Saturday, July 29, 2006

posted by Ofer

Winning and Losing

In 2000 we lost to Hizbullah for the first time, and we payed a dear price for this loss. I don't think it was a mistake to withdraw in 2000, I think it was a mistake to be there in the first place. It was a mistake to have put ourselves in a situation where we had not option but to lose. The loss in 2000 motivated and inspired the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and lead to countless terrorist attacks inside our boarders.

For this reason, Israel cannot afford to lose the current war in Lebanon. If Hizbullah gains another victory, we're in for some real trouble on the Palestinian front. It was probably a mistake to start a land-war on Lebanese soil, but now that we're there, we cannot retreat with our tail between our legs. We have no option but to win this thing. Its really not a question of pride, its about looking ahead and understanding the severe consequences of losing.

For the same reasons, Israel cannot agree to give Nasrallah everything he is demanding. This would also be conceived as a victory for Nasrallah, and a loss for Israel.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it as simple as "winning and losing" to you when their are human lives involved? Not everyone in Lebanon supports Hizbollah. So far, it doesn't seem like Israel's doing a very good job at removing hizbollah from Lebanon, because they're still bombing northern Israel. The question must then be asked, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU BOMBING? Because it certainly doesn't seem like you're hitting any hizbollah targets! Reading your entry, for the first time in my 22 years, made me physically feel like I was going to vomit. Have a nice day.

- Boston

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

their = there

11:39 PM  
Blogger Ofer said...

It is not as easy as "winning or losing" and I don't think that I said that it was in my post. But you cannot deny that "winning" is a major issue in this war. Nasrallah sure used his win in 2000 to gain some political ground. The Hamas used our loss in 2000 to their advantage.

If you had gone to the trouble of reading my previous posts, you would have seen my opinion on the humantarian situation in Lebanon. That opinion does not contradict this post about "winning" in any way. I think that if Israel "wins" this war, the entire Middle East will gain from it.

You clearly have a simplistic and infantile perspective ("Israel is bombing civilians, therefore Israel is evil, end of story").

If my opinions make you vomit, then please don't read this blog. I don't need another sick person on my conscience, I already have 500,000 displaced Lebanese.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Maddy said...

When the IRA killed British soldiers in Ireland the British Army didn't run away. Israel can't run either.

Hizballah is no different to the IRA, and they will lose because the people of Lebanon want peace not war.

Hamas, Hizballah, Al Qaeda are all terrorist groups who have to hide from the public because the public don't support them.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

"Israel is bombing civilians, therefore Israel is evil, end of story".

Do you believe in the concept of a war crime?

Britain bombed innocent civilians in Dresden during WW2. This would now be seen as a war crime: Hitler being the aggressor did not justify the wanton murder of innocent civilians.

The dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes.

Yes, wars happen - but does Israel's attack on Lebanon have to be so brutal, so wanton?

Do you really know what it's all about?

Has it not occurred to you that this might really be about destroying Hezbollah (as well as bringing Lebanon to its knees) prior to an assault on Syria and Iran - for the cause of a 'greater Israel', for oil, and to secure US markets in the Middle East? No matter how many thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians have to die in the process? Are you really so blind as to not see the bigger picture here?

1:54 AM  
Blogger alya said...

Do you consider the 500,000 displaced (now 800,000) Lebanese sick people? Ofer, your state is the number 1 aggressor in the world. Please don't give excuses to cover their atrocity.

1:57 AM  
Blogger ran said...

dear alya, ofer didn't mean the 500,000 misplaced are sick, but that they are on his conscience (together with the vomitting dude...). quite the opposite from how you read it. maybe this is a sign for you that you see the situation from a vary narrow angle that interprets every act of israel (and every word an israeli writes) as pure violence without any rational to it.
I encourage you to read through the posts on this blog and see we are not that bad. that we really want peace. and that we feel most of the wars in the region were imposed on israel.

2:50 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Maddy, please do your research.

Hamas was democratically elected into power by the Palestinian public, who obviously DO support them because they see them as able to represent their needs.

Al Qaeda was originally set up by the CIA to fight the Russians in Afhanistan. The term Al Qaeda just means 'database' as in 'a database of Mujahadeen we can train up to help further US aims'.

Hizbollah came into being as an opposing force to Israel's 18-year occupation of Lebanon.

I think if a foreign army invaded your country you'd be pretty unhappy about it too, and be inclined to support an organisation that opposed the occupation.

Especially if it provided schools, hospitals, an extensive social development programme, as well as economic and infrastructural development projects, agricultural centres providing farmers with technical assistance and training, an environmental department and an extensive social assistance programme.

Hardly your typical 'terrorist group'.

I'm not seeking to justify the worst excesses of any of these groups, merely to inform you how and why they came into being.

You may also like to look into Western infiltration and funding of 'Al Qaeda', such as the British MI5's payment of thousands of pounds of British money to an Al Qaeda operative, to assassinate Gadaffi.

Nothing is quite as clear-cut as it seems, and it pays to look outside the box and do extensive research.

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical. Anyone who doesn't agree with your point of view is simple minded. Or anti-semitic. It's easier to dismiss arguments than address them, isn't it?


6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. - I never went looking for your blog. You posted a link to your blog on beirutupdate.blogspot. Part of me sees where Israel is coming from, in being hyper-defensive, hyper-offensive even, in having its existence threatened. I came to your blog thinking that maybe I would be able to empathize with your views, but I can't because they're self-centered. I didn't come here looking to pick a fight. I came here to see what the Israeli perspective might be, and I was sickened by it. Trust me, I won't be reading anymore of your blog. I'm just reading the comments to see what you have to say for yourself.

7:01 AM  
Blogger alya said...


I have read few of the posts on this blog in the hope to find something that would give me a different perspective. I wasn't looking for lies but they kept bumping. You can't blame me for seeing all Israeli acts as "violent". When were they not?

11:07 AM  
Blogger Ofer said...

Alya - As Ran correctly stated, you completely misread my remark about the displaced Lebanese. I know how terrible the situation is. I read almost all of the Lebanese blogs on a daily basis, I also read AlJezeera in english. At least try to be fair when reading my posts. And about the alleged "lies" on my blog, I will back every word written in this blog with my good name and with factual proof. Please tell me what you think is inaccurate and I'll gladly focus on that. There are things that I am ashamed of, but I promise you that I will openly discuss them with you and that I will not hide behind lies.

Sarah - Apparently, you call your conspiracy websites "research". There are no plans to expand Israel. Elvis is dead and there are no aliens in area 57.

Anonymous - I think that I addressed your comment very much to the point. I replied that it not as simple as winning or loosing, but that there is a concept of winning and that its important. I don't want you to empathize with my views, I merely want you to understand my views before you disagree with them. I want you to understand that I have views to begin with, and that our actions are not arbitrary. Although we disagree, you must accept that fact that we honestly believe that we are doing a morally justified thing.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah but that's the problem with crazy people; they don't realize they're crazy.

1:29 AM  
Blogger Ofer said...

hey anonymous - now who's dismissing arguments instead of addressing them ?

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Ofer, with all respect I still believe you are misinformed - or rather, inadequately informed. Please read this; it is a report called "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000." prepared by a group of neo-conservatives within the US administration.

It's not 'a conspiracy theory' - it's from the horse's mouth.

Please read it very carefully and consider alonside it the current actions in Lebanon and the probable future actions in Syria. This paragraph seems rather significant in light of current (and fairly recent) events:

'Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right —'

The report was written, I think, in 1996 - when Clinton was still in power and when figures like Richard Perle and David Wurmser had no influence on the White House. Today they are in positions of prominence, and Stage 1 of the plan outlined has already been carried out - the removal of Saddam.


1:47 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Ofer, I've just seen this too, in the Jerusalem Post:

'Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.'

'America'? Whose America? Which Americans? Could it be the likes of Richard Perle, David Wurmser and friends, who seem to wield such enormous influence?

I think we/you should be told.


1:55 PM  
Blogger ran said...

Hi sarah,
First of all I have to admire your persistence... I believe it comes from your real feeling of being right and the desire to convince others and make a change.
I don't think any of the articles you referenced proved anything to me. No need for conspiracy theories. Of course there are people who push our government to plan wars and operations. Of course the neocons are bloodthirsty. But these things are not the main drivers of Israeli policy. Until the current Bush administration Israel defied the US administrations who had a more peaceful agenda. We are more independent than you think.
I too oppose this war. I think the aggressor and provocator is 100% Hizbullah in the current crisis, but I also think Israel should have given more time for a diplomatic retaliation before raging war.
Israel is violent but it doesn't wish to expand (this is a fact - the government and most of the opposition in Israel reject any expansions. On the contrary most of them are talking about how to do the withdrawal from the occupied lands in a way that will both satisfy the palestinians and bring security to Israel).
I urge you to think for yourself instead of quoting others. On every article you reference I can give you 10 which show the opposite or that show how some muslim states and organiztions openly call for Israel's destruction. Assume that all sides involved are human as much as you are, and try to think what might drive and motivate them to war.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Ran, I only wish you were right - but I have a powerful instinct that current Middle East events are being driven primarily by the neo-cons in America. They, after all, were behind the Iraq war, using false evidence of WMD as an excuse. Now this. So why are the US so reluctant to urge Israel and Hezbollah towards a ceasefire? Because they want this!

If Syria is next on the list - and how many will have to die there? - who wants it? America and the Israeli far-right. If Iran is also attacked - who wants it? America and the Israeli far-right.

Please, please pay attention and do the research. Look at the evidence and compare what's going on right now with the neo-con plans of 1996 for the Middle East. Call me paranoid if you like but surely you'd have to have your head in the sand not to see a wider pre-planned agenda here.

This has to be stopped for the sake of us all - the neo-cons are truly crazy.

6:44 PM  
Blogger ran said...

Hi sarah,
I agree that the US neocons and far-right Israelis influence Israeli policy in a few ways - financial, ideological and other. But you see, there is no secret comitee here which decides things. All things are decided by the governments, and these change every few years, and with them the sources of influence. But lets not keep arguing about this.
I am curious to know - what do you think are the problems and their sources (except the neocons ;-) ) in the region, and how do you think things should be played out ? If you were the president of the USA, what solutios would you promote ? Or' if you think the USA should not interfere, what would you do as the PM of Lebanon or Israel ?

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Hi Ran

The problems go back a long way, don't they - right the way back to 1948. It really isn't possible to summarise the problems and work out solutions in a message box but I'll give you some of my ideas - probably very naive, but you have to start somewhere.

Firstly, it'll take many years. The children on both sides have to brought up without hate, and as they get older they have to be told the truth of what has happened over the years, without bias one way or the other.

There have to be many initiatives for young Palestinians and young Israelis to get to know each other, to work and to study and to play together.

The leaders and politicians on both sides have to talk regularly and honestly. They have to listen to each others' grievances, find ways of compromising without losing dignity, make concessions without losing face. The extremists on both sides have to be marginalised and kept out of power, because only the moderates on both sides have it within them to make these compromises and take the people with them.

As it happens, some prominent Palestinians and Israelis were about to hold a meeting just a few short weeks ago, to start hammering out a deal that could have led to lasting peace. Just before the meeting the Shin Bet Security Forces arrested some of the Palestinians and told them they would be imprisoned if they went ahead with the meeting. The meeting was cancelled and Gaza was invaded the next day. This is an example of extremists preventing peace.

An example of more extremism that will lead to more extremism: I don't believe the current Israeli actions are truly a response to the seizing of the two soldiers - I think it was preplanned and that the above was just an excuse. And if it was a reaction to that, then it was an unbelievably disproportionate reaction because now probably 750 Lebanese people are dead, and whatever hatred existed between Arabs and Israelis will have multiplied a hundredfold. What good can come of it? As people keep saying - violence begets violence.

So in the end, I don't think extremism - even as a reaction to extremism - can ever make a situation better. And if the original extremism was a reaction to something, then it probably arose because people felt desperate and unheard, and need to be listened to and have their concerns acted on before they can be expected to give up their acts of extremism. People in desperate situations are driven to extreme measures.

So - if there had been negotiation, and Israel had traded some of the Lebanese prisoners for the soldiers who were snatched, 800 people would be alive today who are now dead. How can this war have been the right decision? It should have been: negotiation, negotiation, negotiation. Always keep talking. Always make concessions, always be prepared to compromise.

How can what's happening now ever lead to a lasting peace? So many more seedsof hatred have been sown - it's a total, total nightmare.

The Palestinians need their own homeland but where is the will for that with your current administration? It seems further away than ever, but it needn't have come to this.

I'm sorry but I have to come back to those neo-cons, because they do seem to be the ones behind all this. They've made up their minds what they want, and they're prepared to kill and kill and kill until they get it. And yes they ARE directing Israeli policy right now - but it's all in secret.

And if I had been the President of the USA - I would have done everything in my power to get the Israelis and the Palestinians to talk to each other, make compromises and find a lasting peace.

You say the Israeli government changes every few years but actually for quite a long time now we've had right-wing extremists in power. And you may have noticed that when the right-wing extremists are in power things get much much worse. And that's where you are right now, in a truly dreadful situation, all brought about because of bad decisions.

Look, surely most people both in Israel and in the occupied territories just want to live in peace and to be able to get on with their lives. They have had enough of all this. It's the politicians who want war, the powerbrokers and the arms maunfacturers..... do we really want our futures to be run by them?

I have to go away tomorrow so won't be able to post for about a week.

Perhaps next week tell me what you would do if you had the power and the influence - I'd be truly interested to know.

All the best to you and please be safe.


3:57 AM  
Blogger ran said...

Hi sarah,
Nicely put. If more people in Israel would have invested the amount of thinking as you do maybe things could have been better.
Generally I agree with you on all the points you raised. Of course you have to understand that the use of force is sometimes neccesary (not right now in Lebanon) for self defence, but should be used as a last resort.
I think Israel should invest more energy on the psychological and mental side of the conflict, as this will have long term effects. It should let more international intervention to take place in the occupied territories.
As for the actual solutions on the ground, I beleive everybody knows what they are: peace with syria with golan heights returned to them. palestinian state side by side with israel on all the lands occupied in 1967 (there will be some marginal swap of land on a 1:1 ratio) and east jerusalem with joint sovereignity or international one or some other arrangement that will ensure the access of jews to their holy places. That's it. All that will remain is Iran and Hizbullah. We have nothing to give them. I hope their threat will subside when all the rest of the conflict is solved.
I'm not certain this will bring lasting peace, as some people on both sides will not be satisfied with these solutions.

1:04 PM  

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