Sunday, August 13, 2006

posted by Yonatan

Nothing now can ever come to any good

Twenty four soldiers killed over the weekend, and 13 badly injured, which probably means the death toll will be higher.

I don't personally know any of the dead who's names were released. It feels like I almost know them, like I could know them, but this chasm of "almost" is very wide. Listening to the names being read on the radio, while driving to work, I could not help but feel, alongside the great pain, some relief because of it. It is a terrible kind of relief.

On the other side of the chasm, trying to make sense of these deaths from a detached point of view, I ask myself: If this is a war, shouldn't it be expected that soldiers will be killed? Aren't they legitimate targets for the enemy? And in light of both Israel and Lebanon accepting the new security council resolution, do these deaths support Israeli interests in any way, or would the end result had been the same regardless of recent military actions? I fear I know the answers to these questions, and they only make these deaths more terrible.

Throughout this war, many Israeli commentators, talkbackers, bloggers and forumist wrote that Israel must win this war. I don't think that this is happening. Gideon Levi wrote today that some good might come out of it (Israel and the US will learn the limits of military power and be driven to make peace), but I suspect that he's dead wrong. I suspect that in Lebanon it has already reestablished Hizbollah's power, which was on the decline since Al-Hariri's assassination. In the OT, and in the Islamic countries in general, it will encourage radical Islam. In Israel, it will be taken as a lesson for how to deal with the OT - we withdrew from Lebanon, and in 6 years Hizbollah established itself as a power we can not get rid of. Hence - people will argue - the same thing will happen if we withdraw from the OT. This will destroy the one good thing we could have hoped for from PM Olmert.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Yonatan

For additional views and information on this bloody fiasco and the realities of the OT, I recommend an Israeli site:

What I would like to ask some of the people writing this blog is why I, an Israeli citizen, should have hoped for an Israeli victory, instead of trying to end the war ASAP. Elon wrote something about this ("it all boils down to the question whether we can defeat Hizbullah"). If we take the famous Hebrew maxim about having to choose between the plague and the cholera, then the Israeli generals and other occupation and war mongers are definitely a plague.
Elon was hoping for an Israeli victory. Such a victory would have meant more oppression of people in our region. I even doubt if it would have promoted a pressing issue like women's rights in the region. Take Iraq for example, and compare women's rights there (not to mention their existence) nowadays, under the occupation, to the rights they had under the secular dictatorship. What about Saudi Arabia? what would an Israeli victory have done for the women there?...

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again (Ofer N, Jlm.)

I wrote the previous comment. And here's an article by Prof. Zeev Maoz, who is not your typical radical leftie. If this doesn't seem well founded, just consider the miserable flip-floppish conduct of Amos Oz, A.B Yehoshua and David Grossman (who lost his son to this war, how horrible), and the likes.

By Prof. Zeev Maoz

Since the beginning of the war in Lebanon more and more voices are being heard in the media – by journalists and commentators as well as by various intellectuals who are describing the current campaign as a war of existence, a fight for our homes and the continuation of the war of independence.

And indeed they are all right, these are not superficial clichés, this is indeed a war of existence, a fight for our homes, and a continuation of the war of independence.

However, the war of existence is not being conducted between the State of Israel - with its nuclear arms and ballistic missiles, hundreds of war planes, assault helicopters and thousands of tanks - and between 2,500 Hizbullah guerillas and their 10,000 rockets. A war of existence is not carried out between a small and radical organization, borne out of a megalomaniac decision taken by Ariel Sharon and Menachem Begin to create a new Middle East, and between Israel.

The military struggle in Lebanon is a small and limited conflict, whose major victims are innocent civilians from both sides of the tracks. The real war is over the image and soul of the State of Israel.

War over values

This is a war without fire, and it is being conducted within Israel`s borders – its results, however, are more important than the struggle between Israel and the Hizbullah in Lebanon.

This is a war over values, over the essence of civilian courage, over stating truths however painful and unpopular, even while the cannons are resounding thunderously; this is a war over the image and the future of Israel as moral state.

This is in fact a war between a minority and a majority: between few in number, who since the first shot was fired named this war appropriately - a war of deception and stupidity between those who started it, are running it and lending it an ideological tailwind.

This is a war where few are trying to shatter the sacred consensus of those digging up excuses that would justify the overall conflict against the Lebanese inhabitants, and instead are continuing its failing management while they look for excuses to prevent its cessation.

The war in Lebanon is a conflict whereby the political stupidity, blindness, blundering military actions and lack of justice and morals go hand in hand. This is a war in which we and the Hizbullah (as well as the US) are competing over the level of stupidity and who will shoot himself in the leg more often.

How much blood?

The main question being asked in this conflict is how much blood will be spilt on both sides, until we return to a starting point that uncannily resembles the one which preceded the outbreak of the conflict.

On examining the campaign via a historical perspective, I believe that we will realize that the military and political results didn`t alter much in the political and strategic arenas. I am of the opinion that in a historic perspective we shall witness another episode in the series of tragedies that could have been prevented by creative diplomacy and political sensitivity that are so lacking in the Middle East.

A moral war of existence is crucial for the long term image and future of the State of Israel. If the moral war is won by the majority, if the victors are those who support blind realignment led by short sighted people who are transforming policies into a captive of brutal militarism – then the physical devastation and the loss of human life inflicted on Israel as a result of the Hizbulla`s attacks, will be minor in comparison to the moral cost we shall be forced to pay in the long term.

However, every crisis presents importunities alongside the dangers. The fact that Israel is still witnessing people in the streets demonstrating against this deceptive war, the fact that free press prevails enabling the lashing out of harsh criticism against cabinet policies, against the IDF and those intellectuals who express their support for the stupidity and blunder of its leadership – instills hope that we can win this battle, despite the uneven balance of powers.

There is still hope

There is still hope that some influential people will stand up and say: enough of this stupidity, enough of this blind political force that is creating tomorrow`s worst enemies, in the same way we created the Hizbullah and Hamas.

There is still a chance that those few sane people left in the cabinet, who have fallen asleep while on guard, will awaken from their slumber and say: we made a terrible mistake, we have turned the war into a substitute for policy instead of an outcome.

There is still hope that it will not be humanitarian tragedies such as the second village of Qana tragedy that will bring about a ceasefire, but rather diplomacy that will bring about a change by combining incentives and threats, not forceful coercion that only entrenches us deeper into the military quagmire.

And if we have the mental strength to admit our mistakes and try and learn from them, so as not to repeat them, then this will be Israel`s greatest victory against the Hizbullah, against Iran and against all those forces posing a threat to our existence.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Yonatan said...

Ofer N,
Even Olmert's stated goals, unrealistic as they clearly were, did not include an improvement of women rights in the middle east.

You should have hoped for an Israeli victory because it would have stregthened the anti-syrian forces in Lebanon, helping it become a true democracy.

You should have hoped for an Israeli victory because it would have stregthened the pragmatic Palestinian forces, seeing that even a well financed and well trained organization like the Hizbollah will be defeated by Israel when push came to shove.

But most importantly, you should have hoped for an Israeli victory because it would have given Olmert the power to withdraw from the west bank.

Many people feel that the second Intifadah was motivated by the success of the Hizbollah to drive Israel out. That the lesson was that force, rather than diplomacy, is the way. The left's response is usually that if hostilities continue after Israel withdrew to the '67 borders, Israel will then have the right to defend itself as a country fighting another country.

As I wrote in this post, I am certain people in Israel will take the Israeli loss as a lesson that we must forcefully prevent a similar scenario from arising in Gaza and the West Bank.

1:42 PM  
Blogger howie said...

I think most people in Israel will think along the lines Americans did after it with overwhelming force...or don't do it.

Hiz. may have set back the ME peace track a whole lot of years...unless the Lebanese government and people, with the same will they used against Syria, can pull off a miracle.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Yonatan

First of all, my argument was with Elon, who unlike Olmert, cares for human rights. From the broader perspective, We should be asking ourselves whether an Israeli victory would have been good for peace and human rights in our region, the real indicators of long term stability. Nope.

What you describe corresponds more to a Hizbullah victory. I haven't claimed this is desirable. But power drunk Israeli generals and politicians would certainly not give up the occupied Golan, Ariel, Qdumim, and Kiryat Arba. So what's the point in caring for the moderate Palestinians and wanting to strengthen them? They would only be treated as "featherless fledglings" (Sharon on Abu Mazen)yet again.

BTW, after the disengagement plan, I, as an MK, would vote against Olmert's unilateral plan, since the package includes, other than dismantling some settlements, measures which intensify the occupation and sow the seeds of more violence. So there's nothing good in Olmert, I'm afraid...

Ofer N

12:50 AM  
Blogger howie said...

Today I think I lost hope.

Up until maybe even today, I thought there could be land for peace...I don't think I believe it anymore.

I do not care for the "Right" with the Messianic visions of us doing what is right in God's eye. God is the God of Palestinians and Syrians and Lebanese and does not love us more than them.

The "Left" utterly digusts me. A view of how things ought to be, very nice, but a grand tendency to ignore facts and history.

Looks like folks like Begin and Bibi and Shamir are more-or-less correct. Though nobody ever said it, we have been in a 100 year war of attrition with occasional exacerbations into outright war. And today I realize that this is what the future holds until the Messiah does show up.
Prof. Moaz can blame who he wants in Israel and spout all that Leftist university conspiracy crap he wants. "Occupation war mongers". Let him move to a place more to his liking...try Iran Prof. Moaz...or the University of San Francisco. Disgusting.

The blame simply falls on the Arabs...plan and simple. They have chosen war and terror, whining and blaming and have no true intention of making peace, not those that have a say so anyhow.

It pains me to write these words, but the truth hurts they say.

2:14 AM  
Blogger Nobody said...

Did you give up on this blog completely?

If yes but you still have occasionally something to post i am inviting you to do it on my blog.

11:00 PM  

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