Israel-Hezbollah War

A view of the July-August 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war from an Israeli living in Haifa (under Katyusha rocket attack)- send personal comments to david2@lisbona.com

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Extending the war

At the time of publishing this post, there seem to be renewed possibilities of a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah and I would be very happy for that (not just because of the rockets on Haifa and the north of Israel).

Yesterday, after a 6-hour meeting, the Israeli cabinet yesterday approved extending the ground war against the Hezbollah by giving the Israeli military the go-ahead to advance 20 km (to the Litani river) in Lebanese territory. However the implementation has been suspended to give more chance to the diplomatic process.

It's understandable that the decision to purseue the ground war was taken (with many reservations) and it's understandable why it took 6 hours.
In spite of the reputation of the all-powerful and over-proportional Israel military it has not succeeded in inflicting a resounding defeat , or even a significant weakening of the Hezbollah.

Israel's war against the Hezbolah was launched in the shadow of 2 incidents in which the Israeli military was caught ill-prepared - the raid in Kerem Shalom (near Gaza) where 3 Israeli soldiers were killed and one was captured (the Israelis say kidnapped) and the Hezbollah raid where 8 soldiers were killed and 2 soldiers were captured. And this in the wake of intense frustration at being unable to stop the daily barrage of primitive (but deadly and terrorising) Kassam rockets from Gaza. It should be mentioned that all these attacks aganst Israel are across internationally agreed borders - but that doesn't seem to stop those who hate Israel.

After 4 weeks of fighting and Israeli air raids on Lebanon, Israel has still has not managed to stop Hezbollah's shooting over 100 rockets per day into northern Israel. The extension of the land operation is both a gamble and a tactical move. The gamble (vis-a-vis the Israeli public) is if the military will succeed in "significantly diminishing" the number of Hezbollah rockets without too many casualties amonst the Israeli soldiers and the local Lebanese population.

There is both an individual ego-play and a regional deterrence game here. The Israeli military has been made to look foolish and ineffectual while its leaders have boasted about "teaching the Hezbollah a lesson". Their personal honour, pride and credibility is at stake. The deterrence issue is a more rational and less testosterone-filled argument. I am convinced that power and strength play very very important roles in the patriarchal Arab psyche and that Israel cannot afford to look weak. As it is, the Palestinians and the Hezbollah view Israel's exit from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza last year as signs of Israeli weakness and as encouragement for their belligerency. However, if Israel is indeed to restore its power of deterrence, it had better be 200% sure that it's going to suceed. Otherwise the attempt will be a greater failure than not having tried at all.

The fighting in Lebanon is very tough (more of that in another post) and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is said to be worried about the extent of Israeli and Lebanese casualties. This is not weakness but caution and I don't envy him these decisions right now.

We don't know of course whether the current diplomatic efforts will yield fruit and Israel should continue applying pressure (and fighting the Hezboollah) in order to improve the diplomatic outcome - that's the tactical move. Let's hope the diplomats come up with acceptable solutions soon , otherwise there'll be a lot more suffering on both sides.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see a diplomatic solution, but before any is implemented I want to know who, by name, is going to be responsible for making sure all parties abide by such a solution. I want to know, in writing, who will be the person/persons who will see to it that no more rockets are sent over the border into Israel. What are the consequences for non-compliance. Who exactl;y is going to decide if Hezbollah has complied, and who is going to enforce the consequences?

Here's the problem...Even IF the UN and others come up with a solution, there is nothing to suggest that Hezbollah will comply. And I for one, have no confidence that any nation will force them to cooperate. We will be back in this situation in a matter of years.

I appreciate Yael's response to my post from the other day. I can see some of what she is trying to explain. However, what I don't understand is why she or anyone else thinks that Israel should be the one to stop fighting. Of all of the various parties involved (and I include Syria and Iran in this equation) Israel is by far the most honorable of them all. She is infact, the only honorable group of the bunch. Why can Hezbollah be required to demonstrate the willingness to stop fighting before Israel stops?

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Canadian doesn't think that
"The Israeli military has been made to look foolish and ineffectual..."
I thank the Israelis for making me less scared. Its a cancer when a "human" thinks nothing of killing him/herself in the name of religion. That person will not hesitate to push the button of mass destruction and those of his same kind will glorify him for doing so. THAT EFFECTS ME HERE IN CANADA!
Hezbollah sends hate to Israelis via unprovoked rocket attacks. Each one of Hezbollahs members have been raised by parents who have conditioned them to be murderers from a very young age. I watch the news and always see the Islamic children involved with the demonstrations. Humanity dictates that a child should be raised to make their own choices in life. The will to hate Israelis is built into Hezbollah. Murder is built into Hezbollah.
Those in the Israeli army are my heros. Please don't lose hope when the going gets tough in southern Lebanon. If you don't put a stop to the Islamic murderers they will be trying to kill me next.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous petros said...

as i Christian living in th U.S. i have a sence of kinship with the isreali people. i do belive that we serve the same God. i want to understand why the people around you hate you so much. if you have some answers i would apreciate it. thank you

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Wim-Belgium said...

Well poster above that is not so difficult to understand, don't get me wrong, I hate more than I can tell the killing of innocent people, Lebanese or Israeli, doesn't matter to me or to the rest of Europe. The problem is that Israël stole so much from, for example, the Palestinian people and other Arab states that everybody around them hates them, when you have nothing left, you turn to extremism, you let yourself explode when you don't have anything left, when they kill your brother, parents, neigbours, friends, in the end, you become crazy. Here in Europe, everyone sees it, Israël itself, they don't understand it, strange ...
Another example, the wall they are building to jail the Palestinians, with every inch the wall gets longer, so does the hate against Israël grow, and I could go on like this for hours, but I'll stop here. Peace is far, very far away in the Middle East as long as Israël keeps doing what it is doing for years now,

regards,

Wim-Belgium

7:10 PM  

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