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A War Most Important

Reader comment on item: Arabs Disavow Hizbullah

Submitted by Blackspeare (United States), Jul 26, 2006 at 16:14

While we analyze the individual battles and the stages of this campaign, we must not forget the most important aspect of this war: Hezbollah and what this terrorist organization symbolizes must be destroyed at any price. This is the only option that Israel has. Israel cannot afford a situation of strategic parity between Israel and Hizballah. If Hizballah does not experience defeat in this war, this will spell the end of Israeli deterrence against its enemies.

We choose this war and has reached a strategic crossroad. Following over two weeks of fighting, Israel has still not achieved its main goals on the battlefield. The talks about a political solution are still in their early stages. At the same time, Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has issued a declaration from his lair that he intends to move on to the stage that includes launching long-range rockets at Israeli towns south of Haifa.

Hizballah seeks to step up the war of attrition against civilian targets so that Israel will accept a vague cease-fire that will serve as a stepping stone for future attacks on Israel. Such a cease-fire should not be accepted.

Iran is known to be demanding that Syria increase its support for Hizballah in order to enable it to better resist the pressure from the Israel Defense Forces. Just as the United States would like Israel to defeat Hizballah, Iran does not want the organization destroyed and is doing everything in its power to prevent this. This shows that the military struggle has still not reached its peak, nor have the diplomatic efforts.

It is important for the Israeli public to know that there are critical issues to be decided. What matters is not the future of the Shiite town of Bint Jbail or the Hizballah positions in Maroun Ras, but the future and safety of the State of Israel. This struggle will also determine Iran's position in the Middle East and its role among the Arab states. Some of the Arab states recognize this fact and do not wish Hizballah to emerge victorious in this campaign. Their stance does not stem from love of Israel, but from concerns for their own future.

If Israel's deterrence is shaken as a result of failure in battle, the hard-won peace with Jordan and Egypt will also be undermined. Israel's deterrence is what lies behind the willingness of moderate Arabs to make peace with it. Hamas, which calls for Israel's destruction, will be strengthened and it is doubtful whether any Palestinians will be willing to reach agreements with Israel. Therein lies the link between the fight with Hizballah and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There is also a link between Israel's deterrence and what the Israeli public feels, as well as what it is fed. Unfortunately, over the past few days, a new national sport has emerged in the Israeli media: criticizing the IDF to the point of humiliation and unearthing failures, real or otherwise. The war has barely started, yet there are already calls for a commission of inquiry.

There is a whole generation in Israel that may not recall how many useless cease-fire agreements were signed in Lebanon. The most significant, which followed the 1978 Litani Operation, established UNIFIL.

Israel does not need another cease-fire of this sort in southern Lebanon; it needs a new reality that, at the least, will distance Hizballah's military wing from this area. This is clear to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but Nasrallah and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are trying to prevent it.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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