Thursday, July 13, 2006

The war against Israel

For decades, the Palestinians and other Arabs have accused Israel of occupying their territory. Six years ago the Israelis unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon, where it had deployed troops to prevent Hezbollah terrorist raids across the border.

Last year, the Israelis made a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza strip. It also announced that it was preparing to withdraw from much of the West Bank, which it acquired in 1967 in retaliating against a Jordanian attack.

The hope in Israel and elsewhere in the democratic world was that the two withdrawals would be recognized by the Palestinians and other Arabs as measures that could lead to the establishment of meaningful peace in the region. But that was not to be.

In Gaza, the reaction to the withdrawal was an attack by the Hamas terrorist militia on a military base within Israel and the launching of rockets at Israeli towns. The expectation had been that Hamas leaders, who now control the strip, would use their new autonomy and outside financial aid to promote the local economy and to expand the local infrastructure. (Among the sources was $12 million donated by a group of American Jewish philanthropists for the purchase of agricultural facilities built by Israeli farmers in Gaza.)

But instead of trying to strengthen Gaza's economy and to demonstrate an ability to govern, Hamas began to smuggle weapons in from Egypt and other sources. The goal was to resume battling Israel. As expected, the Israelis have moved back into Gaza to destroy the rocket launching sites and to rescue a soldier kidnapped by the Palestinians.

Taking advantage of Israel's preoccupation with Gaza, Hezbollah raided an Israeli military base across the border, captured two Israeli soldiers, and began a rocket bombardment of Israeli population centers.

There is an apparent collaboration between Hezbollah and Hamas to attack Israel. Interestingly, the kind of sectarian differences that plague Iraq have not interfered with their alliance. Both terrorist groups are Islamic extremists aiming to establish fundamentalist theocracies. But Hamas is composed of Sunni Muslims while Hezbollah is a Shiite organization.

The Israeli response to the attacks from Gaza and southern Lebanon has been severe. Unfortunately, there have been heavy civilian casualties and extensive damage to Lebanon's airports, roads, and other important facilities.

Russia and the European Union, both perennially critical of Israel, charge that Israel is using a "disproportionate use of force" against Gaza and Lebanon. They evidently do not recognize Israel's right to defend itself against unprovoked aggression. Considering Russia's brutal campaign against rebels in Chechnya, the hypocricy is overwhelming.


Blogger saz said...

Thanks Mort for your perspective. It's hard to find any opinion that looks fairly at the Israeli side of the conflict. Alan Dershowitz also has good commentary at Huffington Post called the "Anti-Israel Double Standard Watch". This is where the "progressives" fail me - I don't understand the consistent support of the Palestinian cause.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 8:36:00 PM  
Blogger Treifalicious said...

The sectarian differences that plague Iraq don't affect Hamas and HIbullah because ultimately they are both clients of Iran. Hamas directly and Hizbullah through Syria. Moreover, Iran and Syria signed a military cooperation treaty something like last month.

I just read all this last night off the MEMRI website and write a post on it at my blog, Treifalicious (

These Iranians are utterly and totally insane with hatred of Israel. They actually said that the cartoon Tom and Jerry was part of a Jewish conspiracy to make over the image of mice in the Western mind, since Jes were seen as "dirty mice" in Europe. On teh other hand, another MEMRI article said that Iranian students were protesting teh government saying "Forget About the Palestinians, What About Us?"

Thursday, July 13, 2006 11:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible that we are at a point in time where we must recognize there never will be an accord between Muslims and Jews--with our help? Maybe our best course of action would be to back off for a while, take a neutral stance on the problems and let them work out their problems without our support or interference. Would any American politician dare to do this?

I recognize that the outcome will leave a terrible mess for the U.N. to deal with. But, with the situation settled, we might find that a more balanced position toward both sides is in the best interests of the U.S.


Saturday, July 15, 2006 2:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Claude said...

I must admit that I have never been much of a pro-Israeli. But this is getting too much! When Hitler was announcing the final solution, no one paid attention and yet, he did a pretty good job at it. Now that the Iranian president advocates the removing of Israel from the map of the world, occidental nations affect not to take it seriously. Yet, he is damn serious.
What are Israelis expected to do now? They HAVE removed themselves from Gaza. Should they wait until they are wiped from the surface of the earth?
Would this attitude of the western countries, European Union included, one of the manifestations of deep rooted antisemitism? I don't know but it does worry me.

Saturday, July 15, 2006 5:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the first wave---Israel is fighting extreme Islam---we in the West are next.

Saturday, July 15, 2006 7:36:00 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Thank you for writing about this so that even a novice in politics, like myself, can understand it. Our world is in dire shape and I dread to think where it will go. Having little, or no, faith in our present administration doesn't give me much comfort either. Regards, Ginnie

Saturday, July 15, 2006 7:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

What really, really, bothers me is....Bush's lack of interest. As Pres. of our country, he refuses to engage himself in this situation. Shame on him! He certainly is King of Ignoring.
His total and complete lack of foreign policy becomes more evident each day.
He's making even more of a fool of himself in Russia.

Saturday, July 15, 2006 8:06:00 PM  
Blogger goldenlucyd said...

So well said, Mort. Krauthammer's editorial "Why They Fight" in the Washington Post last week is another sane look at the situation.
A digression: I wonder what Israel's antagonists would do if Israel didn't exist. No doubt they'd be living in harmony building vibrant communities in "Palestine."

Sunday, July 16, 2006 3:37:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Reichek. I just found your blog (AARP article introduced me) and I am learning about the war in a clear way from you. I will keep reading you and learning always. Nancy Jones

Thursday, August 17, 2006 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Reichek. I just found your blog (AARP article introduced me) and I am learning about the war in a clear way from you. I will keep reading you and learning always. Nancy Jones

Thursday, August 17, 2006 12:39:00 PM  

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