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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We interrupt this journal...

I rarely post twice in one day, but current events have me feeling a little icky about leaving up a snarky, light-hearted post while my country is in the process of calling up its military reserves.

What follows is a collection of facts I have picked up from many of the Israeli news services.  I am not posting links because too many of them are pulling down stories nearly as fast as they are posting them.  I'm assuming this has to do with military censors.

In case you hadn't heard (meaning in case you rely on NPR, CNN or Reuters for your news), this morning at a little after 9:00 AM Israel time, the sovereign state of Lebanon committed several overt acts of war against Israel. 

Technically, the attacks were carried out by Hizballah, but as they are part of the current Lebanese government, and are allowed to maintain full military control over much of southern Lebanon... the unprovoked attacks were the responsibility of the Lebanese government. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here is what has happened so far today:

At about 9:15 AM a barrage of Ketyusha missiles and mortar shells were fired at both military and civilian targets in northern Israel, with one rocket scoring a direct hit on a civilian house in the community of Shtula. There are no firm numbers of wounded yet... but 6 - 8 seems to be the numbr I have seen most often.

Under cover of this missile/mortar assault, Hizballah crossed the border and kidnapped two IDF soldiers, possibly killing one in the process.  The soldiers have not been publicly identified, but sources in Lebanon are stating that they are Druze.  I am pleased to see that the Israeli government is treating the kidnapping of IDF soldiers... ANY IDF soldiers... as an act of war.

Within minutes of the attack/kidnappings, a large Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated under an IDF tank which was operating along the border, destroying the tank.  The condition of the tank crew has not been publicly disclosed.

Almost immediately the  IDF infantry forces were ordered over the border to search for the missing soldiers while Israeli artillery and warplanes destroyed bridges and roads to keep Hizballah from moving the hostages further into Lebanon.

There are several Israeli news outlets that were initially reporting either 7 or 8 Israeli soldiers killed in this morning's attack, but some of the reports have since been pulled... and the one remaining report of casualties is now saying that 5 IDF soldiers were killed.  My guess is that most of the mainstream news services are waiting until the families have been notified... but it would appear that these 5 are probably the tank crew.

UPdate:  The Jerusalem Post is now reporting 7 IDF soldiers killed in the initial attack.  May their families be comforted.

Prime Minister Ohlmert has officially declared the attack an act of war and is holding Lebanon directly responsible.  IAF jets have overflown Beirut several times today to emphasize this point, and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz has issued a statement that if Lebanon does not act quickly to eliminate the Hisballah threat and return our soldiers, Israel will turn back Lebanon's clock  by 20 years... a reference to the almost complete lack of infrastructure that existed in Lebanon after Israel was forced to invade in 1982

Shortly after noon Israel time, IDF reserve units began receiving emergency call-up orders (tzav shmoneh), and at present at least a full division of reservists have been mobilized.

At the same time, communities in the north of Israel that are within shooting range of Hizballah weapons have been instructed to go into their bomb shelters and reinforced rooms.

Lastly, after watching today's events unfold exactly as many of Israel's conservatives said they would... I feel compelled to respond to a question put to me by one of the more smug commenters  a few days ago.  He was responding to my statement that unilateral withdrawal under fire sends a message to Israel's enemies that terror is working and pushes the Arab electorate into the arms of those who advocate armed struggle over diplomatic solutions.

This smug young attorney said: "The "weakness in retreat" theory was also used to argue against leaving South Lebanon. Would you rather we stayed there? "

As much as I would love to simply answer yes and leave it at that... nothing is ever quite that simple here in the middle east. 

Instead I'd like to temper my answer by saying that I don't think we should have stayed in Southern Lebanon forever.  But, as much as it pains me to be proven right (again)... I feel that a unilateral withdrawal under fire does seem to have sent our enemies the worst possible message.

I think the time has come to make sure we send them the right one.

If that means turning the famed cedars of Lebanon into matchwood... so be it.

If that means setting Lebanon's electrical grid and physical infrastructure back to 1986... so be it.

If that means effecting regime change in Syria via f-16... so be it.

If that means destroying entire Iranian cities to force them to stop producing nuclear weapons they have promised to use to destroy us... so be it.

If that means targeting terrorists who deliberately choose to operate out of Gaza apartment buildings... so be it.

If that means that the life of every Arab in the region is made so miserable that human rights organizations around the world scream in unison for Israel to stop... so be it.  They certainly don't scream when Israelis are killed, mained or kidnapped... so as far as I'm con erned, they can take their thinly veiled Jew hatred and throw a nice party over at the U.N.

It has finally come to the point where Israel has to make the stark choice of who will get to enjoy peace... our citizens or theirs. 

I choose ours.

220_63

Posted by David Bogner on July 12, 2006 | Permalink

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Unfortunately, I think you are right.
I want to note that according to news reports I have read, it has been
standard practice for Hezbollah to step up attacks against Israel every time the IDF was involved in actions against Palestinian terrorists.
May they discover that they have started off more than they bargained for, and I pray all our soldiers come home safely.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 13, 2006 8:43:48 AM

Yeah, I pretty much agree. It's hard for me to sit here in America and
watch all this go down and keep my mouth shut. I don't usually think it's appropriate for American Jews to tell Israel what to do, but in this case, I think "Bomb them back to the stone age" would not be
inappropriate.

Posted by: Evan | Jul 13, 2006 8:45:08 AM

I suppose violations of airspace on a daily basis (even before today's
"act of war") does not qualify as a violation of the sovereignty of a
state.

Posted by: A Lebanese | Jul 13, 2006 8:46:28 AM

Your so right. How much longer much the future of Israel be dictated by
world opinion. They will always hate us.

It's about time Israel started remembering this is a real war.

Posted by: Chaim | Jul 13, 2006 8:47:30 AM

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

A Lebanese: Oh, puhleeze. You and I both know that the capture of the
IDF soldiers by Hizb'Allah this morning had nothing to do with airspace
incursions and had everything to do with solidarity with Gazanicks.
You want to see violations of Lebanese sovereignty? Pay attention for
the next 3 days. You'll see violation of a lot more than your
airspace.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 13, 2006 8:48:56 AM

Sad but accurate assesment. As far as Lebanon is concerned, I fully
supported them in when they were trying to have free elections. But
they chose to allow terrorists, Hizbollah, to be part of that
government. And I was saddened because I really thought the Lebanese
people truly wanted peace.

Am Yisrael Chai!!

Posted by: Seawitch | Jul 13, 2006 8:49:43 AM

Jordan... Yes, I think we have finally put paid to the myth that these
groups don't act in concert.

Even... A lot of them are already there.

A Lebanese... Are you really equating harmless defensive reconnaissance
with what happened today? If so I have a request for you: Go spend
the day tomorrow waving at the planes and helicopters. I hope they do
more than violate your airspace.

Chaim... The next few days will tell if our leaders have really gotten
the message.

Doctor Bean... Probably a lot longer than that, unfortunately.

Seawitch... The people probably do. But they don't have the will (or the tools) to remove the thugs who are making a sh*thole of their beautiful country.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 13, 2006 8:52:29 AM

thank you for writing this. you seem to have put everything my boyfriend was trying to tell me today into the words he couldnt find. i understand and its so frustrating to be in california now.

am yisrael chai!

Posted by: Lisa- the other one | Jul 13, 2006 9:02:17 AM

At last you Israelis have whole-heartedly embraced mass murder...(or destroying "whole cities", whatever) but I guess that's means you've really matured as a nation.

Posted by: nat | Jul 13, 2006 9:29:00 AM

Such a pity - just as you and Lisoosh were putting the finishing touches on your "Marshall Plan" for the Palis...

David: now that you embrace making entire populations miserable, and "bombing them back to the 1980s" - perhaps you are finally willing to cough up the poison pill of Palestinian legitimacy that so many "moderates" swallowed during Oslo?

Our Story So Far:
The classic tropes of victimology politics were used to cajole many supporters of Isarel into recognizing "the Palestinian people's legitimate desires" - out of a kind-heartedness and sincere desire for peace stemming from Jewish history and morality.

Our enemies - both without and within - have successfully spun this big-heartedness into an admission of Zionism's illegitimate, colonial nature. They have successfully convinced many people (in Israel and around the world) that the Jews are essentially less authentic residents of this region.

It is this lingering self-doubt that has led Israeli media - and our army! - to posit the notion that "there is no military solution" and we are somehow chained to the Palis, and fated to absorb their attacks until they agree to leave us alone. That the best we can do is build ghetto walls and hunker down.

That actually having them recognize our sovereignty is something worth bargaining for!

That we must always "give back" the pieces after every battle, as if this is a static game.

As if Israel were suddenly inventing the notion that a country can permanently annex areas from which it is repeatedly attacked - rather than this being SOP in geopolitical conflicts.

There is a direct connection between this limited vision of our options and the Oslo-era bait-and-switch in which pity for the Palis as humans morphed into the assertion that the Palis are more authentic here, and can never be removed from what has become "their" homeland more than ours.

So: now that Treppenwitz is on record calling for Lebanese cedarwood matchsticks, is it finally possible to mention The Scarlet Letter on this blog - "A" for "Annexation"?

You - and other "moderates" - are invited to cough up the poison pill of Palestinian legitimacy - and the hairball of "progressive" hubris that has collected around it....

Posted by: Ben-David | Jul 13, 2006 9:35:08 AM

Israel will turn back Lebanon's clock by 20 years ...

What I'd prefer is that Israel clean Lebanon's clock. Thoroughly.

Posted by: Rahel | Jul 13, 2006 11:07:31 AM

Lisa... Being out there in the Bay area you have a really important job to do. I can't think of a geographic area that is more densely packed with Israel bashers. You need to be part of balancing those terror apologists.

Nat... According to your IP address you are living in Israel, so I guess I'm a little confused. If I was a German in 1938, I;d like to think I'd have the strength of character to leave such an evil place. I can only hope that if you really think that Israel is committed to genocide that you will leave as quickly as possible to keep your morals intact.

Ben-David... My positions have been anything but static. If you know anything about me by this time I would hope it is that I do a lot of thinking out loud here and have adjusted my positions so frequently that people have accused me of looking like a weather vane. I don't need to cough anything up (poison or otherwise) because you and I are talking about different things. You hold that there is no such thing as the Palestinian people and that even if we buy into the myth of such a people... they have no legal standing in claiming a state for themselves. I, on the other hand, am not taking a position on that score but rather pointing out that whatever you want to call these adjacent people, the aren't going away so we had better deal with them head-on.

Rahel... These must be dire times indeed if sweet gentle Rahel is saying such things. C'mon now... I count on people like you to balance out my inner barbarian.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 13, 2006 12:07:16 PM

yes yes, let's give them the "bid'ness" and get out of there.

Posted by: Tonny | Jul 13, 2006 7:21:56 PM

I don't have much to add, except that my thoughts are with the families of the of those who were injured or killed at this time.

Posted by: Irina | Jul 13, 2006 8:07:25 PM

>> I feel that a unilateral withdrawal under fire does seem to have sent our enemies the worst possible message.

I think the time has come to make sure we send them the right one.

If that means turning the famed cedars of Lebanon into matchwood... so be it.

If that means setting Lebanon's electrical grid and physical infrastructure back to 1986... so be it.

If that means effecting regime change in Syria via f-16... so be it.

If that means destroying entire Iranian cities to force them to stop producing nuclear weapons they have promised to use to destroy us... so be it.
>>

Please no, Mr Bogner. What kind of a monster would you be willing to become? There have to be limits. I would not dream of downplaying (from the cosy comfort of a land at peace) the seriousness of the current crisis in Lebanon, and I do not wish to engage in endless and ultimately sterile arguments over who started it or who used bigger bombs. And I dare say that it would be unreasonable at such a time for the Israeli PM not to use such bellicose rhetoric. But surely you don't literally mean what you are saying? If even sane-minded people such as yourself immerse themselves in this hatred, then there may never be an end to this madness.

Respect and peace to yourself, to your family, and to all your readers. I very much enjoy reading your blog. But you are unwise to encourage your enemies to hate you.

Posted by: F. M. | Jul 15, 2006 2:18:22 AM

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