Saturday :: Aug 12, 2006

Just How Smart IS Israel?

by pessimist

I believe this to be a fair question to ask.

Early Friday, Israel has asked the Bush administration to speed delivery of short-range antipersonnel rockets armed with cluster munitions, which it could use to strike Hezbollah missile sites in Lebanon, according to two American officials. Yet, later in the day, the news came out that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has accepted an emerging Mideast cease-fire deal and informed the United States of his decision, Israeli officials said Friday.

Ask for weapons, rush delivery, and then decide not to use them? How smart is that? Maybe it's very smart.

As of today, The United Nations began taking steps to expand its international force in Lebanon and help implement a ceasefire plan that was passed Friday night. This force could be in place within ten days, and Israel will halt its war in Lebanon at 7 a.m. Monday (midnight EDT Sunday night), a senior Israeli government official said Saturday.

Start a war, only to turn it over to the UN to mediate? How smart is that? Maybe it's very smart.

A major reversal is a harsh but effective teacher. This UN political reversal, which John Bolton was to stall as long as possible in order to enhance Israeli gains in Lebanon, certainly qualifies. But politics hasn't stopped Israel in the past, especially when they were winning.

Maybe it wasn't logic that drove the Israeli decision to halt the war in Lebanon and turn over security to the UN detail led by the French. Maybe it was the fact that Hezbollah demonstrated that they can stop the IDF in its tracks:

Israelis retreat after Hezbollah hits tanks
Reuters Gulf News Report

Fierce Hezbollah resistance forced Israeli tanks to withdraw from two key Lebanese towns yesterday as diplomatic efforts to end the war in Lebanon intensified. The Israeli army claimed it had seized control of Marjayoun, a Christian town, before fierce fighting forced them to pull out. Witnesses said Hezbollah launched a counter-offensive against Israelis trying to advance on Khiam, and several Israeli tanks were destroyed during the group's counter-attack amid violent clashes. Hezbollah said it destroyed 14 Merkava tanks. Hezbollah said its fighters had killed 18 Israeli soldiers in ground battles around Marjayoun and Khiam, 8km north of the border.
"Eighteen casualties in one day proves what price we could pay
if we do not try to make the most of the political move
Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said.

That is true wisdom talking. Eighteen deaths in one day made Israel very smart! Maybe Israel is now smart enough to listen to Peres?

Here is more wise advice for Israel - coming from lambasted Lebanon's Daily Star:

Fools rush in to another quagmire
August 05, 2006

Every rational person's objective ought to be securing a lasting peace - a goal that cannot be achieved through warfare.

The Israelis cannot afford another humiliating defeat in Lebanon, and they ought to be looking for a quick way out of the quagmire they have entered. Their best exit strategy, given that a total victory is unachievable, is to pursue the path of international law.

Peace must be pursued on the basis of international law and the implementation of all UN resolutions, not on the basis of wanton destruction. Only then will the logic of peace and stability triumph over that of war and terror.

International law, as implemented through UN resolutions to be applied INSIDE Israel, would also be a good idea - for both sides:

Arab-Jewish tensions rise in Israel
By Rachel Shabi in Tel Aviv
09 August 2006

For Israel’s Palestinian population, it is an especially fraught time to be a citizen of the Jewish state. Omaima, a teacher from Taiba, says: "All the racial tension and hatred that is always present beneath the surface here is now legitimate and out in the open."

While any Israeli not subscribing to the mainstream pro-war mood may be considered a traitor, for Palestinian residents, an anti-war position carries an additional burden. Fadi Shbita, director of the Sadaka-Reut co-existence project, says that there is a demand from the Israeli mainstream that Arab-Israelis take the Israeli side in the conflict. "The message is that you can be Arab, talk Arabic and have an Arabic culture, but if you live in Israel you need to be on the side of the state."

In Jaffa, the predominantly Arab city neighbouring Tel Aviv, many say they feel unease at how their relations with Jewish customers and friends are being affected by the conflict in Lebanon.

One Jaffa resident says: "I have lived in the same apartment for 15 years, with Jewish neighbours who were always good neighbours. But now I feel they have changed and are making faces, as though they have a terrorist living in their apartment block."
Some Jaffa residents say they feel the insults directed at Nasrallah or Hezbollah are also aimed at them. One man asks:
"Am I not an Arab?
When they curse the Lebanese,
they are also cursing me."
Another Jaffa local says that although he is greatly pained by the images of death and destruction in Lebanon, he avoids discussing it with Jewish Israelis. He says: "No Arab can talk to the Jews about it, I have no energy for that. I don’t want to start anything with anyone because I don’t know what will happen.
"I have four children to think about."
Shbita believes that, while there is little support for the war within Palestinian-Israeli society, there is a reluctance to vocalise that or to become active in the anti-war movement, for fear of being attacked. "If you look at discussions on web forums and on the streets, you can see this can very easily go to a fascist place where the Palestinian population is the fifth column within Israel."

Several Palestinian residents of Jaffa say they are bitterly opposed to the war but fear reprisals if they speak out: "I worry that if I open my mouth about it in public, the next thing I know there is a police or security service investigation on me."

It isn't just Israel where this could happen:

US Muslims bristle at Bush term "Islamic fascists"
By Amanda Beck
Aug 10, 2006

U.S. Muslim groups criticized President George W. Bush on Thursday for calling a foiled plot to blow up airplanes part of a "war with Islamic fascists," saying the term could inflame anti-Muslim tensions. "We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counter-productive to associate Islam or Muslims with fascism," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group.

"We ought to take advantage of these incidents to make sure that we do not start a religious war against Islam and Muslims," he told a news conference in Washington. "We urge him (Bush) and we urge other public officials to restrain themselves."

That would have been especially wise advice for the Israeli government to have followed BEFORE they let Bu$hco con them into emulating their Iraqi 'cakewalk' in Lebanon:

Israeli Leaders Fault Bush on War
By Robert Parry
August 13, 2006

Amid the political and diplomatic fallout from Israel’s faltering invasion of Lebanon, some Israeli officials are privately blaming President George W. Bush for egging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert into the ill-conceived military adventure against the Hezbollah militia in south Lebanon.

Bush conveyed his strong personal support for the military offensive during a White House meeting with Olmert on May 23, according to sources familiar with the thinking of senior Israeli leaders.

Olmert - who like Bush lacks direct wartime experience - agreed that a dose of military force against Hezbollah might damage the guerrilla group’s influence in Lebanon and intimidate its allies, Iran and Syria, countries that Bush has identified as the chief obstacles to U.S. interests in the Middle East.

As part of Bush’s determination to create a “new Middle East” – one that is more amenable to U.S. policies and desires – Bush even urged Israel to attack Syria, but the Olmert government refused to go that far, according to Israeli sources.

That explains this FAUX 'Newz' video transcript excerpt, in which Col. David Hunt, military analyst for Fox News, appeared on Hannity & Colmes to offer some advice to the president:

“I think we can talk to them when we line them up and kill them.
... the only reason to talk to some of these guys is to just do that.”

And yet, Israel appears to be allowing diplomacy to take over - finally. Maybe Israel is very smart after all.

Now, would they please be so smart as to enlighten Hizz Hindni$$ that his course of action in the world is all wrong??? Just how smart would that be?


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