I have been writing about the danger to Israel of a weak US position in the Middle East. That it is a real danger is absolutely the case. And, as I and my loved ones are in the shadow of the gun, that danger is my focus more often than not. Everyone I associate with here is struggling with fear/depression/anger because we don’t know what’s coming down the road or, more literally, what may hit us from out of the sky. We are aware that strong leadership, both here in Israel and in the US, will make all the difference.
However, it is important to note that having a strong Israel is absolutely necessary for US national interests, as well. This has been implicit in all that I have been saying. As I have on more than one occasion previously, I would like to make it explicit here once again.
It should not be imagined by anyone that we in Israel are seeking sacrifices from the US military simply for our sake, as if there would be no gain for the US. And no one should harbor the delusion that if the US were to become isolationist and withdraw to its own borders it could escape the world’s turmoil.
Israel is the canary in the mine for the western world. The US and Europe will be affected by what happens to us. The western world is in a battle against malign forces determined to conquer it. Anything that strengthens those forces will have serious ramifications. We stand against radicalism in the Middle East, and we are a strategic asset in a host of different ways, including militarily. If we are weakened or (G-d forbid!!!) gone, the equation shifts substantially.
Israel is seen by the radical Islamists as no more than the first station in the war they are fighting. These Islamist forces are encouraged by signs of weakness. (That should be clear to everyone reading this because of my descriptions of what has transpired in Lebanon and then Gaza.) US withdrawal from this part of the world — which would provide greater opportunity for a destructive attack on Israel — would be seen as such weakness, and would precipitate a more aggressive approach on the part of the Islamists. That approach would include attacks on Europe and the US — Europe is particularly vulnerable and the US would certainly face massively increased terror. You need only look around and pay careful attention to the news to know that radical Islamists are already amongst you, even there on the N. American continent.
Encouraging the US to stay strong, then, is in the long-term interests of the western world. In the long term interests of everyone reading this. There is no easy way out here.
As a corollary I add that, as it is in the long term interest of the western world to keep Israel strong, attempts by the US or Europe to pressure Israel into being conciliatory with relentless enemies and making foolish concessions does not only damage Israel, it ultimately damages the western world. Unfortunately, most of the western world is too incredibly obtuse to grasp this reality.
And speaking of Iran…
Iran has reportedly (according to its own media) tested a number of missiles, including the Shihab-3, which has a range of more than 1,250 miles (2,000 km), and can easily be outfitted with a nuclear warhead.
Another report (Maariv citing "diplomatic sources") has it that Bush has told Chirac that "We cannot rule this [a pre-emptive attack on Iran by Israel] out. And if it were to happen, I would understand it."
The IDF is saying that its current operation in Gaza — which is supposed to stop Kassams — will not stop them and that a daily barrage of the rockets may just be a fact of life. The reality is that we probably could stop them, or certainly severely reduce the number of attacks if we were to use sufficient strength, but that our government has not been prepared to do this. What other nation would tolerate such a situation? And what other nation but Israel would the world expect to tolerate it? There is that constant Palestinian PR that plays so well to the world, which accuses Israel of "excessive use of force" and damage to civilians. And our civilians?
Hardest hit is Sderot, whose people feel they have been abandoned by the government; some schools have been closed because protective fortifications have not been completed. Seven rockets were fired at Sderot and Ashkelon today, five yesterday. A home in Sderot was hit, and before this a playground. A woman has been injured; Sderot children are terrorized. Who cares?
Yesterday IDF Staff-Sergeant Kiril Golenshein, 21, fell in the line of duty in Gaza.
The German paper Der Spiegel has interviewed some of the troops serving in UNIFIL in Lebanon and what they are reporting is hair-raising:
Spanish UNIFIL official Richard Ortax made the admission that no patrols are carried out at night “because of the danger involved.”
Another (unnamed) official said his battalion had only left camp once. "It’s absurd. We landed here and set up our tent city, but since then we’ve only left the camp to drive around and to make sure that we’re seen."
A Finnish contingent has had enough time to construct a giant sauna and an Indian group has had the leisure for decorating its base with traditional Indian artwork.
The lesson to be learned here is enormous: We cannot trust international forces to safeguard our security. It doesn’t work because the world doesn’t care. Yet our current government deludes itself that this can work, thereby putting us at increased risk. We must return to policies that require us to assume responsibility for our security.
We mark now 11 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and today there were multiple ceremonies held in his memory.
Over the years, there has been a tendency to memorialize Rabin as a champion of the left, because of his involvement in Oslo. Yesterday Aaron Lerner of IMRA ran the text of Rabin’s last policy statement to the Knesset from October 5, 1995, which makes it clear how much more stringent in his approach Rabin was than the way he is often imagined as having been. Among his stipulations were:
NO Palestinian state. He spoke of a Palestinian entity (an autonomy) that would allow the Palestinians to run their lives independently but would be less than a state. How did we get from that to current misguided notions of a "two-state" solution?
No return to ’67 borders.
Control of the Jordan Valley.
During the interim period, no dismantling of settlements, and control of borders with Jordan and Egypt in Israeli hands.
This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/11/2/posted-november-2-2006.html