Why the Is­rael-Hezbol­lah con­flict isn’t over

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Cal Thomas

Fight­ing to ob­tain a cease-fire is not likely to en­cour­age Is­raeli sol­diers who have given their lives and limbs to de­feat a mor­tal en­emy. And turn­ing to the United Na­tions and its an­tiIs­rael sec­re­tary-gen­eral to mon­i­tor the cease-fire is not ex­actly a con­fi­dence builder, given the U.N.’s record in the re­gion.

Who be­lieves the United Na­tions has the guts or other nec­es­sary body parts to dis­arm Hezbol­lah, as a pre­vi­ous U.N. res­o­lu­tion re­quired the ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion to do? When arms and mis­siles con­tinue to flow from Iran and Syria, will the United Na­tions shout, “halt” and ap­ply the nec­es­sary force to stop them? They didn’t be­fore. And what makes any­one think Hezbol­lah is about to dis­arm?

The Jerusalem Post re­ported re­cently: “The Le­banese gov­ern­ment was sched­uled to meet [. . .] to dis­cuss the dis­arm­ing of Hezbol­lah south of the Li­tani River, but post­poned that meet­ing fol­low­ing in­di­ca­tions by the guer­rilla group that they would not do so.”

Writ­ing in the Aug. 13 edi­tion of the Jerusalem Post, Caro­line Glick ob­serves, “The res­o­lu­tion makes ab­so­lutely no men­tion of ei­ther Syria or Iran, with­out whose sup­port Hezbol­lah could nei­ther ex­ist nor wage an il­le­gal war against Is­rael.”

Hezbol­lah’s

diplo­matic vic­tory feeds its er­ro­neous claim of

sovereignty over

Le­banon’s She­baa

Farms, a large

area on the Golan

Heights that sep­a­rates the Syr­ian

Golan re­gion

from the Up­per

Galilee. The dis­pute over who

owns the ter­ri­tory

is be­tween Syria and Is­rael, not Le­banon and Is­rael. For the United Na­tions to “award” this land to Le­banon gives Hezbol­lah brag­ging rights and a claim that war is the only way to win ter­ri­to­rial “con­ces­sions” from Is­rael.

At best, Hezbol­lah has been hurt enough to buy Is­rael time to re­build its dam­aged towns from the hun­dreds of rock­ets fired in­dis­crim­i­nately at civil­ian tar­gets with vir­tu­ally no out­rage from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, whose fire is re­served for Is­rael’s un­in­ten­tional strikes on civil­ians (many of whom may not be civil­ians at all, as we learned from some doc­tored pho­to­graphs). At worst, Hezbol­lah will re­group to fight an­other day with even more dan­ger­ous weapons and stronger re­solve.

Is­rael’s po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship must de­cide whether it wants a na­tion born in mod­ern times out of a Holo­caust to die a slower and in­evitable death through ter­ror­ist at­tri­tion — aided and abet­ted by the United Na­tions and most of Europe — or whether, as the late Prime Min­is­ter Me­nachem Be­gin once told me, Is­rael alone must be re­spon­si­ble for its own de­fense and fu­ture.

Writ­ing in Haaretz, colum­nist Ari Shavit calls 2006 “the most em­bar­rass­ing year of Is­raeli de­fense since the es­tab­lish­ment of the State of Is­rael.” He laments the ab­sence of a “learn­ing curve” by the gov­ern­ment, its slow­ness to re­act to provo­ca­tions and its cau­tion, which he calls “a recipe for dis­as­ter.” Mr. Shavit adds, “Its at­tempt to pre­vent blood­shed is cost­ing a great deal of blood­shed.” And the cause of th­ese fail­ures? “We were drugged by po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness.”

The failed U.N. ef­forts in the re­gion date back at least to 1978 when it cre­ated the In­terim Force in Le­banon (UNIFIL) in re­sponse to the Coastal Road Mas­sacre, dur­ing which Pales­tinian ter­ror­ists based in Le­banon hi­jacked a bus and mur­dered 36 hostages. Af­ter Is­rael in­vaded Le­banon to de­stroy the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ter­ror­ist base, The U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil passed a res­o­lu­tion call­ing on Is­rael to “im­me­di­ately” with­draw. It es­tab­lished UNIFIL to “as­sist the gov­ern­ment of Le­banon in en­sur­ing the re­turn of its ef­fec­tive author­ity to the area.” That never hap­pened, and ter­ror re­turned. When Is­rael again cleaned out the area in 1982, ter­ror re­turned as Hezbol­lah. Too many years elapsed be­fore Is­rael acted again, thus al­low­ing Hezbol­lah to es­tab­lish tun­nels, weapons and man­power, which made the cur­rent war much more dif­fi­cult for Is­rael.

Within the me­mory of most peo­ple over 40, the Free World could dis­tin­guish be­tween good and evil. But to­day, fewer make such judg­ments and “one man’s ter­ror­ist is an­other’s free­dom fighter.” In­stead of the World War I lyric “we won’t come back till it’s over, over there,” we — or in this case Is­rael — come back be­fore it’s over. As a re­sult, it isn’t over and it won’t be over un­til Is­rael and the West get over moral equiv­a­lency and po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness and fight to win.

The evil guys are fight­ing to win.

Cal Thomas is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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