Israel: Defeat Hezbollah or learn to live in caves
Events moved quickly on May 14, 1948, when the United Nations created the State of Israel. Immediately, President Harry Truman recognized Israel and welcomed her into the family of nations. Soviet recognition quickly followed; however, the Russians were more interested in getting the British out of the Middle East than they were in helping the world make amends for the Holocaust.
By May 15, 1948, the over 650,000 Jews living in the tiny sliver of land allotted by the U.N. were attacked by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. By February 24, 1949, over 6,000 young Israelis of what would become the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) had given their lives to prevent the slaughter of their countrymen. In fact, since 1948, Israel has withstood five ground assaults by Arab armies and two Intifada by the terrorists of Hamas and the PLO. Each Israeli “victory” has been followed by a few years of relative peace.
Yet, fifty-eight years later, Egypt and Jordan are the only Muslim countries that recognize Israel. Some 39 nations (mostly Muslim) refuse to do so. Today, Iran and Syria hide behind Hezbollah terrorists and hapless Lebanese civilians as they wage a proxy war against Israel – a war featuring indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel’s civilian population and incursions into Israel to abduct IDF soldiers.
We may be witnessing the worst yet for Israel because it is not rocket science to realize that, given time, Hezbollah will be armed by Iran and Syria with Chinese-made, more accurate, longer-range missiles able to impact every square inch of Israel. The same holds true for North Korea which, given time, will have atomic-tipped, ICBMs capable of reaching our Left Coast.
Fortunately, the U.S. has the rather robust and improving “Star Wars” ICBM defense. But the short-range rockets being lobbed into Israel by Hezbollah are much more difficult to intercept. Their flight times are just too short for the rockets to be intercepted. Thus, Israel must choose between eliminating the rocket threat or learning to live in caves.
For 28 years, the U.N. has supported (for $100 million-a-year) the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Under U.N. Resolution 1559, UNIFIL was to disarm Hezbollah and assist in the democratic restructuring of Lebanon. Yet UNIFIL’s 2,000 troops, failed to report that Hezbollah was amassing some 13,000 rockets right under their noses.
But when your hilltop U.N. outpost is surrounded by Hezbollah terrorists and your family must live within the local Arab community or you have an Arab girlfriend, you might not report what you see. In fact, a Canadian general, who once served with UNIFIL, reported that Hezbollah uses the U.N.’s hilltop outposts as cover as Hezbollah directs rocket fire into Israel.
Any soldier knows every IDF artillery Fire Direction Center and Tactical Air Control Center has plotted the exact GPS coordinates of every UNIFIL observation post. So, it was probably no accident when the IDF eliminated a UNIFIL observation post being used by Hezbollah forward observers. That prompted the U.N. to get the useless (and, probably Hezbollah-sympathetic) UNIFIL out of the way. Now, the U.S. and the U.K. propose a NATO-type fighting force that might actually establish a Hezbollah-free buffer between Lebanon and Israel and do what UNIFIL failed to do for 28 years.
Meanwhile, most of the 25,000 Americans we taxpayers paid to evacuate from Lebanon were there (despite State Department advisories to stay out of Lebanon) because a lot of money was to be made. Incredibly, some evacuees are suing the U.S. because they weren’t evacuated quickly enough. Meanwhile, Israel’s economy is being disrupted by the call up of 45,000 IDF reservists.
While the IDF tries to avoid collateral damage inside Lebanon (even warning non-combatants of impending attacks), the Hezbollah no-warning rocket attacks are designed to inflict collateral damage inside Israel – a fact the anti-Israeli media choose to ignore, making the Israeli victims appear to be the bad guys. Without a clear winner, negotiation settles nothing. And, if the Middle East is to have another period of “peace,” the good guys need to win.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2006. William Hamilton.