Israel-Hezbollah After Action Reviews
The reviews continue to pour in and Israel isn’t faring too well.
George Will begins his column, “The Triumph of Unrealism,” with this harsh assessment:
Five weeks have passed since the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers provoked Israel to launch its most unsatisfactory military operation in 58 years. What problem has been solved, or even ameliorated?
Hezbollah, often using World War II-vintage rockets, has demonstrated the inadequacy of Israel’s policy of unilateral disengagement — from Lebanon, Gaza, much of the West Bank — behind a fence. Hezbollah has willingly suffered (temporary) military diminution in exchange for enormous political enlargement. Hitherto Hezbollah in Lebanon was a “state within a state.” Henceforth, the Lebanese state may be an appendage of Hezbollah, as the collapsing Palestinian Authority is an appendage of the terrorist organization Hamas. Hezbollah is an army that, having frustrated the regional superpower, suddenly embodies, as no Arab state ever has, Arab valor vindicated in combat with Israel.
Haaretz correspondent Ze’ev Schiff is even tougher in his essay, “The IDF’s military victory is not enough.”
The question being asked in Israel at the end of the war is: Who won? This was also asked at the end of the Yom Kippur War and the 1982 Lebanon War, and also following the last, limited confrontation with the Palestinians.
This was not asked following the War of Independence or the Six-Day War; the latest conflict was another round of limited warfare in which there was no clear decision. It is also possible that this is only the first round.
Undoubtedly, there have been Israeli achievements, but not enough. Following the Yom Kippur War in which the IDF crossed the Suez Canal and surrounded Egyptian armies, both Israel and Egypt claimed victory. The Israelis were dispirited, and the Egyptians were proud. Following a few more battles, an interim agreement was signed followed by a peace agreement with Egypt. No peace agreement should be expected with Hezbollah, but it is possible that this war will result in substantive changes in Lebanon and in Israel’s struggle against Iran.