Israel Creates Vacuum for Hizballah
With a full day of ceasefire in effect, Israel has begun its troop pullout from southern Lebanon, including a complete vacation of the Marjayoun corridor, taken just two days ago in an effort, now reduced to meaningless, to seal off Hizballah’s Bekaa Valley supply line into southern Lebanon.
In the ‘final ground push,’ launched only after the UN ceasefire deal had been agreed to in principle, Israel sacrificed 33 IDF soldiers. Today, any gains against Hizballah won at the cost of their sacrifice appear washed away as the Israeli withdrawal now underway creates an increasing vacuum in their wake.
The world watches long lines of Lebanese vehicles streaming back southward and celebrates the peace this signifies. But as those vehicles stream to fill the void in the south, who is to say how many of the civilians returning to their homes are Hizballah terrorists – with no uniform for identity- retaking their positions?
To that end, who is to say that Hizballah is not only celebrating a victory, but also the reconstitution of their Southern Human Shield Defense ranks?
To the south in Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert faces intense criticism form all sides in the handling of the campaign against Hizballah. Seeking success that he may attach to the campaign, Olmert noted the yet-untold effects of the Israeli operations against Hizballah. Said Olmert, “(Israeli) soldiers have, to an extent not yet publicly disclosed, battered this murderous organization, its military and organizational infrastructure, its long-term capabilities, its huge arsenal, which it built over many years, and also the self-confidence of its members and leaders.”
But as Israelis indeed welcome their selfless soldiers back home and are relieved to be able to venture out of their bomb shelters in some confidence and safety, their eyes also see the Lebanese stream southward in their soldiers’ wake, too wise to believe that Hizballah is not among them, retaking their positions and celebrating their new-found legitimacy, anointed by the United Nations and approved by their chief political leader.
As many Israelis feel betrayed, they recognize that it was not out of disloyalty, but rather ineptitude to an arguable degree. There appears a very steep price to be paid by leaders within Israel, and it will likely be exacted sooner rather than later.
For as the world remains intent on celebrating what it insists is peace, Israelis can see the vacuum forming to the north before any international force is even agreed to by participants. And Israelis can here sabers continuing to be rattled, with renewed confidence, by none other than Iran.
Olmert’s fate may well be sealed neither by any specific action of his own nor criticism from other Israeli politicians, but rather by the renewed confidence in words spoken by those who seek to destroy her. For, from Iran, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami claimed victory and declared with the confidence of a victor that Israel “must fear the day (Iran’s) 2,000-kilometre range missiles land in the heart of Tel Aviv.”
While the world is determined to celebrate ‘peace,’ Israelis are wise enough to recognize that the war has simply returned to its less visible state.