Sunday, July 23, 2006

War in Israel & Lebanon: Issues and Opinions.

Subject: Issues and Opinion.

Israel's Moment - Lawrence KudlowAll of us in the Free World owe Israel an enormous "thank you" for defending freedom, democracy and security against the Iranian cat's-paw wholly-owned terrorist subsidiaries Hizballah and Hamas. Israel is defending its homeland and very existence but also America's homeland as our frontline democratic ally in the Middle East. Remember, Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon and Gaza. Later, when terrorist gangs kidnapped Israeli soldiers, Israel appropriately fought back. That is what sovereign nations do, and Israel's recent military actions deserve our unyielding support. Israel has the right to put the terrorist armies of Hizballah and Hamas out of business. When the dust clears the world will applaud Israel for its courage. Sensible freedom-loving people everywhere will realize Israel's furious response in the face of senseless terrorist attacks will have made the world a better place. In fact, we are all Israelis now. (Washington Times)
Order vs. Disorder - Thomas L. FriedmanThis is not just another Arab-Israeli war. It is about some of the most basic foundations of the international order - borders and sovereignty - and the erosion of those foundations would spell disaster for the quality of life all across the globe. Lebanon, alas, has not been able to produce the internal coherence to control Hizballah, and is not likely to soon. The forces of disorder - Hizballah, al-Qaeda, Iran - are a geopolitical tsunami that we need a united front to defeat. The only way this war is going to come to some stable conclusion any time soon is if The World of Order - and I don't just mean "the West," but countries like Russia, China, India, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia too - puts together an international force that can escort the Lebanese Army to the Israeli border and remain on hand to protect it against Hizballah. (New York Times, 20Jul06)

Now Isn't the Time for Restraint - Newt GingrichImagine that this morning 50 missiles were launched from Cuba and exploded in Miami. In addition to buildings and homes being destroyed, scores of Americans were being killed. Now imagine our allies responded by saying publicly that we must not be too aggressive in protecting our citizens and that America must use the utmost restraint. Our history shows us that we have never reacted to a direct attack on our soil with any restraint. Every time America has been attacked by an enemy, we set about defeating it and ending the threat. Israeli concessions to the Iran-Syria-Hizballah-Hamas terrorist alliance have consistently resulted in their enemies preparing for the next attack. This is only the latest cycle in an ongoing 58-year campaign to destroy Israel. Hizballah in its military form must be eliminated, the Iranian Guard in southern Lebanon must be removed, and allowing the Syrian and Iranian dictatorships to supply, train, and equip the terrorists must be stopped. The writer, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (USA Today)

Israel Has a War to Win - Daniel PipesIsrael has a significant role in the U.S.-led war on terror; it can best defend itself and help its U.S. ally not by aspiring to agreements with intractable foes but by convincing them that Israel is permanent and unbeatable. This goal requires not episodic violence but sustained and systematic efforts to change regional mentalities. (Los Angeles Times)
European Reactions to Lebanon
Europe's Disproportionate Criticism - Gerald M. SteinbergIn early 2000, the European Union was an enthusiastic supporter of unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the security zone in southern Lebanon. In detailed talks that took place at the French ambassador's residence in Jaffa, in which I participated as an academic consultant, the Europeans assured us that once Israel retreated, Hizballah would lose its raison d'etre as a "militia" and transform itself into a political party. France and its partners would send peacekeepers to prevent terror and missile attacks against Israel, help the Lebanese army take control of the border, and disarm Hizballah. In May that year, the Israeli military left Lebanon, but Europe did nothing as, instead of the promised transformation, Hizballah took positions right across Israel's border and prepared for the next round of the war. Going forcefully after Iran's prodigy in Lebanon sends a powerful message to Tehran. A small war stopped prematurely now may only pave the way for a much larger war later. To view Israel's actions in Beirut and Gaza as "disproportionate" means ignoring the radical Islamic regime in Tehran, which threatens to destroy Israel and is bent on acquiring the weapons to actually carry out its threat. (Wall Street Journal, 17Jul06)

The Middle East Crisis - Local, Regional, and Global; Conventional and Nuclear - Y. Carmon, A. Savyon, N. Toobiyan, and Y. MansharofWhile resolutely supporting Iran on the nuclear issue, Russia was willing to cooperate with the other G8 members in resolving the local Hizballah-Israel crisis (in cooperation with Iran and Syria...). The U.S. got its way in that the G8's final statement endorsed the American position regarding the resolution of the local crisis (that is, the return of the kidnapped soldiers). But regarding pressures on Iran to give up its nuclear program, the U.S. lost, since the Russian pressure at the summit and the Iranian pressure on the ground (via Hizballah and Hamas) compelled the G8 summit to set this issue aside. (MEMRI)

Weekend Features
Amid Barrage, a Holocaust Heroine Shakes Off Fear - Matthew KalmanOrna Shorani, 76, was fast asleep last Thursday when a Katyusha rocket fired by Hizballah struck her home. All the windows in the front of her house were smashed, the doors were blown off their hinges, and the roof had a gaping hole. Orna lives in Nahariya, a few miles from the border with Lebanon. Half the town's residents have left, but Orna said she had no intention of leaving. "I lived through the Second World War and all of Israel's wars," she said. "I think I'll survive this one, too." With her mother and sisters, Orna hid 25 Jews from a Nazi labor camp next to their home in Hungary and smuggled them to safety. One of them, Ladislav Shorani, "came back and married me," Orna recalled. "After the war, we moved to Israel." Orna was later named a "Righteous Among the Nations" for her bravery in rescuing Jews from the Holocaust. (Boston Globe)

See also Israelis Offer a Helping Hand - Ruth EglashHundreds, if not thousands, of Israelis have opened their homes to distressed residents of the northern and southern border regions. (Jerusalem Post)
Israelis Seek Refuge on Beach - Aron HellerRevital Aburmad, 26, her husband, Meir, and her 2-year-old daughter are some of the thousands of Israelis who fled northern Israel to escape the unprecedented rocket barrage by Hizballah in the past week for a tent city on Nitzanim Beach in southern Israel. "You can't describe the anxiety of having to run into the shelter, without food, without drink," said Kati Bochris, 25, from Nahariya, who had a rocket land next to her home. "You can smell the smoke and the sky turns black." A Russian-Israeli billionaire erected the compound on Sunday, shelling out some $200,000 per day for tents, food, and entertainment for 5,000 people. Thanks to him, Nitzanim Beach is now lined with volleyball nets, pool tables, and inflatable playground structures. Its giant stage has attracted several of Israel's top performers. The conditions aren't ideal. Thin mattresses are packed one against the other in sweltering heat with no privacy. Many came with only the clothes they were wearing. Yet, all say the discomfort pales in comparison to the terror of being attacked in their own homes. (AP/Washington Post)

Wedding Under Fire - Miri ChasonMaya and Shlomi Buskila refused to let Nasrallah ruin their big day. On Thursday, they were married in a shelter in Kiryat Shmona. "We'll be celebrating the wedding night in a shelter as well," said the brand-new groom. When Maya got out of her car in her wedding dress, instead of guests, she was surrounded by news crews, all asking to document the triumph of the human interest in a time of turmoil. During the entire ceremony, many explosions were heard, but the guests hurried to comfort one another: "that's us firing, not them." (Ynet News)

Israel Leaves the Scuds Behind - Zev ChafetsStarting with the first Gulf War, Israel went from being the deterrent power in the neighborhood to being the chronic frightened patsy. At least that's what Sheik Nasrallah thought when his men snatched two Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese border. He figured the new prime minister, Ehud Olmert, would meet almost any price to get the soldiers back peacefully. Instead, Olmert attacked. He knew that retaliation would bring on the missiles and rockets, but he evidently thought it was worth the risk. What Olmert didn't know when he gave the order - what the Israeli public itself didn't know - was that the rockets wouldn't cause panic. Fear, yes. Caution, too, and some complaining (this is Israel, after all). But, amazingly, most people in even the most vulnerable areas have behaved with something like the sanguine good nature of the British during the Blitz. For Israelis, fighting back made all the difference. (New York Times)

Warned Against Harassment (Aftenposten-Norway) The Mosaic Religious Community has advised its Jewish members against speaking Hebrew loudly on the streets of Oslo or wearing Jewish emblems after a Jewish man wearing a kippa, or head covering, was assaulted on an Oslo street Saturday. The suggestion has infuriated some in the Jewish community.

See also Was NATO's Air War on Yugoslavia "Disproportionate"? - Elizabeth SullivanFrance should know whereof it speaks when it brands Israel for "disproportionate" force in bombing bridges, airfields and civilian power plants. Seven years ago, French pilots went after similar targets during NATO's 72-day air war against Yugoslavia. In fact, Israeli military tactics closely parallel those developed during the 1999 NATO air war and, more recently, by the U.S. against al-Qaeda. In 1999, dozens of NATO bombs and missiles hit Yugoslav bridges, communications grids, power plants, and a television station, killing at least 498 civilians. French fighter pilots flew more than 1,100 of the war's air strikes, or about 11 percent of the alliance's missions, according to Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

See also Fighting Hizballah with "Deliberately Disproportionate" Force - Pierre Atlas
Israeli strategic analyst Yossi Alpher notes that deliberate disproportionality "is an imperative when fighting a guerrilla enemy waging asymmetrical warfare." In assessing Israel's response, one needs to look beyond the asymmetry of power, to a second asymmetry in terms of goals. Israel's goals are strategic, while Hizballah's are existential. Israel has the greater arsenal, but it is fighting an enemy that won't be satisfied as long as Israel continues to exist. In this case the asymmetry is reversed. And it begs the question: how should you fight such a group as it wages war on you? The writer is an assistant professor of political science and director of the Franciscan Center for Global Studies at Marian College. (RealClearPolitics)

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