When I cited Ofer Regev yesterday , I let his words stand on their own. I didn’t feel it was my place to add comment when sharing words by a mourner at a funeral.
But now I would like to go back to those words for just a moment. He said:
“We lived in a world where we believed our enemy was exactly like us. We thought we could speak to people who also wanted to raise a child, grow a flower, love a girl, exactly like us. But the enemy proved it is not like us. And still, we will not stop trying.”
“And still, we will not stop trying.” Our strength, perhaps, because we are a people eager to see good in others and filled eternally with hope for the future.
But also, the way to our downfall. At some point it is incumbent upon us, if we value our own lives and our own security, and that of our children, to face squarely the reality of what our enemies are and to respond accordingly. We are way past that point now. True enough that our enemies do not simply want to raise children and grow flowers. They want us dead.
“Trying” with such people puts us at a considerable disadvantage and makes us weak. It also makes no sense, if we really know better.
For a video with comments on this by Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz, and shots of the funerals, see:
Let’s take a look at our enemy and what he’s doing now. Yesterday, Samir Kuntar and the other four terrorists we released to Lebanon went to the grave of the top Hezbollah commander, Imad Mugniyah, who was assassinated a few months ago, in order to participate in a military ceremony on the site.
Wearing Hezbollah military uniforms , they walked down a red carpet that had been put out for them and saluted the grave.
(See Lenny Ben-David’s blog on this salute, which is so Nazi-like: http://lennybendavid.com:80/2008/07/that-mustache-that-salute.html .)
After kissing members of the Mugniyah family, Kuntar said to the assembled crowd:
“This morning I heard that the enemy [Israel] has decided to assassinate me. This enemy knows me well and I want to answer it with two sentences: ‘You threaten me with murder, when death is customary for us and a martyr’s death is an honor from Allah?'”
Addressing Mugniyah, he continued : “We swear in the name of the almighty Allah and in the name of your pure blood that we will continue in this path and never give up until we reach the place that was given to you by God [i.e., a ‘martyr’s death’].”
“Not like us” is an understatement. Celebrating death, they are the evil antithesis of all that we are, and we must never forget it.
As to hearing that we want to assassinate him, there is this:
MK Yisrael Hasson (Yisrael Beiteinu), formerly a Shin Bet deputy director, gave an interview on the radio yesterday.
“None of them [Hezbollah] will be absolved,” he said. “Whoever bathed in Jewish blood, whoever attacked the honor and independence of the State of Israel, will not be able to tell their grandchildren anything, because they will never get to that stage.
“I have no doubt that Nasrallah will not die a natural death. The State of Israel will settle its accounts with him. He knows that better than we do.”
Nasrallah is so aware of this that he spends most of his time in a bunker. And so will this be true with Kuntar. Others here have now spoken of our steadfast tradition of “eliminating” those who have gone free but need to be taken down because of what they’ve done to Israelis. One unnamed Israeli official reportedly said that “Israel will reach Kuntar and liquidate him,” as the intelligence community will not rest until this is done. For all his bravado, this must make Kuntar a nervous man.
Fervently do I pray that he should be dispatched speedily. Not only because this would be justice for Kuntar, but because it would begin to win us back some deterrence.
In other respects as well , we are hardly done with our enemies in Lebanon. I have wanted for some days to write about Shaba farms, which has been in the news again. Now it is more pertinent than ever.
When tentative outreach for peace negotiations with Lebanon was made by Israel last month, the issue of Shaba Farms was immediately raised by Lebanon.
This is an area of 20 square miles that is on the on the far north-east of the Golan Heights, near the border between Syria and Lebanon (see map at http://www.palestinefacts.org/images/map_shaaba_farms.jpg). Israel took it from Syria along with the Golan in 1967. The area is mountainous and has strategic value.
In 2000, we pulled out of the security strip in southern Lebanon and the UN certified that we were back to the international Blue Line and no longer on Lebanese land — the UN declared Shaba Farms to be Syrian. Hezbollah, which had used our presence in southern Lebanon as a reason for attacks, then found a new reason — claiming that we were occupying Lebanese territory with the farm area, which was theirs. That is a Lebanese position that has been maintained since, and the UN later backtracked on what it originally said.
Aside from the fact that this area has strategic value and was secured in a defensive war, there is the over-riding issue that the international community perceives that each time we reach for peace we must whittle down our size. Not only does this become an infringement upon our rights, it is a never-ending process that would reduce us to a non-defensible area before long.
Now, with talk of negotiations with Lebanon , the EU suggested that Shaba Farms be turned over to the UN until there might be a resolution of various claims. This Israel has rejected, saying that this would permit Hezbollah access to the farms.
But Rice has been pushing for us to turn it over directly to Lebanon, and I secured off-the-record information yesterday indicating that Olmert, while he is not saying so publicly, is inclined to go along in the (very mistaken) belief that this would bring quiet to our north.
Last Sunday the new Lebanese president , Gen. Michel Sueleiman, made a statement at the Mediterranean conference in Paris that if the farms cannot be secured by negotiations, the Lebanese army will take this “Israeli-occupied land” by force. And indeed, the Lebanese army has built a road to within 300 meters of Shaba Farms and set up an outpost.
Add to this now one other factor:
Kuntar, in his remarks at the military ceremony , mentioned Shaba:
”This time yesterday I was in the hands of the enemy. But at this moment, I am yearning more than before to confront them…
“Believe me – anyone who thinks freeing the Shaba Farms…will end this conflict is delusional.”
“…the objective of the resistance is the Shaba farms, and what lies beyond the Shaba farms. This must be clear.”
ANY concession on Shaba will be an act of appeasement and make us weaker in our enemy’s eyes. They will continue to find reasons to attack us. This is clear. They are now going after the Galil (the Galilee), claiming they have a right to seven villages there. It will not end until we finish Hezbollah, for their aim is our destruction, step by step.
While the focus this week was on the Israeli sense of obligation to rescue soldiers, we must pray that the IDF is strengthening and planning and reviewing policy towards the day when we again do battle to the north, so that risk of capture of our soldiers is minimized and a true victory becomes a reality.
It has now been reported that Hezbollah is buying land in villages in south Lebanon with non-Shiite majorities and using it to build military positions and store missiles and launchers. This is a new policy that will make attacking these sites even more difficult.