February 10, 2010 – 4:06 am

Real peace has never been a long-term policy for Israel and to keep herself in a perpetual state of war, it is not only targetting Lebanon but will likely drag in Syria as well. By columnist and editor Ramzy Baroud.

The Israeli military may be much less effective in winning wars than it was in the past, thanks to the stiffness of Arab resistance. But its military strategists are as shrewd and unpredictable as ever. The recent rhetoric that has escalated from Israel suggests that a future war in Lebanon will most likely target Syria as well.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean that Israel actually intends on targeting either of these countries in the near future, it is certainly the type or language that often precedes Israeli military maneuvers.

Deciphering the available clues regarding the nature of Israel’s immediate military objectives is not always easy, but it is possible. One indicator that could serve as a foundation for any serious prediction of Israel’s actions is Israel’s historical tendency to seek a perpetual state of war. Peace, real peace, has never been a long-term policy.

“Unlike many others, I consider that peace is not a goal in itself but only a means to guarantee our existence,” claimed Yossi Peled, a former army general and current Cabinet Minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government.

Israeli official policy - military or otherwise - is governed by the same Zionist diktats that long preceded the establishment of the state of Israel. If anything has changed since early Zionists outlined their vision, it was the interpretation of those directives. The substance has remained intact.

For example, Zionist visionary Vladimir Jabotinsky stated in 1923 that Zionist “colonization can… continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population - an iron wall which the native population cannot break through.” He was not then referring to an actual wall.

While his vision took on various manifestations throughout the years, in 2002 it was translated into a real wall aimed at prejudicing any just solution with the Palestinians. Now, most unfortunately, Egypt has also started building its own steel wall along its border with the war-devastated and impoverished Gaza Strip.

One thing we all know by now is that Israel is a highly militarized country. Its definition of ‘existence’ can only be ensured by its uncontested military dominance at all fronts, thus the devastating link between Palestine and Lebanon. This link makes any analysis of Israel’s military intents in Gaza, that excludes Lebanon - and in fact, Syria - seriously lacking.

Consider, for example, the unprecedented Israeli crackdown on the Second Palestinian Uprising which started in September 2000. How is that linked to Lebanon? Israel had been freshly defeated by the Lebanese resistance, led by Hizbullah, and was forced to end its occupation of most of South Lebanon in May 2000.

Will it be Gaza or Lebanon first? Israel is sending mixed messages, and deliberately so. Hamas, Hizbullah and their supporters understand well the Israeli tactic and must be preparing for the various possibilities. They know Israel cannot live without its iron walls, and are determined to prevent any more from being built at their expense.

Israel wanted to send an unmistakable message to Palestinians that this defeat was in fact not a defeat at all, and that any attempt at duplicating the Lebanese resistance model in Palestine would be ruthlessly suppressed. Israel’s exaggeration in the use of its highly sophisticated military to stifle a largely popular revolution was extremely costly to Palestinians in terms of human toll.

Israel’s 34-day war on Lebanon in July 2006 was an Israeli attempt at destroying Arab resistance, and restoring its metaphorical iron wall. It backfired, resulting in a real - not figurative - Israeli defeat. Israel, then, did what it does best. It used its superior air force, destroyed much of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians. The resistance, with humble means, killed more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers during combat.

Not only did Hizbullah had penetrated the Israeli iron wall, it had also filled it with holes. It challenged, like never before, the Israeli army’s notion of invincibility and illusion of security. Something went horribly wrong in Lebanon.

Since then, the Israeli army, intelligence, propagandists and politicians have been in constant preparation for another showdown. But before such pending battle, the nation needed to renew its faith in its army and government intelligence; thus the war in Gaza late December 2008.

As appalling as it was for Israeli families to gather en masse near the Israeli Gaza border, and watch giddily as Gaza and Gazans were blown to smithereens, the act was most rational. The victims of the war may have been Palestinians in Gaza, but the target audience was Israelis. The brutal and largely one-sided war united Israelis, including their self-proclaimed leftist parties in one rare moment of solidarity. Here was proof that the IDF still had enough strength to report military achievements.

Of course, Israel’s military strategists knew well that their war crimes in Gaza were a clumsy attempt at regaining national confidence. The tightly lipped politicians and army generals wanted to give the impression that all was working according to plan. But the total media blackout, and the orchestrated footage of Israeli soldiers flashing military signs and waving flags on their way back to Israel were clear indications of an attempt to improve a problematic image.

Thus Yossi Peled’s calculated comments on January 23: “In my estimation, understanding and knowledge it is almost clear to me that it is a matter of time before there is a military clash in the north.” Further, he claimed that “We are heading toward a new confrontation, but I don’t know when it will happen, just as we did not know when the second Lebanon war would erupt.”

Peled is of course right. There will be a new confrontation. New strategies will be employed. Israel will raise the stakes, and will try to draw Syria in, and push for a regional war. A Lebanon that defines itself based on the terms of resistance - following the failure to politically co-opt Hizbullah - is utterly unacceptable from the Israeli viewpoint.

That said, Peled might be creating a measured distraction from efforts aimed at igniting yet another war - against the besieged resistance in Gaza, or something entirely different. (Hamas’ recent announcement that its senior military leader Mahmoud al- Mabhouh was killed late January in Dubai at the hands of Israeli intelligence is also an indication of the involved efforts of Israel that goes much further than specific boundaries.)

Will it be Gaza or Lebanon first? Israel is sending mixed messages, and deliberately so. Hamas, Hizbullah and their supporters understand well the Israeli tactic and must be preparing for the various possibilities. They know Israel cannot live without its iron walls, and are determined to prevent any more from being built at their expense.

Note: Ramzy Baroud ( is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of Check out Baroud’s short film (in English and Arabic) about his latest book: My Father was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press; Palgrave Mcmillan, 2010). The book is available at Pluto Press (UK) and Amazon.


  2. Long Term Peace is exactly what Israel wants.
    It left Gaza in hopes that peace would follow. What followed were thousands of rockets shot at their civilian population from Gaza.

    Israel like every other country has the right of self defense. After several warnings to knock-it-off. Israel finally had to re-enter Gaza to put a stop to the rocket barrages.
    Hamas cried like little bitches when they got their comeupins. But for the most part the rockets stopped. For now.
    Hamas continously is trying to re-arm and Israel is constantly trying to stop them.

    Even Egypt understands the nature of Hamas terror and wants nothing to do with them.

    As soon a Hamas stops trying to attack Israel the crossings will reopen.

    As soon as the Palestinians love their children more than they hate Israel, peace will come at last.

    The Jews have every right to live on the land of their history and ancestors.

    By Mike Hunt on Feb 11, 2010

  3. The sad commentary of (Mike Hunt) is quit common especially in america where there is such a black out on media coverage. Anything that verges on fairness in reporting is slammed as anti-Semite. The only outlets available are on The two non corporate stations, LINK TV and FSTV via Democracy Now and one of my personal favorite doc’s called “Occupation 101″ thoughtfully presented by a jewish citizen of Israel. It set’s the record strait in a truly non propaganda drenched (from either side of the conflict) It’s something I wish would be shown on one of the ‘big networks” but this will never happen as long as the Zionist controlled talking heads within the U.S. Government and it’s co opted media outlets continue to control the message and imagery that has been a constant one sided vision for nearly 50 years now. Both sides have made horrible mistakes and theres plenty of blame to go around! But what I can never understand is the fact that Israel has no legal justification other than their biblical interpretation of what they say is their historical right. What if the Indigenous people of North America Suddenly launched a similar war on the European emigrants and treated them in the same way the zionist treated the Persian people ? We just need to look to the South (South America) to find the answer to that. I write this not to draw yet another useless battle line with Mr. Hunts opinions, I believe that is what is wanted by those who run this world! I only wish for a clearer non polarized discussion of such life and death issues. Endless arguments fueled by deluded half truths lead us nowhere and only serve to extend the bloodshed on both sides, although it is always a lopsided affair when one side is furnished with an endless supply of brand new high tech weapons of mass destruction and the other is smuggling antiquated black market weapons from where they can, this is from U.N. findings witch BTW continues to serve Israel with notices of illegal occupation to witch it forever cries foul in’s parroted manner were all to familiar with… Blah Blah Blah

    By Revolutionarybum on Feb 12, 2010

  4. Couldn’t agree with you more, Mike H. you said exactly what I was thinking. It’s like a stupid criminal that resists arrest then cries that the officers Tased him- what do you expect to happen?

    By Mike on Feb 12, 2010

  5. @ Revolutionarybum - Never have I seen such posturing and such a dismissive attitude. There is no ‘blackout’ on media coverage in the US, unlike maybe the country you live in. We have freedom of the press and can get everything from the Christian Science Monitor to Pravda to NHK to DAWN. Hardly ‘zionist’ controlled news outlets
    I’m afraid your buttocks are affecting your eyesight.
    The propaganda and bias just spews from each of your sentences .
    LINK TV is the AL JIZZ affiliated network & FSTV is funded by the Russians.
    Talk about bias.
    You are so steeped in contrived political correctness and have such an anti-Israel bias it shows you have no interest in knowing the truth.
    You are the consumate definition of a “tool”, a dupe.
    I have traveled the world and lived in Muslim countries, both in the middle east and south Asia.
    My opinions have been formed from learning facts and first hand experiences.
    No, I’m not Jewish, actually Irish Catholic Californian.
    Israel does have problems and could handle many things differently than it does now.
    But what’s right is right.
    Israel has the right to live on the land of their forefathers and also has the right to defend itself, especially if it’s civilian population is being attacked.
    If you were being attacked every day, you would react in somewhat paranoid fashion too.

    Shame on you for being such a closed minded hater. I hope one day you find the truth and get happy.


    By Mike Hunt on Feb 22, 2010

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