Is Livni the answer?

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Tuesday Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had his first reported telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Their conversation was a sign of the rising intimacy in Egyptian-Iranian relations in the wake of November's US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapons program. According to media reports, the two men discussed the situation in Gaza.

Their conversation brought immediate results. Wednesday Mubarak allowed Hamas to take control of the international border between Egypt and Gaza. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans streamed across the border. Mubarak maintained his faith with Ahmadinejad even after the US began demanding Wednesday afternoon that he reassert Egyptian control over the border. Wednesday evening Mubarak said that the border would remain open.

Wednesday's border takeover by Hamas was but the latest escalation of the Palestinian campaign for control over the international border. This campaign has been ongoing since Israel withdrew in 2005 and was sharply escalated after Hamas seized control over Gaza last June.

Many claim that Hamas's aim of attaching Gaza to the rest of the Arab world by opening its border with Egypt is good for Israel because it allows Israel to disengage completely from Gaza. And there is some truth to this claim. With an open border with Egypt, Gazans will be far less dependent on Israel. To a degree this may help Israel to ease international pressure on it to continue to support Gaza by providing its Hamas-supporting population with electricity, fuel, food and employment opportunities.

But that is not the main significance of the move. Supported and directed by Iran and Syria, Hamas is uninterested in maintaining ties with Israel. Its short term goals are to end its diplomatic isolation in the West, and to force Fatah to accept its control over Gaza and reinstate open negotiations towards the reestablishment of a unity government between Fatah and Hamas. Its medium term goals involve extending its control over Gaza to Judea and Samaria and then unifying the west and east banks of the Jordan River by overwhelming the border with Jordan in much the same way it took control over the border with Gaza.

For its part, in the lead-up to the Hamas border takeover on Wednesday and in its aftermath, Fatah has shown itself to be wholly incapable of influencing events either in Gaza or in Judea and Samaria. It has been unable, despite its massive financial resources, to in any way degrade Hamas's popularity in Gaza. It has been unable to keep its own forces in Gaza from integrating with Hamas. It has been unable to stem Hamas's rising popularity in Judea and Samaria.

Hamas's border takeover was synchronized to take place at the same time as Hamas leaders were meeting with their Palestinian and Lebanese jihadist counterparts at an anti-peace conference in Damascus. The conference, held under Syrian and Iranian sponsorship, was supposed to be held at the same time as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's peace conference at Annapolis. But since the State Department decided to invite Syria to attend that conference, Damascus decided to delay its anti-peace conference until this week. Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas went to Syria in recent weeks to beg Syrian President Bashar Assad to cancel the conclave, organized to demonstrate Fatah's weakness and unpopularity, but his appeals failed.

In this regard, it also bears noting that Fatah's response to the erosion of its power has been to escalate its support for jihad. Its television and radio broadcasts are indistinguishable from Hamas's. Its security forces in Judea and Samaria actively engage in terrorism against Israel. Its residual forces in Gaza are full partners in the rocket and mortar attacks on the Western Negev.

THE STRATEGIC significance of Hamas's border war clearly escaped the attention of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. In her address before the Herzliya Conference on Tuesday, Livni spoke as if Hamas can simply be wished away. The day before Egypt surrendered control over its border to Hamas, Livni claimed that in the Arab world, "Nobody wants to see Hamas succeed."

Livni then went on to justify the negotiations she is holding with Fatah's Ahmed Qurei towards an Israeli handover of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, claiming that by negotiating massive Israeli land giveaways she is preventing the Palestinian conflict with Israel from turning into a religious conflict. She also claimed separately that Israel's conflict with Iran is not related to its conflict with the Palestinians.

All of Livni's statements are demonstrably false. Discussing the surrender of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem with Fatah does not weaken Hamas. It strengthens Hamas. Either the discussions will succeed, in which case Hamas will seize control over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem from Fatah the minute that Israel withdraws, or the talks will fail, in which case Hamas will say it just goes to show that there is nothing to talk with Israel about. It will then reunify its forces with Fatah and increase its subversion of Israel's Arab citizens. In all cases, Hamas, with its clear vision of Israel replaced by an Islamic caliphate, comes out the winner.

Livni's assertion that Iran is unconnected to the Palestinians is similarly ridiculous. Livni was a member of Ariel Sharon's government in January 2002 when Israeli naval commandos seized the Iranian cargo ship Karine A in the Red Sea. That was a ship purchased by Fatah, filled with Iranian weapons en route to Fatah forces. It was commanded by Fatah officers and manned by Fatah sailors. Livni was there when the decision was made to use Fatah's clear connections to Iran as a reason for not conducting negotiations with the group.

And of course, Iran today is Hamas's primary sponsor. And its sponsorship of Hamas is facilitating Iran's bid to secure Arab support for its war against Israel and the US. So Livni's contention that Iran is unrelated to the Palestinians is both ridiculous and dangerous.

Livni's championing of Fatah and continued Israeli territorial surrenders to the Palestinians is identical to her boss Ehud Olmert's. So too, her dismissive treatment of the threat arising from Hamas's continued control over Gaza, like her dismissive treatment of Hizbullah's reinforcement in Lebanon and the importance of the US's retreat from strategic rationality towards Iran in the wake of the NIE, is no different from Olmert's.

IT IS important to note this fact because a week before the publication of the Winograd Committee's final report on the Second Lebanon War, Olmert's blood is in the water. The publication this week of an open letter by 50 reserve company commanders essentially demanding that Olmert resign after the report is released is a preview of the public calls for his departure from office that will sweep the country starting January 31.

While the leaders of the radical Left in Peace Now, Meretz, and Haaretz are supporting Olmert's bid to remain in office and launching smear campaigns against all forces rising against him, the fact is that even his most ardent supporters know that it will be difficult to protect Olmert from the public after the Winograd Report is published. Consequently, leading figures on the Left, in Labor and Kadima are seeking ways to force Olmert out of office and replace him with Livni.

Livni escaped the public's wrath over the consequences of the failed 2006 war with Hizbullah. During the war she took a backseat to Olmert and then defense minister Amir Peretz, rarely speaking publicly. Yet from the outset of the war Livni led the diplomatic campaign for a cease-fire. And her campaign was flawed and failed – no less, and indeed more than the military campaign.

Livni began her diplomatic machinations with two inco
rrect assumptions. First, she assumed that Israel could not defeat Hizbullah militarily. As a result, from the very beginning she opposed any escalation of Israel's campaign in Lebanon. Second, she believed that the international community would agree to fight Hizbullah for Israel. As a result she worked hard to get a Chapter VII – that is legally binding – UN Security Council resolution setting up such a force.

The government's refusal to authorize a timely ground assault in Lebanon ensured that Israel would not defeat Hizbullah. Livni's belief that the international community would be interested in fighting Hizbullah led to Israel becoming the main champion of UNIFIL which both before and since the war has acted as a shield for Hizbullah against Israel.

And yet, Livni's diplomatic skills couldn't even secure her own limited and incorrect goal of securing a binding, strong international force in south Lebanon. In his book, Surrender is not an Option, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton wrote that on the eve of the Security Council vote on Resolution 1701, which set the terms of the cease-fire, Livni complained to Rice, "You've given away the cease-fire, you've given away Chapter VII, you've given away Shaba Farms, now tell us why we should sign on to the resolution?"

But of course, when the next day the resolution passed unanimously in the Security Council, Livni was quick to tout it as a strategic success. And ever since, in spite of the fact that under 1701 Hizbullah has rearmed and reasserted its control over south Lebanon; paralyzed the Lebanese government; expanded its influence over the Lebanese military and intimidated UNIFIL, Livni continues to uphold the resolution as proof of her own competence. And she has yet to be called on this.

In his own speech on Wednesday at Herzliya, Olmert tried to silence critics of his government's incompetent response to the Hamas takeover of Gaza. Olmert argued "If the quiet prevailing in the North would prevail today in the southern part of the country, would we be occupied with a daily counting of the number of rockets and missiles which would be hoarded there in storerooms?"

That is, in Olmert's view, the nature of both Hizbullah and Hamas, their ties with Iran and Syria, and their burgeoning arsenals are unimportant. The only thing that matters is if they are presently shooting at Israel. And Livni's view is just as outrageous.

In her speech on Thursday at Davos, Livni proclaimed that the threat Iran poses to global security stems not from its nuclear weapons program and its support for terrorism but from its opposition to her negotiations with Qurei. Livni was quoted as remarking, "Iran is a global threat which threatens the peace process."

The Olmert-Livni government's ineptitude has brought about a situation where Israel is threatened by Iranian proxies on three borders. Its diplomatic fumbling of Iran's nuclear program has led to a situation where Israel finds itself alone against Iran's Manhattan Project. Its diplomatic fumbling of Hamas's takeover of Gaza has led to a willingness of ever-widening circles of Western diplomats and policymakers to recognize the jihadist movement as a legitimate player in the region. Its diplomatic failures during the war with Hizbullah enabled Hizbullah to emerge from the war strengthened diplomatically and positioned to reignite the war whenever Iran orders it to do so.

Next week's publication of the Winograd Committee's report has the potential to finally end Olmert's premiership. But if the post-Winograd political reshuffle is limited to replacing Olmert with Livni, Israel will be no better off.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

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  • Marc Handelsman, USA 01/26/2008 at 3:51

    One of Hamas’s goals is to force Abu Mazen to retire or assassinate him. After Mazen is neutralized, then the road to the Anschluss with Gaza and Judea/Samaria will be paved with more innocent Jewish lives. Eventually there might be a request for the UN to establish a DMZ between Israel and the Arabs. With foreign troops patrolling the frontier, and Western money buying out Jewish towns in Judea/Samaria, a farcical Palestine could be established. When the final Winograd report is released, Israelis should rise up in righteous anger, and demand resignations from the current regime.

  • Why Hezbollah LOST the War in Lebanon! 01/26/2008 at 6:24

    Why Hezbollah LOST the War in Lebanon!
    And the Current ‘Present’ Situation in Southern Lebanon
    By Gabriel al-Amin
    Beirut, Lebanon
    On July 12, 2006 Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers that led to Israel’s war with them and, by extension, Lebanon itself. Hezbollah has been on Israel’s fence since the latter’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Israel always requested from the international community and from the Lebanese government to deploy its Lebanese Army there instead of Hezbollah militants. Hezbollah, quite naturally, refused! Hezbollah vowed to NEVER allow any other force other than itself to occupy southern Lebanon. Even during the conflict, Hezbollah said it would never agree to allow either the Lebanese army nor international monitors to patrol southern Lebanon.
    Then finally, when two IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers were kidnapped, Israel found the perfect excuse it was looking for to go into Lebanon and push Hezbollah well away from the Lebanese-Israel border. Israel pursued a limited invasion and killed over 500-600 Hezbollah members during the one month war. Additionally, Israel took over every single village in southern Lebanon. During the conflict even though Hezbollah received such a blow and all its members were freaked out and on the run. Yet when the hostilities ended, Hezbollah claimed victory! But did it really win?
    Firstly, Israel agreed to a cessation of hostilities NOT because it surrendered and defeated militarily, but because of international pressure from the European Union and the United States. During this conflict Israel endured more international pressure, than it ever did in the past 10 years. Israel was put forth conditions and international agreements, such as the deployment of 15,000 Lebanese soldiers and 15,000 United Nations peace keepers into southern Lebanon, and arms embargo on Hezbollah. “This” proposal which was presented to Israel which EVEN Hezbollah agreed to accept, was something Israel was yearning for for many decades and was a once in a life time opportunity, it was a REAL “golden opportunity,” even the far right in Israel said “this is an excellent proposal, so give it a shot.” This cessation of hostilities, known as “The August Ceasefire”, was initiated by the United Nations and International Community, and was put forward before both parties, Israel and Hezbollah, Hezbollah JUMPED right on the wagon to accept, because they saw it as the only way out of the mess they got themselves into. While at the same time, Israel was more stubborn on accept this ceasefire-agreement, since they were on a winning streak. Ever since then Hezbollah has not been seen or heard from in Southern Lebanon! At long last the frail Lebanese Government has finally had a degree of sovereignty over all of its state and is finally monitoring and guarding its own borders.
    Not too long ago, nearly all television and print media images coming out of southern Lebanon were that of armed Hezbollah fighters with their guns, outposts, and banners. Not anymore! Hezbollah is now hiding under rocks in Southern Lebanon, its military might having received a substantial blow. In addition, Hezbollah is no longer enjoying the freedom and luxury of easily transferring Syrian/Iranian weaponry across the Lebanese-Syrian border or via the Beirut seaport. Much of this due to the combined efforts of a stronger Lebanese army and U.N. forces keeping a lid on such transferals.
    But even though the International Troops and the Lebanese Army keep Hezbollah in check, isn’t there still Hezbollah presence in Southern Lebanon, EVEN THOUGH they are hiding “under rocks?” The same could be said for Al Qaeda presence in the United States, who are also hiding under rocks.
    Hezbollah may portray themselves as fearsome “militants” but they are in fact cowards cowering behind Lebanese civilians. Yet, through mostly pin-point targeting, the IDF dealt a heavy blow to Hezbollah. Five to six hundred Hezbollah terrorists were killed and nearly all of their bases, headquarters and tactical infrastructure destroyed.
    Some might say, “But didn’t Hezbollah manage to shoot over one hundred rockets into Israel every single day? AND why, during the war, didn’t the Israel army/air-force ever manage to stop the Katyusha fire?” Well the answer to that would be “What’s so impressive about groups of one or two rag heads pointing and setting off an unguided Katyusha southward into Israel?” In addition to the fact that Hezbollah only needed 1% of their military might in order to shoot Katyushas from their scattered fields and caves, into Israel every day. Plus, the only way to have completely stopped the Katyusha fire would have been to occupy every square inch of South Lebanon, including 20 miles north of the Litani, and to stay there for a few months.
    Israel ‘BADLY’ miscalculated Hezbollah, those past 6 years since it withdrew from Lebanon. Why? Because in 2004, it was estimated that if Israel was to engage in war with Hezbollah, their Katyusha arsenal would result in 100 deaths per day on the Israeli side, but instead only 2 people per day were killed by those rockets. But during the war, Israel came to the realization that 99.9% of all those rocket attacks, mostly result in a lot of noise and broken windows. Prior to the war it was also estimated that if Israel launched a ground invasion, it would result in the deaths of over 70 Israeli soldiers per day, which would have left over 2000 dead on the IDF side at the end of the 34 day conflict. But only 120 soldiers were killed in total, which makes it 3-4 soldiers per day. Also, prior to the war AND during the war, both the ‘poor’ Israeli intelligence and Hezbollah itself even claimed, that the “Mighty Hezbollah Rocket Arsenal” would hit Tel-Aviv, but ‘no rocket ever made it to Tel-Aviv!’ Instead, Hezbollah, tried to send little remote controlled ‘toy’ planes there.
    The reason 120 soldiers were killed in the first place, is because what would someone expect if an army deployed 30,000 soldiers squashed together in a small, tight, open space (South Lebanon)! It was amazing that after the war, those soldier didn’t all suffer from cluster phobia. But even though Israel deployed so many soldiers in the open, Hezbollah didn’t manage to deliver that harsh blow as was estimated before the ground invasion. But after all, Hezbollah didn’t fight as courageous as the Egyptians during the Suez Canal invasion, nor as the Syrians during the war in the Golan heights.
    It shouldn’t shock the world that Hezbollah bombed a couple Israeli Merkava Tanks, because even the Palestinians have done it in the past too. Blowing up a Merkava Tank is NOT an ‘uncommon’ operation. But at the same time Israel was still advancing and still taking over every village in South Lebanon, bombing every headquarter and outpost, all Hezbollah members were on the run. Even though Israel lost a couple of tanks and didn’t destroy Hezbollah, it still doesn’t mean they (Israel) were defeated militarily. The definition of military defeat, mean: to crush the other side, force it to flee and or be on the run, or force it into surrender. Israel was not defeated militarily!
    The same can be said about the Israeli naval ship that was bombed by Hezbollah of the coast of Lebanon, during the first week of the conflict, which caused a tiny bit of damage to the ship and which resulted in the deaths of 4 Israeli naval soldiers. Once again this wasn’t a military defeat, but it was an internal flaw, which meant that; Israel needed a better anti missile naval detector radar, a better anti missile interceptor, and better armor for its ship. But did Hezbollah succeed in sinking the ship and destroying it completely, did they destroy all the Israeli naval ships of the Lebanon Coast, did Israel scurry away with all its ships with its tail in between its legs, or did Israel ask for a cease-fire? NO! Instead, Israel simultaneously the same day, brought the damaged ship back into Israel for repair and sent another ship to the Lebanon Coast to replace it.
    During and after the war, Hezbollah regretted starting the war in the first place, by kidnapped the two Israeli soldiers. But Israel on the other hand, didn’t regret going to war with Hezbollah, not even 1%. In fact Israel was ready to go for round two, but Hezbollah, will not dare even consider thinking about it.
    During the fighting, many people (both inside and outside Lebanon) finally saw Hezbollah as they really are… a terrorist group. It’s strategy had little or no military value. The rockets they launched were intended to cause terror among Israel’s citizenry. They were not aimed at Israel military targets.
    Israel never managed to destroy Hezbollah. As much as the IDF might have wanted to, the wiping out of Hezbollah was not Israel’s goal. Nor could it ever be its goal. It is against the laws of physics to destroy a guerilla/terrorist group (America is learning it the hard way with Al Qaeda) since their operatives and members are always blending in and out of the civilian populations from which they so cowardly operate. In fact NEVER in history has a guerilla group ever been destroyed.
    Additionally, rescuing the kidnapped IDF soldiers without a strong intelligence as to exactly where they were hidden, would have been a nearly impossible mission.. assuming they had not already been secreted out of Lebanon into Syria or Iran!
    We constantly hear phrases such “Hezbollah emerged stronger,” “Hezbollah is now stronger than ever,” or “Hezbollah is now seen stronger than before!” There is some truth to that. Since before the Israeli withdrawal of 2000, Hezbollah was seen as more of a small arms, home made explosive, cut and run group, but during this conflict they were able to show off their Iranian made weapons. But they were no match for the Israeli army, whom they bowed down to at the end, by feeling too threatened to attack and provoke ever again.
    When the United Nations wanted to impose a 48-hour ceasefire, it was Hezbollah which rushed to accept while Israel had to be pressured. Obviously this was because Israel had the military momentum in her favor. And when the month-long conflict ended, Hezbollah leader, Nasrallah, remained in an underground bunker, no longer enjoying frequent visits to central Beirut, giving daily “Hate Israel” speeches, driving down to his home town of southern Lebanon or enjoying first class flights to Damascus and Tehran. Nasrallah even admitted that had he known that even one percent of this war would have gone as it had, he would have NEVER kidnapped the soldiers and thus started the war!
    “We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not.” – Hezbollah Leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, August 27, 2006
    In February 2007, there was a skirmish between Israeli troops and the Lebanese army on the Israel/Lebanon border, even though this skirmish that resulted in a shoot out and was unfortunate, the ray of light from all this, was that Israel was confronted and attacked by the Lebanese army and not by Hezbollah. This was one of the first signs that showed that the Lebanese army was doing its job. This was mostly due to the fact that Hezbollah lost its kingdom in Southern Lebanon, and is NOW in constant check by UNIFL, Lebanese Army, and International Troops. At least the Lebanese army was able to stand its ground and take control, unlike BEFORE the August 11 ceasefire! At least Israel finally got its wish, after 40 years, to FINALLY have the Lebanese army in control of the border. Since August 11, 2006 when the Lebanese army began its deployment in Southern Lebanon, not a single Katuysha, let alone a singe bullet was fired toward the Israeli side of the fence by Hezbollah. Unlike after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, when Hezbollah would look for any excuse to shoot Katyushas into Israel at least once every three months, but not anymore. No longer will the Israeli citizens of Northern Israel will ever live in fear once again!
    People in the Lebanese Government now hate Hezbollah, for bringing destruction to Lebanon. All of Hezbollah’s southern Beirut strong posts were destroyed by Israel. Even after the cease fire, Israel stayed in Lebanon for two more months in order to destroy all remaining Hezbollah outposts and bunkers while Hezbollah stood by and did nothing. During the conflict some of the Israel/Lebanon border fence was destroyed and torn down, and Israel was in no rush to fix it, since what’s the point? Hezbollah will not want to mess with the IDF again! Even until today some of that fence has not been fixed yet, since the only threat of infiltration, now, is from drug dealers smuggling Hashish across that border.
    But what about the Winograd Commission, “which is an independent Israeli government-appointed commission of inquiry, chaired by retired Israeli chief judge Eliyahu Winograd, which is set out to investigate and draw lessons from the failures experienced by Israel during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. Which resulted in a war panel, and even the resignation of high figures such as the Israeli chief of staff Dan Halutz.” The reason THIS is currently taking place in Israel, is it goes to show that Israel is a democratic country! If a “Lebanese-Winograd Commission” would be done to Hezbollah; for launching an illogical irresponsible attack on Israel, by kidnapping the two soldiers which led to the war and the destruction of Lebanon. And if a Lebanese Winograd Commission would be done to the Lebanese government; for not controlling its southern border by allowing thuggish armed militias (Hezbollah) to roam free there, allowing illegal weapon shipments via the Lebanese seaport, air port, and Syrian Lebanese border to those armed “non-governmental” militias, and allowing Syria and Iran to meddle in its politics, then Lebanon would crumble to dust! But after all, Lebanon is not a Democracy.
    Worst case scenario, the Winograd Commission and some of the failures of this war, prove, that Israel might have been defeated from within, but not militarily.
    Furthermore there hasn’t been one complaint filed against Hezbollah on behalf of UNIFL and the International Troops since last year’s August cease-fire, the only complaint filed, was against the Israeli army for their over flights over Lebanese territory. Speaking about Israeli over flights, even the Israeli army itself, hasn’t complained even once, about hostile enemy fire against its planes by Hezbollah. Since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in May 2000, up until the war last summer, they continued their daily over flight and breaches over Lebanese territory, only to find themselves being confronted by Hezbollah anti-aircraft artillery. But after the August cease-fire Israel ‘STILL’ continued its breaches over Lebanese airspace, but this time, Hezbollah hasn’t even shot one pellet at them! Maybe because they are deterred and maybe because UNIFL and the Lebanese army are now in control.
    After the war, Hezbollah saw that it could no longer push around and bully Israel, and are therefore now trying to bully the “weak” Lebanese government by; their mass demonstration, camping out in front of the Lebanese Parliament, and political assassinations.
    Israel did loose the war last summer, but not in Lebanon, but instead in Gaza. After Gilad Shalit was kidnapped, Israel began a massive military campaign in Gaza, destroying infrastructure, entering towns and cities, going after terrorists, and also trying to stop the Qassam rocket fire. But instead, all it achieved was nothing, and the results of it were, that now, the Palestinians saw even more of a weakness in Israel. After the Israeli military campaign in Lebanon, deterrence was at least achieved, BUT unlike in Gaza, after the massive military campaign took place there (Gaza), the Israeli deterrence was lost for good, and now, the Palestinians are, even, more UNDETERRED from Israel that ever! And therefore have increased their rocket fire into Israel. In addition to the fact that as soon as Israel stopped its military campaign, Hamas and other groups said, “They are now even more determined than ever to kidnap another Israeli Soldier.” In April of 2007, they acted on their promise, under the cover of intense rocket fire on the Israel town of Sderot, Hamas terrorists again attempted to infiltrate Israel in order to abduct another soldier, but failed. A month later the militant group Islamic Jihad successfully infiltrated Israel, to also try to kidnap an Israeli soldier, but also failed. At least they weren’t afraid to try!
    After the war some Arab Governments, including the Palestinians, claimed Hezbollah achieved a divine victory! But hey, lets not forget, that some of those Arab governments and Palestinians which claimed Hezbollah won that “divine victory,” are some of those “same” Arab governments who “STILL” until today claim that Syria, Egypt, and the rest of the Arab World won the 1967 War and the 1973 War! That is why after this war Israel lost its deterrence against the Palestinians, Iran, and Syria. BUT gained heavily, its deterrence, against Hezbollah.
    People from around the world, before the August cease-fire, would have never believed nor imagined that the Lebanese army would EVER be in control of its southern border. Nor, people would have never believed Lebanon would EVER be able to establish control over “illegal” arms shipments across its Lebanese/Syrian border, sea ports, and airports, and, well, it finally is!
    Hezbollah will most likely never dare kidnap IDF soldiers because they saw the might and strength of the Israeli army, and they now feel threatened. Sure, some Hezbollah sympathizers may throw rocks, wave Hezbollah flags or scream “Allah Akbar” at the Lebanese-Israeli border fence but Hezbollah rank and file are laying low. Very low! And Hezbollah is no longer the imminent threat at that very same border.
    Since the ‘moment’ the two soldiers were kidnapped and even during the war, Israel knew, they would not succeed in getting them back, in addition to the fact that destroying a guerilla group is against the laws of physics! Once people will get those two facts into their heads, then THEY will realize that, the outcomes that were achieved as a result of this conflict, were the best possible “REALISTIC” outcomes that Israel could have achieved.
    Obviously this past year, the Northern Israeli border has been the quietest it has ever been over the past 40 years.
    By, Gabriel al-Amin
    Beirut, Lebanon
    Articles and Refernces:
    UNIFL: Not ‘ONE’ complaint filed against Hezbollah since last years cease-fire
    (Jerusalem Post 6/14/2007)
    Again, Israeli gloom is misplaced (First Post – 4/17/2007)
    Lebanese army, UNIFIL are keeping Hezbollah in check (Haaretz – 2/21/2007)
    Hezbollah’s ‘Victory’? (Washington Post 9/1/2006)
    The Lebanese Winnograd Commission (Thomas Friedman, New York Times 5/10/2007)
    The Egyptian, 1973 October Victory (Egyptian State Information Service)
    Lebanon’s Army Chief “the Lebanese Army is properly controlling its borders with Syria” ( [Hizbollah’s Official Website])
    Bin Laden criticizes Nasrallah for allowing expansion of UNIFL troops (GulfNews December 30, 2007)

  • jeff flota 01/26/2008 at 22:43

    The question of the day is, why does Olmert, why does Livi, why does the Bush administration
    continue to pursue this sham of a peace process
    when the delusional euphoria of the Oslo 1990’s
    no longer exists? The next question is, do these so-called respectable political leaders
    have a krypto anti-israel bias that they dare not reveal publically? The last question is the
    one that must be true. Either Olmert/Livi are
    dolts or they are anti-Israel. The anti-Israel
    positions of Olmert/Livi must be explored to ultimately defeat them.


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