Israel is at war on two fronts. This is the simple reality. Two fronts, but one war.
It is doubtful that many reading this are unaware of the basics of what is transpiring. The situation is in flux and will continue to change, but an overview is important.
In Gaza, the operation has picked up steam as the IDF seeks the terrorists who launch Kassams. The Palestinians (and their supporters in the UN) continue to fight as well via PR — representing the humanitarian situation as far worse than it is.
This morning, Hezbollah, in a well planned maneuver, entered northern Israel and attacked an IDF patrol. In the course of the battle, eight soldiers were killed and two were kidnapped and brought back into Lebanon. Israel is now in southern Lebanon and a series of air strikes has been undertaken, as well as heavy shelling by land and sea.
Decisions are still to be made regarding the precise nature of the actions that are going to follow this preliminary response, but it is certain that this time it will be severe indeed. Israel is holding Lebanon directly responsible: Hezbollah is not a renegade terrorist force but sits in the government there. There is a sovereign state that is to be accountable. The IDF has drawn up plans for taking out Lebanon’s infrastructure, but perhaps more to the point is destroying Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has an arsenal of rockets in south Lebanon that make what Hamas has look like child’s play. The rockets are capable of hitting Haifa and surrounding area. Israel is taking this most seriously, and it would seem that response will have to be not only severe but speedy. Residents in the north of Israel have been ordered into shelters.
Sheikh Nasrallah, the "spiritual" leader of Hezbollah, has indicated that all three soldiers (meaning also Cpl. Shalit in Gaza) would be released if Israel released thousands of prisoners from its jails. The signs are thus clear that this is one coordinated operation. Hamas is run from Damascus, by Masha’al; it should not be doubted that Syria is complicit in what went on today.
Nashrallah says they’ve been waiting a long time for the opportunity to grab Israeli soldiers. Now was the time because Israel was occupied in Gaza. Being pulled into battle on two fronts makes it difficult for Israel. Reserve forces are being called up.
This is what is most painful here: This could have been prevented. But in the last six years we have seen Israeli governments that, whatever rationale was presented, demonstrated weakness in a region of the world where such perceived weakness is taken advantage of fully.
The beginning was the decision of Ehud Barak, in 2000, to withdraw precipitously from southern Lebanon, where the IDF had maintained a security area to keep Hezbollah from getting close enough to Israel to do shelling. The Lebanese army was supposed to move in and control the situation — securing the border, we were supposed to be provided with the support of the international community because we had so scrupulously withdrawn to the international border. But it didn’t happen that way. Hezbollah moved in and has been biding its time.
There was gloating at the time, as Hezbollah indicated that the IDF had run from them. (Hamas was inspired by this Hezbollah claim of victory.) And today Nasrallah said, "We’ve been preparing for this since Israel left Lebanon,. This isn’t the Lebanon [Israel] knew. Our abilities are different, our morale is different. [If] Israel chooses a fight, it should be ready for surprises."
Almost a year ago, Ariel Sharon moved to withdraw from Gaza. That was infinitely more painful as Jewish communities were uprooted from an area that is historically part of Israel. (Yup! it is.) But ultimately the message was the same — we were perceived as having run from terrorists. This time Hamas gloated, claiming a victory, quickly moving into the places we had vacated, and working to strengthen itself.
Now it turns out that Hamas and Hezbollah are in league, with the goal of further weakening Israel. These are existential issues for us.
Let there be no more weakness. Dear G-d, let the lessons be learned at last.
Neither the UN, nor the U.S., nor the EU, has the moral authority at this juncture to interfere or to counsel "restraint" on our part. Our response must be military and it must demonstrate might. It’s time for our enemies to know they can fool with us no longer.
The issue of captured soldiers is a particularly painful one for this nation. Let there be the strength as well to avoid all temptation to negotiate. Release of prisoners (or similar concessions) would bring disaster in its wake.
There is talk here of a temporary unity government. In times of war there are no critics. Everyone must pull together and show one face.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/7/12/posted-july-12-2006.html