Sunday, July 23, 2006

Diplomacy and the Hounds of Hell, Part VI

Is Israel opening up to the possibility of an international force to deal with the situation in Lebanon? That appears to be the case, and NATO is being mentioned.
“Due to the weakness of the Lebanese army, we support the deployment in south Lebanon of a multi-national force with broad authority,” said Peretz. The Defense Minister told reporters after the meeting that the force would be comprised of NATO soldiers.

Peretz told Steinmeier that Israel was willing to consider diplomatic options in an effort to end the Re-Engagement War. However, he said, military goals would not be sacrificed in the process.

“We are continuing military operations but also intend to create as broad a diplomatic operation as possible,” he said. “We definitely see a combination of the existing military activity and a complimentary international operation.

Peretz warned, however, that international politics would not stay Israel’s military hand before the terrorist threat from Hizbullah was eliminated. “The objectives that we set will be met,” he said bluntly.
That comes at a time when the Lebanese Foreign Minister stated that two Israeli soldiers, Goldwasser and Regev, captured by Hizbullah in the raid that killed eight other Israelis are in good condition.

Note that Israel is not mentioning the UN. There's good reason for that. The UN already has a peacekeeping force on the border, and it is not only completely ineffectual, but it has been found to be comingling with Hizbullah. And the head of the UN Humanitarian mission, Jan Egeland, keeps complaining about how Israel is destroying entire buildings in Lebanon. Not a single comment about how a terrorist group is using human shields to exascerbate the situation and to win the media war because their actions violate international law in too many ways to count. But that's the UN for you.

Hizbullah has fired more than 2,200 rockets into Israel. Another two Israelis were killed in Haifa. And all those rockets have injured nearly 1,300 people in Israel. Anyone hear how Hizbullah is fighting with restraint or disproportionate force? I didn't think so.

Lest we forget, the Islamic terrorist group has fired 2,200 rockets into Israel. The Israelis believe that the Iranians have funded Hizbullah to the tune of $100 million.

Iran continues to squawk about how Israel is going to be annihilated; that its current actions have kick started the process. Are Iranians fearful of their governments use and support of Hizbullah as pulling them into foreign entanglements? That's the thrust of a NYT article.

Syria says it will attack Israel if approached. That hasn't stopped Syria before from assisting Hizbullah in the past. And they're continuing to do so. As is Iran.

Israel, meanwhile, continues its ground operations in and around Southern Lebanon.

Secretary of State Rice is due in Jerusalem tomorrow to discuss the situation. And is the US trying to rescue Syria from its Iranian entanglement? I consider it a remote possibility, and Ed Morrissey has the details.

Ed also notes that Hamas appears ready to throw in the towel, based on a Ha'aretz story. I had made a similar observation a couple days ago when the Israelis launched their massive raid on the Beirut bunker. Hamas in Gaza knows it could have been them targeted by 23 tons of bombs in a raid to take out all the leaders. The idea of a deal appears to have split Hamas leadership in Gaza with their counterparts in Syria. Well, that isn't a surprise. Gaza has been repeatedly pounded and Hamas terrorists there are under constant harrassment and interdiction fire, while the Syrian part of Hamas is free to operate in the open. Quite a bit can be said for a changed perspective when you come under retaliatory fire.

Wizbang fact checks the New York Times editorial page, that repeatedly calls for a ceasefire that will only give aid and comfort to Hizbullah, who plainly and repeatedly calls for Israel's annihilation. Special aim is taken at Rashid Khalidi (ed: I know, too easy, but someone has to).

The primary bloggers to check with are Carl in Jerusalem, Israellycool, Dave Bender, Meryl Yourish, Euphoric Reality, Pajamas Media, and Hot Air. Check back with them regularly for updates.

Galloping Granny at LGF points out that the BBC acknowledges that many of the so-called civilian casualties in Lebanon are, in fact, Hizbullah terrorists, and there's often no way to separate what a terrorist and a civilian looks like.
The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) has admitted that many of the victims of Israeli retaliation in Lebanon are terrorists and not innocent civilians. A BBC reporter said he saw Hizbullah terrorists using a private home and added, "It is difficult to quantify who is a terrorist and who is a civilian."

Media reports have emphasized that Israeli air strikes have killed more than 350 Lebanese civilians, prompting accusations that the IDF is carrying out "collective punishment" on the country.
I really wish that the media would report this instead of breathlessly talking about civilian casualties in Lebanon because they simply don't know how many terrorists have been killed. It is quite likely closer to Israel's estimations, which suggests that Israel is being quite effective and ferreting out the terrorists from the civilian populations amongst which they hide in plain sight. Alan Derschowitz also questions the claims of civilian casualties in Lebanon. Israel continues to signal to the Lebanese civilians that they need to get out of South Lebanon.

Hizbullah launched a major rocket attack against Acre. Dozens were injured in that attack.

Is survival a victory for Hizbullah? Absolutely. If they can survive Israel's ongoing attacks, they'll claim victory even if Nasrallah's the only one left alive. That's the ongoing nature of this conflict between Israel and its enemies. Israel's enemies have repeatedly distorted reality to suit their own goals. Israel soundly defeated Egypt in 1973, and yet that conflict is treated as a huge military victory for Egypt. Terrorist groups claim victory by getting the release of hundreds of prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for the remains of a single Israeli soldier who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists. They claim victory simply by continuing to exist. Half measures by Israel, done in the name of restraint, are seen as weaknesses to be exploited by the Islamic terrorists. Survival is victory for them.

Others blogging the conflict today: The Sundries Shack, Tigerhawk, Blue Crab Boulevard, Polipundit, Counterterrorism Blog, Marc Cooper, and The Belmont Club.

Why do so many people on the Left seek to blame the Bush Administration for the violence in the Middle East? Is it so easy to disregard the intentions of Iran, Syria, and terrorists with genocidal intentions and public claims for annihilation of Israel? Is it so easy to disregard the thousands of rockets fired into Israel, not only during this current round of fighting, but in the months and years before that did not result in an Israeli response? If your neighbor kept throwing rocks at your windows, would you let that behavior continue even as you replaced window after window? Would you let the behavior continue as your prized possessions in your house kept getting damaged? Would you sit there and take it as the rocks became larger, and you would occasionally be hit by the rocks themselves?

No, I do believe you'd call the cops and stop it.

Except that there are no cops. They don't exist in the international arena. The UN isn't a cop. They can't effectuate arrests. They can't stop your neighbor from doing anything. They'll sit there and take notes, and complain when you fire up your waterhose and drench your neighbor's garden killing the plants and complain that you've gone too far.

The UN will complain when you soak your neighbor just as he's about ready to let loose with another rock at your house.

The UN will do nothing when your neighbor calls up his buddies on the other side of your house and sets your fence on fire.

So, instead of blaming the neighbor who started the conflict, escalated the conflict, and then spread the conflict to surround your house, you're to blame.

The Washington Post reports that Israel is open to the possibility that Hizbullah could survive albeit as a disarmed entity. How long would that last? Hizbullah has no intention of turning a military struggle based on its ideology of the destruction of Israel into a political one. Jihad by force is the cornerstone of the terrorist group's existence. Perhaps Israel knows that even this isn't going to be sufficient to diffuse the situation and is therefore paying lip service to international opinion to bend over backwards to end the crisis. The problem is if Hizbullah somehow assents to this formulation. Is Israel willing to accept Hizbullah continuing to exist, rallying and preparing for a future conflict with Israel, complete with Syrian and Iranian backing?

And this bears repeating: The UN is complicit in the kidnapping of Israelis by Hizbullah. The UN is complicit in the situation in Lebanon, including attacks on Israel in the past. This is the single biggest reason Israel wants the UN to have nothing to do with the resolution of the conflict.

Others blogging: Atlas Shrugs and Meryl Yourish (who's been under the weather and may stop blogging the war because of the ill effects on her health).

More than a million Israelis are living in bomb shelters. You want to talk about displaced persons, add that to your calculus of proportionate response.

Meanwhile, Olmert says that a European deployment might satisfy Israel's security needs. That's fine, but what about disarming Hizbullah and eliminating their presence from Lebanon? And the US doesn't look like they want to participate in the peacekeeping force, though I believe they'll be the ones providing logistical support and backup if things go wrong. The diplomats are certainly working overtime as this conflict drags on. The British are saying that the Lebanese are sick and tired of Hizbullah. But the Lebanese aren't sick enough of Hizbullah to take military action against them directly nor do they have sufficient military capabilities to do so themselves. The French are saying that Hamas should release Gilad Shalit. Well, no kidding. They should have released Shalit weeks ago, but Hamas had no intention of doing so unless they forced Israel to release hundreds of Palestinians, including many who had Israeli blood on their hands.

And the British are also saying that the Israelis need a political victory. I disagree. The Israelis need a military victory in eliminating the terrorists from Southern Lebanon who threaten their country with rockets, missiles, and worse. A political victory is hollow if the status quo returns to its prior condition.

That Hamas, Syria, and Iran are all calling for a ceasefire suggests that the terrorists are seriously hurting as a result of the Israeli pushback. That the French want a ceasefire in Gaza is nothing new either. The Israelis would be more than willing to cease their military actions if their conditions are met - cessation of rocket attacks and the return of Shalit. Hamas was unwilling and/or unable to do so.

Have we gotten a smoking gun moment? It's certainly possible, though far too many blind themselves to the fact that Hizbullah is being armed and supplied by the Iranians. Israeli forces have come across Hizbullah weapons, and some bear the mark of Iran.
The IDF presented a weapon seized during fighting with Hizbullah operatives in Lebanon: an RPG marked with the logo of the Iranian military industry.
Via Golden Jerusalem at LGF.

And why are so many so called anti-war protestors not really anti-war, but in fact supporting the aims of the enemy? That's because they are supporting the enemy. That's as opposed to the pro-Israel rallies, that support Israel's survival in the face of a genocidal enemy.

Hizbullah claims to have activated sleeper cells around the world with plans to attack Israeli interests. I'd believe them. Terrorism is Hizbullah's specialty.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) confirmed to the Post Sunday night that it had instructed embassies, consulates and Jewish institutions it was responsible for abroad to raise their level of awareness in light of the conflict in the North.

The assumption within Military Intelligence is that Hizbullah would only attack targets abroad if it felt pushed into a corner. According to this thinking, the Islamist group hesitates to carry out such attacks because it does not want to be associated with Global Jihad and al-Qaida.

Hizbullah has attacked Jewish and Israeli targets abroad in the past. The organization is believed to have been behind the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 during which a suicide bomber drove a pick-up truck filled with explosives into the building, killing 29 people and wounding 242, following Israel's assassination of the group's leader at the time, Sheikh Abbas Musawi.

Hizbullah is also thought to have been responsible for the attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires in 1994, when an explosives-laden van rammed into the structure and killed 85 people.
I'd say that their bases in Lebanon getting eliminated is called being backed into a corner, despite the brave rhetoric coming from Nasrallah and his minions.

Meanwhile, Yossi Beilin is busy complaining that the US isn't negotiating with Syria, as if the US should negotiate with the terror sponsors in Damascus? Of course, this is the same Yossi Beilin who thought peace was at hand with Oslo. Take with a grain of Dead Sea salt.

The conflict in Gaza hasn't ceased either. It's just been pushed off the front burner by the situation in Lebanon. A Palestinian Islamic Jihad weapons warehouse was assaulted by the IDF in Gaza. And they apparently knocked before entering.

Others blogging the conflict: The Moderate Voice, The Real Ugly American, Sister Toldjah, All Things Beautiful, Carl in Jerusalem, Jihad Watch, Neocon Express, Flopping Aces, Secular Blasphemy, Powerline, California Conservative, Tales of the Stupid, Occidentality, Common Sense Junction, Tikun Olam, Okie on the Lam, and Hyscience.

Danny Carlton has a posting that lets you add an image to your blog showing your support for Israel.

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