Israeli destruction of the skyscrapers or “towers” of Lebanon. How many future Bin Ladens are watching with horror and rage and feelings of revenge as Israel drops bombs on civilian tenement buildings? When will this blow back on Americans? (I mean blow back in other ways than an already painful further spike in petroleum prices).