The Next War

By Ari Bussel

By might alone, Israel cannot win and thus, Israel will not win the war now being forced upon her.

Israel says it won the 2nd War in Lebanon and prevailed its land excursion into Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, but a realistic look at both incidents shows that Israel has done nothing but buy time to recoup.

The five or six years leading to the 2nd War in Lebanon were similar to the present. “We are strong,” was the consensus, “undefeatable.” “It is quiet on the northern front, the enemy (Hezbollah) has learned its lesson,” it was said, or “we have the necessary deterrents.”

Except, Hezbollah thought differently. A particular episode remains vivid in memory and I keep playing over and over again in my mind: Nasrallah, the Iranian crony for Middle East/Israel affairs in Lebanon, was broadcasting live to the Israelis while fighting was raging on.

It was July 14th, 2006. Nasrallah in his “epic speech” said he was looking at an Israeli naval vessel and gave the order to hit it. Not five minutes elapsed and the vessel was hit, four dead.

Israelis described Nasrallah as hiding in a rat hole, and here he promises and delivers in real time. Let us listen to some of what he had to say:

“To the people of the Zionist entity at this hour I say to them: You are about to quickly discover, O people, that your new government, and new administration, is stupid, and foolish and has no experience in how to deal in these situations.

“You, O you Zionists, say in your opinion polls that you believe me more than you believe your officials. This is time, I ask you sincerely, to hear me and believe me.

“You and us. You wanted open warfare, we are going to go into open warfare. A war on every level.

“To Haifa and believe me, to beyond Haifa and to beyond and beyond Haifa; you don’t know today whom you’re fighting

“You are fighting a people who have faith such as no one else on the face of the earth possesses.

“The surprises that I promised you will begin starting now. Victory is imminent, imminent.

“Now out at sea off the coast of Beirut an Israeli military vessel that transgressed on our infrastructure, that struck the homes of our people, our civilians; you can see it burning and sinking and with dozens of Zionist Israeli troops.

“This is the beginning. There will be a lot more said before the end.

“Peace be upon you, and the mercy of God.”

For the preceding five years, Hezbollah’s had fortified its presence, making it impenetrable, building armored underground cities. Everything was connected by communication systems that could neither be infiltrated nor stopped. Their stockpiles of missiles were impressive by any standard.

They had been studying the Israelis, the Israel Defense Forces and its way of reacting and gathered intelligence. They devised and improved their warfare doctrine, and then they implemented.

They attacked Israel within Israel sovereign territory, wounding and killing several soldiers and kidnapping two into Lebanon. Hamas carried that exact same operation two weeks earlier, resulting in Gilad Shalit’s captivity for the next five years with no end in sight.

Israel went into Lebanon to rescue the two kidnapped soldiers. Their body parts would be returned later in exchange for hundreds of terrorists. Israel has shown Hezbollah and the neighborhood how unprepared it has become, and they are watching very carefully.

Once again it is quiet on the Northern Front. Let no one mistake: The enemy’s stockpiles are greater than ever, the fortifications and infrastructure better than six years ago. Yes, there were improvements on the Israeli side too, but there is one element still lacking: Israel’s will to win.

Perhaps Israel lacks the will to win because she still believes she will survive, no matter what. Images of Israeli cities conquered by the enemy are dismissed as a total impossibility, and thus it is this illusion of “Israeli might” that lulls Israel into this false sense of security.

The situation in December 2008 and January 2009 in Gaza was even worse. First, Israel felt stronger. Two years have passed since Lebanon. The army was undergoing a complete “makeover” by then Chief of Staff Ashkenazi. There was a feeling of immense satisfaction that: “We have improved.”

I felt there was a problem less than 12 hours from the land incursion into Gaza. I was at the border with the “who’s who” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Israel’s top politicians arrived in droves to be interviewed. The consensus was “We are Just. We are Strong. We shall Prevail.”

Israel still believed it had prevailed and taught Hamas a lesson. Ahoy there, a time bomb is still ticking to this very minute and beyond! Was there a guard on the tallest pole? Was he awake? The ship was about to collide head on and everyone was soundly asleep.

Israel was accused of War Crimes, and its leaders—the Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister and officers, from the Chief of Staff on down to the lowest rank soldier—remain exposed to trial, even in absentia. There remains, for those who follow the events, a false and misleading report by Judge Goldstone, and although he may have had “second thoughts” about his conclusions, the Report was never retracted and is a damning verdict against Israel.

Then, another incident, a terrorist flotilla aimed at breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza and turning the world’s opinion against Israel set sail to Gaza. The outcome: A complete “victory” for Israel’s enemies. Israel “eased” the controls over passage into Gaza. In a word, Israel capitulated. Still today, Turkey still expects Israel to apologize because it was attacked and forced to defend its blockade.

Israel remains accused of deliberately murdering nine unarmed peace activists on board the lead vessel, the Turkish Mavi Marmara. All evidence to the contrary makes no difference. The world chooses to believe Israel acted as pirates on the high seas.

Rather than preempt the arrival of the Flotilla of Terror, Israel waited until after the events had unfolded to investigate. The conclusion? “We would not have targeted the ship [to sink it] that had hundreds of activists on it.” Instead, Israel was caught unprepared, and her top soldiers – equipped with paint guns – were almost lynched to death. That outcome was okay in the world’s eyes.

Occurrence after occurrence, incident after incident, Israel shows it has no intention of winning. Any harm inflicted on her is absorbed and ignored. At times a momentary reprieve is sought, but that is mostly without any lasting or lingering effects.

How can Israel win? She must want to win, and then she must fight to win. There is only one way to stop an enemy who wants you dead. Any notion of “peace” or “appeasement,” “discourse” or “good intentions” is as helpful as standing in line to be sorted to the crematoriums or for slave labor.

Israel must extract a price, an enormous price, from her enemies. They want to destroy her and will do everything to achieve their objectives. In return, they receive electricity from Israel, almost free passage, medical treatment, help with humanitarian needs, expertise fighting diseases, etc. Israel must stop that as a matter of policy. These are not two countries living side by side with good neighborly relations. It is a terrorist organization doing everything in its power to destroy Israel.

Israeli leaders must stop the mere discussion of giving land or speaking about Jerusalem. This builds up false notions of success in the enemy, real and valid expectations of Israel’s final destruction. Would any logical human speak to their cancer and say: “Here, I will willingly give you my lungs and liver because you demand more of my body to infect. Please make yourself comfortable. What more can I do to help you kill me faster?”

Israel’s enemies say exactly what they want: the pre-1948 borders. They want every part and parcel of the Land of Israel, and Israel is swimming lazily in a warm pond of illusion, spraying water here and there, unaware that soon she will drown, dragged down into the abyss.

War is inevitable, because the enemy has brainwashed its children that Israel is an evil that must be eradicated. A generation has arisen that knows only one truth: Israel must be destroyed, and they are to give their lives for that most noble of causes.

The very existence of Israel’s enemies boils down to preparing for war. They care not about work or education, raising a family or investing in growth, infrastructure and life; unless somehow it contributes to Israel’s defeat.

Some would say that North Korea is similarly guilty, having hijacked a proper life from its citizens, subjugating them to serving the state in its evil intentions. The difference though is quite striking: There is a deterrent against North Korea, but none against Hamas or Hezbollah.

They are willing to give their lives to destroy Israel. In waves they come: They attack, they murder, some of them are killed in return, and immediately a hundred stand behind each of the fallen to taken his place. Similarly with their stashes of missiles: they use dozens a day, overwhelming Israel, but they have sufficient reserves to last them, at the same pace, for years to come.

To make the right decisions and have the courage to implement them will take a visionary. In the alternative, it will take a historian. Look back at history to see the turning point that brought Japan or Germany back into the family of nations. First, they had to be decimated, any notion of triumph erased from their collective language and culture. Only then could the reforms be initiated to allow reemergence.

A vision for a better future starts with two people working together. In Israel’s case only one seeks peace, the other the grandiose notion of her destruction.

Israel is clearly misleading itself by delaying the inevitable. Another War is imminent, and Israel will once again be forced to face its enemy. It must decide whether to do so on Israeli terms or the enemy’s.

As one looks around and evaluates the situation, it sees the enemy calling the shots and Israel playing the fool time after time. Enemies of the Jewish State are on the offensive and the best Israel can do is play a second rate job of catch up.

How much must Israel suffer before realizing she must change course? Clearly not enough yet.