World opinion views us as a people with a hard heart. This wariness has deep and justified roots, but often blinds us.
UN Security Council resolution 1701, as agreed upon over the weekend, is a political achievement unlike any other, for Israel as a Jewish state; perhaps one of the most prominent achievements in its history. It can be summed up in one sentence: Israel and the world against Hizbullah.
The exact phrasing of the resolution is less important than the fact that it adopts the Israeli approach regarding the war: This resolution has no mention of condemnation for our military operations in Lebanon (the aggressor mentioned is Hizbullah) and it fully acknowledges our right to a crushing military response.
Let’s compare the situation of Israel and Hizbullah today to their situation on July 12th, after the Hizbullah launched a surprise cross-border attack on Israel. It appeared, at the time as though Nasrallah was holding all the cards, that his control over southern Lebanon was undisputed, and that he would be crowned the Mideast’s next sheriff.
And today? Nasrallah’s provocation brought the IDF deep into southern Lebanon, Hizbullah has suffered continued blows of the type he could never imagine, and the Security Council has unanimously decided to dispatch 15,000 UN troops to the “Land of Hizbullah.”
Partners to this decision included the Lebanese government and the Arab League. Gone are the days of unilateral Israeli concessions, today there is an Arab-global ‘give and take’ process.
And by the way, Nasrallah didn’t fulfill any of his terrible threats.
Nasrallah paid a heavy toll
Could we have arrived at a similar result without the war? No, absolutely not. If Israel hadn’t responded the way it did, the remaining UN forces would have fled Lebanon, and we would have found ourselves entrenched in humiliating negotiations with Nasrallah, who would have rejoiced at holding the title of Israel’s conqueror.
Nasrallah and his people paid a heavy toll. He knows it. A bitter taste of defeat was apparent in his two latest speeches. The entire Arab and Moslem world knows this: Today it’s an open and versatile media world.
It’s true, our north has been damaged and we have sustained many casualties. It’s true, Hizbullah somehow survived. It’s true, the Olmert-Peretz cabinet made many mistakes, some unforgivable. It’s true; there are several drawbacks in resolution 1701.
However, if this resolution is fulfilled as outlined in the text, including the swift return of our abducted soldiers, its strategic benefits for Israel and free Lebanon will become clearly evident. To enable fulfillment of the resolution, we must let the army win. Now.
Israel not an empire
It is high time we root out the ‘legend’ that the IDF as an army is unable to defeat what is mistakenly termed Hizbullah’s “guerilla forces.” It can and it has. Our military history shows that military groups such as the Hizbullah, are almost always at a disadvantage in the battlefield and at an advantage in the political arena.
This usually occurs in empires, when they raise their hands in victory because of the political leadership’s failures, internal rotting and fatigued public opinion. Israel is not an empire, and shouldn’t act like one.
Certain media outlets in Israel have gone into a spin, they have jumped from one extreme to another, between ousting and surrender. The public, in general, has remained stable and supportive. It is not fazed by Nasrallah and his victory speeches. Many Arab leaders – including Yasser Arafat upon leaving the Mukataa Compound in Ramallah, celebrated their victory over Israel. Where are they today?
The war in Lebanon is not over yet. A people fighting an enemy that questions its right to exists, does not disarm because of embarrassment and fear. Had the founders of the state held this opinion, they would not have declared its establishment.