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Hezbollah Wins

Hezbollah Wins

Israel is still paying for its defeat.


It was two years ago this month that Israel and Hezbollah went to war.

On July 12, 2006, Hezbollah, an Iranian-sponsored and Syrian-backed political and terrorist organization, staged an unprovoked raid across the Lebanon-Israel border, killing three Israelis and kidnapping two others, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. The war that ensued -- a war for which Hezbollah had openly prepared for six years, constructing fortified bunkers and amassing thousands of Katyusha artillery rockets along the border -- was a disaster for Israel. The fighting lasted for 33 bloody days, during which Israel achieved none of its key objectives: It didn't destroy Hezbollah, it didn't stop the barrage of rockets slamming into its northern cities, and it didn't rescue its kidnapped soldiers.

Never before had Israel's deterrent capability and its reputation for military indomitability suffered such a blow. For the first time in its history, Israel had faced an Arab army in battle and failed to defeat it. When the hostilities ended with the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, Hezbollah was still on its feet, bloodied but decidedly unbowed.

Two years on, Israel is still paying for its defeat.

In a humiliating capitulation last week, the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to free five Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists, plus a still-undetermined number of other security prisoners, in exchange for the corpses of Regev and Goldwasser. Among those to be turned loose is the notorious Palestinian murderer Samir Kuntar, who in 1979 savagely killed 4-year-old Einat Haran by smashing her skull against a rock with his rifle butt, having first shot her father in the back and then drowned him in the sea. Kuntar, who also killed two policemen and was responsible for the death of Einat's 2-year-old sister, is today being hailed as a hero by Israel's enemies. The Palestinian Authority calls him a "brave warrior," and Beirut is festooned with his picture.

Israel has almost certainly guaranteed the abduction of more of its citizens or soldiers in the future, and ensured the murder of other innocents in days to come.

This is not the first time Israel has negotiated with terrorists for the release of Israeli hostages (or their remains), nor the first time it has agreed to free brutal murderers. In so doing, it has almost certainly guaranteed the abduction of more of its citizens or soldiers in the future, and ensured the murder of other innocents in days to come.

With every such deal, Jerusalem erodes what little remains of its once-legendary reputation for avenging the deaths of Israelis killed by terrorists. The Israel that in 1976 flew a team of commandos 2,000 miles to rescue Jewish hostages being held in Uganda's Entebbe airport inspired respect and fear in its enemies. Israel today inspires their scorn. Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has said that despite Israel's nuclear power and military prowess, it "is weaker than a spider's web." Last week's agreement to swap live terrorists for dead soldiers can only have reinforced that opinion.

For months after Hezbollah's war with Israel ended, there were those who minimized the significance of its victory. Thomas Friedman argued in The New York Times, for example, that Hezbollah had "diminished its capability and Syria's and Iran's" and had failed to achieve "a single strategic gain." Under Resolution 1701, a new UN peacekeeping force, known as UNIFIL, was to patrol southern Lebanon and prevent Hezbollah from rearming or threatening Israel -- "a huge strategic loss for Hezbollah," in Friedman's words.

But UNIFIL has prevented nothing and 1701 is more or less a dead letter. Far from preventing the flow of new weapons to Hezbollah, the UN peacekeepers have routinely looked the other way as Iran has massively re-supplied its Lebanese proxy. Hezbollah is now far better armed than it was in July 2006, with an estimated 40,000 rockets deployed north of the border, and the ability to strike 97 percent of Israel's population. Israeli military intelligence reports that some 2,500 Hezbollah terrorists are in southern Lebanon, and have built a series of elaborate underground bunkers equipped with rocket launchers and mortar guns that can be fired by remote control.

Most alarming of all is Hezbollah's effective takeover of Lebanon's government, which it intimidated into submission through violent rampages in Beirut in May. Hezbollah extorted the right to name 11 cabinet ministers, giving it veto power over every government decision. Which means that Hezbollah is no longer a state-sponsored terrorist organization. Now it is something far more dangerous: a terrorist organization with a state of its own.

This article originally appeared in the Boston Globe.

July 5, 2008

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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) zamaaz, July 13, 2008 9:08 PM

accomodation out of fear

Dear Sir:

When God listened to Moses pleadings at the wilderness not to destroy Israel (because of its stubborn unfaithfulness) - it was so as God appreciated a good reason. It was indeed an accomodation out of true faith.

This time the state of Israel accomdated the demands of its enemies the Hezbollah - not because of fear, but to lack of faith in God.



(3) Beverly Kurtin, Ph.D., July 9, 2008 10:51 PM

What ever happened to "no compromise?

Muslims are ruthless murderers whose hate for Jews and Israel overrides any atom of humanity and decency any of them may have.

The murderer who is being released probably had always wanted to smash a Jewish child's head the way the Nazis did. Now he is being branded a miserable cowardly killer of defenseless children? No, a brave fighter.

Being the craven cowards they are a soulless people with hate as their only hope.

Iran today threatened the world by showing their power and their ability to reach Israel with their missiles. I pray that Israel and the rest of the world don't take the threat lightly as their mad man president wouldn't hesitate to attack Israel now they they have shown that they too have reached a level of cowardice by negotiating for two dead Israeli soldiers.

It is a day of shame for Israel and Hashem forbid, they have shown a crack through which our enemies can widen into an opening though which the Arab hoards can penetrate and murder tens of thousands more Jews.

Is this the start of a new Holocaust?

(2) Rose, July 9, 2008 7:06 AM

The unfair balance of Western Media

Israel's problem lies in the hands of the PC brigades,who seem to accept all the atrocities committed by muslims and expect best behaviour from non-muslims.
Muslims are OK to crush the skull of the innocents,they can terrorise us with their suicide bombers and their beheadings and yet we are supposed to treat them with humanity and buy the lie of such thing as "Moderate muslims".
Israel and the Western armies cannot compete with the allowances given to muslims.
It appears to me that muslims are ruling the day.No one criticizes them in Darfur or Israel.If they bomb us then it is our fault.Even our children are forced to submit to allah in our schools,madness is given the upper hand.

(1) Monica, July 8, 2008 5:10 PM

Death penalty

That's why Israel should institute the death penalty-so that the terroists can not kidnap & trade for those with "blood on their hands"

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