The Fern Sidman Commentaries:
July 27th, 2006: "THE HEAT IS ON"
As day 15 of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah terrorists concluded, it was reported that little was
accomplished on the diplomatic front at the Rome summit. United States Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice was
joined by the United Nations, European Union countries, Arab states such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as
well as Canada, Russia, Cyprus and Turkey in seeking a resolution the burgeoning war between Israel and Hezbollah.
According to CNN’s John King, Secretary of State Rice was “under siege” by world leaders who pressed for an
"immediate cease fire in the region". The position of the United States as voiced by Secretary Rice was that a
cease fire must be "sustainable" and cessation of hostilities must be part of a wider plan to permanently disarm
Lebanese Hezbollah militants.
CNN reported that, "one source involved in the talks said everyone but the United States wanted to press ahead
with an immediate cease-fire, but Rice argued that taking that approach would leave Hezbollah in place and still
armed with its rockets."
Rice also expressed concern over what she said was Iran and Syria’s involvement in the conflict, while UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan said that future dialogue should involve Tehran and Damascus.
The Israeli government, which was not invited to the Rome meeting, said Wednesday it hopes the "international
community will act immediately to strengthen the Lebanese army" so that it can take charge of south Lebanon.
In its statement, Israel said it wants a U.N. resolution calling for Lebanese militias to be disarmed and a G8
statement calling for the release of all abducted soldiers.
"Israel is forced to continue to defend its citizens because of the failure to implement these resolutions until
now," the statement read.
It was also reported by CNN’s John King that Secretary Rice told the summit that she could convince Israel to agree
to a cease fire if the international community would orchestrate efforts to pressure Hezbollah to disarm. The
members of the summit rejected that proposal. Hezbollah has vowed to continue to wage war against Israel. King
also reported that Secretary Rice would be returning to Israel by the weekend to assess whether Israel would be
agreeable to a return of the Shebaa Farms region to Lebanon and to a prsioner exchange.
There is no question that the proverbial political heat has been turned on high and now the United States, under
a tremendous amount of world pressure is considering the option of asking Israel to make territorial compromises
and to discuss a possible prisoner exchange .So much for the global war on terror and the strident policy of
isolation of terrorists. Those who were persona non grata just yesterday, may turn into negotiating partners
Let us look at the facts of who the United States would like to reward for its kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and
its rocket attacks on Israel. The history of the Hezbollah terrorist network is replete with numerous and multiple
attacks and murders of American military personnel and civilians as well as its legendary hatred and attacks on
Israel. The facts are as follows:
July 19, 1982: The president of the American University in Beirut, Davis S. Dodge, is kidnapped. Hezbollah is
believed to be behind this and most of the other 30 Westerners kidnapped over the next ten years.
April 18, 1983: Hezbollah attacks the U.S. embassy in Beirut with a car bomb, killing 63 people, 17 of whom were
Oct. 23, 1983: The group attacks U.S. Marine barracks with a truck bomb, killing 241 American military personnel
stationed in Beirut as part of a peace-keeping force. A separate attack against the French military compound in
Beirut kills 58.
Sept. 20, 1984: The group attacks the U.S. embassy annex in Beirut with a car bomb, killing 2 Americans and 22
March 16, 1984: William F. Buckley, a CIA operative working at the U.S. embassy in Beirut, is kidnapped and later
April 12, 1984: Hezbollah attacks a restaurant near the U.S. Air Force Base in Torrejon, Spain. The bombing kills
eighteen U.S. servicemen and injures 83 people.
Dec. 4, 1984: Hezbollah terrorists hijack a Kuwait Airlines plane. Four passengers are murdered, including two
Feb. 16, 1985: Hezbollah publicizes its manifesto. It notes that the group’s struggle will continue until Israel
is destroyed and rejects any cease-fire or peace treaty with Israel.
June 14, 1985: Hezbollah terrorists hijack TWA flight 847. The hijackers severely beat Passenger Robert Stethem,
a U.S. Navy diver, before killing him and dumping his body onto the tarmac at the Beirut airport. Other passengers
are held as hostages before being released on June 30.
Feb. 17, 1988: The group kidnaps Col. William Higgins, a U.S. Marine serving with a United Nations truce monitoring
group in Lebanon, and later murders him.
Oct. 22, 1989: Members of the dissolved Lebanese parliament ratify the Taif Agreement. Although the agreement
calls for the “disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias,” Hezbollah remains active.
Feb. 16, 1992: Sayyad Hassan Nasrallah takes over Hezbollah after Israel kills the group’s leader, Abbas Musawi.
March 17, 1992: With the help of Iranian intelligence, Hezbollah bombs the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing
29 and injuring over 200.
July 18, 1994: Hezbollah bombs the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires again with Iranian help killing 86 and
injuring over 200.
October 1997: The United States lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
May 23, 2000: Israel withdraws all troops from Lebanon after 18 years patrolling the “security zone,” a strip of
land in the south of the country. The security zone was set up to prevent attacks on northern Israel.
June 2000: United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan certifies Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. Shortly
thereafter, the U.N. Security Council endorses Annan’s report. Hezbollah nonetheless alleges Israel occupies
Lebanon, claiming the small Shebaa Farms area Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 war as Lebanese territory.
Oct. 7, 2000: Hezbollah attacks an Israel military post and raids Israel, kidnapping three Israeli soldiers. The
soldiers are later assumed dead. In mid-October, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah announces the group has also kidnapped
an Israeli businessman. In 2004, Israel frees over 400 Arab prisoners in exchange for the business man and the
bodies of the three soldiers.
March 1, 2001: The British government adds Hezbollah’s "military wing" to its list of outlawed terrorist
Dec. 11, 2002: Canada lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
June 5, 2003: Australia lists Hezbollah’s "military wing" as a terrorist organization.
Sept. 2, 2004: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 calls for "the disbanding and disarmament of all
Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias," a reference to Hezbollah.
December 2004: Both the United States and France ban Hezbollah’s satellite television network, Al Manar. A U.S.
State Department spokesman notes the channel "preaches violence and hatred."
March 10, 2005: The European Parliament overwhelmingly passes a resolution stating: "Parliament considers that
clear evidence exists of terrorist activities by Hezbollah. The (EU) Council should take all necessary steps to
curtail them." The European Union nonetheless refrains from placing the group on its list of terror organizations.
July 12, 2006: Hezbollah attacks Israel with Katyushas, crosses the border and kidnaps two Israeli soldiers. Eight
other soldiers are killed. Israel launches operation to rescue the soldiers and push Hezbollah from its border.
Hezbollah attacks towns across northern Israel with rocket fire.
Talk of any Israeli compromises at this juncture in time would be interpreted by the world community that Israel
has indeed “behaved deplorably” in this war for the preservation of the nation of Israel. It would tell the world
that Israel “owes” something to Lebanon for “the ravages of war”. This kind of talk only defeats any chance at
lasting peace in the region and would be an egregious regression in the US lead campaign against world terror.
It is true that the United States is buying time with the international community in order to allow Israel to
push Hezbollah further into Lebanon and to eradicate its presence from the Lebanese-Israeli border. It is clear
that the war against Hezbollah cannot be limited to a US timetable. It is a war unlike any other war that Israel
has ever fought. Unlike the conventional armies of yesteryear, the battle to thwart and conquer these Hezbollah
guerrillas requires patience and precise targeting.
Israel has stated that this conflict could last for “several more weeks”. While the patience of the international
community is running thin, the United States must not acquiesce to world pressuire for its own sake. Israel has
also announced its intention to expand its offensive. While Israel has sustained many deaths and casualties thus
far, a major ground offensive must not be ruled out.
While the pressure is mounting and these times are exceptionally tense for Israel, we must remember who
Hezbollah is. Terror is their theology and hate is their mantra.
The greatest weapon we possess is our faith and loyalty to our Creator, the Almighty G-d of Israel. Our prayers,
our adherences to His Torah and His commandments can and will be our only source of true deliverance from our
enemies who are bent on our destruction. Let us remember the words of King David who said, “If only My people
would heed me, if Israel would walk in My way, in an instant, I would subdue their foes and against their
tormentors, lift My Hand” (Psalm 81).
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