Has Israel learned its lesson?
It would appear with the current strikes against Hamas in Gaza, Israel has learned it cannot make concessions with such
avowed enemies at its doorstep. The biggest question in my mind is,….can Israel keep this offensive going?.......without U.S.
help (at least with logistics)? If not, it may just be a matter of time before Israel is overrun with Arab enemies who already
surround Israel on three sides. Of course many say that has been the case for Israel for the past half-century.
If any country does not have a strong armed force, it may be a potential target. Even if it DOES have a strong armed force, it
may become a likely target, e.g. Iraq in 2003.
/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.
Has Israel learned its lesson?
by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
ISRAEL'S 2006 WAR against Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist army based in Lebanon, was a disaster -- an ill-planned operation that
did more damage to Israel's military reputation than to Hezbollah's resolve and influence. Now, as it fights Hamas in Gaza, Israel seems
determined not to repeat the mistakes it made 2˝ years ago.
This time, Israeli prewar preparations were much more meticulous. Months were devoted to gathering detailed information on scores of Hamas
targets, including training camps and offices, rocket launchers, underground bunkers, weapons-making sites, tunnels from Egypt, and the
homes of terrorist commanders. Israel's military and political operations appear better coordinated than in 2006, and Israeli diplomats
are making use of online weapons -- launching a dedicated YouTube channel, for example, and conducting a live citizens’ press conference
via Twitter -- to get its message out.
But it remains an open question whether Israel's leaders have learned the most critical lesson of all: that genocidal jihadists and other
mortal foes cannot be wheedled, negotiated, bribed, or ignored into quietude. In a war with enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas and the
PLO -- enemies explicitly committed to Israel's destruction -- goodwill gestures beget no goodwill, and peace processes do not lead to peace.
The proximate cause of the fighting in Gaza was the sharp increase in rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians after Hamas refused
to extend its tenuous cease-fire with Israel past Dec. 19. But the deeper cause was the transformation of Gaza into an Iranian proxy and
terrorist hub following Israel’s reckless "disengagement" in 2005. Israelis convinced themselves that ethnically cleansing Gaza of its
Jews and handing over the territory to the Palestinians would reduce violence and make Israel safer. It did just the opposite.
In 2000, Israelis had similarly believed that a unilateral retreat from southern Lebanon would deprive Hezbollah of any pretext for
continuing its war against the Jewish state. But far from extinguishing Hezbollah's jihadist dreams, it inflamed them.
The hard truth is that no matter how much Israelis crave peace, they cannot achieve it through concessions and compromises and "road
maps" -- not when their enemies view such overtures and agreements as signs of weakness, and as proof that terrorism works. For 60
years, Israel has had to contend with the hostility of its neighbors and the heavy costs of war; its yearning for peace is
understandable. But there will be no peace without victory, and no victory without fighting for it.
For a long time now, Israel's leaders have resisted this fact -- "We are tired of fighting," Ehud Olmert infamously declared in
2005. For 15 years, beginning with the sham of the Oslo peace process in 1993, Jerusalem has tried to appease its way to tranquility. It
allowed Yasser Arafat and his PLO killers to take control of the West Bank and Gaza. It embraced the goal of Palestinian statehood. It
responded to terrorism with ever-deeper concessions. It abandoned Lebanon and Gaza. It reiterated, over and over, the false mantra
that "you make peace with your enemies." And from the ongoing captivity of Gilad Shalit to the rockets slamming into Israeli cities
to the dysfunction and radicalization of Palestinian society, the results have been disastrous.
There are heartening indications this week of a more realistic and unsentimental approach. Defense Minister Ehud Barak described the
offensive against Hamas as a "war to the bitter end" and told an American interviewer, "For us to be asked to have a cease-fire with
Hamas is like asking you to have a cease-fire with al-Qaeda." Both leading contenders in the upcoming Israeli election, Likud's
Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and head of Kadima, promise to make it a priority "to topple the Hamas
regime" if elected prime minister. Israel's UN ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, has said that the operation in Gaza will last "as long
as it takes to dismantle Hamas completely."
Whether this strong rhetoric will be backed up by strong action in the long run remains to be seen. Yesterday, the Israeli cabinet
properly rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour truce. Perhaps, at long last, the lesson has been learned: With an enemy like
Hamas, which boasts that it "loves death" and "drinks blood," truces and deals are illusory. If Israel seeks lasting peace, it
must first win a lasting victory.
(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe.)
/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.