Don’t measure the results now, one of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s associates asked on August 14, 2006 – a moment after Israel agreed to sign the ceasefire agreement. Yes, it may not look good now, he said, while explaining and praising the diplomatic achievement inherent in Resolution 1701, but we will be able to measure the results over time.
“The test will be whether Hizbullah is disarmed, whether the sovereign Lebanese government will control all of southern Lebanon, and whether the Lebanese army will be deployed along the border fence. This is what you will be seeing, and you will realize that the price we paid brought results,” he said.
Yet this week, the cabinet was convened somewhat urgently in order to discuss the situation on the northern border. There is much that can be learned from that session – mostly, that we lost that cursed war. What we heard in the session is that Security Council Resolution 1701 is breached; UNIFIL is unable to curb the arms smuggling from Syria; meanwhile, Hizbullah continues to build up its strength.
The next round, if we believe the intelligence assessments of all branches, is only a matter of time. This pro-Iranian arm is just waiting for the moment Tehran will utilize it to escalate tensions in the area, or for the moment Bush or Olmert decide on a military move against Iran’s nuclear threat.
‘Nothing happens the way Olmert plans it’
Two years have passed since the war, and we saw Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni telling her Italian counterpart that the multinational force’s mandate must be expanded. She told him that we are very concerned about the arms smuggled via Syria and about Hizbullah’s growing hold on southern Lebanon. In other words, Livni said, Resolution 1701 is not being implemented, or alternately, its implementation on the ground does not deliver the goods.
Two years have passed since the war, and if you ask our politicians – either on the Center, Right, or Left of the political spectrum – by now nobody thinks we won. Not even Olmert’s people.
“Olmert said that the evidence of our victory is the fact that Nasrallah is forced to continue hiding in the bomb shelter,” said someone who already saw four governments formed and toppled. “So what will Olmert say now that Nasrallah has veto power on Lebanese government decisions, while possessing three times as many missiles compared to what he had before the war? All the power that was invested, all the victims who died in the war, the price paid by the home front in the north – all of that happened, and Hizbullah just became stronger. This is not a draw, like former Army Chief Halutz claimed. This is a defeat.”
“The problem with Olmert,” one of his ministers told us following the last cabinet session, “is that nothing happens the way he plans it. It didn’t happen in the Lebanon War – Hizbullah is still there, more powerful both militarily and politically. Yes, Olmert really wants peace with Syria, but can you see Assad giving it to him when the PM barely has two months left before the Kadima primaries?”