Israel's Political and Military Defeat
Over the past month, Israel has suffered an embarrassing military and diplomatic defeat in its war against Lebanon and Hezbollah. For the first time in decades, an Arab and Muslim force has been able to stand up to one of the strongest militaries in the world. There will be a new Middle East, but not the one Condolezza Rice had in mind a few weeks ago.
The changes made to the American-French resolution that was passed today were a result of the diplomatic pressure by the Arab delegation that was sent to the Council last week. The compromises made also came as Israel and the US realized that this war cannot be won by Israel without causing serious risks of severe instability in various autocratic countries in the region.
A brief look at UNSC resolution 1701 shows the significant changes and additions that were made to put an end to Israel’s aggression against Lebanon. The new resolution includes a call on Israel to withdraw completely from Southern Lebanon as well as from the occupied Sheba’a Farms. A prisoner exchange between Lebanon and Israel is also to be arranged according to the resolution.
Israel has suffered huge losses on the military front, losses it hasn’t suffered for decades. The IOF was forced to call in more than 30,000 reservists to help with the war on Lebanon and maintain the occupation of Palestinian territories. More than 1.5 million Israelis are hunkered down in shelters while thousands of others have already decided to pack up and leave the country. New opinion polls show that only 20% of the Israeli public believes that their military will win the war. Public support for Prime Minister Olmert and War minister Peretz has declined dramatically over the course of the war. This has resulted in Olmert accepting resolution 1701 and asking his government to do the same. The Israeli government and military want to put an end to a war they cannot win except by cowardly dropping US-made smart bombs on shelters full of civilians. When it comes to on the ground battles against Hezbollah fighters, the weakness of the IOF is obvious. In the international arena, Israel is clearly alone, except for its partners in the US. Even in the States, many have begun to question their governments unrelenting support to a government bent on destroying Lebanon and any other Arab country it can put its hands on.
The unanimous agreement on resolution 1701 proves that Arab countries do have some leverage with the US and in the UN. One wonders, however, if the same power will be used to end the suffering of the Palestinian people. This war will definitely have an impact on the course of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, although one has to remember that many Arab countries as well as Europe and the US have interests in Lebanon that are not existent in the Occupied Palestinian territories.
The dramatic shift between power among Arab countries was also highlighted during the diplomatic efforts that were taken to end this war. While Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan began with a condemnation of Hezbollah and its “uncalculated adventures”, resolution 1701 passed with the help of the Emarati and Qatari officials who went to the UN to ask the US and France to place more pressure on Israel to end its aggression and withdraw its troops. While the former three Arab countries appear to have more weight and power in the region, the opinions of the leaders which were in clear opposition with that of their constituents have questioned their ability to remain among the movers and shakers in the region. The strong reaction of the Arab street to the Israeli aggression as well as their to their leaders’ condemnation of the resistance was a wake up call for Arab autocrats who began to restate their opinions and review their political strategies fearing an even stronger reaction that could result in destabilizing their positions of power domestically and regionally.
The war has also proven that Israel should not be dealt with diplomatically. Israel is a country founded on war and established by military occupation. It does not understand the language of diplomacy; rather, it only understands the language of Katyusha rockets and military body bags. When Israel suffers a military defeat, it is then forced to accept political concessions. This is exactly why countless attempts to forge peace treaties and accords with the Palestinians have ultimately failed as Israel continued its aggression and occupation against a weakened population despite international condemnation. It is also why Israel continually disregards international law and dozens of Security Council resolutions mostly regarding the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As long as it is not losing its young military men and its Merkavas, Israel will continue to disregard any calls from the international community to stop its state sponsored terror machine.
While most of the world has seen and understood what Israel is doing to millions of innocent people, the question remains if and when the United States will realize that its blind support to Israel is only causing more instability in the region and danger to its own people and its position as the superpower of the world.
[technorati tags: Israel, Lebanon, Hizbollah, US, UN, Olmert]