Prepar­ing for War: Is­rael Back in South­ern Le­banon

The Jewish Voice - - EDITORIAL -

Since the cri­sis in Syria emerged on the world scene sev­eral years ago, talk has been heard among Mid­dle East po­lit­i­cal pun­dits about what pre­cise role Is­rael would be in de­fend­ing her­self against hos­tile ag­gres­sion from her peren­nial en­emy Hezbol­lah who makes its home in Le­banon.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Jerusalem Post, ”in the event of an­other war with Hezbol­lah, the IDF's ob­jec­tive would be to oc­cupy parts of south­ern Le­banon where the group has sup­port and in­fra­struc­ture, in or­der to force a UN res­o­lu­tion that im­proves the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion on the north­ern bor­der.”

While the re­port went on to say that “Is­rael would not aim to oc­cupy Le­banese ter­ri­tory for a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod, rather it would be with the aim to end the con­flict with Hezbol­lah as quickly as pos­si­ble by de­stroy­ing the Le­banese Shit'ite group's ca­pa­bil­i­ties and in­fra­struc­ture” we know from past ex­pe­ri­ence with ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tion (who has set its sights on de­stroy­ing Is­rael) that a tem­po­rary oc­cu­pa­tion might be next to im­pos­si­ble.

In ret­ro­spect, there is no doubt that Hezbol­lah de­clared a ma­jor vic­tory when Is­rael with­drew the last of its troops from south­ern Le­banon af­ter be­ing there, how­ever re­luc­tantly for 22 years.

Here's a brief ab­stract of the events lead­ing up to Is­rael's with­drawal: Is­rael's 1978 in­va­sion of Le­banon pushed the PLO north of the Li­tani River, but the PLO con­tin­ued their cam­paign against Is­rael. Is­rael in­vaded Le­banon again in 1982 and forcibly ex­pelled the PLO. Is­rael with­drew from most of Le­banon in 1985, but kept con­trol of a 12-mile se­cu­rity buf­fer zone, held with the aid of proxy mil­i­tants in the South Le­banon Army (SLA).

In 1985, Hezbol­lah called for armed strug­gle to end the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion of Le­banese ter­ri­tory. When the Le­banese civil war ended and other war­ring fac­tions agreed to dis­arm, Hezbol­lah and the SLA re­fused. Com­bat with Hezbol­lah weak­ened Is­raeli re­solve and led to a col­lapse of the SLA and an Is­raeli with­drawal in 2000 to their side of the UN des­ig­nated bor­der.

Cit­ing Is­raeli con­trol of the She­baa farms ter­ri­tory, Hezbol­lah con­tin­ued cross bor­der at­tacks in­ter­mit­tently over the next six years. Hezbol­lah now sought the re­lease of Le­banese cit­i­zens in Is­raeli pris­ons and suc­cess­fully used the tac­tic of cap­tur­ing Is­raeli sol­diers as lever­age for a pris­oner ex­change in 2004. The cap­tur­ing of two Is­raeli sol­diers by Hezbol­lah ig­nited the 2006 Le­banon War. Its cease­fire called for the dis­ar­ma­ment of Hezbol­lah and the re­spect­ing of the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and sovereignty of Le­banon by Is­rael.

So, in essence, Hezbol­lah never dis­armed as per the cease­fire agree­ment, but rather the Ira­nian proxy be­gan sig­nif­i­cantly mul­ti­ply­ing their ar­se­nal for the ex­press pur­pose of us­ing it in its next bloody bat­tle with Is­rael.

For those with eyes to see and ears that hear, it has be­come abun­dantly clear that in or­der to pro­tect its cit­i­zenry and its ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity Is­rael must main­tain its forces in Le­banon for the un­de­ter­mined du­ra­tion, for no other rea­son than to phys­i­cally re­pel Hezbol­lah. And this could mean the re-es­tab­lish­ment of the kind of tena­cious re­solve that is re­quired when con­fronting this deadly ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Hezbol­lah’s war on Is­rael con­tin­ues af­ter decades. This time the Ira­nian proxy is arm­ing it­self to the teeth

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