Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Back in a Few Weeks

Blogging here will be light to non-existent over the next few weeks. My wife and I are taking the girls on vacation to Israel. I'm greatly looking forward to it; I'll show her around some of my old stomping grounds, and I'll get to see some of hers. And, although I expect to have easy Internet access there, we'll be on vacation... so I'll be blogging only if I can't resist.

We'll be back by mid-August. In the meantime, my heartfelt thanks goes out to my regular readers -- both of you! -- for coming back here. Somehow you seem to expect that I'll have something worthwhile to say; I'll try not to disappoint you.

Be well, and have a glorious summer.

Daniel in Brookline

UPDATE: As my wife says, we picked an interesting time to visit Israel.

An unusually candid interview can be found here:

JERUSALEM -- While Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip have been contending with almost daily missile attacks, Palestinian rockets will now also be launched regularly on the other side of the country aimed at Jewish communities a few miles from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Abu Oudai, a chief rocket coordinator for the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Judea and Samaria told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview.

Abu Oudai claimed major Israeli cities and the country's international airport would eventually become Palestinian rocket targets, particularly following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's planned withdrawal from most of Judea and Samaria, which borders Israel's main population centers.
(emphasis added)

Mr. Olmert, are you listening? If there had ever been any doubt that unilateral concessions enbolden the terrorists, we now have them saying it themselves.

Ya'akov Kirschen nails it more concisely:

That's how many Israelis feel about it -- that Israeli withdrawal brings Palestinian aggression, every time -- and, for better or for worse, people who feel that way have history on their side.

Cox and Forkum don't mince words, either --

As they cite:

If, in the face of repeated threats and provocation by an aggressive dictatorship, you refuse to go to war, the war will eventually come to you.
That's the meaning of Iran's de facto declaration of war against Israel--which is, ultimately, a new war Iran is waging against the US. Iran is so desperate for war with the West that it is bringing the war to us, openly and willfully initiating a regional conflict that may soon involve three of Iran's proxies--Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria--fighting against America's proxy, Israel.

The danger for us is that, in seeking to avoid an unavoidable war with Iran, we have allowed Iran to start the conflict on terms that it believes will be most favorable to it.
Read the whole thing.

And, as David Twersky notes in the New York Sun:

Years from now, the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit will be regarded like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.
Please remember that it was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914 that began World War I -- but that the United States did not enter the war until 1917.

Today, Iran under Ahmadinejad is, it seems to me, analogous to Iraq under Saddam in 1990 -- openly defiant of all authority other than their own, and more than willing to initiate hostilities on a flimsy pretext. (True, Iraq was ruled absolutely by Saddam, whereas Ahmadinejad would not last a month in Iran if the mullahs did not find him useful. But the mullahs seem quite willing to continue the illusion of absolute power that Ahmadinejad enjoys so much.) Other parallels, such as the open threat of non-conventional weapons, are ominous.

UPDATE II: Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, attempts to put it all in context:

Two days ago, Hizbullah terrorists, operating with impunity in southern Lebanon, unleashed a sudden and unprovoked attack into Israeli territory. Scores of Katyusha rockets rained down on Israeli towns and villages, causing many civilian casualties. In the midst of this horrific assault, Hizbullah terrorists infiltrated Israel, killing a number of soldiers and kidnapping two more, who were taken deep into the terrorist stronghold of Lebanon.

Israel had no choice but to react, as would any other responsible democratic government. Having shown unparalleled restraint for six years while bearing the brunt of countless attacks, Israel had to respond to this absolutely unprovoked assault whose scale and depth was unprecedented in recent years.

Let me emphasize this indisputable fact: Israel’s actions were in direct response to an act of war from Lebanon.

Although Israel holds the government of Lebanon responsible, it is concentrating its response carefully, mainly on Hizbullah strongholds, positions and infrastructure.

The hundreds of Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon in the last few days demonstrate the magnitude of the immense arsenal of rockets and weapons that Hizbullah has amassed over the last few years, a danger we have repeatedly warned against. Many of the long-range missiles that have hit Israeli towns - including Nahariya, Zefat, Rosh Pina and the port city of Haifa - were launched from private homes with families residing inside, where a special room was designated as a launching pad, with the family playing host to the missile. This is yet another example of the cynical and brutal way the Hizbullah organization uses civilians as human shields, with complete disregard for human life.

Ambassador Gillerman also has an unusual way of pointing out that this is not just Israel's fight:
Mr. President, with your permission, I would like to make a personal appeal to my esteemed Lebanese colleague.

Your Excellency,

You know, deep down, that if you could, you would add your voice to those of your brave countrymen. You know, deep down in your heart, that you should really be sitting here, next to me, voicing the same opinion. You know that what we are doing is right, and, if we succeed, your country will be the real beneficiary. I am sure many of our colleagues around this table and in this chamber, including many or our neighbours, share this sentiment.

Mr. President,

This Council and the international community have a duty today to help the Lebanese people achieve the goal of a free, prosperous and democratic Lebanon. The sad and tormented life of this war-torn land has today entered another sad chapter in its history. It is up to every one of us to help write this chapter, to ensure that this opportunity is seized, not only for the benefit of the Lebanese and Israeli people, but for the sake of generations to come.


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