Friday, August 11, 2006

Israeli MK Effie Eitam on the choice now facing Israel

MK Effie Eitam (National Union – NRP) was a commander of IDF forces in Lebanon and an authentic IDF hero. You'll recall that it was he that used his personal prestige provided Israeli PM Ehud Olmert with cover to apologize after Olmert's stupid remarks on how the Lebanon War was going to provide more of an impetus for `disengagement' in Judea and Samaria, remarks during wartime that outraged the IDF rank and file and severely damaged Israel's wartime unity.

Here, in Yediot, Eitam writes about the choice facing Israel and places the choices Israel has in plain view. I've chosen to highlight certain things:

"Yesterday, the security cabinet approved one of the most fateful decisions in the history of Israel. The choice was between victory and humiliation, and the implications will be felt far past Lebanon, further even than security issues facing northern Israel.

Hanging in the balance is nothing less than Israel's ability to survive in this region in the face of an axis of evil that sees only one alternative for Israel: destruction.

This axis of evil will not reconcile itself to Israel inside the "green line" or "blue line." It is committed to destroying Israel – men, women and children, young and old alike. To a very large extent, the results of the current fight with Hezbollah will determine the Israel's long-term outlook.

Simple reality

There are periods in which a nation finds itself facing a complicated reality. But there are also times when we must simplify matters and bring time to the place each of us occupies today, where the only question is: To be, or to cease fire?

Everyone now understands that the current war is the one in which we promised ourselves that should it occur, we would stand strong, that we wouldn't blink.

This is the joint red line we swore we would never retreat from. Clearly, after this red line there is no where to retreat to. This is the place, and now is the time, upon which countries stand or fall.

Every one of us, in his own way, believes the State of Israel and its security have been left in our hands by the Jewish people. This country is a statement of hope, bequeathed to us by our parents and grandparents. Now, we have to defend it. It's as simple as that.

Occupied territory

We must understand that Hezbollah and its rockets have successfully captured a large section of Israel. What's at stake now is no different thank crossing the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War, or pushing the Syrians ff the Golan Heights, or moving the war to enemy territory during the Six Day War.

South Lebanon is the object of Israel's counter-offensive, in order to loosen the stranglehold Hizbullah enjoys over northern Israel.

Israel 's civilian home front is bearing the burden of this war with a stubbornness and a unity unseen since the War of Independence. This is the moment and this is the purpose for which the state and the army were created. The army must act now to carry out any action necessary, wherever necessary, to restore our civilians' basic right to life, even if soldiers must die to restore it.

If the prime minister and defense minister still fail to understand the fatefulness of the current situation. If they retreat into hesitation and delusion, and if they choose to hide behind empty, twisted words, or even worse – behind a phony shield that the IDF is not, it will become clear that this government does not, and never did, deserve the faith of hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have born the brunt of this war so far."

When I read this, it reminds me of what Stalin once said to the British Ambassador about Churchill during the 1930's when Sir Winston was a marginal and forgotten figure:

" You will turn to the old lion yet on the day of battle."

Lebanon is only the start of things..I think Effie Eitam knows that.


KG said...

Now there's a man who "gets it".
Why the hell isn't he leading Israel right now?

Anonymous said...

that question should be directed to the israeli electorate. they got the gov't they wanted.

as for the essay, where my thoughts are going to be these next hours/days is with the morale of the IDF. what they must be thinking as they go into combat knowing that what they do on the battlefield may be negated by a discussion at a cesspool in lower manhattan. this is not some brunch they are going to. it is a dogfight, and olmert has put a leash on his dog in the fight.

KG said...

Just announced: ceasefire resolution.
I can't see this as anything but a disaster for Israel. Hezbollah will be claiming victory within a few days and the perception among Arabs will be the same.

Rosey said...

Louie, the Cesspool is in Midtown, East. Although as I have repeatedly said, it belongs IN the East River.

Well FF is right, this is only the start.

Israel needs hardliners now, 'cause they still have to womp on Iran and Syria. Hopefully with US help...