Thursday, July 13, 2006

Barak Getting Grilled

I'm listening to former Prime Minister Barak getting interviewed on Israel Radio right now. Barak, as our readers will remember, was responsible for Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon. The interviewer asked Barak why Hizbullah has been allowed to concentrate its forces so close to the border for such a long time. Barak didn't answer the question directly at first, because he obviously felt he needed to set something else straight. In the past few days, there's been a chorus of commentators and right-wing politicians who've criticized the IDF's withdrawal in 2000. Barak rightly pointed out that about 115 Israeli soldiers died in Lebanon between 1999 and 2000 - more than have been killed in the past 6 years. He also sounded a note of optimism. Barak claimed that, in the long-term, these events might trigger the high-level international intervention (French and American) that will force Lebanon to deal with Hizbullah. Barak also argued that the withdrawal gave Israel international legitimacy which will help it.


Amos said...

The problem was obviously not the withdrawal itself but the entrenchment of Hizbullah along the border. Israel was constrained by the international community which, as usual, failed to take the warnings seriously, and still somehow believes that we are playing games here. We all know that the Euros, the Arabs, and the UN would have jumped on Israel if it had taken any action to clean out the Hizbullah bases preemptively. The good news is that now that we've waited FOREVER for the Lebanese to move their behinds to address this problem, Israel can be confident of the legitimacy of its operations against Hizbullah, of whatever scope they may be. From now on, it should be clear that the presence of a single Hizbullah outhouse within 20 km of the border is a casus belli.

Also: I am incensed that even "friends" of Israel such as Merkel are condemning Israel for using "disproportionate" force. I hate to sound like a broken record player, but the Europeans just do not get it.

John said...

Actually, power plants have been targeted. Civilians have died, although it's not clear how many. The Lebanese say the overwhelming majority of victims are civilians. I don't really think the airforce is that restrained. They probably have a green light to go after high risk targets (in terms of civilian lives).

Passing Observer said...

He's right in a way, Israel has a technicality, that they can use to solve this issue, otherwise the silly Europeans would be on your case, they already anyway are criticising the response.