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August 9, 2006
Israel Unites In Defending Nation

The attack and abduction by Hezbollah that triggered the current war has united the Israeli Right and Left, resulting in an unprecedented mandate for the government to press forward with massive military action. Criticism of the government has mostly focused on getting the government to commit more resources to the fight, not for an end to action:

As Israel’s war with Hezbollah finishes a fourth difficult week, domestic criticism of its prosecution is growing. Yet there is a paradoxical effect as well: the harder the war has been, the more the public wants it to proceed.

The criticism is not that the war is going on, but that it is going poorly. The public wants the army to hit Hezbollah harder, so it will not threaten Israel again.

And while Israelis are upset with how Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has run the war, they seem to agree with what he told aides this week — that given the weaponry and competence of Hezbollah and the damage already done to Israel, “I thank God the confrontation came now, because with every year their arsenal would have grown.”

Abroad, Israel is criticized for having overreacted and for causing disproportionate damage to Lebanon and its civilian population and even for indiscriminate bombing. But within Israel, the sense is nearly universal that unlike its invasion of Lebanon in 1982, this war is a matter of survival, not choice, and its legitimacy is unquestioned.

The arguments of overreaction and disproportionate response ring hollow from critics who refuse to recognize the basic illegality of Hezbollah's existence and their responsibility for deliberately targeting Israeli civilians. The Israelis cannot afford such illusions. The rockets flying over the northern border do not get aimed at IDF assets, but at civilians, and the Katyushas do not distinguish between liberals and conservatives.

That has a tendency to sharpen one's sense of reality. And in this case, Israelis from across the political spectrum understand that Hezbollah has spent the last six years preparing for this war, and it isn't a war over a disputed border position. Hezbollah wants to drive the Israelis into the sea, as does its sponsors Syria and Iran. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made that clear last week when he said that the long-term solution for the region could only be found in Israel's destruction.

Israel is engaged in an existential battle, one it cannot afford to lose. It has tried to use diplomacy in the past, and it asked the UN Security Council to disarm Hezbollah, which the UNSC demanded in Resolution 1559. Nothing changed, and Israelis from all political perspectives have discovered what Saddam Hussein learned in the twelve-year quagmire prior to the American invasion: the UN will do nothing against terrorists and rogue states.

The UN will not defend Israel. Kofi Annan has made that perfectly clear in his pronouncements about purported Israeli war crimes on civilians without even the barest acknowledgement that Israel's enemy attacks almost nothing but its cvilians. France will not defend Israel. The Arab League certainly won't protect them from the lunatic nihilists of the region. America will help Israel defend itself, but even then Israel knows it has to do the job for itself.

Moments of clarity bring unity of purpose. Israel has rediscovered this.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 9, 2006 5:52 AM

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» Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory from ShrinkWrapped
There has been a great deal written recently about the timidity with which Israel has been conducting the war against Hezbollah. Yesterday I suggested that Israel could not win this war strategically until and unless Iran's ability to re-supply Hezbollah [Read More]

Tracked on August 9, 2006 10:18 AM

» When non-military men run a war from Strategic Outlook Institute - Weblog
There is an interesting piece in today’s issue of Israel Insider that is devastating to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and discusses in great detail what should have happened in the critical first few days of the war against Hezbollah. The analysis... [Read More]

Tracked on August 10, 2006 4:17 AM


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