R. Seliger comments: Our inclusion of this or any piece on our weblog does not imply the endorsement of Meretz USA or my personal agreement. But I see Uri Avnery, the hoary head of the Gush Shalom radical peace movement (closer to Hadash – the former Communist party – than to Meretz, but likewise favoring a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians) as on to something with this article (Aug. 19) on the Lebanon crisis. He begins by quoting a Lebanese army commander suggesting that its national army is allied with Hezbollah, rather than marching into the south to confront or contain it. Pro-Hezbollah rhetoric is very much in vogue in Lebanon today, but time will tell how truthful the officer was. Avnery goes on to question the role of the to-be-reinforced UN force (UNIFIL) and to make further remarks as excerpted below:
…. As the days pass, it becomes increasingly clear that this [UN] force will be, at best, a mishmash of small national units, without a clear mandate and “robust” capabilities…. So what remains of all the “achievements” of this war?….
AFTER EVERY failed war, the cry for an official investigation goes up in Israel. Now there is a “trauma”, much bitterness, a feeling of defeat and of a missed opportunity. Hence the demand for a strong commission of inquiry that will cut off the heads of those responsible…. If indeed such a commission is set up, what will it investigate?
The politicians and generals will try to restrict the inquiry to the technical aspects of the conduct of the war:
– Why was the army not prepared for a war against guerillas?
– Why were the land forces not sent into the field in the two first weeks?
– Did the military command believe that the war could be won by the air force alone?
– What was the quality of the intelligence?
– Why was nothing done to protect the rear, when the rocket threat was known?
– Why were the poor in the North left to their fate, after the well-to-do had left the area?
– Why were the reserve units not ready for the war?
– Why were the emergency arsenals empty?
– Why did the supply system not function?
– Why did the Chief-of-Staff practically depose the Chief of the Northern Command in the middle of the war?
– Why was it decided at the last moment to start a campaign that cost the lives of 33 Israeli soldiers?
The government will probably attempt to widen the investigation and to put part of the blame on its predecessors:
– Why did the Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon governments just look on when Hezbollah was growing?
– Why was nothing done as Hezbollah built up its huge stockpile of rockets?
All these are serious questions, and it is certainly necessary to clear them up. But it is more important to investigate the roots of the war:
– What made the trio Olmert-Peretz-Halutz decide to start a war only a few hours after the capture of the two soldiers?
– Was it agreed with the Americans in advance to go to war the moment a credible pretext presented itself?
– Did the Americans push Israel into the war, and, later on, demand that it go on and on as far as possible?
– Was it Condoleezza Rice who decided in fact when to start and when to stop?
– Did the US want to get us entangled with Syria?
– Did the US use us for its campaign against Iran?….
THIS WAR has no name. Even after 33 days of fighting and six days of cease-fire, no natural name has been found. The media use a chronological name: Lebanon War II.
This way, the war in Lebanon is separated from the war in the Gaza Strip, which has been conducted simultaneously, and which is going on unabated after the cease-fire in the North. Do these two wars have a common denominator?…. The answer is certainly, yes. And the proper name is the War for the Settlements.
The war against the Palestinian people is being waged in order to keep the “settlement blocs” and annex large parts of the West Bank. The war in the north was waged, in fact, to keep the settlements on the Golan Heights.
Hezbollah grew up with the support of Syria, which controlled Lebanon at the time. Hafez al-Assad saw the return of the Golan to Syria as the aim of his life – after all, it was he who lost them in the June 1967 war, and who did not succeed in getting them back in the October 1973 war. He did not want to risk another war on the Israel-Syria border, which is so close to Damascus. Therefore, he patronized Hezbollah, so as to convince Israel that it would have no quiet as long as it refused to give the Golan back. Assad jr. is continuing with his fathers legacy.
Without the cooperation of Syria, Iran has no direct way of supplying Hezbollah with arms.
The solution is on hand: we have to remove the settlers from there, whatever the cost in wines and mineral water, and give the Golan back to its rightful owners. Ehud Barak almost did so, but, as is his wont, lost his nerve at the last moment.
It has to be said aloud: every one of the 154 Israeli dead of Lebanon War II (until the cease-fire) died for the settlers on the Golan Heights.
THE 155TH Israeli victim of this war is the “Covergence Plan” – the plan for a unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank.
Ehud Olmert was elected four months ago (hard to believe! only four months!) on the platform of Convergence, much as Amir Peretz was elected on the platform of reducing the army and carrying out far-reaching social reforms.
In the course of the war, Olmert still announced that he would implement the “Convergence.” But the day before yesterday he conceded that we could forget about it.
The Convergence was to remove 60 thousand settlers from where they are, but to leave the almost 400 thousand settlers in the West Bank (including the Jerusalem area). Now this plan has also been buried.
What remains? No peace, no negotiations, no solution at all for the historic conflict. Just a complete deadlock for years, at least until we get rid of the duo Olmert & Peretz….