The week before Hizbullah launched its war against Israel in the country's
Ha'aretz's chief diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote an ode to
Entitled, "We need a Nasrallah," Benn romanticized the terror master writing,
"Nasrallah hates Israel and Zionism no less than do the Hamas leaders,
IDF Cpl. Gilad] Shalit's kidnappers and the Qassam [rocket] squads. But as
to them he has authority and responsibility, and therefore his
rational and reasonably predictable."
Benn continued, "The moment Hizbullah took control over… south [Lebanon]
itself with thousands of Katyushas and other rockets, a stable balance of
was created on both sides of the border."
This Thursday, Benn wrote a follow-up column excusing his own blindness by
that "The IDF, the intelligence services and the government, who have at
disposal much better sources of information than mine, thought the same" of
Nasrallah in the days before his Iranian bosses ordered him to war.
Benn's strategic befuddlement is noteworthy not merely because of what it
the quality of analysis he provides to his readers, but also because it
fact that there is a gaping chasm between the perceptions of reality
shared by a
disconcertingly large and influential segment of Israel's governing elite and
Happily, today Benn and his likeminded colleagues in the IDF, the
services and the government are no longer being looked to for guidance by
White House. While the Israeli elites, including Foreign Minister Tzipi
her colleagues in the government still speak of a need for Israel to seek
of accommodation with Hizbullah, its terrorist allies in the Palestinian
and Syria as well as with the terror apologists in the EU and UN, America has
stopped listening. US President George W. Bush, his press secretary Tony
Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, and both houses of the US Congress have
clear over the past week of war that America is unwilling to continue to
the view that it is possible to deter terrorists.
As Snow put it in a press briefing on Tuesday, "What we want is… the
violence in a manner that is consistent with stability, peace, democracy
and also an end to terror. A ceasefire that would leave the status quo
is absolutely unacceptable. A ceasefire that would leave intact a terrorist
infrastructure is unacceptable. So what we're trying to do is work as best
toward a ceasefire that is going to create not only the conditions, but the
institutions for peace and democracy in the region."
Snow explained that from the administration's perspective, a ceasefire
Hizbullah intact would effectively be rewarding it for its criminal
behavior. In his
words, "You do not want to engage in a ceasefire… when you say to the
guys just stop firing,' when you have Hizbullah saying, 'We're going to
war,' because Hizballah would read that as vindication of its tactics."
It is important to recall that "the status quo ante" was a situation where
and its state sponsors Iran and Syria pocketed Israel's ill-advised
political concessions and used them to build up not only a massive arsenal of
missiles, but also a complex underground bunker system that Israeli ground
are only beginning to uncover; and a formidable, well trained paramilitary
replete with Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers as trainers and
is the threat developed under the "status quo ante," and the declared goal of
Israel's current campaign in Lebanon is to eliminate this threat.
Assuming that Israel is able to achieve its military objective, what should a
ceasefire that does not revert to the status quo ante look like? What
should be the
guiding assumptions on which it is based?
Any Israeli strategy directed towards building military and political
to be based on two components: decisive and continuous fighting against
and other irregular forces; and the development of a system of deterrence
against hostile regional actors whose aim will be to compel them to
interfering in the Israeli-Lebanese-Palestinian area of operations.
In the case of Lebanon, this means that the Lebanese and Syrian
governments must be
compelled to accept that in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution
the requirements of Israel's national security, Hizbullah and all other
forces must remain perpetually disarmed. To this end, during the course of
current military campaign, Israel must act to make clear to both
they will pay an enormous price if they enable the reconstitution of
that price must be clear: Israel will bring down both governments if they
ensure that in the aftermath of the current campaign Hizbullah remains
In this vein, Israel must not accept an international force in south
lesson of our long and bitter experience with international forces from
Lebanon to the MFO in Sinai is clear: The only force willing and able to
Israel is the IDF.
So too, Israel must end its practice of granting immunity to Syrian way
arming Hizbullah as well as Syrian bases for Hamas and other terror groups.
It is quite reasonable to expect that in the future, the Israel-Lebanon
remain open for one-way traffic. IDF forces will enter Lebanon any time
signs that Hizbullah and other hostile forces are attempting to build a
anywhere near the border.
While attention is now riveted on events in Lebanon, it is important to
Lebanon is merely one of three fronts from which Israel is being attacked.
all, Hizbullah joined the fray last week in order to come to the aid of
its ally and
fellow Iranian proxy, the Palestinian Authority.
The PA is led by a formal alliance between the Fatah and Hamas terror
That alliance was cemented both by last month's Fatah-Hamas cross-border
that led to the capture of Cpl. Shalit, and by the signing of the so-called
"Prisoners' Document" by Fatah leader and PA President Mahmoud Abbas and
leader and PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
As Mort Zuckerman noted this week in US News and World Report, the joint
that document "means that both Hamas and Fatah are equally committed to
annihilation. Now that Fatah is seeking to outflank Hamas on the side of
it is no surprise that Israelis feel they do not have a partner for peace.
willingness to sign it should open the eyes of the world to the fact that
he is no
moderate and no potential peacemaker."
In a recent training video broadcast on al Jazeera, Hamas boasted that like
Hizbullah in Lebanon, it has exploited Israel's land giveaway in Gaza to
military force of some 15,000 soldiers in Gaza alone. Moreover, events of
week are a stark indicator that there is no difference between Hizbullah
south Lebanon and PA control of Gaza and sections of Judea and Samaria.
Since the northern campaign began last Wednesday, in both Ramallah and
Gaza, the PA
has organized daily mass marches in support of Hizbullah. Members of PA
Fatah and Hamas have demanded that Arab League states join the war against
Commanders from the PA militias have openly admitted their desire to join
in attacking Israel. This week, two suicide bombers from Judea and Samaria
to attack in Jerusalem and the Sharon region and Israeli forces have been
pitched battles with terror forces in Nablus.
Nearly every day another militia is founded. Last week Fatah announced the
establishment of a force of female suicide bombers in Judea and Samaria and this
week the Popular Resistance Committees a terror consortium that includes
personnel from PA militias, Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad displayed its female
suicide bomber unit in Gaza. The ladies marched through the streets with their
rifles and declared their intention of joining the forces of global jihad. As a
spokesman in that Hamas training video explained, Hamas will continue to fight,
"Until the liberation of Palestine, and until the message 'There is no G-d but
Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger' reaches the entire world."
The activities of all factions of the PA show that as is the case in
will be impossible to achieve stability in Gaza, Judea and Samaria through
deterrence. The only way to stabilize these fronts is by conducting a
campaign aimed at disarming all the terror groups and all 17 PA militias.
Israel must conduct a campaign in Gaza and Judea and Samaria that will
Palestinian Authority in its entirety.
Once this operation is complete, Israel will have to establish buffer
zones in Gaza
along its borders with Egypt and Israel that will prevent the Palestinians
either rearming or attacking Israel.
In Judea and Samaria, in addition to reasserting its security control over
areas, based on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's intention to act in
accordance with the
Israeli consensus that the large settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley
remain under Israeli control in perpetuity, Israel should apply Israeli
law to these
Israel's steps in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria should be accompanied by a
declaration of intent according to which Israel will freeze the political
Gaza and the remaining sections of Judea and Samaria for ten years. This
would serve two purposes. First, it would recognize the fact that today
society is unwilling to live at peace with Israel. Second, it gives the
sufficient time to determine whether or not they wish to reform themselves
act on that decision. If at the end of the decade the Palestinians have in
undergone a cultural transformation, then Israel would be willing to
demilitarized, democratic and anti-terrorist Palestinian state in Gaza. It
further willing to conduct negotiations with that state and other relevant
regarding the future status of the Palestinian areas in Judea and Samaria.
An Israeli strategy aimed at stabilizing the security and political
Lebanon, Gaza and Judea and Samaria is essential today to enable the
community to contend with the greatest threat to global security: Iran's
weapons program. As was evidenced by last weekend's meeting of the G-8 in
through its proxies' attacks against Israel, Iran was able to distract the
leaders from its nuclear program.
As if to emphasize the danger his regime poses, in a speech broadcast on
television on Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "The
of liberal civilization is the false and corrupt state that has occupied
That's the bottom line. That's what all those who talk about liberalism
it have in common."
Ahmadinejad went on to threaten "all those who talk about liberalism and
it," saying, "If this volcano [of Muslim pride] erupts and we are on the
eruption... and if this ocean rages, its waves will not be limited to the
The challenge that Israel is now presented with on the battlefield is
great. But if
Israel stands strong with US support and meets this challenge, it will
opportunity of striking out in a new strategic direction that holds a
possibility of stabilizing the security situation in a manner that
chances of a peaceful future for the region and world as a whole.
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