Israel: In 2006, we played ‘nice guys’

On April 18, 2010 – I posted an article, titled US Embassy in Lebanon: an Israeli Espionage Network. Now, according to Israeli daily YNet (August 27, 2010) that Frederick Hof, a senior adviser to US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, has threatened Lebanese Army Christian commander Jean Kahwajim that should his soldiers kill another Israeli Lt. Col. Dov Harari in a border clash – Israel Occupation Force (IOF) would annihiliate Lebanese army to its last soldier within four hours.

During 34-day Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Lebanese army did not take part for two reasons; first Lebanon doesn’t have a regular army but security force, second Lebanese government knew that Hizbullah fighters can defeat the IOF soldiers – which they did.

In August 2006, an American Christian writer and women right activist, Joanna Francis, posted on her blog; Hezbollah 2, Israel 0:

“Make no mistake about it – the Israelis are getting their tails kicked in Lebanon! Just like they did in May 2000, when Hezbollah sent them scurrying back across the border with their tails between their legs. The Israelis never forgot that stinging defeat and have now demanded a rematch with Hezbollah. And much to their surprise, Israel has already managed to lose the rematch too. Considering the disparity in numbers and weaponry between Israel and Hezbollah, Israel should have achieved a decisive victory by now. But they haven’t. And it doesn’t help their case any that they have had to resort to bombing the entire country, killing women and children, to try to save face. It only makes them look more pathetic. They will never be able to swagger quite so arrogantly again, or instill fear in the groveling leaders of their neighboring countries in quite the same way. The Israelis have been outfoxed at every turn by an irregular army using prehistoric weaponry, with little to no support from neighboring countries (the leaders, that is), but who have proven themselves to be unwavering in their determination. Hezbollah are fighting against the best weaponry American money can buy. And they are winning….”

George Mitchell has recommended to Ben Obama that the United States should no longer pursue a direct confrontation strategy with the Hezbollah, which enjoys majority support among the population, but should seek to isolate it instead. In other words, Washington should pretend to interpret an Israeli war against Lebanon as a police operation against the Hezbollah and refrain from intervening openly. Washington’s new ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, has been assigned with that job. Saudi King Abdullah has set-aside US$500 million to run a covert operation against Hizbullah.

On his part, de facto President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas sent a message to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon asking them not to leave their camps during the offensive slated for this autumn. These instructions correspond to the points of consensus prevailing in Washington. Any attempt to use the Palestinians (mainly sunni) against the Hezbollah (mainly shiite) would be counterproductive for the interests of the United States in Lebanon and could spawn negative effects throughout the region.

In Washington, two powerful Jewish think tanks, Saban Center (Brookings) and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) published opposing views in July 2010. According to the first one, Israel should be given complete leeway. The second report recommends, instead, that the Obama Administration should exert pressure on Netanyahu before, during and after the conflict with a view to containing it.

Back in United State, George Mitchell, tried to counter low expectations for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by harking back to his experience as a mediator in Northern Ireland.


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