Thursday, June 7, 2007

Useless resolution 1701

There's so much I want to write about that when I do start writing about something, it goes all over the place and doesn't make much sense to anyone but me. I will try to stay focused on one subject at a time. Though you'll have to admit, it's complicated. Everything has an implication on everything else. For example, I still haven't gotten around to writing about the 1967 Six Day War. It's not *that* important right now, especially since you have all the other blogs talking about it, what with the 40 year anniversary and all. (And they're all doing such a good job of it, anything I'd write would really be horse manure in comparison, but I've got so much I've always wanted to say about that subject...)

But there is something important about the Six Day War which strikes me as important today.
Depending on where you learned your history, your version of the Six Day War might be different. People like to think that because I am Israeli, I have the subjective "Israeli" version. I tend to think that this is not so true. Though I grew up in Israel until my early teens, I later moved to Europe, and had a very non-Israeli, non-Jewish education. I never had a history lesson in Israel or in an Israeli school. My mother often wondered how I turned so pro-Israeli despite the fact that nothing in my education was ever in that direction. My education taught me to think rationally and to question everything and to base everything on facts.

The Six Day War is largely considered a war imposed on Israel by a few Arab countries (depends on whether you count just the countries that really participated, or the countries which helped the participating countries, but at that point in time it was quite clear, Israel had no Arab friends). Even though the first shot came from Israel, it is justified as a defensive attack because of a few "minor" details, to name a few: Egyptian naval blockade of the Straits of Tiran, military buildup in the Sinai Peninsula and expulsion of the United Nations Emergency Force from there, as well as Syrian support for Fedayeen incursions into Israel.

All these, as well as clear statements and intelligence documents, pointed to a clear danger for Israel and her citizens. And danger to Israel from Arab countries doesn't mean slight loss of territory or an economic embargo or something "survivable" like this. Nonono. Just like Hamas, Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah make it crystal clear today, Arab countries were very open with their intentions back then as well. The intention always was, and still is, total annihilation of the State of Israel. Push the Jews to the sea. Israel will not survive. Israel will be wiped off the map.
What would any country responsible for her citizens do in such a situation? What did Israel do in the face of this threat? Israel made a preemptive attack against a threatened Arab invasion.

And the world applauded this. Israel was the underdog back then. Arab countries all around showed hostile intentions, and Israel took action. The world could only speak well of this tiny young country which managed to ground the Egyptian Air Force before it even started flying. They congratulated Israel for making a preemptive attack and a short war and in this way saving countless lives, rather then waiting until the Arabs started a full fledged war which would have brought on a much longer battling period.

Now 40 years later, I am astounded by the headlines I see all around me. While the 1967 Time's article about the war is full of awe for the swift Israeli victory, today's articles have a distorted vision of the past and seem to ignore the facts. Israel was threatened. It had every right to defend herself. I don't know how much clearer I can make it.

Now the parallel with today.
It started already last summer. On one side of the border, Israel withdrew from the disputed territories in Gaza and hoped that calm would ensue. It didn't. Kassam rockets were fired regularly into israel, and on June 25th, terrorists abducted Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier from inside the State of Israel. What where they protesting? What more is Israel supposed to give to them so that they stay calm? More land? But I thought all they wanted was the "occupied territories", not Israel itself? Anyway, drifting off. So Kassam rockets and Israeli soldier abduction on that side. Ceasefirese have been made since, but I'm not quite sure what they mean by ceasefire, seen as they haven't ceased to fire Kassam rockets, but have intensified instead.

On the northern border, where every last Israeli soldier left the area in May 2000 (Ehud Barak's decision), Hezbollah had been rearming itself for the previous six years. This included creating Katyusha launching pads inside civilian homes and creating an arsenal of hundreds of thousands of Katyusha rockets to be launched indiscriminately on the Israeli civilian population. On July 12th, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, two Israeli reservist soldiers, were abducted by Hezbollah under the nose of the UN (again), because Katyusha rockets were fired as a diversion elsewhere.

Israel was under attack and needed to defend herself. For once the world wasn't completely against Israel. Nations were disagreeing on the disproportionate force (that's a whooooole other story...), were quite wimpy about their support for Israel, and towards the end of the war they were getting quite impatient (as were we all), but generally the world agreed that Israel was attacked for "no real reason". It was quite a flying pig moment.
Then came resolution 1701.

The Resolution demands:

  • Full cessation of hostilities
  • Israel to withdraw all of its forces from Lebanon in parallel with Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers deploying throughout the South
  • Hezbollah to be disarmed
  • Full control of Lebanon by the government of Lebanon
  • No paramilitary forces, including (and implying) Hezbollah, will be south of the Litani River

The Resolution at the same time also emphasizes:

  • The need to address urgently the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers, that have given rise to the current crisis.

Now let's go over the list bulletpoint by bulletpoint.

  • Full cessation of hostilities? Well Katyushas have stopped raining on the north, that's true. But have you ever heard of the Muslim concept of a Hudna?
    "if Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud"
    It is not a ceasefire, but a pause in battle so that one side can re-organize itself.
  • Israel withdrawal? Done. (Again.)
  • UNIFIL deployment? In theory, yeah. They don't patrol at night because of the danger involved. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at this. They spend time building a giant Sauna for the Finnish delegation. They accept Muslim countries which don't recognize Israel to watch over Israel's border. I can't stress this enough times, the UN is a bunch of Useless Nobodies.
  • Hezbollah disarmed? Not yet, not ever.
  • Full control of Lebanon by the Lebanese government? Uhhh, nonono, south of Lebanon is still Hezbollah territory.
  • No paramilitary (koffkoff Hezbollah) south of the Litani? Well, what have we learned from the last three bulletpoints? This is an obviously useless resolution point.
  • Now the last point is emphasized. Bring our boys back home. Not only are they nowhere near home, but we haven't gotten any signs of life from them. International law (you know, Geneva conventions and things like that which you always keep waving at Israel) requires that prisoners of war be given contact with the Red Cross. Unless the prisoners are Israeli of course. Amnesty moves heaven and earth in order to ensure the fair treatment of prisoners. Unless the prisoners are Israeli of course.

So you see, all these points mean that were Israel to attack now, it would be justified. It was justified 40 years ago, even if now people don't agree anymore.
But if Israel were to attack now, you wouldn't have to wait 40 years for the condemnations.

And you see, I'm talking all over the place. Too many thoughts in my head and I'm too angry at this world to make sense.

A cute animation from the Second Lebanon War

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