I wish I can express some level of optimism regarding the so-called “ceasefire” in Lebanon. No more bombs, no more dead innocent civilians and no more destruction to property. The Lebanese people will just have to pull back their sleeves and begin the re-construction phase once again and eventually peace will come…..
If only that was true! However, just a glimpse at the history of the region would indicate that the current UN brokered ceasefire is only a delay of the even bigger war that will create ten times more destruction and death.
The way things are perceived in the Arab world is that Hezbollah stood up against the Jews, caused many casualties, humiliated the once-might Israeli army, and have restored honor to “Muslim Pride”. It’s the exact similar reaction they had when the Israelis withdrew from Southern Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza last summer.
You’d think that this alone would raise a red flag in the mainstream media, the halls of academia or even individual citizens to properly assess what’s coming in the next few years. Unfortunately all were hearing are calls for inviting Hezbollah to the negotiations table, the “excessive force” displayed by the Israeli military and the questioning of whether or not military solutions are the proper response to Islamist threats.
Which is weird, considering all what’s happening in the recent months can be directly attributed to actions and “peace solutions” in which “Progressives” worldwide assured everybody would pay off. Many on the right however, had reservations.
- Everybody pushed Israel to make territorial concessions in the West Bank and Gaza in the hopes that b withdrawing and giving the Palestinian people autonomy, political and economic control and a better handle to their social system. Eventually, the Israeli were told, the Palestinians would moderate, and tings would eventually fall into place for peace to take hold for future generations.
And the Israelis went for it, they gave back Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Gaza City, Bethlehem, Jericho and Jenin.
13 years later, the Palestinians elect Hamas. Hmmm…not exactly according to plans…but what the hell.
Case number 2:
Almost the same exact scenario as today. Israel was occupying Southern Lebanon in hopes of creating a buffer zone between northern Israel and Hezbollah. But things were getting hairy. It was getting expensive, in both finance and military lives on the Israeli side. And the Labor party in Israel under Ehud Barak caves into international pressure to eventually withdraw from Southern Lebanon and give control to the Lebanese. They were told by everyone from the UN, Bill Clinton and the EU that this move would send the right message to the Lebanese and Arabs in general that Israel would be willing to make concessions in return for peace. Once again, the Israeli right wing had different feelings. Nonetheless, on April of 2000, the last Israeli solider officially withdrew from Southern Lebanon.
6 years later: Hezbollah terrorists are praised as Liberators, they gain major political autonomy in Shiite regions in Lebanon, more political representation and message is sent to the Arab world that Israel eventually caves once you kill the right amount. Possibly setting the motivation for Arafat to launch the second intifada shortly after Camp David 2.
Was this what the people who were calling for the withdrawal back then had in mind? Who knows…but just a few years later they advocate for the same thing only this time in the Gaza Strip.
Case number 3:
The Gaza Strip
Ariel Sharon breaks off with his traditional right-wing allies in Israel and decides to create a centrist alternative to both Likud and Labor. He goes against his right flank and announces a complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The left in Israel and all over the world is overjoyed. This is the right thing to do they said. Concessions and sacrifices are they key to the peace process. This will help the Palestinian moderates. Cooler heads would prevail. The Palestinians would finally build a prosperous and peaceful society that would help deflect terrorist and radical intentions.
One year later:
Hamas gets praised as liberators. Israel is seen as weak to pressure. They begin using the Gaza strip as a lunch pad to their rockets that target Israeli civilians. The economy in Gaza is in ruins, and the moderates are nowhere to be seen.
Hmmmm…so far they’re 0-for 3.
Now what you need to do is consider the three scenarios mentioned and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is Israel more or less in danger today following the withdrawals?
2. Who gave more concessions throughout the whole peace process Israel (with territorial concessions) or the Arabs (cracking down on terrorist groups)?
3. Who has prevailed in the Arab world after all those concessions? The Moderates? Or the religious fundamentalists?
4. Has the situation in the Palestinian territories and Southern Lebanon improved following the withdrawals?
5. Do you think the continued violence is due to the fact because the Israeli right was listened to? Or is it because they were ignored?
And finally…do you think following the withdrawal this time from Southern Lebanon, the Israelis have avoided or simply delayed a bigger fight in the future?
Judging from the scenarios before us, I’m leaning towards the later.
And I’m not the only one. Khaled (my buddy who was evacuated from Lebanon a few weeks ago) swears that Lebanon is dead to him. As far as he’s concerned, he ain’t ever going back. My Lebanese friends aren’t even considering returning for even a visit for the next 10 years.
I’ve just run into an Israeli-Canadian friend from University in the gym. Says he’s just trying to get back in shape because all signs in Israel point to him being called back for military service. Does this sound like peace is right around the corner?