Photo: Dan Balilty
Elyakim Haetzni
Photo: Dan Balilty

Beware Arab encirclement

Why is Israel silent in face of explicit threats by Iran, Syria, and Lebanon?

Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Moallem announced that Damascus will come to Lebanon’s aid should the latter be attacked by Israel. Meanwhile, Lebanon declared that it will be fighting alongside Hezbollah. Syria too promised to get involved in case of an Israeli attack on Hezbollah. At the same time, Iran declared that it will stand by Syria or Lebanon should they be attacked by Israel.


Nasrallah’s deputy, Naim Qassem, summed it up: Syria, Lebanon, Hezbollah, and the Palestinians will all face Israel together in the next war. For dessert, Khaled Mashaal announced that Hamas too will be taking part in it.


This explicit collective threat is new and dangerous. Never before had Syria openly provided Lebanon and Hezbollah with a military assurance, thereby granting the organization the key to starting a regional war. Never before had all of this enjoyed an openly declared Iranian military umbrella.


The talk about an Israeli “attack” is of course no more than facon de parler; that is, empty talk. States don’t admit to attacking. Nazi Germany dressed up prisoners with Polish army uniforms and forced them to “attack” a German radio station (and be killed in the process.) In “response” to this “aggression,” the Germans invaded Poland.


The abovementioned statements, which are tantamount to military encirclement, were not met by an official Israeli response, with the exception of the outburst by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who threatened to topple Assad should he become entangled in a military adventure.


This is a badge of shame for the shapers of public opinion, who instead of slamming the foreign minister for his seemingly “undiplomatic” statement did not raise the alarm and ask the prime minister why he keeps silent in the face of a belligerent declared alliance ranging from Iran to Hamastan.


Memories of World War I

Netanyahu is very erudite in matters of history, so this series of threatening declarations could not but remind him of World War I, where the German-Austrian alliance was encircled by a ring of hostile alliances: Russia-France (1894), France-Britain (1904), and Britain-Russia (1907) – a volatile combination set off by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by a Serbian terrorist.


Austria declared war on Serbia, and Germany stood by the latter. The Russians backed the Serbs and ordered a partial military call-up. France stood by Russia. Germany responded with its own call-up. Russia responded with an all-out call-up. Austria reacted with a call-up as well, and Germany issued an ultimatum to Russia: Call off your military call-up within 12 hours. Once Russia failed to respond, Germany declared war – and so on and so forth.


And so, hostile alliances pushed these states into an all-out war in an almost automatic manner. Yet the country that dragged everyone into this bloody mess was the smallest and least responsible element – Serbia. Such chain reaction can be prompted by Hamas today.


Lieberman was the only one to address the severity of the encirclement declaration, and his warning regarding the fate of the Alawite dynasty was in place: At the end of World War I, the Russian Czar lost the throne (and his life) while the Kaisers of Germany and Austria and the Turkish sultan were banished.


Netanyahu should also be asking himself what prompted Hezbollah’s takeover in Lebanon if not the shameful Israeli retreat in 2000 and the betrayal and humiliation accorded to the South Lebanon Army. And what prompted the threat to our south if not the expulsion of Jews from the Gaza Strip, which made room for Hamas?


We still “lack” a threat to our east, where the IDF and the settlers safeguard the country’s back. However, there too, the “two-state” declaration and the settlement freeze provided links to the chain that will complete the encirclement. Yet here Lieberman kept silent. 


פרסום ראשון: 02.24.10, 00:10
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