The Fern Sidman Commentaries:
August 14th, 2006: "RESOLUTION FOR DISASTER"
In a matter of a few hours, the Israel Defense Forces will lay down their arms against the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon in what the United Nations has termed a “cease fire”. UN resolution 1701 calls for an immediate halt to Hezbollah attacks and Israeli “offensive military action.” It further calls for the deployment of Lebanese Army forces in southern Lebanon together with UNIFIL forces. The resolution also calls upon the international community to extend financial and humanitarian assistance to Lebanon, though it makes no mention of the damages suffered by Israel.
Under the persuasion of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Cabinet unanimously approved the UN resolution, with the lone abstention of Transportation Minister Sha’ul Mofaz.
According to Arutz Sheva (8/13/06), "the cease fire has already faced much domestic criticism in Israel. It does not meet the two stated objectives of Israel’s offensive in Lebanon: The release of the kidnapped soldiers and the disarming of Hezbollah."
Former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom of the Likud has stinging criticism of the ceasefire plan being formulated in the United Nations. He calls it a "disgrace" and a "historic tragedy."
Speaking with Voice of Israel Radio on Friday morning, Minister Shalom said if the UN proposal is accepted, "Israel’s position would be worse than it was at the beginning of the war: It does not call for a large multi-national force in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah would not be disarmed, and a parallel is made between our abducted soldiers and murderous Lebanese terrorists held by Israel such as Samir Kuntar."
"It could even be," Shalom said, "that Syria might conclude that it can get the Golan Heights back by sending over some missiles to Israel."
Shalom’s party colleague, former Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Yuval Shteinitz, took an even stronger stance. If Israel accepts this "shameful" cease fire, Shteinitz said Friday morning, "the government must resign and new elections must be held."
The Lebanese Cabinet has also approved the cease fire resolution, however according to CNN, (8/13/06), "The two Hezbollah members of the Lebanese Cabinet said Saturday the militia wanted to keep its weapons south of the Litani River — a zone the U.N. resolution calls for demilitarizing. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah indicated that the two Hezbollah ministers voted for it in a spirit of national unity. The Lebanese Cabinet planned to meet Sunday to discuss implementing the plan, but then postponed the meeting for up to two days. A Lebanese government minister said the postponement came at the request of parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, a key negotiator with Hezbollah, to give government officials more time to discuss the plan with Hezbollah." Hassan Nasrallah has stated unequivocally that Hezbollah forces will continue to conduct attacks as long as the Israeli army is on Lebanese soil.
Israel has maintained that its troops will remain in Lebanon until the Lebanese army and the international peacekeepers arrive to secure the buffer zone. According to news reports, that could take up to 7-10 days. Plenty of time for Hezbollah to regroup and rearm and come back with even more ferocity than it has already displayed. This war is far from over, but for the time being it is Hezbollah who can bask in the glory of victory.
It is clear that the leadership of the Israeli government has failed miserably in executing a military strategy that can ensure an Israeli victory over Hezbollah. Since the beginning of this conflict on July 12th, the flip flop, schizophrenic Olmert government has spoken loudly but has carried a small twig. Throughout this conflict Olmert had promised the people of Israel that the Jewish State would implement every measure to disarm Hezbollah and push their forces north of the Litani River in Lebanon. Let us review the inexplicable events of the last week. At the beginning of the week, the Israeli Cabinet voted to expand its ground offensive. Immediately subsequent to that vote, Olmert announced that the offensive would be delayed to allow for diplomatic measures to be taken. Hours before the UN vote on Friday, August 11th, the Olmert government switched gears once again and unleashed the 30,000 Israeli troops in Lebanon.
Even the media is in a quandary as to exactly what Israel’s strategy is and are collectively questioning the wisdom behind such erratic changes in policy. Hezbollah has declared victory over the "invincible" Israeli army, and rightfully so. This week alone Hezbollah has killed over 65 Israeli soldiers with the heaviest loss coming yesterday, with the killing of 24 Israeli soldiers and hundreds wounded. Over the last week, Hezbollah has launched over 160 Katyusha rocket attacks every single day aimed at northern Israel with the heaviest coming today with the launching of over 200 rockets, crippling the city of Haifa and surrounding areas. Thus far, 143 Israeli have been killed, while over 1000 have been wounded.
And while the world watches, the inept, confused and terrified Israeli government hands a monumental victory over to Hezbollah on a silver platter. The Olmert government is one that not only has failed to protect its citizens, to disarm Hezbollah terrorists, and to secure the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, it is one that is determined to herald a new era of more Israeli deaths as it emboldens Hezbollah through its cowardice and obsequious rhetoric. Even the banner headline of yesterday’s left leaning HaAretz newspaper stated that "Olmert Must Go".
It is clear that the government of Israel had no real and clear plan to ensure victory for Israel. It is clear that Olmert’s words and actions were not in sync. It is clear that the hesitation and indecisiveness of the Israeli government’s military strategy has paved the way to more destruction and much greater danger for the Israeli populace and military. It has admitted defeat because of its fear of world opinion and its inability, at the beginning of this conflict, to call for a massive ground offensive.
Weeks went by and despite Israeli air strikes, there was no clear indication that Hezbollah forces had been dramatically weakened. This war was handled by a bunch of amateurs and now Israel is paying the price. The legendary reputation of the Israeli army as a incredible and accomplished fighting force has been eradicated and thus has lost the respect of the world. What once was is no more, but what could have been was never realized because of a government that lacks the fortitude and temerity to call for bold actions. The government of Israel has acquiesced to its greatest nemesis, fear of world opinion.
It is a government that would rather see over a million of its citizens living in bomb shelters for over a month, to see its villages, towns and cities be rapidly destroyed and the lives of its people be thrown into total chaos. And so we stand humiliated and defeated as our enemies celebrate the impending downfall of "the Zionist entity" as they call it.
At this dark and painful moment in the history of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, it behooves us to pause and reflect on some profound words. Words that were spoken decades ago, words of vision and foresight, words of warning, that tragically were never heeded.
Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L, of blessed memory stated the following: "It may affect the tender soul of the more spiritually intellectual among us, but one can never attain peace or security by 'compromise' with bitter enemies who have no intentions of compromising with you." (Our Challenge, 1974, p. 32)
And to those who want this conflict to end without destroying those forces who seek our annihilation, and to those who seek peace through bogus cease fires, we must remember these words: "But the Arab problem will not go away, because the very existence of the Jewish State creates it." (Rabbi Meir Kahane, They Must Go, 1981, p. 8 )
And Rabbi Kahane in his incredible vision also stated, "The most fundamental obligation of government - the source of its legitimacy and right to rule over the people - is its responsibility to guarantee the lives and safety of its citizens. If it either cannot or will not fulfill that obligation, it faces the loss of its moral and legal authority." (Israel: Revolution or Referendum?, 1990, p. 95)
And the question that is at the very core of this conflict is as follows: "Is it not legitimate to challenge an Authority which is either unable or unwilling to put an end to a terror that takes the lives of its citizens and that threatens the very existence of the state?" (Rabbi Meir Kahane, Israel: Revolution of Referendum?. 1990, p. 110)
Let us clearly and unequivocally announce to the leaders of the State of Israel that: "In the name of 'peace' there would be no Jewish state; in the name of 'morality' there would be no Jewish nation." (Rabbi Meir Kahane, Our Challenge, 1974, p. 33)
Now is the time to appeal to the Almighty G-d of Israel, to beseech the Master of the Universe with our fervent and heartfelt prayers for our survival as a people and as nation. Now is the time to plead with the Almighty that he infuse our leaders with the courage and strength it takes to destroy our enemies and may He reveal His strength, His glory and His majesty for all the world to see.
And may we never forget these words: "If Jewish weakness in the eyes of the nation - if Jewish weakness is proof of G-d’s non-existence, then how do we prove to the nations that the G-d of Israel is indeed the One G-d? And not only is He not impotent, and not only exists, but He is G-d? Surely, by Jewish victory, Jewish strength." (Rabbi Kahane’s last speech, November 5, 1990)