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Friday, February 01, 2008

Glick: Olmert looks for others to fight Israel's battles

In today's column, the Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick says that the Olmert-Barak-Livni junta must be forced out of office because of their lack of a strategy in Gaza and not because of what they did (or did not do) in Lebanon. Olmert's 'strategy' - such as it is - is to find others to fight Israel's battles:
In its most devastating condemnation of Olmert and his colleagues, the Winograd commission explained that throughout the war, they never decided — and barely discussed — what sort of war they were fighting. Once the government decided to respond forcibly to Hizbullah's cross-border raid, the commission noted that it had two clear and distinct options for proceeding. "The first was a short, painful, strong and unexpected blow on Hizbullah, primarily through standoff fire-power. The second option was to bring about a significant change of the reality in the south of Lebanon with a large ground operation, including a temporary occupation of the south of Lebanon and 'cleansing' it of Hizbullah military infrastructure."

Unable to decide what sort of war it was waging, for 34 days the government moved from tactic to tactic, strategy to strategy, never following through with anything, never realizing that there were consequences for what it was doing. And today, it follows the same model of incompetence in Gaza.

For the past two and a half years Israel has taken no effective action to end the rocket and mortar offensive against the Western Negev from Gaza. And rocket and mortar attacks have quadrupled over this period.

When Hamas seized power in Gaza in June, Israel failed to develop a strategy for dealing with the fact that an Iranian armed, trained and commanded terror group was perched on its border with Gaza and threatened to destabilize its largely undefended border with Egypt.

Still led by Olmert and Livni, who are now joined by Defense Minister Ehud Barak — the engineer of the unilateral withdrawal strategy of ceding land to terrorist groups — Israel cannot figure out what it is supposed to be doing. It has no strategic goal and so it can formulate no coherent plan.


The Winograd commission properly noted the government's failure to define what it was doing in Lebanon. But it did not explain the why the government failed. The source of the government's failure in Lebanon 18 months ago and of its failure in Gaza today is its political commitment to the strategy of unilateral withdrawal from territory. Olmert's Kadima party and Barak's Labor party both have embraced this strategy. It is the centerpiece of their governing rationale.

The unilateral withdrawal strategy is predicated on a two main assumptions. First, it assumes that it is the presence of Israelis in a hostile or disputed area which causes terrorists to act. If Israel retreats, the terrorists will melt away.

Second, the unilateral withdrawal strategy assumes that Israel's interest in defeating terrorists is not unique. In the minds of Israel's leaders, all nations share Israel's goal of protecting its sovereign territory and its citizenry from attack. Consequently, the unilateral withdrawal strategy assumes that if Israel withdraws from a terror-infested area like Gaza or southern Lebanon, another authority — be it Egypt or Fatah or the European Union in Gaza, or the Lebanese army or UNIFIL forces in Lebanon — will take over where it left off and fight the terrorists for it.

During the war in Lebanon and since Israel withdrew from Gaza, the guiding assumptions of the unilateral withdrawal strategy have proven false. But Israel's leaders have refused to acknowledge reality. Rather they claim that it is reality, not their policy that is mistaken. Their daily search for new silver bullets is a manifestation of their denial of reality.

A telling episode touched on in the Winograd commission's final report, drives this point home. After meeting with the American negotiating team on July 28, 2006, Peretz held a consultation with his security brass.

According to the report, (p. 129), "At the outset of the meeting, the Defense Minister expressed his bad feeling in the aftermath of the meeting with the American team. This came after he was made to understand that a multi-national force would not enter an area [of south Lebanon] that the IDF hadn't first 'cleansed' of Hizbullah forces."

Peretz could not countenance the fact that no one will take action to defend Israel that Israel itself refuses to take. And so he didn't. And neither did Olmert or Livni. Throughout the war, Israel's goal was for an international force to be set up to fight Hizbullah for Israel. And lo and behold, UNIFIL refuses to fight.

And still today, the government refuses to recognize that suing for an international force then was a mistake. Indeed they are repeating it in Gaza.
Read it all.


At 4:56 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This is a first in Israeli history. A government whose entire policy rationale is based on outsourcing Israel's defense to foreign parties. If one needed evidence of the collapse of the Zionist principle that Israel alone will be responsible for her own defense, this policy provided it.

And Olmert-Barak-Livni have no clue and no plan on how to deal with the looming Iranian threat. They counted on subcontracting that job to the United States until the NIE took it off the table.

No country can outsource its own survival to others. Israel has no one else to rely on and if Israel does not begin recognizing reality, the country is ultimately living on borrowed time.

That is where the Olmert-Barak-Livini road is taking Israel towards - a national dead end. An end as dead as a government that no longerr has a justifiable reason for remaining in power.


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