Oren’s claim that Israel has been unable “to make military capital yield diplomatic dividends” ignored the peace treaty with Egypt, which was a direct result of the outcomes of the 1967 and 1973 wars. Similarly, the long-term cessation of hostilities with Jordan, culminating in a peace treaty in 1995, was a direct result of the military defeat of Jordan in 1967 and the peace agreement with Egypt.
Overstating the potential benefits of a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah, Oren wrote that an international force mandated by the UN “can expel all terrorist elements” between Israel and Lebanon’s Litani River, “and enforce an international embargo on the sale and supply of arms to Hizbullah.” (In fairness to Oren, the draft resolution he described was amended in response to Arab League demands, with the actual resolution passed last Friday more favorable to Hizbullah.)
Let’s hope Oren is right, but his optimism appears naïve. Why should a force primarily comprised of troops from Europe be expected to expel Hizbullah and prevent its acquisition of arms, particularly given the EU’s refusal to designate Hizbullah as a terrorist group?
Military victory does not assure diplomatic gain, but Israel’s history shows that in the absence of a full peace treaty, it must rely on its own soldiers rather than an international force to deter and defeat the enemy. Both in the Sinai between the 1956 war until their withdrawal upon Egypt’s demand in 1967, and in Lebanon, where they have been stationed since 1978, UN forces have been ineffective at best.