A False Peace

The “peace” between Israel and Hizballah brokered this last weekend shows exactly why the very notion of negotiating with a terrorist organization is a ridiculous notion. The two powers who control Hizballah, Iran and Syria, see this chain of events as a victory for their anti-Semitic campaign of terrorism. Meanwhile, in Israel, the Israeli people are rightfully furious with their government that the objectives of this war were not achieved. All the Israelis did was break a lot of things in Lebanon, kill or wound some Hizballah fighters, and then leave. The two kidnapped soldiers have not been released. Hasan Nasrallah still lives. Indeed Hizballah is already seizing their opportunity to further ingratiate themselves with the Lebanese people.

This entire affair was an unmitigated disaster, and the cause of removing Hizballah has been irreparably harmed.

It seems likely that the Olmert government and Kadima itself are now both doomed. Olmert can’t survive the backlash that’s already brewing with Israelis furious at this half-war. Many Israelis wish that Ariel Sharon were still able to lead – Sharon would have never allowed Israel to prosecute a war so half-heartedly.

The terms of the cease-fire accords are also worthless. Hizballah does not want to give up their weapons. It’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to totally prevent Iran and Syria from continuing to arm and train Hizballah fighters. As of yet not one other country has volunteered to assist in the task of disarming the terrorist group. Why would they want to involve themselves in such a fight? No one outside of Hizballah has power in Southern Lebanon once the Israelis leave, and then they’ll be at the mercy of Nasrallah’s cadre of thugs. The idea that some international agency will swoop in and prevent Hizballah from reforming seems incredibly naïve at this point.

There is nothing more dangerous than a war half waged, and Olmert has taken Israel from amazing unity to bitter disappointment within the space of a month. The Israeli people are losing confidence in their government at the same time that Israel’s enemies are emboldened. Binyamin Netanyahu has been waiting in the wings for years now, looking for an opportunity that appears to now be emerging. Netanyahu understands the stakes in this war and why the fight against Hizballah was such a disaster for Israel. He may be a hardliner, but recent years have shown that only bold and decisive actions can squelch terrorism – and the people of Israel are watching as Hizballah reconstitutes itself in short time, and they also see the need for some more decisive leadership than what Olmert has offered.

2 thoughts on “A False Peace

  1. Israel is in a real fight for it’s existence and all Olmert is doing is playing games. They need a leader like Netanyahu at this time. Israel needs to go on the offensive and soon. Because their neighbors are slowly preparing for the ‘big’ war.

    Also, the U.S. should NOT have supported this cease-fire. It goes against everything Bush said (and I believed) in his first major speech at the UN after 9/11.

  2. Israel waged an incompatent war that unfairly targeted civilians, whilst they left the PFLP and Hezbollah tunnels near Syria unscathed. Lebanon is not Israel’s enemy, Hezbollah is. Lebanon is the only country in the Arab world with a substantial pro-Israel contingent (mostly in the form of Maronites and some Greek Orthodox). Olmert could never totally snuff out Hezbollah, and Sharon would have fared little better. Israel was unable to achieve this when they had Antoine Lahad and the South Lebanon Army, and the inability to hit a ground assualt plan earlier allowed Hezbollah to entrench themselves deeper. Hezbollah had means of funding that made it difficult for others to keep up with them. This is not a ragtag militia like Amal or a defunct militia like the Lebanese Forces or Guardians of the Cedars. They capitalized on the fact that Shi’ite population growth was the most significant in the country. Yes, they faced resistance. Druze villagers actively fought against Hezbollah this last month, as did Christians in the area. The sloppy anti-Lebanese american media made a point of demonizing the entire country in a shameful snow job. Olmert probably should have pressed on further, but in the past this was not always popular. The sole reason why Golda Meir’s legacy is tarnished in Lebanon is the amount of casualities she took in the region. At the end of the day this is about stopping Syrian and Iranian support, and that requires larger diplomatic pressure. Likud is not going to come back. Netanyahu is regarded as unelectable and is far too right wing economically for the average Israeli. The real question is if Lebanon can rebuild, and if the moderate forces can overtake Hezbollah. This will require help from the west, and it will test Nasrallah’s promise never to turn his guns on Lebanese of any creed again.

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