Cameron Brown writes in the Jerusalem Post:

When Hizbullah poured gasoline onto the fire by attacking soldiers on the country’s northern border with Lebanon, the sentiment became absolute: Unilateral withdrawals have only weakened the country’s deterrence and undermined the security of the state.

Yet, the last week in particular has demonstrated that these unilateral withdrawals have not been all bad. By withdrawing to an internationally recognized border in both instances, Israel has basically eliminated any self-doubt about the legitimacy of its right to use force – even overwhelming force – when attacked. No longer does half the country wonder if we could have avoided bloodshed by “ending the occupation.” Instead, the country’s citizens are as united as ever in their determination to repel and punish those who attack us, even if it means bearing the brunt of hundreds of missile attacks in the process.

In short, by unifying the ranks and eliminating self-doubt, withdrawing to recognized borders has in many ways actually bolstered Israel’s core security.

He then adds:

ALL THIS IS not to suggest that the opponents of these withdrawals were entirely mistaken either. As many claimed at the time of the Gaza withdrawal, if one listens to what is being said in the Arab and Muslim world, it is undeniable that the lesson drawn from Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon has been that violence against Israel may yet prove effective.

While some, like Fatah’s Marwan Barghouti, thought in terms of using violence to force the country to withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank, others like Hamas and Hizbullah became emboldened in their belief that through the interminable use of brutal violence, they could one day even cause the country to cease to exist.

Hassan Nasrallah, the charismatic leader of Hizbullah, in particular has often argued that Israel’s citizens are fatigued, and that the country’s unwillingness to suffer casualties makes its technologically superior military just a paper tiger.

It was this mistaken understanding on the part of Hizbullah and Hamas about why Israel withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza that underlay their strategic miscalculations and led them to kidnap IDF soldiers.

In other words, the Right is correct when it says these withdrawals created the atmosphere which led to the current fighting.

But his point?

Given the way in which Israelis are responding to this war, it seems that we underestimated exactly how important it is to have a clear conscience.

Sure, sure, I write for free for fun and pleasure ( 🙄 ) but others get paid to come up with this stuff which you, dear reader, get to see here first.

About the author

themiddle

15 Comments

  • Isn’t it strange how Israel is fighting militants in areas where it withdrew, while the Judea and Samaria remain quiet?

  • Great, now we can die and huddle in bomb shelters with a clean conscience. Will that make it more enjoybable? I recall we went to Auschwitz with a clean conscience, and that didn’t make it any better.

    The continued attacks on Israel DISPROVE the “clean conscience” argument. That argument states that previously it could be claimed that our actions were responsible for our problems. However, the fact that we are attacked despite our withdrawls suggests that it was never our presence in Gaza and Lebanon that caused the problem, but rather our very existence. Thus we should never have had a bad conscience to begin with.

  • And, Middle, the proverbial international community has a stake in seeing this border vindicated and enforced going forward. Having withdrawn from south Lebanon, Israel gets to recruit soldiers from other countries to act as human shields. Sounds like a good deal to me.

  • Please…

    Bad conscience doesn’t mean the victims become the victimizers.

    I am not down with this at all.

    Israel went too hard. Destroying Hizbullah infrastructure (which is small part of the country) could have been done, without destroy the economy, displacing the people (very sad), destroying non militant infrastructure, houses, blocks of units, airports etc.

    Small tactical attacks with air support could have done the job.

    Jews need to repair the relationship with the Arab countries, not send it to hell even more.

  • How do you know? How do you know what is a legitimate target and what isn’t? Do you have intelligence gathering forces at your disposal, Morbrini? How do you know it’s too hard? Since Nasrallah is still around and kicking, not to mention promising new missiles with longer range, doesn’t it seem obvious to you that Israel has not hit hard enough? Do you know how much a single F-16 or F-15 bomb costs? Why would they waste any bombs on non-targets?

    By the way, their economy is also affected by this. And the shitty relationship with the Arabs may have something to do with the fact that some of the Arabs don’t want to even recognize the state while some others want to destroy it.

    Tom, there are now ominous sounds coming from Israel that they intend to remain in S. Lebanon until this international force materializes. In the meantime, the NY Times reports that no countries are volunteering their soldiers and I would guess after the missile striking the UN outpost tonight, that this reluctance to volunteer their soldiers will diminish further.

    It’s a screwed up world.

  • themiddle

    I see your point. I was under the impression that Lebanon was actually picking up as a country. That Hizbullah is disliked by the majority (?). I thought the youth seem pretty cool – from docos that I have seen.

    Yeah it’s messed up situation for the people of Israel and Lebanon.

  • The wonderful thing about us Jews is that we are idealists and ideologues who believe in miracles and fantasy, because ultimately they have happened so many times in our history that they are not that unlikely to occur in the present day. The clash between two world views, one where you believe that hezbolla, and all it’s sister organisations will disappear with enough pounding, or one that hezbolla will never disappear and that we should learn to accept its existence in a way that doesn’t endanger ours, are more apparent now than ever.

  • How do you know what is a legitimate target and what isn’t?

    Call it a wild guess, but UN observers, for one, are not legitimate targets. Neither are civilian refugees trying to escape the battles in their cars along motorways.

    And for what it’s worth, no, I don’t think the civilians of Israel are legitimate targets for rockets or bombs, either.

  • Who disagrees with that, Finnish? Of course they’re not legitimate targets and my educated guess is that both the political and military echelons in Israel, not to mention the population, are also in agreement with the two of us.

    We also agree, and I mean ALL of us agree, except for Hizbullah and Hamas, that refugees in cars aren’t legitimate targets.

    Mistakes do happen, as do accidents. There may also be situations where there may be an understandable reason for targeting a vehicle. The problem is, Finnish, that neither you nor I know why that vehicle was targeted. It may have been an error and it may have been in pursuit of a serious intelligence lead about somebody in the vehicle. While you and many others wouldn’t give the benefit of the doubt in this situation – for some odd reason considering that Hamas and Hizbullah truly don’t give a hoot while Israel keeps saying it does – I happen to know many Israelis who serve or have served in the IDF and I don’t believe they want to target innocent people or that they actually do target them.

  • Themiddle, I do understand that information in the battlefield can be very fragmented or unclear, or downright wrong, and it can lead to unfortunate accidents. But in case of doubt, perhaps dropping a big bomb is not the best way to deal with the uncertainty.

    I also understand that it’s very easy for me to shout a big bunch of blah-blah from the comfort of my armchair and overanalyze things. But it just hurts to see people get burnt between those two raging fires who are trying to put each other out.

  • Uh, Middeleh, don’t know how to break this to you – many of us Israelis ALREADY had a clear conscience about our country’s legitimate right to self-defense BEFORE starry-eyed one-world lefties dragged us down Oslo’s Yellow Brick Road.

    Like, the vast majority of us were totally cool with the 1967 war, felt we were justified in conquering areas from which we were attacked – just like we annexed the Golan – and thought the handful of jerks like Moshe Dayan who halted the outflux of Palis and immediately started chattering about “giving back” this “occupied” territory were, well, jerks.

    The question is how many times the “smart” Jews have to hit their heads against the wall before they “get it”.

    And how many of our young men will die until their common sense kicks in.

  • Ben-David

    Don’t worry, the “left” is all but dead in the world of politics. Kinda of sad, now it’s just right wing brawn. If it works…so be it.

    But if doesn’t…

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