Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Staying the Course

It’s really hard to focus on anything other than the war in Gaza right now as Jewish soldiers are putting their lives on the line for our people. So my eyes turn eastward.

There is currently a debate going on within the Israeli government about whether to have a cease fire or to continue to the end. Many people - including me -who are in favor of continuing the fight until victory is achieved, point to the 2006 fiasco in Lebanon. We cannot afford to let that happen this time. But was it the fiasco everyone seems to think it is?

One of the little noticed facts arising out of the current conflict is the reluctance of Hezbollah to get involved in the fighting. I thought of that when I heard the news about a couple of rockets finally being fired from Lebabnon into Israel this morning. The rhetoric coming out of Hezbollah has been unrelenting. Islamists have declared a Jihad against Israel (as if they hadn’t already done that). But these are all words. Why haven’t they done more to help their brothers in Gaza?

The one thing that almost every analyst seems to agree upon is that Israel lost the 2006 war in Lebanon. There seems to be an across the board consensus about that, whether one is pro Israel or anti Israel.

There is of course much reason to say so. Hezbollah proclaimed victory. They were not stopped at all in their ability to fire rockets into Northern Israel at will. And the consensus among almost all analysts is that the only things a terrorist organization needs to declare victory is to survive.

Hezbollah has certainly survived – and even prospered. They are now a more powerful force in Lebanon than ever. The general populace had always blamed Israel for their devastation. It was after all Israel who dropped all those bombs killing thousands of their people and destroying their infra structure.

But I think reality has set in. Those in Lebanon who are not Islamists are finally beginning to realize that the source of their problems is Hezbollah. Hezbollah knows this. They are not going to provoke another war with Israel. They know what the results of that will be. And the Lebanese people are not going to support them if they provoke Israel now.

The fact that Hezbollah has done very little to help the cause of Gaza kind of proves that. Gaza is one of their most trumpeted causes. Israel is their mortal enemy. It would only stand to reason that they would join the fight and attack Israel’s northern front. They haven’t. They fear a repeat of the devastation of 2006. They were hammered. Their infratstructure was destroyed. They have barely begun to climb out of that devastation over two years after the cease fire. They cannot afford that kind of ‘win’ again.

So Israel did not exactly lose that war. Sure… they didn’t exactly win it either. That would have required Hezbollah to surrender and dismantle. The opposite happened. But Israel gained something too. They have shown that they will not sit back if provoked. And they are showing it again in Gaza.

The lack of any real support for Hamas by anyone including Hezbollah should not go unnoticed.

And yet the debate in Israel goes on. The current government there now is debating the issue: Should they continue? …or should they stop as the world wishes them to?

To me it is a no brainer. They are winning this time both symbolic terms and real terms. Hamas is already crying ‘uncle’. It seems they have agreed to the terms of an Egyptian cease fire plan - sort of. If I were Israel I would ignore that and destroy every last vestige of Hamas. As the writer of this article in the Jerusalem Post says, they have to finish the job.

What about the casualties? The more the merrier when it comes to Hamas terrorists. And I have little sympathy for Palestinians who voted for Hamas and are sympathetic to their goals of destroying Israel. Most of those who are suffering hate the Jewish people and wish us harm. Their children are taught the same. I have a difficult time having sympathy for those ‘innocent’ victims. But to the extent that are actual innocent victims, and I’m sure there are some, my heart goes out to them. They truly are innocent victims.

On the Israeli side, I have nothing but sympathy for those who have died, have been injured, or lost loved ones in this fight. The losses have thus far been minimal but one dead Israeli soldier who died for his country is one too many. I cannot bear the thought of how that must affect his family.

But what alternative is there but to fight? Thank God we have people in Israel who are willing to do that. Those that are killed are Kedoshim. It doesn’t matter whether they are religious or not. All who are in the army now are among the true heroes of the Jewish people in our time. May God spare them and grant the Jewish people a complete and quick victory.