Sunday, August 13, 2006
Read Gloria Salt's latest post, which begins: Well, we’ve lost. (Later: maybe not. Read on.)
It looks like the triumph of diplomacy over common sense, yet again. A cease-fire is better than fighting, and compromise is better than its absence, according to those who see diplomacy as the only solution... and so, Hizballah will apparently get time to re-arm, Israel will not get her kidnapped soldiers back, and -- worst of all -- the security of northern Israel will be at the mercy of Kofi Annan, a man who never saw an anti-Israel resolution he didn't like.
(In all fairness to the man, the UN's record with respect to Israel has always been dismal. Today people discuss UNIFIL, the UN Interim Force In Lebanon, which has been there as observers for more than twenty years, accomplishing nothing, watching terrorists set up their rocket depots in schools and hospitals, and getting in the way of Israeli Air Force surgical strikes. In 1967 there was a similarly useless UN force, stationed in the Sinai since 1957 to keep Egypt and Israel apart. After ten years of being useless, the time came for them to do their job in 1967 -- but when Egypt's Nasser ordered them out, they fell all over themselves complying. UN Secretary-General U Thant then had the audacity to blame Israel for starting the war. Can someone explain to me the purpose of a "UN Force" that does no fighting, and melts at the slightest sign of pressure?)
Michelle Malkin doesn't mince words either. Michael Totten, on the scene (and giving far better reportage than I could have done), points out that Nasrallah is bragging that he's "defeated the invincible army"; Michael adds:
the Arab bar for military victory is set pathetically low. All you have to do is survive. You “win” even if your country is torn to pieces.(Michael also interviews an IDF Spokesman, who speaks realistically and at length about the great damage that has been done to Hizballah. But that's almost beside the point. Nasrallah has his reputation intact among those to whom it matters most; he can rally the terrorists again whenever he wants. What is necessary, at this point, is for Nasrallah to receive the Zarqawi treatment. Then again, it took the United States years to find Zarqawi; Israel was given less than a month.)
We will see what happens next. Perhaps something can be salvaged from this disaster; perhaps the IDF will yet be given the opportunity to finish the job. But if all we get from this is another useless UN force, then Israel will have to do this all over again in a few years, under worse conditions than faced today.
In the meantime, a Hizballah terrorist gets treatment in an Israeli hospital:
A Hizbullah guerilla who was moderately wounded in battle early Sunday morning was airlifted to an Israeli hospital for treatment.I can only wonder how this fellow feels about the treatment he's getting. I was once an Israeli military policeman, and I spent a good deal of time in hospitals, guarding terrorists much like him; our orders were to keep the peace, and prevent outside interference to the doctors doing their jobs.
Dr. Daniel Shani, executive director of the hospital in Nahariya, said the guerilla arrived in good condition. "He was brought to us by ambulance at around 5:30 a.m., and his condition was, generally speaking, good. He had an open wound in his right soldier," and other shrapnel wounds elsewhere on his body.
With regards to the type of treatment he was receiving, Dr. Shani insisted that it was no different than that of the average Israeli patient. "The ethnicity of the wounded is not important," he said.
. . .
The guerilla, 27, from the village of el-Hiam, was being carefully guarded by military police.
Consequently, further details about his role in the war were difficult to discern. "We don't know anything about the man," Dr. Shani said. "We are not interrogating our wounded. We are only treating them."
. . .
Reports indicate that this is the first Hizbullah guerilla to be treated in an Israeli hospital. However, there have been a small number of Lebanese citizens that have crossed the border to receive treatment in Israel.
No doubt he's surprised to get the same treatment, at the hands of Israeli doctors, than Israeli soldiers do. Perhaps he'll be startled to discover that Jews do not have horns, after all. I wish I could say that I'm hopeful such treatment will make a difference to the general situation... but, of course, it will not.
UPDATE: Captain Ed is considerably more hopeful:
The cease-fire agreement appears to have created a crisis in Lebanon's government, as a Cabinet meeting of Siniora's government has been abruptly cancelled. The Cabinet was supposed to vote on a plan to deploy their army into southern Lebanon and to displace Hezbollah. That has now been indefinitely delayed -- which means that Israel is not bound by the agreement to stop fighting.(Emphasis mine. Pajamas Media has details of the cabinet meeting in question; have a look.)
Ed's thesis, in short, is that UNSC resolution #1701 is largely advantageous to Israel (in that it requires Hizballah to disarm, at least in southern Lebanon; it requires Lebanon to take responsibility for its own borders, with UN help if necessary; and it permits Israel to stay in Lebanese territory, merely requiring that Israel cease offensive operations). Nonetheless, Nasrallah, speaking for Hizballah, reluctantly agreed to the cease-fire, expecting Israel to reject it. But the Israeli cabinet approved it -- unanimously, no less! -- forcing him to either break the cease-fire (thereby bringing the wrath of the UN, such as it is, on Hizballah, not Israel)... or else abide by the cease-fire, meaning that Hizballah must disarm itself, removing its reason for existing in the first place.
Technically, Hizballah must only disarm south of the Litani river. But it's only south of the Litani that their short-range rockets have any hope of reaching Israel; they could flee north of the Litani with their weapons, but what good would it do them? They also supposedly have long-range rockets, which could hit Israel even from north of the Litani -- but that requires the rockets to be in the air a lot longer, giving Israel a solid chance of bringing them down first.
Could this have been Israel's intention, in going to the UN and voting on the resolution this way? Personally, I don't think Ehud Olmert is anywhere near that shrewd. But I'd certainly love to believe it. Let's watch and see what happens tomorrow.
UPDATE II: My lovely wife comments that, while Olmert is probably not that shrewd, Bush is... and this sort of rope-a-dope is very much his style. Imagine Bush reassuring Olmert quietly: "Just relax, and let me handle this. We'll make the UN resolution come out okay; you make sure your cabinet passes it. Everyone will say you're betraying your country's interests, just like they say about me. Trust me. I've done end-runs around the UN before."
I'm not convinced yet, and I'm all the more wary because I want to believe it. We'll see what happens tomorrow.
If this plays out, though, we may have to learn how to say "misunderestimate" in Hebrew.