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Monday, August 14, 2006

Olmert: Strategic situation has changed; Netanyahu: Goals not achieved

In the first Knesset session to deal with the war in Lebanon and its consequences, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that UN Security Council Resolution 1701 had fundamentally changed the strategic situation on Israel's northern border. Here are excerpts of his speech from the Prime Minister's Office's web site:

Members of Knesset,

Approximately one month ago, the Government approved the IDF operation against the Hizbollah terrorists – following an act of terror, during which volleys of Katyushas were fired on communities in the north, killing 8 IDF soldiers and kidnapping Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

The overall responsibility for this operation rested on me as Prime Minister. I have no intention of sharing, nor do I ask to share this responsibility with anyone. This responsibility derives from my position as Prime Minister of Israel.

The decision by the Government of Israel not to ignore the situation, echoed, and will continue to echo in world capitals both near and far. It clarified to all peoples and nations that the State of Israel would not absorb any more attacks on its sovereignty and would not restrain itself anymore when its citizens were harmed. Furthermore, it would respond with force to any act of terror, from the north or the south, from the east or from the sea. Anywhere.

Madam Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of Knesset,

This morning, UN Resolution 1701 became valid. This resolution contains a list of responsibilities which are meant to fundamentally change the situation on our northern border.

In my speech to the Knesset on July 17, 2006, several days after the outbreak of the campaign, I said, and I quote:

“And in Lebanon, we will insist on compliance with the terms stipulated long ago by the international community, as unequivocally expressed only yesterday in the resolution of the 8 leading countries of the world:
- The return of the hostages, Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev [which we didn't get. CiJ];
- A complete cease fire [which there is substantial doubt as to whether we will get. CiJ];
- Deployment of the Lebanese army in all of Southern Lebanon [which may or may not happen. CiJ];
- Expulsion of Hizbollah from the area [which is not happening. CiJ], and fulfillment of United Nations Resolution 1559 [which by definition cannot happen so long as Hezbullah is armed. CiJ].”

This resolution is a political accomplishment for Israel, however its significance is crucial to all nations of the free world, who struggle against global terror. The entire international community is partner to the perception that the terror state which established itself in Lebanon must be destroyed. The UN Security Council unanimously, and with the support of the 15 member states, accepted this historic resolution, which clarifies that there is only Israel and Lebanon. There is no longer a state within a state. There is no longer sponsorship for a terror organization by a state. And no longer is a terror organization allowed to operate within Lebanon, as the long arm of the axis of evil which reaches out from Teheran to Damascus, uses Lebanon’s weakness and transforms it, its citizens and its infrastructure into a tool for its war. [That's all on paper. It's not the reality. And it is quite doubtful that the 'international community' will do what is necessary to make it the reality unless and until it is forced to. CiJ]

Finally, a single address for discussions regarding the northern border has been determined, and that is the sovereign government of Lebanon. It will bear full responsibility for all its territory, and the entire international system is committed to this. [The government of Lebanon includes Hezbullah. The government of Lebanon has said quite clearly that it will not disarm Hezbullah. Olmert is living in a dream world. CiJ]

We will continue to act to bring the kidnapped soldiers home. We will do so with perseverance and with all the means at our disposal, both overt and covert, as decreed in the Security Council Resolution. [But what actions will he take? Trading terrorists for them? CiJ]

I appointed Ofer Dekel, former Deputy Head of the Security Services, as my special representative to coordinate the efforts to bring Udi, Eldad and Gilad home [He may as well have appointed a committee. Same [lack of] meaning. We're no closer to getting them back than we were a month ago. CiJ]. Yesterday morning, before the Cabinet meeting, I met with the families of the kidnapped soldiers and updated them regarding the agreement which was reached.


I believe that the realization of the UN Resolution creates good conditions for their return [But the war was supposed to bring about their return. And it didn't. Because it failed. Because Olmert didn't have the guts to let the army win. CiJ]. The entire international community is committed to this [No it's not. The part about them being returned is in the preparatory paragraphs and not in the operative paragraphs. It's completely non-binding. In fact, Shalit is not included at all, because Hezbullah doesn't have him. CiJ].

Both in the matter of bringing the boys home and the matter of political accomplishments, we should wait a while and maintain a measure of healthy doubt, caution and vigilance. [How long are we supposed to wait? Twenty years and counting like Ron Arad? Twenty-four and counting like Zach Baumol and Yehuda Katz? You went to war to 'bring the boys home.' You had over 100 soldiers killed to bring the boys home. You had a million people live in shelters for a month to bring the boys home. Where are they Ehud? Put up or shut up and resign. CiJ]]

The test of this resolution is in the precise implementation of each and every clause. We intend to follow its implementation carefully. We will not ignore violations and will reserve our right to respond as we see fit [Tell Goofy Annan that. CiJ].

Madam Speaker, Members of Knesset,

The IDF operation over the last month, in the air, at sea and on land – brought about a change in the regional strategic balance, first and foremost vis-à-vis the Hizbollah terror organization.

IDF soldiers dealt a severe blow, the dimensions of which are not yet publicly known, to this murderous organization, its military and organizational infrastructure, its long-term ability, the huge weapons arsenal it has built and accumulated for many years, and also to the self-confidence of its people and leaders. [That's funny. Nasrallah declared victory today. The whole Arab world thinks he won. CiJ]

In every battle, in every encounter with Hizbollah terrorists, the fighters of the IDF had the upper hand – of this there is no doubt. [They would have had the upper hand if you had let them get it. CiJ]

The leaders of this terrorist organization went underground, and from there they are busy spreading lies and hiding the truth of the cost to them and their people.

In this regard, I wish to clarify: these people will not be exonerated. They will not be exonerated. We will continue to chase them wherever they are and for however long it takes. It is our moral duty to ourselves, and we have no intention of apologizing or asking permission from anyone to do so.

We also suffered painful blows, both on the home front and on the front line. We did not mislead ourselves when we embarked, because of the inevitability of the circumstances, on this war. We did not mislead anyone. We said rockets would fall, missiles would fall, and that we would pay a heavy price – the most precious – in human lives.

We spoke out of a sense of profound responsibility towards every citizen on the front line and on the home front, and we knew – we all knew – that there was no choice but to embark on this campaign. Otherwise, we would have found ourselves facing even greater dangers in the future. [And we will find ourselves facing greater dangers in the future, because you did not have the courage to win the war. CiJ]

Members of Knesset,

I see and hear those voices which express discontent, even disappointment, as if their expectations have yet to be realized. And I say to them and to all of us: friends, patience. Patience.

The struggle of the Zionist movement against terror, as with the free world’s struggle with terror, did not begin today, and will not end in the foreseeable future. This is a long, difficult, complex struggle which demands restraint, determination, stamina and perseverance. We all saw how much power there is in the stamina and patience demonstrated by the Israeli home front, an ability which surprised even our enemies.

A nation which wishes to defeat dark and fanatical fundamentalist terror must have nerves of steel. We, the people who returned to its land after 2,000 years, have patience. And therefore, we will be victorious.

Members of Knesset,

There were also shortcomings. We will have to examine ourselves in all the systems. I say here, first and foremost, to the IDF soldiers and their commanders, G-d forbid, never give up. You are the heroes of the people of Israel, and you will receive my full backing and support.

We will not hesitate to examine everything which requires examination. We will hide nothing, nor will we cover up. This is the lifeblood of a democratic society. However, we will not do this because of screaming and the hurling of accusations. We cannot afford the luxury of wallowing in wild arguments and mutual recriminations. We cannot afford this luxury because we must ensure that the next time – and there may well be a next time – things will be done better. Even if we think we learned all the lessons, even next time there will be things which must be fixed. Because, ladies and gentlemen, this is war. [If everything is examined out in the open, Olmert will have no choice but to resign. I don't believe he's going to willingly agree to everything being examined in the open. CiJ]


Thank you.
Look at the bright side. At least he didn't mention his convergence consoldiation realignment surrender and expulsion plan for the Jews of Judea and Samaria, and suicide plan for the rest of us.

The response came from opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, a far better orator than Olmert:
Opposition leader MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) told the Knesset plenum that "Unfortunately, there will be another round [in this war] because the government's just demands weren't met" by the cease-fire agreement that went into effect Monday morning.

"The [kidnapped] soldiers weren't returned home, the Hizbullah was not disarmed … Right now, we are [merely] in an interim period between wars," Netanyahu warned. "And there is no one who will prevent our enemies from rearmed and preparing for the next round."

"We were a responsible opposition," Netanyahu said. "We aided in every way, including in the media war." But "our public duty is to tell the truth, because unfortunately there will be another round." [This is true. Netanyahu did not say one critical word while the war was going on, backed the government fully, and was its best spokesman to the press. CiJ]

Netanyahu warned that "We were living in a coma, and received an alarm warning telling us to return to reality as it is, and to return to ourselves and to those values that will secure our existence in the future."

He also asked MKs why an emergency situation wasn't declared in the North of the country during the fighting, in which over a million northern residents were forced to leave their homes and business ground to a halt. "I can't answer this question," he said. "If ever there was a reason to implement the law for an emergency situation, this was it, even more than any other war."

Netanyahu's concluding words were to Iran and Hizbullah. "You won't defeat us," he said, adding that "We've overcome worse than you."
Afterwards, Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik of the Kadima Achora party called for a national unity government. Now? Whom is she kidding?


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Can he possibly believe himself, and if he does, he is delusional.

Bibi makes more sense, but in the end the 3 soldiers are still captives, and no one knows their fate, nor do there seem to be any indications that there will be.

Presdident Bush in now in the end of a press conference after a speech on the war and terror.

He says that hizballah suffered a major defeat. Dan Gillerman is now on Fox, and says the war was won by 'the forces of good'.

There should be a transcript. Gellerman says that 'we will do what we have to do to put an end to terror'.

He is doing a superb job.

At 12:16 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

I don't think Hezbullah won per se. But they won in the sense that Israel did not annihilate them as we should have.

I just posted some of the Arab world reaction. The issue isn't that they won - the entire war took place in Lebanon. The issue is that they now think that we can be beaten. They smell blood. And that's much more dangerous. Especially as long as Olmert remains in power.

At 12:40 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

'The issue is that they now think that we can be beaten. They smell blood. And that's much more dangerous. Especially as long as Olmert remains in power.'

Realistically, how soon could he be ousted, by a winning vote of no confidence in Knesset? And who would suceed him?


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