|Updated August 31, 2001|
II. Politics vs. Security
Operation "Peace for the Galilee" has still not been completed after weeks of fighting. Although G-d has shown many miracles, military and otherwise, the opportunities thereby provided have not been properly utilized. The terrorist threat will not be removed by diplomatic maneuverings, but only by a strong show of force.
In Part I we spoke of the necessity of bringing Operation "Peace for the Galilee" to its full, avowed conclusion; the only way peace can be assured for the Jews of Eretz Yisroel and particularly those of the Galilee. We warned against repeating past mistakes of succumbing to political pressure and prematurely aborting the campaign.
Since then the situation has, if anything, worsened. The Israel Defense Forces, with their usual bravery and self-sacrifice in defense of their brethren, have succeeded in cleaning out the terrorists from much of Lebanon, and have encircled Beirut where 6000 terrorists are trapped. The logical act would have been to then rout them from Beirut, thereby fulfilling the campaigns aim of completely eliminating the menace from Lebanon. But just as the army stood on the verge of total victory, politicians once again stepped in and tied the militarys hands. The Israeli army now waits futilely on the outskirts of Beirut, while the terrorists, confident that political machinations will once again save them from military defeat, sit complacently within.
This campaign was undertaken with the express purpose of saving Jewish lives from terrorist attack. Self-defense is an elementary right, needing no approbation from others. Yet some Israeli politicians, with the habitual subservience to, and fear of, non-Jewish opinion have obstructed and halted the campaign. Valuable time is frittered away in endless meetings, consultations with countless committees, sending letters and telegrams, and seeking the counsel and approval of others.
Similarly ludicrous is the spectacle of subjecting every move in this campaign to the prior approval of the entire Knesset which includes Arabs, Communists and Christians. More serious is the inclusion in the government of those people, or their adherents, whose record in previous wars is disastrous. When the Egyptian Third Army was surrounded in the Yom Kippur War, it was these same politicians who buckled under pressure and kept the Israeli army from finishing its task. After the Six Day War, it was these same politicians who literally begged the Arabs to take back the liberated territories. Likewise with the Suez Campaign of 1956, and the War of Independence in 1948.
And once again they act in the same disgraceful manner. Unmindful of past experience, they are obstructing the "Peace for the Galilee" campaign, and again are undoing the work of the military. The Prime Minister at the time of the Yom Kippur War, Golda Meir, at least had the decency and courage to admit her fatal mistake of placing political considerations over military advice. She wrote in her autobiography that although intelligence warned of an impending attack, the government did not order a mobilization for political reasons. The resulting hundreds of casualties and thousands of wounded, she wrote, would be before her eyes forever, and she would never forgive herself for her mistake. But these politicians apparently have no shame and continue in the same tragic path! Not only have they brought about the disgraceful Camp David treaty, but they are now responsible for even more unnecessary deaths in the present operation.
Results of Camp David Accords
It has been claimed that the Camp David treaty has now been justified, for it has prevented a second front with Egypt during this campaign. Yet the very opposite is true: The concessions given in the Camp David treaty have contributed to causing this war. If not for the weakness shown then, there would be no need for even a first front now in Lebanon. War is prevented when the enemy is afraid to do battle. Giving the enemy land, airfields, settlements and oilfields all vital for our security demonstrates our fear of them. The adversary is emboldened, Jewish settlements are shelled, terrorist attacks grow more brazen and the result is the necessity to wage yet another war in Lebanon.
How may times must we wearily repeat the absolute needlessness of giving away so much in the Camp David accords, thereby jeopardizing Eretz Yisroels security? President Sadat of Egypt needed and wanted the treaty as much as Eretz Yisroel, if not more so. Egypts economy was in shambles and revolution was a very real threat. He had to have a peace treaty with Israel to save his government. Likewise, the U.S.A.s President Carter desperately needed a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt to bolster his personal prestige and revive his flagging standing in the political polls.
In such a situation, had Israel stood firm and made only token concessions, a treaty would have been signed just the same and we would have retained the land, the oil, the settlements and the airfields! The proof? When Israel stood firm on surrendering Jerusalem, which initially had been one of the foremost items on the agenda, Egypt signed the treaty anyway. Of course Sadat tried to get as much as possible. But just as the treaty was more important to him than getting Jerusalem, so too it would have been more important than gaining the other concessions.
We are paying now for our weakness then. We are so pathetically eager to claim Egypt as our "friend" that we ignore reality. Egypt does not count Israel as a friend, and has no compunction in assisting terrorists in their bloody raids against Jews. Information given trustingly by Israel to here "ally" Egypt winds up in the hands of the P.L.O. together with substantial weapons and aid. Such are the fruits of the Camp David "peace." It has not prevented a "second" front; it has caused this one.
Under the terms of the Camp David treaty, Israel surrendered the strategic buffer zone between herself and Egypt, leaving the densely populated inner cities perilously vulnerable to attack. Yet it is precisely to obtain just such a buffer zone that Israel mounted Operation "Peace for the Galilee!" The very thing Israel is fighting for in Lebanon was given away in the Sinai.
As noted above, those politicians who caused unnecessary deaths in the Sinai campaign and in the Yom Kippur War, those who were the prime movers in the Camp David surrender, are the same ones who are eroding the militarys victories in Lebanon. The entire operation could have been finished in a matter of days, especially with G-d showing open miracles to the Jewish forces. But with their fear of gentile reaction, politicians called for a halt: First we must consult with Washington. What does London say? Is Frances reaction favorable? Jewish soldiers are dying daily because of their procrastination, but more important in their eyes is: Does the world approve?! The "Golus mentality" is so deeply embedded in their psyche that non-Jewish opinion takes precedence over Jewish lives.
Opportunities from G-d
G-d has given us so many opportunities to make good. At the beginning of the operation, President Reagan was in Europe for ten days, a clear indication the campaign could then be mounted and finished without pressure from the U.S.A. When this time was not utilized properly (due to the interference of the above politicians) a further nine day period of grace was given: Prime Minister Begins visit to the U.S.A. was the perfect excuse to finish the campaign without recriminations against the Prime Minister for how could he be blamed when he was not there? Yet another opportune time was the transition period between Secretaries of State: The time taken for the new Secretary of State to familiarize himself with his new job was a splendid opportunity to bring the campaign to its full conclusion. A further opportunity was lost when President Reagan again left Washington, this time to watch the space-shuttle Columbia land. President Carter watched similar events on television in the Oval Office. Divine Providence led President Reagan to leave Washington, providing him with a ready excuse for not undertaking any radical action on Lebanon while being absent from the White House.
Despite all these opportunities granted by G-d, miracles as great as those witnessed on the battlefield, they have not been utilized by Eretz Yisroel. Operation "Peace for the Galilee" has ground to a halt, and the terrorist menace has yet to be exterminated from Lebanon.
Israel, instead of pressing on with its task, has busied itself with proving that the P.L.O. are indeed murderers! What a waste of time and energy. Everyone knows what they are; they themselves openly state their bloody goals. And this never has and will not make any difference. Politics do not run on truth or justice; it has its own protocol, and "diplomatic" conduct is the only measure of acceptability. And through striving for such acceptability, all that has been achieved is another day wasted, and time, energy, and money diverted from its proper place. Worst of all, we delude ourselves into thinking something concrete has been achieved that now the world knows the P.L.O. are not at all nice people!
What is Israel waiting for? How many meetings, conferences, consultations, must be held before the army is allowed to do its job? A politician will never change his stripes; especially those few who were instrumental in Israels withdrawals and political defeats in the past, and who know full well what their obstructionism is leading to now. They fear neither man or G-d; they are interested only in perpetuating their positions. The only possible way to get them to admit their mistake is to publicize exactly who caused the unnecessary loss of lives by obstructing the "Peace for the Galilee" campaign. Perhaps their fear of losing their seats at the next election will have some effect.
Time is Running Out
In the meantime, if they are too weak to withstand pressure from non-Jews, if their Jewish pride is not equal to the task of assuring Israels security, we ask each of them: Do the Jewish people a favor and go home for the duration! Keep your government salaries and pensions, keep your chauffeured cars, keep your coveted positions of honor just do not mix into things out of your area of expertise. Let the experts do their job, and let them decide security matters. And it is the unanimous opinion of the military that this operation must be fully carried out and properly concluded.
We are fast running out of time. A recent occurrence demonstrates both the urgent need to act quickly, and simultaneously G-ds kindness to His people once again. It was announced that President Reagan would make an address to the nation on the situation in Lebanon. Some hours beforehand, details were given to the press concerning its contents. It outlined a plan that corresponded horrifyingly to that proposed by the P.L.O. Yet the President in his address said the exact opposite: Israel is not to blame; no promises were given not to attack Beirut; the U.S.A. supports Israel; it cannot be compared to Afghanistan; it is purely self-defense etc.
How to reconcile the two events? The release to the press was a trial balloon sent up by the Administration to test American Jewrys reaction. And that reaction was deafening silence, with no Jewish spokesman speaking up in condemnation. Nevertheless, the President, against all expectations, not only did not condemn Israel but supported its actions. This was nothing less than an open miracle from Heaven.
Simultaneously, the prior release to the press served as a warning to Israel of what can happen. The stick was raised but it did not fall. And yet Israel still procrastinates, the militarys hands are still tied by a few golus-bound politicians. None can foretell the future, and none can know when the stick will fall. Why then are we waiting?
Conquest of Beirut
The argument has been advanced that the reluctance to take Beirut stems from the heavy casualties which can be expected from the step by step, house by house street fighting. This is manifestly unnecessary. Beirut is not open countryside. It is a city of limited dimensions, of which the P.L.O. controls only the Western sector. Israel has completely surrounded Beirut, and has all the weapons necessary to shell it out of existence. Israel knows this. More importantly, the P.L.O. knows it too. Should the P.L.O. believe that Israel is really prepared to turn Beirut into rubble, surrender will be swift and sure. Not one Israeli need set foot inside Beirut. When the P.L.O. sees that Israel is no longer interested in wasting time and listening to its absurd demands, but really intends to eradicate them once and for all a five minute warning period will see every terrorist in Beirut fleeing the city.
Of course the P.L.O. wants to prolong the negotiations, to keep on setting ridiculous conditions for an "honorable" withdrawal. Why not? Every day gained is a victory for them. But why is Israel allowing itself to be drawn into this futile game of negotiating whether the terrorists will withdraw with or without their heavy weapons, with or without their personal arms. Even if Israel "wins" and they withdraw without weapons, the minute they set foot in a sympathetic Arab country they will be completely re-armed. Certainly they should be deprived of their weapons. But we do not have the time to indulge in word-games when the entire operation may be jeopardized. The U.S.A. has already shown the stick it may be prepared to use, and who knows what tomorrow will bring. We must get rid of these killers of our people before it is too late to do so. And the only way without casualties to Jewish soldiers is to threaten to obliterate Beirut and its murderers and mean it! The very knowledge that Israel is prepared to do so will cause them to surrender, and thus their lives also will be saved.
But the politicians continue to haggle, and Jewish soldiers continue to die. As on so many previous occasions, a war was prematurely ended before the military could finish their job; and military victories were turned into political defeats. Let us say, for the sake of argument, that Operation "Peace for the Galilee" should not have been started. But once the army has been committed, let them finish!
How many operations?
A parable: A patient lying on the operating table. A fearful person comes in, sees a few drops of blood flow, and begs the doctor to halt the operation until the patient will recover his strength. At the second operation, the same thing: Delay it for another time, make the operation in "installments." No sane person would suggest such a thing. The patient needs the operation, for without it there is danger to life. No normal person would tell the experts, the doctors, how to perform the operation.
The analogy is clear: The terrorists are a danger to the three million Jews in Eretz Yisroel. They must be excised and rendered impotent. One operation was mounted. Politicians, weak creatures, fearful of the spectre of their own insecurity, wanted to halt it in mid-term. When the army rightfully claimed they must finish the operation, a howl of protest went up. And the operation was halted. When the situation became so intolerable that another operation had to be mounted, the politicians again interfered. And a third time.
"Peace for the Galilee" is the fourth operation. Everyone agreed it was necessary. Hundreds of Jewish soldiers sacrificed their lives to assure the security of Israel and her citizens. But again the same warped logic, which, if its consequences were not so tragic, would be ludicrous. The terrorist threat is not to be eliminated once and for all. The wound is to be left festering with all its deadly bacteria intact they are only to be shifted from one place to another. Afterwards, who knows, more scurrying around to cull favor and assent from every petty government in the U.N. You are experimenting with the lives of over three million Jews! Have the consequences of the past not taught anything?
In the final analysis, it is the responsibility and within the powers of just one or two people to ignore the advice of faint-hearted politicians and finish the job quickly and without fuss. The U.S.A. does not want to be publicly consulted. Its Administration does not need or want the headache of getting involved. And then later having to justify its actions. As long as it is not publicly held culpable it does not object to Israels completion of the operation and the sooner the better.
Success is assured when, together with the threat of physical weapons, the Jewish army goes into battle with its true strength "We rely upon and invoke the Name of the L-rd our G-d." The unsurpassed merit Jewish soldiers have of being prepared to literally sacrifice their lives to protect the Holy Land and the Holy people who dwell therein is itself enough to bring open miracles from G-d. When "we raise our banner in the name of our G-d," when we follow the directives of G-d given in His holy Torah, in the Shulchan Aruch, we merit a full and lasting peace. Then, very soon, we will greet our righteous redeemer, when "peace and tranquillity will be in his days" and "nation will not raise sword against nation."
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