Michael Oren writes that Israel needs to take the war to its originators: Syria and Iran.
Israel refrained from large-scale military reprisals for this aggression, confident of having won international goodwill through its withdrawals and fearful of being dragged back into the Lebanese and Gazan morasses. But Israelis have learned that unprovoked violence against them raises little outcry in the world and that failure to react to isolated acts of terror invites unremitting terror. Today a united Hezbollah-Hamas axis has emerged, financed and trained by Syria and Iran, with the goal of destabilizing Israel and frustrating its efforts to disengage from the conflict. In spite of the perils that this front poses to Israel, and the ethical dilemmas that fighting it raises, Israel can transform the situation into one that promotes both domestic and regional stability.
In countering Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel has little choice but to strike at those who authorize the attacks: the heads of those organizations. Both Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza and Hasan Nasrallah in Lebanon appear indifferent to their own people’s safety. For propaganda purposes, they order rocket crews to operate in densely populated areas so that Israeli retaliation will inflict the maximum number of civilian casualties. But these leaders remain extremely reluctant to pay for terror with their own lives, a fact that Israel discovered when its policy of targeted assassinations compelled Hamas to agree to a cease-fire.
[…] Efforts by the United States, the United Nations and the European Union to dissuade Iran and Syria from activating their terrorist agents have consistently proved ineffective. Therefore Israel has no realistic option but to convince these states that the price of promoting aggression is prohibitive. If Israeli soldiers and civilians are the targets of Iranian- and Syrian-backed terror, then the Iranian and Syrian militaries must become targets for Israel.
In the Toronto Star, Mitch Potter says that Hezbollah has bitten off more than it can chew:
“Hezbollah made the mistake of thinking an untested Israeli leadership would repeat the past and back down,” said Meir Javandanfar of the Middle East Analysis Company.
“But what they didn’t realize is that the overwhelming majority of Israel’s generals are not only ready to fight, but ready to take some bruises along the way. And they are not going to leave the ring until Hezbollah has a very bloody nose.”
In the International Herald Tribune, an Israeli writes:
Since then, we have had the Yom Kippur War, the Attrition War, the Lebanon War, two intifadas and endless terror. Israel has not only survived, but has become stronger. It is a vibrant and prospering democracy, with robust economic growth over the last five years, the highest number of books published per capita in the world, and second place in the world in the publication of articles in scientific journals.
The Arabs, in the meantime, with all their aggression, have only brought on their peoples misery and poverty. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan tower above this self-destructiveness as leaders who really served the best interests of their people by making peace with Israel.
So now Hamas and Hezbollah are again feeling Israel’s muscles, to see if we have mellowed. It has long been the idea of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, that Israel has become weak, like a cobweb that can be easily torn apart, or better, destroyed from within. These people, who mistake democratic life for weakness, just can’t grasp the fact that a democracy, if attacked, will always have the upper hand because free and proud people who fight in self defense will not be defeated.
Read them all.