Saturday, July 29, 2006
We have come together today
To stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel
And to say a simple prayer.
Ribbono shel olam,
Let your people Israel live in peace.
Let there be an end to bloodshed and violence.
Let there be an end to hostility and hate.
Let Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev come home.
Let Israel’s defence forces come home.
What else did Your people ever want,
Except the right to live with security, without fear, in peace?
Almighty G-d, let your people Israel live in peace.
Today we stand in solidarity with Israel,
And rarely have I felt so proud of Anglo-Jewry as I have done these past few days.
Especially of our young people.
Last week 1300 of them, from youth groups right across the religious spectrum,
Went out to Israel.
Every one of them, or their families, might have said: no. Not now. It’s too dangerous.
Yet almost none of them did.
I want to say to every one of those young people: Kol hakavod. You make us proud.
And today I want a message to go forth from us to Israel to say: Israel, you make us proud.
In a mere 58 years, in a country half the size of Lake Michigan, you have done things that are unbelievable.
You have gathered together Jews from more than a hundred different countries speaking more than eighty different languages and out of them made a great nation.
You have taken a land with no natural resources and turned it into one of the great economies of the modern world.
You have created a democracy in a part of the world where no one thought it possible.
You have taken a desolate land and made it blossom and bear fruit.
You have developed medical technologies to save life.
Wherever in the world there has been a natural disaster, you have been among
the first to offer humanitarian aid.
Through six decades under almost continuous threat you have given the world poets and philosophers and musicians and novelists whose heart is Jewish and whose love is for all humanity.
You have taken the language of the Bible and made it speak again You have taken a people from the valley of the shadow of death and made it live again.
You have taken hope itself – hatikvah shnot alpayim – and made it breath again.
Israel: you are our people and our pride and we stand with you today.
Why then does a people who have consistently said Yes to life and No to death,
Who have consistently said Yes to peace and No to terror,
Find itself today fighting in Lebanon and Gaza?
The answer is so simple, yet so unbelievable, that we must hear it clearly and unequivocally:
Israel is fighting today in Lebanon because 6 years ago it withdrew from Lebanon.
Israel is fighting today in Gaza because 1 year ago it withdrew from Gaza.
And Israel discovered the terrible truth spoken by the late Mother Theresa
That no good deed goes unpunished.
Every gesture of goodwill undertaken by Israel has been seized on by its enemies as a sign of weakness.
Every Israeli effort towards peace has led without exception to an increase in violence against Israel.
The Oslo Peace Process led directly to the first Palestinian suicide attacks in Israel.
Taba: the most generous offer Israel ever made to the Palestinians, led directly to the most concerted set of terrorist attacks against any nation in modern history.
The Gaza Withdrawal, the most painful act Israel has ever had to undertake, led within less than a year to 1000 Kassam rocket attacks on Israeli civilian targets including schoolchildren.
And finally the Lebanon withdrawal, undertaken by Israel six years ago in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 425. That resolution was immediately broken by Hizbullah, about which the United Nations special envoy to Lebanon warned at the time, in November 2000: “Such breaches of international peace and security in the south threaten to ignite a new spiral of violence with tragic consequences for the civilian population.”
That failure led in 2004 to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 which called categorically for the disarming of militias in Lebanon. Again rejected. This time Kofi Annan himself protested to the Syrians. The effect? The arming of Hizbullah with weapons that threaten the very heart of Israel.
Israel withdrew from Lebanon.
Israel does not want to be in Lebanon.
It does not want to do any of the things it is now doing.
It accepted in good faith the commitment of the United Nations that it would not have to.
It is acting today only because the international community has failed to ensure that its neighbours met their obligations when Israel met hers.
Israel, the Israel we know and love, is a people that pursues peace, yearns for peace, sings about peace, needs peace.
For 58 years it has done everything a nation could do in pursuit of peace, and it has been rewarded instead with violence and terror.
It has done what the world has asked it to do, and the result has been that it has been left vulnerable and alone.
Which of us does not weep when we see the news day after day?
Does any of us, God forbid, take satisfaction at the devastation of Lebanon?
Is that who we are?
Let me be clear and unambiguous.
We weep not just for Israel
But for the people of Lebanon also.
Lebanon was once a great country,
A centre of civilization
A beacon in the Middle East --
Until Jordan drove the Palestinians out of Jordan into Lebanon
Until Syria used them to terrorise the Lebanese
Until Iran armed and funded and manipulated them;
Until the whole country of Lebanon, every man, woman and child, became a
And so a great country was destroyed and reduced to ruins.
And today Israel is fighting in Lebanon so that Israel should not become, G-d forbid, another Lebanon,
As any country in the world will become
If it lacks the clarity and courage to say No to terror and Yes to peace.
Tragically Jews have learned over the centuries
That when their enemies speaking of killing them, driving them into the sea, wiping them off the face of the earth, they mean what they say.
What Hizbullah and Hamas have said in word and deed is:
We will kill you if you stay
And we will kill you if you leave.
We will kill you if you retaliate
And we will kill you if you don’t retaliate.
What can Israel do but to seek to end the terror
That threatens and is meant to threaten its very existence?
When alone among the 192 nations that make up the United Nations, after 58 years it still finds its very right to exist denied?
Friends, let me tell you what is wrong with terror. It is not just that it murders the innocent: the young, the old, the defenceless, the uninvolved.
It is that it murders innocence itself.
It turns virtue into weakness, decency into vulnerability.
And if we, if Israel, if Europe, if America do not take a stand against terror, if we ignore it as the world ignored it for so long, then it will leave a stain on the human future that no tears, no regrets, will ever remove.
The battle Israel is fighting today is not for itself alone.
It is for the sake of all those who say no to terror
No to the desecration of life
No to killing in the name of God
Whether they live in Bali or Beslan, or Madrid or Mumbai.
And therefore let me end with simple words of prayer:
Ribbono shel olam: Be with your people Israel now.
Hear their cry
Heed their tears
Listen to this, our prayer on their behalf.
Grant peace to all your children, Jew, Christian and Muslim alike.
Help us live together, respecting one another.
Help us cherish life.
Help us to use the powers You gave us, to heal, to mend, to build.
We ask of You, Almighty God, just one thing:
You who make peace in high places,
Help us make peace down here on earth.
In Lebanon and Israel, Ahmadinejad has blood on his hands
IS the value of human life less in Lebanon than that of citizens elsewhere? Are we children of a lesser God?" asked Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora this week in Rome. "Is an Israeli teardrop worth more than a drop of Lebanese blood?" It's a good question and one that drips with as much anger and poignancy as Shylock's famous soliloquy in The Merchant of Venice. But it is also, sadly, the wrong question. For, in the present conflict, there is no difference between Lebanese and Israeli blood. Both nations are being made to pay the price for policies set by thuggish theocrats in Tehran and, to a lesser extent, Damascus. Those are the men to whom Mr Siniora's question needs to be directed.
Hezbollah, aka the Party of God, touched off the current conflagration by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and killing three others in a cross-border raid just over two weeks ago. That attack was only the latest in a long series of often fatal harassment actions conducted by the terrorist group since it filled the void left by Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. Through it all, Hezbollah has been a puppet of the Iranian theocracy, which created it more than 20 years ago with the purpose of using terrorism to expand the Shia regime's influence throughout the Middle East.
In retaliating against Hezbollah and pressuring Lebanon to control its territories and kick out the organisation, Israel is taking a logical step against an Iranian regime whose leaders routinely vow to "wipe Israel from the face of the map". Every one of the nearly 500 deaths of the past two weeks, whether Lebanese or Israeli, is tragic. But those who complain Arab blood is cheap must realise that the price is being set in Tehran, not Jerusalem. And the power to stop the bloodshed lies most of all with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who at a stroke could get Hezbollah to lay down its arms and quit a country in which it does not belong.
When one strips away all the emotional and political baggage from the situation in the Middle East, the present conflict is at its heart a battle between a liberal democracy and a fascist dictatorship. It should be no trouble to figure out which side is in the right. Yet events in the Middle East are seen through one's individual political prejudices.
In the West, too many on the Left are unable to put aside their reflexive anti-Americanism and romantic beliefs that Islamic radicals are simply freedom fighters to judge the situation fairly. Thus groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas that use terror as the means to spread their own political and religious obsessions are not seen as the bad guys; rather, Israel is. This view has poisoned the debate in many sectors of the media, where Israel's defensive actions are routinely cast in an aggressive light, and in the streets, where at so-called peace rallies Stars of David appear on banners next to swastikas separated by a "=" sign.
But if those who blame Israel were to put away their anti-American prejudices and forget for a moment the half-baked postmodern narrative of colonisers and liberators, they would see in Hezbollah something that could just as easily be called the Nazi Party of Tehran. Today all Israel wants in the present conflict is for the Nazis to go home.
Hezbollah was created by a regime every bit as totalitarian and anti-Semitic as the Third Reich. The values of the Iranian theocracy, which executes homosexuals, oppresses ethnic and religious minorities and treats women as property, should be offensive most of all to the progressive Left. Although there have been some heartening and worthwhile efforts on the left, such as the Euston Manifesto, to come to terms with these facts, it is the liberal democracy of Israel that is all too often cast by progressives as the villain. Were a similarly fascist group to emerge in the Arafura Sea and lob missiles into Darwin on a daily basis, Canberra would likewise have no choice but to respond militarily.
The questions Mr Siniora – and indeed the whole civilised world – should be asking are: "Why won't Iran bring Hezbollah to heel? Are Tehran's lunatic ambitions worth the life of even one Lebanese or Israeli?" Lebanese and Israelis alike suffer from Hezbollah's presence. The region's Sunni Muslims would likewise not fare well under a resurgent Shia Iran that would turn back the clock on democratisation and reform.
World outrage should be directed not at Israel but at Iran and Syria. The Australian wishes, along with all Australians, that there was no violence in the Middle East and that the bombs of Hezbollah and Israel did not have to take so many lives – especially those of children. But we also recognise that a ceasefire for its own sake will do nothing to prevent future bloodshed. For the moment, then, our wish would be for more pressure, both from within the Arab world and without, to be brought to bear on Tehran to halt this madness.
Terrorists and their sponsors in the Middle East must reform, or be vanquished.
....It is no secret that Iran and Syria use Hezbollah and Hamas as proxies. The kidnapping operations in Israel would not have transpired without a green light from Tehran and Damascus. Further, the rise of Hezbollah and Hamas reflects a growing alliance between autocrats and theocrats. The autocrats want to rule, and the theocrats employ religious means to impose their authority. Both are unified in their opposition to Israel. Refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist is the root of conflict in the Middle East.
Arab governments view Israel as a threat, because it is a democratic and modern state. Under genuine peace, secular authocratic regimes like that of Syria will not survive, because citizens will shift their attention inward and demand viable services like education, healthcare, and a social safety net. Such governments, whose budgets are allocated for security and the foreign bank accounts of the elite, cannot perform these basic functions.
The theocrats oppose the existence of Israel because they fear that the spread of secular rule would end their control. In a televised address on July 16, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nassrallah said, “A Hamas and Hezbollah defeat means greater influence for the Zionists and their American masters, the theft of our resources and defacement of our culture and civilization.”
As the United States watches the alliance grow—Iran and Syria formally announced their strategic ties in February 2005—it has failed to nurture a democratic counterweight in the Arab street. U.S. support for Arab democrats has been wishy-washy. Diplomacy has failed.
Today, the Assad regime in Syria offers itself as a mediator for a ceasefire. The Syrians feel emboldened because Washington lacks resolve. While a U.N. investigation has implicated Syrian leadership in last year’s assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, Assad’s meddling in Lebanon and crackdown on liberal dissent continues unabated. Syria understands that paying lip service to Washington’s war on terror means its sins at home and abroad will be excused.
In the past, U.S. shuttle diplomacy lent greater focus to appeasing dictators and treating symptoms rather than solving problems. But where the State department once was eager to restrain Israel and find quick fixes, it now claims to seek “sustainable solutions.” That State has repeatedly rejected calls for an immediate ceasefire appears to underscore this. Washington realizes that a quick resolution to the current conflict will only produce cosmetic change. An immediate and unconditional ceasefire—one which fails to disarm Hezbollah—would not solve the crisis, but prolong it. Such a ceasefire would further bolster the Shiite militia’s prestige in the Arab street and allow them to regroup. Security for Israel and Lebanon will only be achieved if the Lebanese government exerts full control over Lebanon’s territory. A just and lasting peace should not permit perpetrators of violence to save face and live to fight another day.
A permanent solution can be either political or military. A political solution requires a genuine desire to solve problems between the two sides. On the Arab side there are no legitimate and visionary leaders who are willing to take the risk. The Israelis, conversely, have the legitimate leaders — because they were elected by the people and are now expected to serve their people.
The military solution is costly, but it may create the foundation for an eventual political solution. Massive military defeats for militant organizations like Hezbollah would remove significant tools from the hands of Arab rulers. Combine the military solution with genuine pressure on Arab governments to reform, and we can begin to build the basis for peaceful societies. The Arab street will then look inward rather than outward. And local political issues will trump regional ones. At the moment, Arab rulers are at a crossroad. They can move beyond past failures by choosing a peaceful and realistic political solution. This would require genuine reform at home.
The international community and Israel are prepared to extend a sincere hand toward reconciliation, just as soon as there is a real chance for permanent peace. Prosperity would be the result. But so long as terrorist groups and their sponsors continue to thwart the peace process, stability and democracy in the Middle East will remain a distant hope.
*Mohamed Eljahmi is a Boston-based Libyan American activist whose brother, Fathi Eljahmi, is imprisoned in Libya for speaking out for political reform.
WASHINGTON, July 28 — President Bush, vowing to turn conflict in the Middle East into a “moment of opportunity” for broader change, said today that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would be dispatched back to the region on Saturday with a plan for a multinational force that would help Lebanon’s army take over from Hezbollah in the southern part of the country.
Mr. Bush spoke this afternoon at a press conference with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain....Mr. Bush said that the “root cause” of the problem was Hezbollah.
“For the sake of long-term stability, we’ve got to deal with this issue now,” Mr. Bush said.
“This is a moment of intense conflict in the Middle East,” Mr. Bush said. “Yet our aim is to turn it into a moment of opportunity and a chance for broader change in the region.”
Both leaders spoke of the need to impose United Nations resolution 1559, which calls for disarming Hezbollah and deploying the Lebanese Army to the border. Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair said the resolution would provide for an international force to keep peace in southern Lebanon but that, in the long run, the Lebanese government must be able to control the entire country.
“We want a Lebanon free of militias and foreign interference,” Mr. Bush said. “We can indeed bring an end to this crisis,” Mr. Blair said. But he agreed with Mr. Bush that, unless Lebanese leaders are empowered to control their nation rather than cede part of it to Hezbollah militants, “nothing will work” for very long.
....The two leaders... repeatedly emphasized they mutually agreed they want a cease-fire that will last, as well as a quick end to the killing. There was no indication in their public remarks that they differed on how to bring calm to Lebanon. A spokesman for Mr. Blair said beforehand that the prime minister would try to “increase the urgency” of diplomacy to stop the unrest.
Asked how soon the violence might end, Mr. Blair said, “as soon as possible,” if agreement on a United Nations resolution can be reached next week. Asked whether any multinational force would “effect” or “police” a ceasefire, Mr. Blair said the plan could work only if Hezbollah was prepared to allow it to work. “We have got to make sure, therefore, that we have the force go in as part of an agreement that the government of Lebanon has bound itself to, the government of Israel has bound itself to, the international community has bound itself to.”
He continued: “Hezbollah has got to appreciate, if they stand out against that, then it’s not merely that they will be doing a huge disservice to the people of Lebanon, but they will also again face the fact that action will have to be taken against them.”
...Mr. Blair said Iran — a main supporter of Hezbollah — and Syria will be making “a strategic miscalculation” of grave importance if they continue to interfere in Lebanon’s affairs.
Mr. Bush said that, despite the bloodshed in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, democracy is taking root in the region and will flower “unless we lose our nerve.”
“This government isn’t going to quit,” Mr. Bush said.....
David Stout reported from Washington.Christine Hauser contributed reporting from New York and Helene Cooper from Kuala Lumpur.
HASSAN Nasrallah is in a quagmire. ... Nasrallah has called for the beginning of a second phase of this war. In what he calls “Beyond Haifa,” Nasrallah says his fighters will begin rocket attacks deeper into Israel, south of Haifa. We wonder if Nasrallah took any time to review his achievements in the first phase of the war against the enemy before thinking about the next. So far his only achievements have been causing the destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure and killing of innocent Lebanese. If he begins the second phase the only result will be wiping out of whatever remains of Lebanon’s infrastructure and killing of the rest of the Lebanese.
Dictatorial decisions taken by a single man like Nasrallah, who gets instructions from foreign countries, will always lead to sorrow.....
.... In a message to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council Akbar Rafsanjani has expressed his country’s support to Saudi Arabia’s proposal for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah. This indicates Tehran has started worrying it may lose the war and wants to retreat. However, Nasrallah seems not to have received this information. So if he goes ahead with his so-called “Beyond Haifa” mission, he will be left alone.
The ceasefire proposed by Saudi Arabia is its own idea and not dictated by anybody else. After realizing its inevitable defeat, the Iran-Syria combine has changed its mind on the war and decided to support the Saudi proposal. Nasrallah won’t be able to cover his mistakes by appearing on TV channels and claiming to possess unreasonable information, which cannot be proved by anybody. Nasrallah’s claims give the impression that he has some spy satellites flying over the United States and Israel. Nasrallah’s dictatorship will sink like those of Saddam Hussein and other regimes, which did not know their true ability. Egyptians suffered under the dictatorship of the late Gamal Abdul Nasser who led them to war in 1967. The late Egyptian President believed Arab power can defeat Israel. However, the result was different as Arabs were handed out a humiliating defeat. Nasrallah, who is being remote-controlled by Iran and Syria, believes he is in the mold of many Arab leaders. But the fact is he is playing with fire.
....Israel is at war with a terrorist army, one that proudly targets our civilian population while hiding behind its own. It is a war Israel must win.
Winning any war is not easy, but this case is made particularly difficult by the asymmetrical standards for victory. By normal military standards, Hizbullah's ambush of IDF forces in Bint Jbail in which eight of our soldiers were killed was a defeat for Hizbullah, in that even our weakened force was able to kill most or all of its attackers, and Hizbullah was unable to capture any of our soldier's bodies. The IDF estimates that dozens, perhaps up to 100, of the Hizbullah terrorists were killed by the IDF that day.
But these battles are not being measured in normal military terms. As our reporter, Khaled Abu Toameh, noted in an analysis in Thursday's Post, "Arabs are once again talking about shattering the myth that has haunted them since the humiliating defeat of the Arab armies in 1967 - that the IDF is invincible." Abu Toameh continued, "Many note that it took the IDF only six days to crush the armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq," while the current fighting against a militia has already taken two weeks, and seems not to be near over.
Israel can inflict heavy casualties on Hizbullah and substantially degrade its missile capability, without achieving victory; All Hizbullah needs to do is to kill some Israeli soldiers and avoid total destruction to capture the imagination of the Muslim world.
Many Arabs, Abu Toameh finds, believe recent history is composed of a string of Israeli defeats. The first intifada in the late 1980s forced Israel to accept Oslo and to withdraw from Palestinian cities. Hizbullah forced Israel to unilaterally withdraw from Lebanon in May 2000, this narrative claims. Then the even more violent Palestinian terror campaign that began in late 2000 apparently led to Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, including the destruction of Israeli settlements. The lesson that many Arabs draw from this litany is that Hizbullah and Hamas are right: use enough force for long enough and Israel will capitulate.
Most Israelis, of course, read this history entirely differently. In particular, this latest conflict has dealt a terrible blow to the Palestinian claim that its struggle is nationalist and has nothing to do with the global jihad against the West. It is no coincidence that the Islamization of the Arab-Israel conflict has led to unprecedented international support for Israeli military actions, placing blame for the conflict on Hizbullah, and agreement that Hizbullah must not be tolerated, but rather disbanded.
The vocal support by Hamas, Hizbullah and their allies and masters in Teheran for what Yossi Klein Halevi has called the "theology of genocide" against Israel may be slowly ripping the mask off the Arab struggle against Israel. Yet as important as such a shift may be for the understanding of what Israel is facing, it is is far from complete, and it is no substitute for inflicting an undeniable defeat on the jihadis in the war they have just launched against the Jewish state.
Pictures of Hassan Nasrallah are now being held a loft in places like Cairo and Ramallah. He, like Gamal Abdel Nasser, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein in the past, are being embraced by Arabs who consider their own governments too weak in their enmity for Israel. Many other Arabs, of course, realize that following belligerent dictators has brought only misery and failure to the Arab world. But how do we in the West ensure that Muslim voices of reason are ascendant, rather than those excited by the drums of war?
After 9/11, the Muslim street - especially the Palestinian one - let out a great cheer for Osama Bin Laden. This bloodthirsty enthusiasm was quickly muffled by the dispatch of the Islamist regime in Afghanistan and the driving of al-Qaida underground, and later by the ouster and capture of Saddam Hussein.
Now there is a danger that a failure to decisively defeat Hizbullah could join the failure to defeat the jihad in Iraq and the feckless response to both Iran's support for terrorist offensives and its defiant nuclear drive. The tentacles of the global jihad, led by Iran, have come to Israel. Israel must, for its own sake and the world's, do its utmost to ensure their undeniable destruction.
[Russia] publishes list of groups it regards as terrorist organization, fails to include Hamas or Hizbullah. Official says movements do not represent threat to Russia
Russia on Friday published a list of 17 groups it regards as terrorist organizations and did not include the Palestinian movement Hamas or Lebanon's Hizbullah group, both of which are regarded as terrorists in Washington. Groups on the list, published in the official
daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta, included al-Qaeda and the Taliban as well as the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a rebel group fighting for Kashmir's independence from India, and Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood.
The Russian Federal Security Service's top official in charge of fighting international terrorism, Yuri Sapunov, said that Hamas and Hizbullah were not a major threat to Russia and were not regarded as terrorist groups worldwide. But he said that Russian security agencies took account of international lists of terrorist groups when exchanging intelligence with foreign counterparts.
Sapunov told Rossiiskaya Gazeta that the list of 17 "Includes only those organizations which represent the greatest threat to the security of our country." Also on the Russian list were groups linked to separatist militants in Chechnya and Islamic radicals in Central Asia. Russia in the past has come under criticism for its refusal to list Hamas and Hizbullah as terrorist organizations.
Russian angers US, Israel
President Vladimir Putin earlier this year provoked US and Israeli anger by inviting leaders of Hamas to Moscow. The meeting made no progress in softening the group's refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist or foreswear violence.
The European Union considers Hamas a terrorist organization and along with the United States slapped financial sanctions on the new Hamas-led government. But it does not list Hizbullah as a terrorist group....
There has been a parade of prejudice, but I will show that terrorists were shooting from the UN posts, counting on Israel to not dare shoot back......Papers such as the The Age treated Israel's accidental shelling of a United Nations observer post as a deliberate war crime -- when, as I'll show below, terrorists were shooting from these very posts, thinking Israel would not dare shoot back.
Meanwhile, newspaper cartoonists draw these wicked Jews as Nazis, gloating ambulance bombers and implacable baby-killers. So ask these critics what Israel should do instead against an Islamist terror statelet next door that is astonishingly well-armed with missiles, and which hides among civilians.
....Here's what they really think it should do. It should wait quietly in some no-trouble queue, as Jews did at the gates of Nazi camps, while their neighbours invent what they need to wipe out their country for ever.
...What you are too rarely told is that Hezbollah is a terror group created in part by Iran, funded by Iran and still armed by Iran. And Iran, an Islamist regime, has glowing, smoking plans for Israel. Its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has urged Iranians to prepare for martyrdom and has told them Israel must be "wiped off the map". Hezbollah would like that. As its former leader Hussein Massawi helpfully explained, as if to idiots: "We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."
With what weapon might Iran -- or its Hezbollah proxies -- strike those Jews?
Well, oil-soaked Iran has for nearly 20 years worked on a secret nuclear program, and Hezbollah provoked this war just as the UN Security Council was debating what sanctions, if any, to impose on Iran to force it to stop.
But as both Israel and Iran both know, the UN and Europe are so morally weak that no one will stop what everyone fully expects is a program to build a nuclear bomb. So tick, tick, tick...
And bang! When Hezbollah fighters killed three Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two more in a cross-border raid a fortnight ago, Israel decided it would wait no longer in this quiet queue for destruction.
It struck back with who knows what plan in mind. To get the soldiers released, it said first. Now its demand is that Hezbollah disarm so never again will it have thousands of rockets -- rockets which one short day may be tipped with worse than high explosives and ball bearings.
It won't work, of course. Israel will buy some months, perhaps, but while Iran's ayatollahs rule and their jihadist creed prospers they will be back. And this oil-thirsty world -- with so many Western countries now with loud Muslim minorities -- will not block it. Of course, Israel's desperate reaction isn't quite what Hezbollah was counting on. "The truth is -- let me say this clearly -- we didn't even expect (this) response ... That (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," whined Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hezbollah's politburo.
It thought that snatching Jewish soldiers -- to later trade their bodies for captured terrorists -- would get just the "proportionate" response it could ignore while it killed more Jews. But no, Mr Terrorist. Israel won't walk quietly to any grave. Not this time.
.....Israel is now painted in the media as so cruel that it barely minds if it kills children with its careless bombs. Perhaps Channel 9, taking Hezbollah-run tours of the damage in Beirut, has pushed this view hardest. Said Nine producer Wes Hardman, in Beirut: "To me, a soldier should take every care not to hit civilians, but that's not happening in Lebanon. If Israel think they are precision bombing, then they should be congratulated on their ignorance." But another newsman on the tour, CNN's Anderson Cooper, was not so ready to echo Hezbollah's talking points. He noted that the reporters on this "heavily orchestrated Hezbollah media event" were allowed only to film what Hezbollah wanted them to, and added: "Civilian casualties are clearly what Hezbollah wants foreign reporters to focus on. It keeps the attention off them..."
And here's one thing Hezbollah doesn't want attention on: It hides its fighters and weapons among civilians so Israel cannot shoot back without risking killing a child. It shoots its missiles even from schools. Hear it from UN aid chief Jan Egeland. Egeland got huge TV coverage when he damned Israel's bombing of Beirut. But he got next to none when he added: "Hezbollah, stop this cowardly blending in among women and children...
"I don't think you want to be proud of having many more children and women than armed men (killed)." But it is proud -- because its media dupes report on such deaths and call Israel, not Hezbollah, inhuman. See how brilliantly that tactic this week, when Israel bombed a post of the UN International Force in Lebanon, killing four observers. UN boss Kofi Annan instantly leaped to a conclusion that made no sense at all. "I am shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defence Forces of a UN observer post," he said.
Israel now wants to kill UN peacekeepers? In God's name, why? But such is the venom against Israel that this slur sped around the world, picked up by gleeful believers from Moscow's Pravda to Mebourne's Age. It was the disposition to believe the crazy worst of Israel that said so much. True, we still need to know why Israel ignored warnings that its shells were landing on the UN post. But even brief research would have found more context -- that not only do Hezbollah fighters fire from behind screens of women and children, but shoot from behind UN observers, counting on Israel not daring to shoot back.
Read for yourself the UNIFIL press releases that have warned how Hezbollah has exploited their posts, and even shot their observers. Says the UNIFIL press release on the very day of this tragedy: "It was also reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions..." Says the UNIFIL report of 20 July: "Hezbollah firing was also reported from the immediate vicinity of the UN positions in Naquora and Maroun Al Ras areas..." And so on.
Retired Canadian Major General Lewis Mackenzie said he recently received emails from the Canadian peacekeeper killed at the UN post on Wednesday, who'd told him Hezbollah was using his post as cover, too. "He was describing the fact that he was taking fire within, in one case, three metres of his position for tactical necessity, not being targeted," Mackenzie said.
"Now that's veiled speech in the military. What he was telling us was Hezbollah soldiers were all over his position and the IDF were targeting them. And that's a favourite trick by people who don't have representation in the UN. They use the UN as shields knowing that they can't be punished for it."
So why had Annan left these posts there, where they helped only terrorists?
It's a metaphor for Israel's unwinnable war. Hezbollah and its allies hide behind the UN -- and civilians -- waging terror. And when Israel, a democracy, defends itself, the UN calls it evil. And our media chorus that never have they seen such cruelty. Israel seems doomed, given this. I fear it is not alone.
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Friday, July 28, 2006
Israeli intelligence ups estimate of Hizballah stock of Zelzal-2 missiles whose 250km range covers Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israeli army chiefs fear that Hassan Nasrallah, having received the nod from Tehran Wednesday, will start firing them at central Israel over the weekend.
Although the Israeli air force has destroyed some of these missiles which carry a 600 kilo payload, several dozen still remain. Thursday night and Friday morning, July 28, Israeli bombers struck Hizballah locations in the northern Beqaa Valley where the Zelzal-2 missiles are stored.
DEBKAfile’s military sources add: The Israeli army discovered the 3.5-ton, 8.46 meters long missiles were stored in buildings with strengthened floors and walls to carry their weight, their roofs removed and replaced with makeshift coverings such as branches and twigs. These coverings are dense enough to block the missiles from the view of Israeli aircraft but are easily removable to enable the rapid launch of the Zelzal from inside the building where it is stored. The warning by Israel’s generals about the Zelzal’s deployment also applies to the Mohajer-4, a pilotless aircraft packed with explosives. In November 2004 and April 2005, this Iranian drone penetrated Israeli airspace undetected.
...Tehran is using Hezbollah's confrontation with the Jewish state to test the abilities of Iranian weapons and to observe Israeli military capabilities, Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt charged in a WorldNetDaily interview yesterday.
Jumblatt also said he fears Syria will take advantage of the growing crisis in Lebanon to reassert its influence in the country and convince the international community Syrian domination of Lebanon is crucial to the stability of the Middle East. He warned Damascus might initiate a wave of terror in Lebanon following Israel's military campaign there to further destabilize the country, including by assassinating the Lebanese prime minister.
"Iran is bringing in [to Lebanon] sophisticated weaponry," said Jumblatt who is head of Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party and is largely considered the most prominent anti-Syrian Lebanese politician. "The Iranians are actually experimenting with different kinds of missiles in Lebanon by shooting them at the Israelis. Iran is using this violence to test certain of [Israel's] abilities..."
.....Jumblatt said he is worried Syria might try to gain more control of Lebanon following Israel's military campaign. "Syria will likely try to tell the world, 'Look, see, since we left Lebanon the Cedar Revolution and the forces in Lebanon that got our military out through popular support, those forces are not able to control Lebanon. While we (the Syrians) were in control, Lebanon was a safe place. Now it's not. We need to come back in,'" said Jumblatt. "I would not be surprised if they even try to wiggle their way into a deal by convincing the Americans that Syrian influence in Lebanon will stabilize the region," Jumblatt said. ...."I would not be surprised if the Syrians try to overthrow our government and assassinate [Lebanese Prime Minister Faud] Sinora. [Syrian President Bashar] Assad made comments last month about al-Qaida infiltrating Lebanon. Now Assad can send into our country the same extremists he has been sending into Iraq to blow themselves up and wreak havoc here and blame it on al-Qaida. No one can prevent him from doing this."
Asked if he feared another full-scale Syrian military occupation of Lebanon, Jumblatt replied, "Another? In truth the Syrians never left Lebanon. They triggered this war through their proxy Hezbollah. They continue to hold us hostage."
From Arutz Sheva Jul 27, '06 / 2 Av 5766, by Ezra HaLevi ...
Al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a call for Jihadists around the globe to attack Israel and make the entire region, “from Spain to Iraq” into an Islamic kingdom.
The speech by the terrorist network’s co-founder was broadcast on the al-Jazeera Arabic satellite channel. Al-Zawahiri declared a Jihad (holy war) against Israel on behalf of the global Jihadist movement. “All the world is a battlefield open in front of us," he said, rejecting the concept of an eventual cease-fire. “Oh Muslims everywhere, I call on you to fight and become martyrs in the war against the Zionists and the Crusaders…War with Israel does not depend on ceasefires. It is Jihad for sake of God and will last until our religion prevails from Spain to Iraq.”
.....The Egyptian doctor was filmed in front of a photo of the World Trade Center and two top Al-Qaeda terrorists killed in recent years. This is Al-Zawahiri’s tenth message released to the public this year. It is unclear whether al-Zawahiri’s declaration has a theological effect on his followers’ desire to strike Israel. Already on February 23, 1998, he issued a joint fatwa, Islamic ruling, with Osama bin Laden entitled "World Islamic Front Against Jews and Crusaders,” which called upon Muslims to destroy Israel....
...writing in The Sunday Times, former Conservative MP Michael Portillo told his British countrymen that their hostility for Israel and the US aside, "The bloody truth is that Israel's war is our war." Portillo went on to argue that given the threat that Iran and Hizbullah pose to Britain itself, "for us to turn against Israel and America would be perverse and potentially suicidal."
....THE CURRENT campaign in northern Israel and Lebanon has brought into sharp focus the major pathologies and strengths of the West in fighting the Iranian-led jihadist axis. The British government's push for a cease-fire, together with the enthusiasm of the UN and France for sending their own troops to Lebanon to protect the Lebanese from the "disproportionate" Israelis; the demand of Israel's radical Left that a deal be made with Syria; and the demands of leftist ideologues in the US that an artificial deadline be set for the conclusion of Israel's operations in Lebanon all point to a similar pathology.
As a group, the ideological Left rejects the notion of victory in war for Western forces (although it is fine for jihadists); rejects the notion that there are enemies that are impossible to appease; and specifically rejects the idea that Israel has a right to defend itself against its enemies, let alone vanquish its foes.
LET US BE clear. The European foreign ministers and UN envoys who are tripping over one another on their way to Jerusalem are the same European foreign ministers and UN officials who brought about the misguided American decision to throw out 27 years of US practice and officially engage the mullahs in Teheran. That is, the same European governments now jockeying for a place in an international force that will protect Hizbullah from destruction are the ones who have been stymieing American attempts to take concerted action against Iran's nuclear weapons programs for the past three years.
This is the pathology of the West. For if one takes the ideology of appeasing unappeasable foes to its logical conclusion, appeasing states will eventually join forces with their enemies against themselves, or, as Portillo put it, they will become suicidal.
- AND SO, Britain's Department of Trade and Industry can give export licenses to dirty bomb components en route to Iran.
- And so American columnists named Cohen can tell the world that Israel's existence is a mistake.
- And so, Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, can refuse to acknowledge that Hizbullah is an Iranian-run terrorist organization dedicated to Islamic world domination even as its supporters throughout Europe hold mass demonstrations where they hold signs calling for Europe's destruction at the hands of Hizbullah and Iran in the name of Islam.
- And so Yossi Beilin can say that Israel doesn't need to worry about the repercussions of standing down while a fifth of its population sits in bomb shelters, because Hizbullah is just a measly terrorist organization that poses no real threat to the country.
On the other hand, events of the past two weeks have also shown some of the West's greatest strengths in fighting the war so many of its powerful citizens and statesmen refuse to acknowledge.
First of all, the IDF has discarded its dangerous delusions that it will be possible to win this war by remote control. Today it fights like an army that knows it is both at war, and at war with an enemy that needs to be destroyed, whatever the price may be.
SEVERAL supporters of Israel were quick to write off the IDF in the wake of unsupported statements by Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz and his generals last week, in which they announced - based perhaps on the tonnage of ordnance IAF jets dropped on Lebanon - that Israel had destroyed up to fifty percent of Hizbullah's capacities. "Israel is losing this war," these commentators moaned, not recognizing that the IDF is capable of learning from its mistakes. "Israel's intelligence services fell asleep on their watch," it was said.
But these eagerly defeatist voices do not recognize that the failure was not one of intelligence, but of politics. Mesmerized by the dovish ideologies propounded by three consecutive governments, it took the General Staff a week to understand that Israel was at war.
BUT NOW they know. And now the IDF is fighting well, boldly and effectively on the ground. Halutz initiated a rolling mobilization of the reserves, and the IAF has pulled back to its proper supportive role.
As well, it is impossible not to recognize the Bush administration's centrality in the current campaign. Not only is the US rearming the IAF with bunker buster bombs, it is making certain that its own public and the international community recognize that what is at stake here is far greater than the well-being of Israel's citizens.
As President George W. Bush has made clear, this is not just Israel's war. This is a campaign of the Iranian-led axis of jihad that seeks to dominate the entire free world. And echoing Bush are voices like Portillo's that are heard from Beirut to Sydney.
Moreover...the entire Israeli public is setting an example for its army, its government and the world to follow.... standing strong in their demand for victory....
The Israeli cabinet rejects army chiefs’ demands to expand the IDF ground campaign in South Lebanon and call up more reserves
These decisions were reached the day after Israel sustained severe losses in battles with Hizballah at Bint Jubeil and Maroun er Ras. The key decision set a ceiling of three reserve divisions which may be mobilized if and when needed, subject to future cabinet authorization.
IDF generals argued that the cabinet was playing into Hizballah hands by holding the IDF to a slow pace of advance and keeping it short of the troops needed now to crush Hizballah and halt its rocket blitz against Israeli cities which has climbed to more than 100 a day.
The cabinet also decided against opening a second front against Syria although, as DEBKAfile’s military sources stress, Damascus is an active partner in Hizballah’s offensive, serves as a staging post for its weapons supplies from Iran and pushes arms and rockets into Lebanon.
The small group of Ghanaian soldiers manning UNIFIL Position 6-52, to the west of the village of Maroun a-Ras, less than a kilometer from the border, hasn't left its base in the last two weeks. "Those are the orders of our superior officers," explains one of them who presents himself as commander of the post, but refuses to give his name. "We have been visited by our officers three times since the fighting began and a supply truck arrives here every three or four days."
On the wall nearest to the gate of the white-washed building is an "Alert State" board with the arrow pointed to black. But none of their information on the current situation has come from their own sources. "We know what's going on from the television," says the commander.
Even the deaths of four UNTSO members on Tuesday night in an IAF bombardment, at a base not so far away, wasn't communicated to them from headquarters. That, too, they learned from TV.
The current contingent from Ghana has been in Lebanon for three months. The soldiers at the post are charged with patrolling and monitoring, with their single jeep, the area where the heaviest fighting has been going on for the last 10 days. The fact that Hizbullah has been well entrenched in the area ever since Israel's withdrawal six years ago - with hundreds of fighters, well stocked ammunition depots and extensive fortifications - seemed to have escape the Ghanaians notice. "I have never seen one of them," says the soldier. "You cannot easily identify them in the population."
The UNIFIL soldiers have "zero contact" with the Lebanese living in the surrounding towns and villages. All their supplies are brought by UNIFIL, and they never go out for recreation, aside from periods of leave in Beirut.
The supply of "peacekeeping" troops to the various blue-helmet forces of the UN is a major source of income for Ghana's army; they have soldiers in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Congo. The troops operate in rotations of six months. Those currently serving on the border profess to have never heard of the accusations that the force has cooperated with Hizbullah in the past and allowed the organization to build its posts next to UNIFIL bases. However, they are aware of the ongoing debate over the force's future and the growing support for a new multinational force to replace UNIFIL.
"The problem is not UNIFIL," says the soldier at the gate. "It's the mandate we have from the UN. That is what decides our job. In my personal opinion, if UNIFIL's mandate was changed and the force increased, it would be more efficient."
At the beginning of the fighting, a number of bombs exploded around the UNIFIL post, including one 150 meters from the gate. Two weeks later, the area around the post is quiet, except for the distant thud of artillery fire. Hizbullah has been banished from this small part of Lebanon. IDF Merkava tanks roar through a nearby opening in the border fence. There isn't even a guard at the border and Israeli and foreign journalists pass in and out unhindered.
The Ghanaian soldiers weren't even aware of the breach in the fence they are supposed to monitor, by mandate of the United Nations.
On Monday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN’s Anderson Cooper related his visit to a Hezbollah-controlled section of Beirut where he was supposed to photograph certain damaged buildings, part of the terrorist group’s strategy of generating news stories about Lebanese civilian casualities caused by Israeli bombs.
But instead of merely transmitting Hezbollah’s unverified and unverifiable claims to the outside world, Cooper — to his credit — exposed the efforts by Hezbollah to manipulate CNN and other Western reporters. It’s quite a contrast from the much more accommodating approach taken by his colleague, Nic Robertson, in a report that aired on a variety of CNN programs (including AC360) back on July 18, a report that Robertson himself has now conceded was put together under Hezbollah's control.. . .
. . . .Cooper had left Lebanon and was stationed in Haifa, Israel for Monday’s broadcast. His report on his trip “Inside Hezbollah” appeared at about 10:40pm EDT Monday (6:40am Tuesday, local time), the first hour of his two-hour program.
“We'd come to get a look at the damage and had hoped to talk with a Hezbollah representative. Instead, we found ourselves with other foreign reporters taken on a guided tour by Hezbollah. Young men on motor scooters followed our every movement. They only allowed us to videotape certain streets, certain buildings. Once, when they thought we'd videotaped them, they asked us to erase the tape. These men are called al-Shabab, Hezbollah volunteers who are the organization's eyes and ears.”
. . .He continued: “Hezbollah representatives are with us now but don't want to be photographed. They'll point to something like that and they'll say, ‘Well, look, this is a store.’ The civilians lived in this building. This is a residential complex. “And while that may be true, what the Israelis will say is that Hezbollah has their offices, their leadership has offices and bunkers even in residential neighborhoods. And if you're trying to knock out the Hezbollah leadership with air strikes, it's very difficult to do that without killing civilians.
“As bad as this damage is, it certainly could have been much worse in terms of civilian casualties. Before they started heavily bombing this area, Israeli warplanes did drop leaflets in this area, telling people to get out. The civilian death toll, though, has angered many Lebanese. Even those who do not support Hezbollah are outraged by the pictures they've seen on television of civilian casualties.”
As the video showed a group reporters and photographers interviewing a single woman on a blanket, Cooper explained, “Civilian casualties are clearly what Hezbollah wants foreign reporters to focus on. It keeps the attention off them — and questions about why Hezbollah should still be allowed to have weapons when all the other militias in Lebanon have already disarmed.
“After letting us take pictures of a few damaged buildings, they take us to another location, where there are ambulances waiting. “This is a heavily orchestrated Hezbollah media event. When we got here, all the ambulances were lined up. We were allowed a few minutes to talk to the ambulance drivers. Then one by one, they've been told to turn on their sirens and zoom off so that all the photographers here can get shots of ambulances rushing off to treat civilians. That's the story that Hezbollah wants people to know about.
“These ambulances aren't responding to any new bombings. The sirens are strictly for effect.”
Cooper concluded: “Hezbollah may not be terribly subtle about spinning a story, but it is telling perhaps that they try. Even after all this bombing, Hezbollah is still organized enough to have a public relations strategy, still in control enough to try and get its message out.”
The words of a Canadian United Nations observer written just days before he was killed in an Israeli bombing of a UN post in Lebanon are evidence Hezbollah was using the post as a "shield" to fire rockets into Israel, says a former UN commander in Bosnia.
Those words, written in an e-mail dated just nine days ago, offer a possible explanation as to why the post -- which according to UN officials was clearly marked and known to Israeli forces -- was hit by Israel on Tuesday night, said retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie yesterday.
The strike hit the UN observation post in the southern Lebanese village of El Khiam, killing Canadian Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener and three others serving as unarmed UN military observers in the area.
Just last week, Maj. Hess-von Kruedener wrote an e-mail about his experiences after nine months in the area, words Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie said are an obvious allusion to Hezbollah tactics. "What I can tell you is this," he wrote in an e-mail to CTV dated July 18. "We have on a daily basis had numerous occasions where our position has come under direct or indirect fire from both (Israeli) artillery and aerial bombing. "The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters (sic) of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters (sic) from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity."
Those words, particularly the last sentence, are not-so-veiled language indicating Israeli strikes were aimed at Hezbollah targets near the post, said Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie. "What that means is, in plain English, 'We've got Hezbollah fighters running around in our positions, taking our positions here and then using us for shields and then engaging the (Israeli Defence Forces)," he said. That would mean Hezbollah was purposely setting up near the UN post, he added. It's a tactic Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie, who was the first UN commander in Sarajevo during the Bosnia civil war, said he's seen in past international missions: Aside from UN posts, fighters would set up near hospitals, mosques and orphanages.
A Canadian Forces infantry officer with the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and the only Canadian serving as a UN military observer in Lebanon, Maj. Hess-von Kruedener was no stranger to fighting nearby. The UN post, he wrote in the e-mail, afforded a view of the "Hezbollah static positions in and around our patrol Base." "It appears that the lion's share of fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah has taken place in our area," he wrote, noting later it was too dangerous to venture out on patrols.
The e-mail appears to contradict the UN's claim there had been no Hezbollah activity in the vicinity of the strike. The question of Hezbollah's infiltration of the area is significant because UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, speaking Tuesday just hours after the bombing, accused the Israelis of the "apparently deliberate targeting" of the base near Khiam in southern Lebanon.
A senior UN official, asked about the information contained in Maj. Hess-von Kruedener's e-mail concerning Hezbollah presence in the vicinity of the Khiam base, denied the world body had been caught in a contradiction. "At the time, there had been no Hezbollah activity reported in the area," he said. "So it was quite clear they were not going after other targets; that, for whatever reason, our position was being fired upon. "Whether or not they thought they were going after something else, we don't know. The fact was, we told them where we were. They knew where we were. The position was clearly marked, and they pounded the hell out of us."
Even if Hezbollah was not firing rockets at the time of the bombing, Maj. Hess-von Kruedener's e-mail indicates they were using a terrorist tactic of purposely drawing out enemy forces near a neutral site, said retired Capt. Peter Forsberg, who did two UN tours between 1993 and 1995 during the Bosnian war. The UN's limited mandate, meaning that its observers are unarmed and have few options, put the observers in a poor position, he said. If indeed Israel was attempting to hit Hezbollah fighters in the area, it hasn't yet used the excuse to explain its actions because it wouldn't make it any less guilty in the world's eyes, Capt. Forsberg said.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
As part of international efforts to end the conflict in southern Lebanon, there has emerged the scheme of a United Nations peacekeeping force to separate the opposing forces. NPR reports that U.N. Secretary General Annan is, predictably, pushing for a robust international force there. But even the White House seems to be considering the idea. “Somehow you’re going to have to provide stability in southern Lebanon,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said last week. “Whether it’s an international stabilization force, whether it is the Lebanese armed forces, all those things are under discussion.”
What many seem to forget is that there already is a U.N. military presence in Lebanon — and one armed, at least on paper, with a robust mandate. Alas, the blue-helmeted “peacekeepers” are part of the problem, not the solution.
Established in 1978 pursuant to Security Council resolutions 425 and 426, and renewed in January 2006 by resolution 1655, the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has the mission of “confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restoring international peace and security and assisting the Government of Lebanon in ensuring its effective authority in the area.” The UNIFIL operation has an annual operating budget of $99.3 million, approximately one quarter of which (as with all U.N. operations) is paid by the American taxpayer. The force comprises 2,000 troops from China, France, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Ukraine, along with 400 international and local civilians, and is commanded by French major-general Alain Pellegrini, who has a pro-Lebanon record in the Middle East.
There’s something very familiar about Kofi Annan’s 2006 call for U.N. troops — just take a look at the 1978 documents pertaining to UNIFIL for the reason why. As the U.N.’s own website concedes, an invasion on northern Israel on March 11, 1978, by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) caused “many dead and wounded among the Israeli population.” When Israel responded in self-defense by targeting the then de facto PLO state in southern Lebanon, the Lebanese government denied responsibility for the Palestinian terror and appealed to the U.N. The Security Council — where the Carter administration was represented by neophyte diplomat Andrew Young — agreed to a resolution demanding Israeli withdrawal and creating UNIFIL with its three objectives. Twenty-nine years later, the only goal that UNIFIL has achieved is the first, the verification of Israel’s complete withdrawal from Lebanon. When Israeli forces completed their pullout from Lebanon in early 2000, Foreign Minister David Levy reminded Annan that it was now up to Lebanon, in collaboration with UNIFIL, to live up to their obligations to deploy the Lebanese army in the south and to secure its border. That the present conflict is occurring is proof positive of the failure of the Lebanese government and of UNIFIL to even attempt to fulfill these obligations. The arsenal and forces that Hezbollah has amassed on Israel’s northern frontier were assembled under the eyes of UNIFIL. In fact, accusing the U.N. troops of “failure” would be inaccurate; “enabler” might be a more apt description.
One incident we encountered during our visit to Israel last year illustrates this sad fact. In January 2005, Hezbollah planted five camouflaged “improvised explosive devices” (IEDs), inches on the Israeli side of the border near Zarit, 15 mountainous miles inland from the Mediterranean coast. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) detected these IEDs and, following procedure, notified UNIFIL. A French UNIFIL engineer duly certified that the devices were indeed IEDs, then “requested” that Hezbollah remove them. Hezbollah, not denying it had planted them, flatly refused, stating that since the mines were (just barely) inside the “Zionist” border, it was up to the “Zionists” to remove them. So the IDF sent in a large armored bulldozer to carry the mines off for disposal. This task required making a sharp 90-degree right turn from an Israeli road onto the narrow border trail where the IEDs were located. Making this sharp right turn, the left front corner of the bulldozer inevitably occupied, for a couple of seconds, about a meter of land on the Lebanese side. During those seconds a Hezbollah fighter directed an anti-tank missile at the narrow, unguarded windshield of the bulldozer. The pinpoint strike, which our Israeli sources have admitted required extraordinary training and skill, killed the bulldozer’s driver, Sgt. Maj. Jan Rotzanski, a 21-year-old Russian immigrant from Herzliya. The cynical cruelty of this murder, which Hezbollah proceeded to widely celebrate across Lebanon, speaks volumes not only about Hezbollah, but also about UNIFIL.
Nor has the situation changed much now that the conflict is “hot.” UNIFIL’s only apparent action this past week has been to voice concerns that its troops might get hit in the crossfire. This is indeed a risk — because UNIFIL has long permitted Hezbollah to locate its forces, including its missile batteries, in the very shadow of installations belonging to the “peacekeepers.” UNIFIL has thus turned into a very convenient and high-profile human shield for terrorists.
The U.N. force commander in Rwanda, Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, remains haunted by the refusal of U.N. bureaucrats to let him intervene to prevent the 1994 genocide by seizing the arms that Hutu killers were stockpiling. Gen. Dallaire’s boss in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the time was one Kofi A. Annan of Ghana, who argued that any such action would exceed the peacekeepers’ mandate.
There is no evidence that the Dallaire’s UNIFIL counterparts have even attempted to fulfill their duty in South Lebanon. If we are friends of peace, we must prevent the U.N. from foiling it again.
— Michael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. J. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. Both are adjunct fellows of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Israel's offensive against Hezbollah is sure to be among the most formidable military challenges the country has ever faced. While the Israeli military is among the best in the world, it is facing an armed organization with upwards of 1,000 hardened fighters and 15,000 reservists -- terrorists who have embedded themselves among Lebanon's civilian population.
During the six years since Israel unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah has dug dozens of bunkers, some as much as 130 feet deep in order to withstand the impact of Israel's bunker-buster bombs. They are fitted with supplies and communications equipment enabling operatives to remain in contact with headquarters and stay below ground. In addition, this armed terror group possesses unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as 13,000 rockets and missiles, and its operations are assisted on the ground by Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Moreover, even as Israel destroys Hezbollah's weapons, Iran and Syria are apparently replenishing Hezbollah's arsenal by sending in supplies through the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon.
When all is said and done, for Israel's military offensive to be a success, it will need to result in the destruction of Hezbollah as a fighting force capable of menacing Israel from Lebanese territory. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Sunday the goal is to have Hezbollah disarmed either by Israel or an international force. Given the fact that no international force actually exists at the present time, it is up to Israel to do the job.
The United States and other nations that are serious about defeating Islamofascism have a vital interest in helping Israel succeed in crippling Hezbollah and should be generous in providing Israel with what it needs to get the job done. Only if Israel prevails decisively on the battlefield and a mechanism is utilized to prevent Tehran and Damascus from replacing HezboIlah's weaponry could an international force (which will have to be a far more serious entity than the ineffectual UNIFIL) actually have a realistic chance of overseeing Hezbollah's disarmament. We will analyze this subject in more detail in future editorials.
One positive result of the Israeli offensive has been a Lebanese backlash against Hezbollah. According to Michael Young, editorial page editor of the Beirut Daily Star, the Lebanese (including many Shi'ites in private conversation) blame Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, for triggering the current violence and the hardships they are now enduring. Writing in the British Spectator magazine, Mr. Young said that one Lebanese politician told him privately that Israel must not stop its military campaign now, saying, "for things to get better in Lebanon, Nasrallah must be weakened further." We agree, and people should keep this in mind when evaluating whether calls for artificial deadlines on Israel make any sense at all.
Summary of a JCPA JERUSALEM ISSUE BRIEF, Vol. 6, No. 4, 25 July 2006, by Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror [follow this link for the full article]....
- Discussions about security arrangements in Lebanon at the end of the war have included the proposal to station an international force in that country. Yet the UN has a very bad name in terms of confronting strong forces in areas where it is stationed.
- The only logical basis for an international presence is the creation of a force whose primary mission will be assisting the Lebanese Armed Forces in disarming Hizballah (as stated in UN Security Council Resolution 1559). Such a force should be deployed close to Beirut, at the border passages with Syria, and deep in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley.
- An international force has no role in southern Lebanon along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Israel itself is deployed along its northern border to defend itself and prevent the strengthening of Hizballah, should it try to move southward.
- To complement this deployment, there should be an agreement prohibiting the building of fortifications in southern Lebanon - as in the agreement between Israel and Egypt. In addition, the UN should establish a supervisory force like UNSCOM to deal with locating and clearing out Hizballah's arms caches and preventing the building of new ones.
.....[follow this link for the full article]....
Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon was the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and is currently a distinguished military fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror heads the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
As Israel fights to defend itself against the Iranian-and-Syrian-backed terrorists of Hezbollah, are we really seeing a reckless, damaging and — yes — disproportionate response? You bet. But not from Israel. It’s coming from the U.N.
Hezbollah deliberately provoked this war on July 12 by kidnapping Israeli soldiers inside Israel’s borders, and has been launching rockets into Israel from a massive arsenal that under U.N. writ Hezbollah is not even supposed to possess. That was not the deal under which Israel, in keeping with U.N. wishes, withdrew entirely from southern Lebanon in 2000. The U.N. promise was that Hezbollah would be defanged and that U.N. peacekeepers would help the Lebanese government reestablish control over Hezbollah-infested terrain inside Lebanon.
Over the past six years, Israel honored its commitment to peace. The U.N. — disproportionately — required in practice no such compliance on the Lebanese side of the border. The “peacekeepers” of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, called UNIFIL, sat passively looking on, costing about $100 million a year and doing nothing to stop Hezbollah from trucking in weapons, digging tunnels, and running the armed protection rackets with which it has kept a grip on swathes of Lebanon, including the southern border with Israel, parts of the Bekaa, and southern Beirut.
Before the current fighting, UNIFIL had most recently distinguished itself for a run-of-the-U.N.-mill financial swindle involving a contingent of Ukrainian peacekeeping troops. On that subject, whatever laws might have been violated, the U.N. has — as usual with U.N. scams — refused to release details. Now, UNIFIL peacekeepers have been reduced to casualties of the crossfire, while Secretary-General Kofi Annan urges that we take what the U.N. has done wrong already, and do more of it.
With its false promises, and disproportionate deals for “peace,” the U.N. left Israel exposed to the attack that has now come, and a war that Israel did not seek. Like America when attacked by al Qaeda, Israel has been fighting back. In response, U.N. officials have come close to trampling each other in their stampede to the media microphones — not to admit the U.N.’s own failure to stop Hezbollah, not to apologize for administering a phony peace that incubated this miserable war, but to denounce Israel. These latest exercises in disproportion begin, of course, with U.N. officials ritually condemning all parties. With that sleight of hand, they conjure the baseline U.N. fallacy known as moral equivalence. In that U.N. scheme of the universe, a democratic society that is attacked while honoring U.N. agreements is treated as no different from its death-cult rule-violating terrorist attackers. But — and here we get to the U.N.’s real dark arts — having set up that bizarre equation, U.N. officials then proceed with their “proportionate” calculus, lavishing their further innuendos, sly criticisms, or, in some cases, outright denunciations on Israel. These comments — biased or even inane though some of them are — echo especially loud in the so-called international community because they come from officials flashing a U.N. badge.
..... we have been treated over the past week to Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemning Israel for “excessive use of force,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour hinting darkly about “war crimes,” and the accusations this past weekend of U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Jan Egeland about “violation of humanitarian law.”....they are abusing their U.N. positions by making these selective, ad hoc accusations against Israel ..... These folks are not presidents, or prime ministers. They are U.N. civil servants. Even Kofi Annan, who fancies himself, by his own description, to be “perhaps chief diplomat of the world,” is actually under the U.N. charter mandated to be nothing more than the organization’s “chief administrative officer.” (When trying to duck the blame for the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal, Annan was quick enough to deny not only any policy role, but even his clear administrative responsibilities).
In the case of Arbour, and her threats aimed at Israelis, Ambassador John Bolton had a very good point when he offered a reminder last weekend to the U.N. High Commissioner, as “one lawyer to another,” that “In America, prosecutors are not supposed to threaten people in public based on press accounts.”
In the case of Jan Egeland, his job is to coordinate aid, not make selective pronouncements on the fly about humanitarian law..... Among other things, it was apparently lost on Egeland, when he toured the bomb damage in south Beirut last weekend, that his convoy was waved past a road block by “a Hezbollah guard dressed in black and armed with an assault rifle,” according to a Reuters report. That scene right there was a violation of everything in the U.N. book, and not by Israel — but apparently it didn’t fit his script.
.... Right now it is the job of the world’s more responsible political leaders not simply to deplore the horrors of war, or construct another false U.N. peace leading to even worse nightmare ahead, but to seek real answers to the miseries and menaces of the Middle East. That is a task perilous, contentious, and rough enough, without a parade of unelected and largely unaccountable U.N. civil servants using public platforms to insinuate into the process their private prejudices.
—Claudia Rosett is a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
The Israeli military campaign against Hizballah, launched July 12 when two soldiers were kidnapped, started out in the Central Sector of South Lebanon with the conquest of Maroun er Ras, and moved on to Bin Jubeil and its five satellite villages. Wednesday, July 25, the IDF suffered a major reverse at Bin Jubeil where Hizballlah fighters regrouped and counter-attacked, inflicting heavy casualties on the Israel mopping-up force.
But other IDF contingents had meanwhile embarked on the next stage of the campaign in the Eastern Sector of South Lebanon. This came to light when a series of Israeli air strikes against Hizballah positions and installations around Khiam hit a Unifil post and killed four observers Tuesday night, July 25
Israel deeply regretted the deaths and promised a full investigation, after UN Secretary Kofi Annan accused Israel of apparently targeting the observer post. However, DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources add: The holier-than-thou tone of outrage taken by Annan is surprising when it generally known that many UN missions are exploited as the cover for foreign agents, often hostile, to carry out spying operations in war zones. The inadvertent Israeli air strike revealed the fact that the UN force in Lebanon includes Chinese observers. One was killed along with an Austrian, a Canadian and a Finn. The presence of Chinese observers keeping an eye on the combat in South Lebanon has never before been reported. Our intelligence experts compare the incident to the inadvertent US bombardment which destroyed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1998, killing a number of Chinese “diplomats.” It was discovered that from that building the Chinese had operated sophisticated surveillance to track the performance of American warplanes, missiles and smart bombs.
On the night of July 26, Day 15 of the Lebanon War, an Israeli force pushed towards Khiam on its way to the approaches of the large Druze village of Hatzbaya. This route has taken Israeli troops north and east for the objective of controlling a stretch of south Lebanon known as Fatahland (before the 1982 war cleansed it of Yasser Arafat’s terrorists.) This would bring them close up to Syrian positions on Mt. Hermon and for the first time in 35 years afford the Israeli outposts at the disputed Shebaa Farms strategic depth.
Monday, July 24, Damascus warned that Israeli artillery coming within range of Damascus would not be tolerated. The statement was issued with a view to deterring Israel from entering the Eastern Sector. So far the Syrians have made no response to Israel’s advance.
Perhaps the most important gain from the crisis is Israel’s recovery of control over its main sources of water, the Wazani springs in the divided Ghajar village. This was achieved in the early hours of the IDF push in the east. Israel will not cede this asset in a hurry. Worth citing in this regard is defense minister Amir Peretz’s statement Tuesday, 25, after US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice left the Middle East, that Israel would retain control of a security belt in southern Lebanon until a multinational force takes over.
The main battle in this sector is now centering on the Majidya base in Khiam, source of Hizballah rocket attacks on Kiryat Shemona and the Galilee panhandle communities Majidya was once a Lebanese army training facility for new recruits under Israeli military instructors. It was demolished when Israel pulled out of south Lebanon in May 2000. Aside from the Hizballah concentration in Majidya, its men are fairly thin on the ground in the Eastern Sector.
The mixed village population on the Israeli units path of advance, Druzes, Shiites, Sunnis and Christians, provides a useful shield for Hizballah fighters. They take full advantage of the directives to Israeli ground forces not to touch Druze and Christian villages. By long Lebanese tradition, the Druzes shut their village doors to Shiites, while the Christians accommodate them because they don’t know how long Israeli forces will be around to protect them against the Hizballah.
As the Israelis advance through the region, they are discovering the depth and breadth of Hizballah’s war preparations. South Lebanon was divided into 176 combat squares controlled from 40 scattered command bunkers. Their latest directive orders them to fight Israeli troops from the shelter of wooded areas and bunkers using guerrilla tactics of surprise and ambush instead of hand-to-hand combat in built-up areas in which they have taken heavy casualties.
DEBKAfile’s military sources: The huge explosions that struck South Beirut Tuesday evening were caused by 20 Israeli airborne missiles dropping on large, newly-discovered Hizballah subterranean arms caches, part of this tunnel network. The force of the secondary blasts attested to their contents and the accuracy of the Israeli intelligence pinpointing of previously unknown weapons bunkers in S. Beirut.
Buried alongside the command bunkers are vast arsenals of Katyusha rockets and launchers, and food and water for a long stay. Hizballah was itself caught napping by the extent and fierceness of Israel’s riposte to their July 12 cross-border attack. Therefore, not all the bunker posts were completely built. The night before the Israeli advance into the Eastern Sector, Hizballah personnel were seen putting finishing touches on the fortifications of the command bunkers and sowing the routes with anti-tank mines and roadside bombs. Israel guns shelled the Hizballah teams to disrupt their work on the bunkers and the roads.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
After overwhelming the Hizballah stronghold of Bin Jubeil in southern Lebanon Tuesday July 25, Israeli armed ground forces and tanks are preparing to sweep forward to sanitize the town’s satellites.
Israel lost two tank personnel: 1st Lieutenant Lotan Slavin, 21 from Moshav Hatzeva, and 1st Sgt Kobi Smileg, 20, from Rehovot. Hizballah is reported by IDF sources to have lost 100-120 Hizballah fighters.
Israel’s immediate military mission now is to capture or subdue Bin Jubeil’s five satellite villages, where 300 Hizballah fighters are sheltering: Ain Ebel, Hannine, Deble, Yaroun and Rmaich, the latter two very close to the Lebanese-Israeli border. These fighters know they are trapped in a tight noose; they cannot escape or hope for help, whether in the form of reinforcements or weapons. Monday night, Israeli forces dropped leaflets over these villages offering them the option of laying down their arms and saving their lives. The language was deliberately vague. It was not clear whether the men who surrendered would be allowed to go back to their families or, more likely, taken prisoner to be held against the release of Israel’s kidnapped soldiers. The Olmert government would thus hold a card for overruling the Hizballah condition for jailed terrorists to be freed as the price for the Israeli hostages, which with Israeli prime minister has rejected, and offer instead an exchange of war prisoners.
The Bint Jubeil operation taught Israeli war planners three lessons:
1. It did not help reduce the rocket fire against Israel. The number of launchers and rockets found in the small town was minimal. Any missile crewmen who may have been deployed there had moved to other locations ahead of the Israeli assault.
2. Bin Jubeil and its satellite villages are only one small center at the southern end of the central sector of the south. There are dozens such clusters across the region. they will have to be flushed out one by one, entailing prolonged military action and exposing the troops to more casualties.
3. The IDF found that certain local elements, which once cooperated with Israel forces during their 24-year occupation of South Lebanon until the May 2000 withdrawal, were still willing to be helpful. Their assistance shortened the Bint Jubeil operation and made its completion possible barring scattered gunfire early Tuesday, July 25.
Hizballah too had some lessons to draw:
While inflicting losses on Israel forces in the battles for towns and villages, Hizballah’s losses are many times greater. They cannot stand up to the superior firepower leveled against them by a combination of tanks, special operations units and air force. Therefore fighters in the south have been instructed to discontinue face-to-face combat with Israeli troops. Instead, they were told to withdraw from the bult-up areas and wage guerrilla warfare from woods, forests, dry river beds, and fruit orchards. Israeli forces are therefore braced for stealthy Hizballah strikes from ambush against tanks, infantry and command posts....
From DEBKAfile, July 25, 2006, 11:48 PM (GMT+02:00) ...
In Bint Jubeil, Israeli forces killed Khalil Amin Shivli, 44, commander of the Central Sector in South Lebanon, with four lieutenants Tuesday. He is the most senior Hizballah officer to die in the Lebanon war. His function paralleled a regional brigade commander of the Israeli army.
Senior Hizbullah official says group didn't expect Israel to react so strongly to capture of two Israeli soldiers last month; stresses Hizbullah will not lay down arms
A senior Hizbullah official said Tuesday his group did not expect Israel to react so strongly to its capture of two Israeli soldiers last month. Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of the Hizbullah politburo, also told The Associated Press that his group would not lay down arms. His comments were the first time that a leader from the terror organization had suggested it failed to calculate the consequences of the July 12 cross-border raid that seized the two soldiers.
... "The truth is - let me say this clearly - we didn't even expect (this) response.... That (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati. He said Hizbullah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel. In the past, he said, Israeli reponses to Hizbullah actions included sending in commandos into Lebanon and taking Hizbullah officials into custody or briefly targeting specific Hizbullah strongholds in southern Lebanon. He said his group had also anticipated negotiations to swap the soldiers with three Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails, with Germany acting as a mediator as it has in past prisoner exchanges....
Rice learns in Beirut that neither the Lebanese government nor its parliamentary majority wants a ceasefire
Speaking privately to PM Fouad Siniora Monday, July 24, the secretary of state said, according to DEBKAfile’s exclusive Middle East sources: You don’t want to be like the Palestinian Authority which stands by and watches its people go to ruin.
Before taking off for Jerusalem, she also met Nabih Berri, the pro-Syrian Shiite parliamentary speaker. He said later their talks had failed but, according to DEBKAfile, they did arrive at some tactic understandings. Before moving against his Shiite rival Hassan Nasrallah and the Hizballah, Berri preferred to wait for the first cracks to appear in their standing.
The US secretary also interviewed anti-Syrian coalition leaders, known as the “March 14 Camp.” Druze leader Walid Jumblatt remarked that Nasrallah was behaving like Yasser Arafat in the 1982 siege of Beirut. “He is willing to let the Lebanese capital burn while he haggles over terms of surrender.”
The Christian leader Samir Geagea said: The situation is terrible but the calamity has created an opportunity which we must not miss.”
Rice stressed to all her Lebanese interlocutors that the United States had never planned to use Lebanon to fight Iran. Americans, she said, would never forget that Hizballah is a terrorist organization which has murdered Americans and other nationals. Hizballah has a problem not just with the US president but with both houses of congress.
She rejected pro-Syrian leaders’ demand for a ceasefire without first establishing its components. Washington is willing to consider a multinational force, or even a NATO presence, but would insist on the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1559, namely the disarming of Hizballah. This could take place in stages but, first of all, Hizballah must give up its rockets, missiles and heavy weapons.
Condoleezza Rice informed Siniora that she was representing the position President Bush had put before Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal at the White House Sunday, July 23, implying that there was no point in the Lebanese running to the Saudis for help. They would have to cope with the crisis themselves
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
.... We can safely say we are close to seeing the fall of Hezbollah and the end of its religious speeches. It is clear Hezbollah has been playing a game of misleading the Lebanese and others in the name of Islam and “resistance.” The word “resistance” had become a favourite of Arabs. Now it is clear “resistance” is an expression which was being used in the interest of Iran and Syria, but not Lebanon. The fact that Arabs have remained silent without any reaction for the past 10 days when the so-called resistance was being destroyed proves this “resistance” is not an Arab issue.
We cannot deny we have lost many of our rights to Israel. However, we cannot reclaim these rights through methods used by Hezbollah, Hamas and other Jihad movements. These methods contributed to the vanishing of our rights besides preventing Arabs from using political tools. The methods of Hezbollah and Hamas have given the whole world the impression that Israel is defending itself. We have been sitting on the streets for over 58 years singing songs and raising slogans while our dictatorial and tyrannical “friends” were doing nothing to regain our rights. They didn’t take a single step to find solutions to any of our problems. Ironically, due to our fears and the penchant of our leaders to trade on this issue, we lost more to Israel. God said “Do not throw yourselves into danger.” But still we have been courting destruction in spite of the knowledge that anybody who commits suicide will be sent to hell on Judgment Day. One person or one party, which has the ability to lie, mislead its people and stir their emotions, can lead the people, cities and countries to destruction because of their self-interest.
Hezbollah made a lot of promises and portrayed itself as a holy movement which cannot be defeated. The end result of all these tall claims is that Hezbollah has led Lebanon to destruction and the Lebanese to death. Above all it is staring at a total collapse and a certain defeat. Hezbollah reminds us of Saddam’s Information Minister Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahaf, who claimed Iraq was in control of Fallujah even as we could see on the TV screens US armored vehicles come behind him on the streets of Baghdad.
Hezbollah reminds us of Gamal Abdul Nasser who said “whoever wants war should prepare for war,” when Al-Wafyat told him Israel would wage a war against him. In the end, the late Egyptian President went to war with Israel and was defeated. It is time we understood if we want to fight Israel, we will be fighting the whole world because the international community is convinced of Israel’s point of view. We should not be surprised if Hezbollah gives a speech expressing remorse at the destruction of Lebanon. It is time we came out of the grasp of people, who don’t believe in what they say, and political movements which have been beating war drums for over half a century.