Reflections from Israel August 28th, 2006
by Forest Rain, Lionheart
Friends from overseas have written congratulating me on the cease-fire. Now, they assume, everything is ok again. Others asked why I haven’t written any articles or personal letters in these last few days. The two are connected.
Everything is not ok. This “cease-fire” is a joke. A practical joke. Like pushing someone down a flight of stairs, watching them break their neck and then laughing.
I can go outside again. I can go to work, go shopping, visit with family and friends. That is wonderful. The problem is why I am able to do these things -for the same reason I could do them for the past six years – not because there is peace but because Hizballah decided it was not to their benefit to attack. Yet.
Last month Hizballah decided it was time to attack Israel. On July 12th they infiltrated our country, crossing our sovereign borders, killed people, took hostages and simultaneously launched a full blown attack on her cities (a point that many conveniently forget or ignore). Israel fought back. She had no other choice.
We had missiles raining down on our heads. Some four thousand missiles. Friends and family were in constant danger. Businesses were ruined. Our loved ones died and others became scarred for life. We had so many people killed here it was comparable to having 9/11 happen twice in a single month.
Now people assume that we Israelis are happy that this horrible time is over.
That’s just the problem – it’s not over.
I look at the faces of the people around me and I see no happiness. No calm. Everyone is tense. Everyone knows the next war is around the corner.
Our soldiers are still in Lebanon, still in danger, still fighting Hizballah. This is being done on a “low flame”, one the world feels able to ignore. Our soldiers are uncovering weapons caches, destroying Hizballah bunkers, trying to get as much done as possible before UNIFIL deploys and becomes Hizballah’s new human shields.
We have already gotten wind of something very serious: UN soldiers being warned by Hizballah not to enter certain towns and areas in southern Lebanon , orders with which the soldiers of course comply. Their personal safety is, of course, more important to them then preventing Hizballah rearming. They aren’t fighting for the existence of their country.
Cease-fire? A cease-fire isn’t peace. It isn’t even a truce. A cease-fire is simply an agreement to take a break in the fighting. In this case even that modest goal has not been achieved in its totality. Hizballah is still shooting at Israeli soldiers, they have not ceased to fire.
So now we get to why I haven’t written. The answer is simple. I’m angry. In fact I am seething.
There is good reason to be angry at the current Israeli government for their many failures in managing this war. Many things were done poorly, to the detriment of us all. It is correct to say that Israel’s acceptance of a cease-fire agreement which does not achieve any of the goals in fighting a war in the first place namely – eliminating the terrorist threat on our border and retrieving our hostages – is caving into terrorism. The cease fire sends a terrible message to the Jihadists – terrorism is an effective strategy.
There is good reason to be angry at Hizballah and yet I am not angry at them. I do not hate my would-be killers. I understand them. They were taking action congruent to their ideals and goals.
There is one thing that angers me more than the viciousness of Hizballah or the incompetence of the current Israeli government. America. I am revolted by America.
I was born in America and taught to love America. I grew up on the values of life, liberty and justice for all. I was taught that these are the core values of the good old US of A.
My family moved to Israel when I was 13. I didn’t want to leave America. In my new room in Israel I bought a poster of an American flag so I could see it every day. Some times I recited the Pledge of Allegiance, just to make sure I remembered it.
That is the person who is now telling you that she is disgusted with America.
After 9/11 America spoke up and announced “we will lead the war on terrorism!” Never mind that Israel has been fighting that war for years. America said that those who are friends with terrorists are no friend of America; that people must not be allowed to terrorize others, that everyone has the right to life, liberty and justice. That America would help those in need attain those goals.
Then Israel was attacked. We were fighting for our very existence. America said to the world “leave Israel alone, what they are doing is necessary for Israel AND for Lebanon” which was true. And then someone in the American government came up with the brilliant idea of a cease-fire.
The editor of the Wall Street Journal wrote an article (that frankly shocked me), the premise being – Condoleezza Rice was hoodwinked into agreeing to support a cease-fire that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, convinced Israel to go along with it and now the poor misguided woman feels like the international community lied to her (or at least should feel that way). It seems the writer of this article believes Ms. Rice to be both stupid and ignorant. I don’t believe that for one moment and that is why I am angry.
Condoleezza Rice knows that the UN will not protect Israel . Since when has the UN taken steps to stop terrorism, slaughter and genocide of innocents – in any country? Condoleezza Rice knows that UNIFIL soldiers will not fight Hizballah. No one will disarm the terrorist organization. No one will enforce a weapons embargo on Hizballah. No one will force Hizballah to give us back our hostages. She knows all these things and even so she, and the president that she represents, were eager to shove a cease-fire down Israel’s throat.
Why were they so eager? Are they stupid? Naive? I certainly don’t think so. There is only one reason I can think of – polls.
Support for the fight against terrorism dropped in the polls. Consensus that America should back her ally Israel in her battle for survival evaporated so the American government decided to preserve what power it has left and cave into terrorism. They decided to throw Israel to the crocodiles in the hope that America would be eaten last.
The America I was raised to love was a sanctuary. A strong fortress of freedom that would protect those who were being persecuted. Years later here I am, an American, living in a different country, one that America professes to be friends with and America says what amounts to: “lay down and die because it is not convenient for me to look out for you. It is too much trouble for me too allow you to look out for yourself so – don’t.”
America professes wonderful values, principles and ideals but does not live by them. America knows what is right but does not follow through when the correct path becomes uncomfortable.
Hizballah live and die by their values and principles.
Who am I supposed to respect more?
This cease-fire is no prize. The only group that benefits from the cease-fire is Hizballah and possibly, in the short term, the American government benefits in the polls a bit. In the long term this cease-fire endangers Israel , America and all western countries. It reinforces the knowledge that Jihadists already have – terrorism is a very effective political strategy. The west obviously would rather stick its head in the sand then look the threat in the face. This is the reaction the terrorists hope for, it is easy to achieve their goals when no one is watching (not to mention blocking!) them. The cease–fire is no prize for Lebanon either. They will continue to be held hostage by Hizballah.
I still believe that life, liberty and justice for all are magnificent values. I believe the Lebanese deserve to experience them. I believe Israel deserves them as well. All the Israelis I know hold these same beliefs.
Even our weak, incompetent government tried to create the situation where we could live according to the ideals I was once taught America considered to be everyone’s basic rights. They tried. They failed. Why? Because America stopped them.
Israel is a country bruised and battered. We weep and we wait for the next round of fighting. Sooner or later Israel, Lebanon and the rest of the world will have to deal with the consequences of this “cease-fire” that isn’t. When it comes, the people of Israel will fight.
We, at least, know what we are fighting for.