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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘war’

#ThankYouHamas! Gaza Tourism Campaign

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

#Thank You, Hamas!

Readers who believe the fabrication that residents of Gaza are poverty-stricken Arabs living in muddy shacks with nothing to eat should find this article comforting.

Hamas has released its latest online campaign video to bring new tourists to Gaza.

The hashtag in Arabic reads: #ShukranHamas — #ThankYouHamas.

The ceaseless barrage by Hamas of rocket and mortar fire aimed at Israel and the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in Gush Etzion prompted a military response from the Israel Defense Forces in July and August 2014. But since then, Gaza has been a very busy place.

Countries from around the world have poured money into the region to help rehabilitate the infrastructure. Israeli forces silenced the rocket fire emanating from the residential buildings, hospitals and schools, aimed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists. The two terror organizations deliberately embedded their military operations among civilians in order to use them as human shields. They maximized the destruction of their own cities and the deaths of their own citizens in order to exploit the media coverage for future fundraising.

It worked, of course.

After the war, Israel was excoriated for taking out the rocket launchers and other weaponry in order to neutralize the threat to its own civilian population.

And money poured in to Gaza from all quarters, as did construction supplies. Israel was forced to allow dual use materials into the region. That doesn’t include the daily in-and-out movement of people and the humanitarian aid shipments, foodstuffs, dry goods, and fuel that still flow through the border crossings, along with repeated attempts to smuggle weapons, explosives and military parts among the goods as well.

As the infrastructure and residential buildings were rebuilt, so too was the subterranean military structure of the ruling terrorist authority, which has been caught repeatedly siphoning off money and supplies intended for civilian use. This month, bona fide employees of the United Nations have been caught working for Hamas. But it hasn’t stopped the process; in fact, the United Nations has done absolutely nothing about it. Probably, it can’t and likely it wouldn’t anyway. During the last war more than a few UNRWA schools were used as storage facilities for missiles. Nothing concrete was done about that either, other than a public slap on the wrist, probably for having been stupid enough to get caught on camera. Israel, naturally, was condemned in a formal inquiry after the war.

But should anyone believe the fiction that residents of Gaza are still suffering due to restrictions by Israel, please don’t hesitate to retain the link to this article on your desktop, and review it periodically. Or at least, retain the link to the YouTube video so thoughtfully provided by Hamas. That, at least, should reassure such readers that nothing could be further from the truth.

Any resident of Gaza who is suffering today, is suffering due to restrictions by the Hamas government. Make no mistake about it.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Arab MKs’ War on Israel

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

It’s unclear why, 16 months after the election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suddenly decided last week to apologize for his Election Day warning that Arabs were “going to the polls in droves,” especially since his explanation – that he was referring to “a specific political party” rather than Arabs as a whole – may seem like a distinction without a difference: The vast majority of Arabs vote for that specific party, and the vast majority of that party’s voters are Arabs. Nevertheless, in one sense, his remarks proved very timely: The previous few weeks had provided ample evidence of just how right he was to warn against that party, the Joint List, and this week, even more evidence arrived.

This week’s news was that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had actively worked to turn out the vote for the Joint List. That isn’t actually surprising, since the party’s own voters have long complained that its primary concern is the Palestinian cause rather than the welfare of Israel’s Arab citizens. But given Abbas’s energetic campaign against Israel in international forums, Israelis are understandably unhappy that he effectively also has representatives in Israel’s parliament.

Even more outrageous, however, is what happened during the two weeks preceding Netanyahu’s apology. Twice during those weeks, one of three parties that ran together as the Joint List took the unprecedented step of publicly condemning a leading Arab state for forging warmer relations with its own country, the one in whose parliament it serves. Then, not content with trying to undermine Israel’s foreign relations, it even voiced support for anti-Israel terrorist groups. And these statements were made not by the Joint List’s radical fringe, but by Hadash, the party generally considered the most moderate of the three – the one whose chairman, who also heads the Joint List as a whole, likes to compare himself to Martin Luther King, Jr.

The first condemnation came after Egypt’s foreign minister visited Israel last month for the first time since 2007. In a press statement, Hadash not only bewailed the fact that the country to whom its parliamentary representatives swear allegiance seems to be paying “no diplomatic or economic price” for following policies Hadash opposes, but even accused the burgeoning Egyptian-Israeli alliance of being “an alliance that undermines a just peace and real stability in the region.”

Think about that for a minute: A party sitting in Israel’s parliament has just declared that peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors – something one would think every Israeli would welcome, and its Arab citizens above all – actually undermines regional stability. Does Hadash think Israeli-Egyptian hostility, which led to no fewer than five wars in the 30 years before the countries signed their peace treaty, would somehow be better for regional stability? Or is it simply so hostile to the country it ostensibly represents that it views anything beneficial to Israel, like peace, as evil by definition?

That question was effectively answered the following week, when Hadash issued its second condemnation – this time, of the first-ever visit to Israel by a Saudi delegation. Israel has no diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, so the fact that a group of Saudi academics and businessmen, headed by a retired general who formerly held senior posts in the Saudi government, obtained Riyadh’s permission for this visit was groundbreaking.

Once again, Hadash condemned the visit on the grounds that it would “legitimize” Israel’s policies. But this time, it went even further: The visit deserved condemnation, its press statement said, because it “is part of the normalization of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel against Iran, Syria and resistance movements in the region.”

In other words, Riyadh’s great sin in Hadash’s eyes is cooperating with Israel against groups openly sworn to Israel’s destruction – Iran, which constantly reiterates its desire to wipe Israel off the map and backs anti-Israel terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, and the “resistance movements,” an Arab euphemism for those same anti-Israel terrorist groups, which also endlessly declare their desire for Israel’s eradication and have repeatedly attacked it. Evidently, Hadash would prefer to let these groups pursue their goal of destroying Israel unmolested. It’s the exact equivalent of a U.S. congressman condemning other countries for aiding America against Al-Qaeda after 9/11.

This isn’t the first time Hadash and its leader, Ayman Odeh, have revealed their true colors. Odeh also notoriously refuses to condemn Palestinian terror: “I cannot tell the nation how to struggle … I do not put red lines on the Arab Palestinian nation,” he said last year. Yet this never seems to stop either Israeli or foreign journalists from fawningly parroting his own comparison of himself to Martin Luther King while scrupulously ignoring all evidence to the contrary. The obvious facts that King had no trouble condemning violence and would never have supported terrorist organizations against his own country seem to elude them.

It’s hardly surprising that Netanyahu, like most other Israelis, isn’t thrilled by having a party so openly hostile to Israel sitting in the Knesset and getting funding from the Israeli taxpayer. But one might ask why it really matters, given the Arab parties’ seeming impotence: After all, Hadash’s press statements clearly didn’t discourage either the Egyptian or the Saudi overtures.

The answer is that while Arab Knesset members have very little power to harm Israel’s foreign relations, they have enormous power to harm relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel. When Israeli Jews hear statements like those above from parliamentarians who have repeatedly received the vast majority of the Arab vote, they naturally assume ordinary Arab voters must share their MKs’ views – that they, too, support anti-Israel terror and seek Israel’s diplomatic and economic isolation. As I’ve noted before, this assumption isn’t necessary correct, but it’s perfectly rational. And it’s a huge barrier to Arab integration, because normal human beings will always be reluctant to welcome a minority into their workplaces, neighborhoods and governing institutions if they have good reason to suspect that minority of wanting to destroy their country. That isn’t prejudice; it’s common sense.

Netanyahu, as I’ve written before, has actually tried hard to further Arab integration, and he understands that Arab politicians, with their endless flow of anti-Israel vitriol, are poisoning this effort. That’s why he was entirely justified in warning against that “specific party,” and why American Jews eager to promote coexistence should do the same. Far from being the solution, existing Arab parties are a huge part of the problem, and endlessly calling them “moderates” won’t make them so.

What Israel desperately needs is a truly moderate Arab political leadership. But it will never have one as long as people who favor coexistence insist on embracing radicals rather than shunning them.

Evelyn Gordon

MK Hazan Darling of Israeli Left over Dismissal by Netanyahu in Gaza Inquiry Brawl

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

MK Oren Hazan (Likud), traditionally the legislator most loathed by the Israeli left, both inside and outside the Knesset, now gets his turn to be the darling of the left, because of the courageous way he stood up to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Naturally, when Hazan was just as brave in the past, calling out Netanyahu on his shabby treatment of Israel’s rightwing majority, especially in Judea and Samaria, he did not receive recognition by the Labor MKs who this week have been stepping on each other to defend him, or, more accurately, attack Netanyahu on his behalf.

Hazan himself told Israel Radio Wednesday morning that he is paying a high price for his daring to criticize the prime minister, like several other Likud members (former MK Moshe Feiglin comes to mind). Hazan supports establishing a state committee of inquiry to investigate the 2014 Gaza war, specifically how aware had the IDF command been of the 30 to 40 Hamas terror tunnels? Netanyahu has released documentation showing the IDF conducted eight sessions, followed by 20 technical sessions, instructing the security cabinet on those tunnels. But Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett insists no such heightened attention was ever paid to the tunnels, and, in fact, it had taken his, Bennett’s, tenacious nagging to steer the cabinet and the high command towards hitting those vexing tunnels.

The Likud has launched a move to remove MK Hazan from the State Control Committee, where the vote on a state commission of inquiry will take place — because Hazan suggested he was in favor of appointing such a body. For his part, Hazan acknowledges that Netanyahu has just had enough of his “colorful” personal style, although it should be noted for the record that Hazan is one of the most hard working MKs: he is Knesset Deputy Speaker, and participates diligently and industriously in the Finance, State Control Committee, Special Committee for Discussion on the Public Broadcast Bill 2015, House Committee, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the Joint Committee for the Defense Budget. He is also member of a long list of Knesset Lobbies.

The above impressive record of Hazan’s contributions is surprising only to those who recall how the media introduced him following the last election, as a playboy drug dealer who managed casinos in Bulgaria and furnished cocaine and escorts for Israelis on vacation.

The Likud leadership has had it up to here with Hazan’s erratic behavior (he has endured several reprimands and a suspension for verbal brawls with opposition members, most recently his arch-enemy Hanin Zoabi from the Joint Arab List). They would like to post a more obedient MK at the Control Committee, because Netanyahu desperately wants to avoid a hearing on his cabinet’s management of the Gaza campaign. To remind the reader, 67 Israelis died in that war, and there are growing voices in Israel saying many of those deaths could be avoided. The head of the most right wing government in recent memory, Netanyahu does not need to be accused of military failure.

The opposition has been livid over Netanyahu’s intent to drop Hazan from the committee less than a week before the conclusion of the Knesset summer session. The same Zionist Camp NKs who last year condemned Netanyahu for letting into the Knesset a sketchy character such as Hazan now released a statement saying: “Bibi is afraid of Hazan. He is afraid of criticism, and above all he is afraid that criticism of operation Defensive Shield would expose him as being weak against the Hamas — that he is more a talkback artist than a leader.”

MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid), chair of the State Control Committee, accused Netanyahu of trying to sabotage the committee’s work. “The prime minister is acting on strictly political considerations and it isn’t clear of what he is so afraid,” she said.

Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) called on Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to block the Likud Knesset faction’s move against Hazan. “The prime minister is so fearful of the comptroller’s report on Defensive Shield that he dishonors the Knesset and steps on the foundations of democracy,” Jelin said. “The next phase for the PM, after completing his domination of all the MKs, would be to pass the constitution for a new dictatorship.”

Incidentally, it’s been suggested recently that Netanyahu, who is 67, could remain Israel’s prime minister for many years to come — seeing as his exulted father Prof. Benzion Netanyahu lived to the ripe old age of 101. It could mean as many as 10 more terms for the ambitious Netanyahu, who would be the prime minister of Israeli children who are not yet born.

David Israel

Unexploded Qassam Rocket from Operation Pillar of Defense

Monday, August 1st, 2016

An unexploded Qassam rocket was found Sunday during the day in an open area in the Gaza Belt community of Kibbutz Netiv Ha’Asara.

The rocket dates back to Operation Pillar of Defense, the eight-day mini-war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza, from November 14, 2012 to November 22.

The rocket was removed by the bomb squad.

Hana Levi Julian

2014 Gaza War Parents Demand Investigation of Operation’s Conduct, High Losses

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Two years after Operation Protective Edge, in which 66 IDF soldiers and five civilians were killed, the bereaved families of the fallen are demanding an independent committee to examine the preparations for the war, the way it was conducted, and the lessons to be learned.

The 32 families on Sunday demanded in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman that a state commission headed by a judge investigate the government’s decision-making process throughout the war.

In their letter, the families mentioned the fact that the Knesset Foreign and Security Committee had been asked to examine the events of the 2014 war and has yet to issue a report. One report that had been produced by the committee was shelved because of the 2015 elections. Referring to the same committee’s publicized intent to renew its investigation, the families argued it made no sense to “reconvene a committee that has already investigated the events and opted not to publish its conclusions.”

“Even if the decision to shelve the conclusions was made by a different person than the current committee head, it would be inappropriate to renew the discussion after such a long period of time, and it could appear as a lack of transparency or exterior pressures which do not belong in an investigation of this scope,” the families wrote.

On the evening of June 12, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and later murdered in Judea and Samaria by Hamas operatives. Their bodies were discovered on June 30. Israel retaliated with air strikes on Gaza in which 3 Arabs were killed and a dozen injured. Hamas retaliated with rockets that were fired at Israeli civilian centers wounding three people. On July 7, 80 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, and the Netanyahu security cabinet decided to launch a counter-terrorist operation. The IDF bombarded targets in the Gaza Strip with artillery and airstrikes, and Hamas continued to fire rockets and mortar shells into Israel. A cease-fire proposal was announced by the Egyptian government and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on July 14, and the Israeli government accepted it and stopped the attacks on the morning of July 15. But Hamas rejected the ceasefire and the war was renewed. By July 16 the death toll in Gaza had reached 200.

On July 16, Hamas and Islamic Jihad offered a 10-year truce with ten conditions, including lifting of the Gaza blockade and the release of prisoners who were re-arrested after being released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. Israel refused those terms. On July 17, a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, proposed by the UN, took place. But a few hours before the ceasefire was to start, 13 armed Hamas terrorists emerging from a tunnel on the Israeli side of the Gaza border. The IDF destroyed the tunnel’s exit, ending the incursion.

After the ceasefire, the IDF launched a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, aimed at destroying the terror tunnels crossing under the Israeli border. On July 20, the IDF entered Shuja’iyya in Gaza City and encountered heavy resistance. Thirteen IDF soldiers were killed, including two Americans serving in Israel. Seven of the IDF soldiers were killed as their armored vehicle was hit by an anti-tank rocket or an improvised explosive device, and three were killed in clashes with terrorists. Three IDF soldiers were trapped in a burning house. In the next 24 hours, three more IDF soldiers were killed in Shuja’iyya.

Shortly after the battle, twenty civilians from Shuja’iyya were shot for protesting against Hamas. Hamas said it had executed Israeli spies.

On August 3, the IDF pulled most of its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip after completing the destruction of 32 terror tunnels. On August 5 Israel announced that it had arrested Hossam Kawasmeh, suspected of having organized the killing of the three teenagers. According to court documents, Kawasmeh stated that Hamas members in Gaza financed the recruitment and arming of the killers.

JNi.Media

1941: Baseball In America, War In Europe

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

The year 1941 brought a season of baseball excellence from Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. It was also a year of anguish for Jews on both sides of the ocean.

Radio provided escapism from the war in Europe and most Jewish males, like most males in America, were following the adventures of the Lone Ranger.

Broadcast from the Detroit radio studios of WXYZ, the three-times weekly Lone Ranger program was more popular than ever. National surveys indicated that 63 percent of the listening audience was made up of adults.

The deep, authoritative voice of Earle W. Graser was perfectly suited for the role of the Lone Ranger. Tragically, as he was returning home from the studio late one night, Graser fell asleep at the wheel. His car veered into a parked trailer, and one of America’s most popular radio voices was forever silenced. He was only 32.

National publications carried obituaries and editorials. Time magazine called the Lone Ranger “the most adored character ever to be created on the U.S. air.”

Graser was gone but the Lone Ranger galloped into America’s homes the following evening as WXYZ announcer Brace Beemer assumed the role of  the masked man. Beemer would fill the radio role for the next 13 years.

Eight days later, on April 18, 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany. Nazi bombing squadrons soon targeted Belgrade, causing 700 Jewish casualties. Yugoslavia’s chief rabbi, Dr. Isaac Alcalay, was among the victims.

Hundreds of Jews were killed and more than 2,000 wounded during a five-day pogrom in Romania. Hundreds of Jews sought and were granted shelter at the American consulate. Jews trying to escape to Hungary were machine-gunned, as were others who tried to flee in small boats. Criminals were released from jail in Romania by Iron Guardists to help butcher the Jews.

In America, meanwhile, superstar Hank Greenberg, who over the previous four seasons had averaged 43 home runs and 148 runs batted in, was inducted into the United States Army in May.

Less than a month later, Lou Gehrig died. Gehrig, who retired from baseball two years earlier after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, had set a record for endurance that would stand for decades, playing in 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees. His fatal neuro-muscular disease would become known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Gehrig was only 38.

In her book My Luke and I, published 36 years after her husband’s passing, Eleanor Gehrig told of her bedside vigil as her celebrity husband lay dying.

“I often had to look out the window to find out whether it was night or day. The heavy breathing was slower and slower, like a great clock winding down,” Mrs. Gehrig wrote.

“Then on the evening of June 2, 1941, suddenly everything was still, and the doctor was by my side. The most beautified expression instantly spread over Lou’s face, and I knew the precise moment he was gone.

“The expression of peace was beyond description. A thing of ecstatic beauty, and seeing it we were awe-stricken and even reassured. We seemed stronger, and not one of us left that room without feeling: There is a better place than this. Wherever it is.”

Jewish baseball history was made by the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds on Sunday, September 21, 1941, as the team had four Jews in its starting lineup – the first and thus far only time that’s happened in the major leagues.

Bronx-born Harry Feldman was making his second big league start after spending most of the season in the minor leagues. Thirty-year-old catcher Harry Danning was calling the pitches for the 21-year-old rookie. (The game marked the first time a Jewish pitcher and a Jewish catcher formed the battery.)

Irwin Cohen

Reflections On The Second Lebanon War

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Ten years since the Second Lebanon War. For those of us who took part in it, that war remains always just in view. Like a suitcase filled with items of vivid memory, waiting quietly in the corner of a room.

It was an entirely inglorious and partially botched and inconclusive affair. A “great and grave missed opportunity” as the second report of the Winograd Committee termed it.

It has also been rapidly forgotten. This, it seems, is the way of the small wars that Israel fights these days. None of them passes into legend, as did the great conflicts of the state’s foundation. Today’s conflicts, after a short time, become largely the private property of those who participated in them.

That’s perhaps not a bad thing. Perhaps it is akin to the rapidity with which Israeli cities clear up and move on after terror attacks. Still, the long quiet that has followed the 2006 war on the northern border has helped to further obscure some of the lessons of that summer. It is worth therefore recalling, in unforgiving focus, some of what took place.

A cabinet led by individuals with minimal security experience (and a prime minister and president now serving jail terms), and an IDF led by its first chief of staff from the Air Force set out for war with the Iranian proxy Hizbullah organization in July 2006.

It is now evident that no coherent and achievable plan for the conduct of the war had been decided on at the rushed and overheated cabinet meeting that set it in motion.

This problematic, unprepared leadership was in turn commanding an army ill suited for the war it would need to fight.

There were two reasons for the IDF’s state of unreadiness.

The first was practical: The 2006 war came immediately after an intensive five-year period of counter-insurgency, in which the IDF was engaged against a large scale Palestinian uprising. The demands of the Second Intifada left little time for training for conventional war.

The challenges faced by troops at that time were considerable. But they were mainly of a police-like nature, not employing or testing the specialized skills of front line military units in battlefield conditions.

This army in 2006 found itself facing a well armed, mobile enemy, on terrain the Israeli side knew far less well than its foe.

The resulting difficulties were compounded by a second, conceptual issue. The 2006 war was not the fight the army was expecting. Chief of Staff Dan Halutz expected to spend his period at the IDF’s helm facing the key challenge of the Iranian nuclear program and focusing on ballistic missile defense. Future wars, it was assumed, would be fought using air power, with small numbers of trained specialists on the ground.

As a result, resources had in preceding years been diverted from training the large, reserve land army. It was assumed that this was a force unlikely to be used.

In 2006, some reserve armored formations, as a result, went into battle against Hizbullah having taken part in only one training exercise using tanks in the previous half decade. Full disclosure: I was a member of such a force.

These were the circumstances in which Israel went to war in 2006.

The war for the greater part of its duration consisted of limited ground operations by the IDF in an area adjoining the border, air operations up to Beirut, as well as a successfully maintained naval blockade; and on Hizbullah’s side, defense of areas under ground attack and a successful effort to maintain throughout a constant barrage of short-range rockets on northern Israel.

A cease-fire went into effect at 8 a.m. on August 14, following the passage of UN Resolution 1701. The end of the fighting found some IDF forces deployed at the Litani River, but with Israel far from control of the entire area between the river and the Israeli-Lebanese border.

* * * * *

Looking back, it is clear that hesitant Israeli political leadership and a lack of an overall plan for the war were the reasons for its inconclusive results. Had the IDF – even the poorly prepared force that entered the war of 2006 – been presented with clear orders at an early stage to move forward into Lebanon, according to one of the available plans for achieving this, a less ambiguous result could have been achieved. No such order was ever given.

Much public anger followed the war and its inconclusive results, as Hizbullah and its friends in the West sought to build a narrative of “divine victory” from the events.

From our perspective a decade later, however, much of the euphoria of Hizbullah and the despair on parts of the Israeli side seem exaggerated. The results of the war from an Israeli perspective in 2016 are mixed.

The border has indeed been quieter since 2006 than at any time since the late 1960s. This fact in itself says more about Hizbullah’s true assessment following the damage suffered in 2006 than any al-Akhbar editorial excitedly proclaiming divine victory.

And of course Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah himself told a Lebanese TV station shortly after the war that had the movement known in advance the scale of the IDF response, Hizbullah would have never have carried out the kidnappings that sparked the war.

At the same time, Resolution 1701, which was intended to keep the Shia Islamist movement north of the Litani has failed. Hizbullah has built an extensive new infrastructure south of the river since 2006, under the noses of UNIFIL and often with the collusion of the Lebanese Armed Forces. And Hizbullah has vastly increased its rocket and missile capacity.

In retrospect, 2006 was perhaps most significant in that it introduced a type of warfare and a type of force that has now proliferated across the region – namely, military entities that are neither regular armies nor guerrilla movements in the classic sense. Rather, they are potent combinations of the two.

These forces carry no state flag with them. Indeed, often they are stronger than the forces of the notional state on whose territory they operate. They possess neither air power nor much in the way of armored or artillery or naval capacities. Yet they operate not merely as guerrillas but rather as light infantry forces, holding ground and defending it, while making adept use of 21st century media to fight the propaganda battle.

Hizbullah was the prototype of such a force, and it remains among the strongest of them. But today the entire landscape between the Mediterranean Sea and the Iraq-Iran border proliferates with groups of this type. Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham and Iraq’s Shia militias and even the Assad regime’s National Defence Force represent a variety of opposed causes and perspectives. But they are all hybrid forces, light infantries of varying quality, parallel entities to Hizbullah.

This highlights perhaps the most central point regarding the 2006 war. In its aftermath, as Hizbullah and Iran celebrated their “divine victory,” it appeared the prospect was for ongoing bloodletting between Israel and a regional alliance committed to its destruction, with Hizbullah as the primary military instrument on the ground.

Today, that landscape has changed beyond recognition. Hizbullah and its Iranian patron are engaged in a region-wide war against the Sunni Arabs. In Yemen, Iraq, and above all Syria, the movement and its patron are up to their necks in unending conflict. Hizbullah’s latest woes include fights between its members and Assad’s troops in the Aleppo area, and the loss of around 1,500 men in the morass of the Syrian war.

For as long as this war continues, it seems likely that no repeat of 2006 is on the horizon. And if and when the war ends, the damage suffered in 2006 is likely to give Hizbullah and its patron continued pause for thought.

What all this ultimately means is that we should be thankful for those who came before us. Lebanon 2006 shows that even at a low point in terms of training and planning, led by an unsuitable chief of staff, with an inexperienced and as it turns out largely corrupt political leadership at the helm, Israel’s armed forces were still of sufficient quality to be capable of delivering a blow to a powerful enemy instructive enough to ensure a period of subsequent silence, which lasts to this day.

Broader regional circumstances beyond the control of either Israelis or Lebanese Shias have certainly added to this effect. The main question, though – whether Israeli society and its armed forces have sufficiently internalized and acted on the lessons taught in the burning summer of 2006 – remains a subject of daily relevance to which a final answer cannot yet be given.

Dr. Jonathan Spyer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/reflections-on-the-second-lebanon-war/2016/07/07/

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