Time To Clean House...
by Gerald A. Honigman
The lesson of the Bar Lev Line in 1973 was that a
nation dwarfed by its enemies geographically, in manpower, and armaments
can't afford to fight wars of attrition. The latter involve allowing your
enemies to call the shots...literally and figuratively. Israel was almost
destroyed in the Yom Kippur War.
Israel's military excels at the offensive,
lightning strike. It's enemies know this also. So they do what they do to push
just so far, but no further. They expect that Israel will play by their rules,
since it is always under pressure by those in the American State Department and
elsewhere to not "over react."
Syria's main proxy in what it considers to be its
Lebanese "province," Hizbullah, recently launched a major assault on
Israeli positions and towns in the north. It appears that it was primarily
designed to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Luckily, despite Israeli casualties, that
But there's that initial problem mentioned above
Merely sitting and waiting for murderous,
rejectionist enemies to make their next move at their own convenience is asking
for trouble. This is not the first time Israel has suffered this way.
While there have been promising developments in
Lebanon lately--most notably Syria's at least partial departure--circumstances
cannot stay the way that they are now indefinitely. Indeed, Damascus and
its Iranian cohort continue to stoke the flames via Hizbullah, which is now in
possession of tens of thousands of rockets and other high tech armaments
courtesy of them.
On the positive side, there have been some signs
lately that Lebanon's own military is more willing to assert itself on issues
relating to containment of forces likely to stir up trouble.
But Hizbullah has a huge, home grown following in
south Lebanon, and it can no longer use Israel's forced occupation of that area
as its excuse to attack Jews since the latter have exited the area for some time
now. Had there been a Lebanese government earlier that was willing and able to
prevent the continuous attacks on Israel by Arafat's boys, there would have been
no need for that earlier occupation in the first place.
Israel must make clear to all parties concerned
that it will not permit the situation to deteriorate further. Right now it's
worse than during the days which led to Israel's war to evict the PLO from
Lebanon several decades ago.
So, the bottom line is that it's fast approaching
the time for Israel to have to once again clean its neighbor's house.
For those who claim that it means that Israel will
be meddling in another country's internal affairs--like the critics who accused
Israel during its campaign against the PLO in Lebanon previously--the answer, of
course, is that if you allow your territory to be used to launch aggression
against your neighbor and continuously fail to do anything to prevent this from
happening, then you best have no complaints when the victim acts to defend
Targeted tit-for-tat helicopter and
artillery retaliatory strikes only invite more problems later. They do nothing
to solve the long term problem.
Not long ago, there was an outpouring of support
in Lebanon against Syria and those who support it. True, there were also large
pro-Syrian demonstrations. Israel can bolster the former via some renewed house
cleaning as well.
So, here's the plan...
Israel has its "chat" with Lebanese officials. It
has ways that this can be done via diplomatic channels.
It explains that this déjà vu scenario must
fast come to an end and that Lebanon is now being forewarned and placed on
notice that further aggression will be handled the way any other nation would to
act to defend its own land and people.
For those who claim that this is just what
Hizbullah wants--to heat up the north--my answer is that better to heat it up
now than later when Hizbullah's buddies are nuclear.
Israel should then evacuate its northern towns as
best as possible and launch a massive offensive against Hizbullah from air, sea,
and land...taking out as many major positions as possible all at once a la the
June '67 war.
As Israel has targeted Hamas and Islamic Jihad
leaders, Hizbullah's should now meet their seventy-some virgins in Paradise as
well...especially the ones with the big mouths. Another Israeli air visit to
Syria--especially to Hizbullah's Sheikh Nasrallah--would also be nice.
No doubt, Hizbullah will retaliate with massive
rocket launches and the like.
And these must be met exponentially with the full
brunt of Israel's military power to crush them. The time for pussy footing
around has long past. Indeed, Hizbullah believes it defeated Israel in Lebanon,
leading it to withdraw.
While Israel was on Lebanese soil, Jews had
misgivings about that war...so withdrew and cut their losses.
Hamas learned a lesson here as well.
It's a totally different ball game now.
Israel is being attacked by an enemy which, like
Hamas, rejects its very right to exist. But, unlike how it has handled the
latter, it must go after Hizbullah and its thousands of rockets with the same
preemption which led it to take out powerful enemy air forces and armored
brigades en masse in just six days four decades earlier.
If done properly, Hizbullah will be weakened
tremendously. True, it will not be totally destroyed, but it must be left with
the message that it can expect the same treatment if it starts playing the same
game yet again.
There is already a clear division in Lebanon
between those who support Syria and its proxies and those who don't.
Guess who wins out here?
If the Syrians make a move, Israel must make it
very clear that it will be a move that Damascus will long regret. And huffing
and puffing should not be the way this message is conveyed. Too much of that
lately has led to Israel not being taken seriously. Israel says one thing then
caves in to international (i.e. American) pressure to agree to one-sided
concessions detrimental to its very existence.
Israel has nothing to lose that it won't later
lose anyway if it doesn't take care of business now. And then the stakes will be
Hizbulllah rejectionists have long revealed their
true hands. Indeed, they have been increasingly in contact with their Hamas and
Islamic Jihad counterparts.
With Israel out of Lebanon, Hizbullah and other
pro-Syrian Lebanese stooges cannot claim that they're merely acting to defend
Lebanon's sovereignty when Israel is targeted. Their lame excuse about the
disputed Sheba Farms area is baseless as well, as even a UN frequently hostile
to Israel confirms that Israel indeed withdrew to the international
So, when Israel launches its already overdue war
to end the Hizbullah terror (how long would America have waited after its
citizens were repeatedly attacked from Canada or Mexico to react if the
latter failed to act to stop this themselves?), the new enemies it will
have made in the process will not be new at all...just the same ones it already
And while most will dare not say it, there are
many in Lebanon who are waiting for Israel to do this very house cleaning for
Combined with the Syrian withdrawal (even if its
agents are still present), this may pave the way to a real peace between Israel
and its ancient Phoenician/modern Lebanese neighbors.
Some seventeen centuries before the Arab
conquest of the native Semitic but non-Arab Phoenicians/Lebanese, the Hebrew
Bible ( aka "Old Testament" ) records in detail how Solomon, King of
Israel, requested King Hiram of Tyre to supply cedar wood and to build a temple
and a palace in Jerusalem.
It is time for those days to return.
Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive
doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs. He has created and
conducted counter-propaganda programs for college youth, has
lectured on numerous university campuses and other platforms,
and has publicly debated many anti-Israel spokesmen. His
articles and op-eds have been published in hundreds of
newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites around the
world. His official website is:
Our special thanks to the author for submitting this article.
A. G. S.