Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Matter of Timing

Mortimer Zuckerman, editor of U.S. News and World Report, really has insight into the Israeli - Hezbollah conflict. Some highlights:
The war between Israel and Hezbollah is about the fate of the democratic State of Israel, which was attacked, once again, by enemies dedicated to its destruction.

Last month's kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldiers not engaged in hostilities, accompanied by the wave of rockets into Israeli cities and towns, was a gross act of warfare and a crime against humanity. The airborne weapons were packed with ball bearings--not to destroy military assets but to maximize suffering by shredding human flesh. This is the barbarous nature of the radical Islamic jihad led by Iran against the free world.

Some accuse Israel of a "disproportionate" response. But what exactly is a "proportionate" response when a whole people and their society are threatened with extinction, when hostilities are initiated without provocation, when every act of restraint invites a vicious contempt?

Hezbollah is not an organization that can be managed by appeasement.

To kill Israelis, Hezbollah cynically hides behind women and children, just as it deliberately dug bunkers in the crowded suburbs of Beirut. Yet these abuses don't attract much international condemnation, especially from the anti-Israel United Nations.

Israel warns the Lebanese population in advance of attacks and urges people to leave the area. Warnings preceded the bombing of the Hezbollah rocket site in Qana--which is still a mystery. The building collapse came seven hours after the bomb fell on or near it. If the blast was perceived as a danger, why didn't Hezbollah or the Lebanese get the civilians out?

Where is the expression of disgust as Hezbollah's friends rejoice at the murder of Israelis? The Israelis don't dance on the rooftops at the sight of the bodies of their enemy's children. They feel deep sorrow and regret and have voiced it over and over.

Israel's bombings are no more or less justified than ours in Kosovo, Belgrade, Afghanistan, and "shock and awe" in Iraq. Israel cannot yield to the naive clamor for an immediate cease-fire. If Israel falters, the iron wall of military power that has enabled it to earn modest acceptance in the Middle East will have been seriously breached.

If an unconditional cease-fire is declared before a multinational force is deployed, Hezbollah will simply come back, resupply with Iranian rockets through Syria, and resume its war. And you can be sure that as soon as there's a cease-fire, the world will lose interest in other parts of the agreement. That's precisely what happened after 2000.

An immediate cease-fire would be no more than a sham, a breathing space allowing Iran to equip Hezbollah with bigger and better missiles that would wreak havoc in a few years' time on Tel Aviv and cause even greater civilian casualties.

Hezbollah must not come out of this with even a perceived victory. Otherwise, the Muslim Brotherhoods in Egypt and Jordan, as well as other jihadists, will look to Iran for leadership and to Hezbollah for operational assistance. Over time this will pose an existential question for Israel and create still more havoc for the Middle East. If Israel is seen as victorious, Palestinian extremists will be weakened and Syria, and possibly Iran, might be forced to reappraise their approach. Rarely have the stakes been higher.

1 comment:

Reach Upward said...

Anti-Semitism did not die at the end of WWII. As attitudes throughout the world toward Israel demonstrate, anti-Semitism is alive and well today. Check out Mark Steyn's take on this.