Nidra Poller writes from Paris for Jihad Watch on peace in our time:
Advocates of an immediate cease fire did not prevail at the recent Rome Conference convened to discuss the current crisis and if possible agree on a common position. As bluntly stated by two disappointed journalists: “World powers failed to reach agreement”¦on when to end the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militiamen in Lebanon [sic], bowing to American pressure to give Israel more time to bomb.” Sciolino and Cooper inadvertently admit that the cease fire camp is focused primarily, or realistically, on curbing Israel’s right to pursue its military operation in Lebanon, without really addressing the problem of Hizballah attacks against Israeli civilians. For good reason. Hizballah is not operating within the framework of so-called international law. What’s more, an honest description of the conflict precludes the ceasefire approach and demolishes its humanitarian underpinnings.
In the real world Hizballah launched a widespread, unprovoked, premeditated attack against Israel. Astute observers worldwide recognize this offensive as the opening battle of Iran’s war against the infidels, in the larger context of global jihad. Israel is striking back with considerable determination, making progress while discovering the full extent of the challenge in terms of Hizballah weapons caches, underground tunnels, trained combatants, sophisticated communications and tactics. Disproportionate for some, inadequate for others, the ongoing Israeli military campaign is undeniably vigorous and skillful.
By what logic would one interfere at this point, impose a ceasefire, and replace courageous IDF soldiers with any combination of multinational troops known or imaginable? The idea is so preposterous that it unravels as it is articulated. One day a NY Times editorial suggests that the French would be the backbone of the force because of their close ties with Lebanon, forgetting to add a word or two about France’s ill-concealed antipathy for Israel. But it doesn’t even matter. Because the French have made it clear that they are not marching in until and unless the political problems are solved and the battlefield is pacified and, even then, they will only take marching orders from the UN. Maybe you have to live in France to understand that this is their way of saying “non.” As for suggesting that the French first prove their mettle by disarming the punk jihadis in the banlieue or curbing the appetite for car burning, it’s too easy.
Just as it is too easy to tally UN failures in the region, on that very border, and anywhere else in the world where scrupulous authority backed up by military force is required. The death of four UN soldiers on the eve of the Rome conference was immediately transformed into stones to throw at Israel. Kofi Annan, whose quite recent words of praise for Hassan Nasrallah coupled with their photo op are circulating in the blogosphere, cast the first stone. And the howling crowd joined in without stopping to think exactly how this incident supported their ceasefire cause. It doesn’t. It illustrates the impossibility not to mention the utter inadvisability of an expanded UN force on the border. Israeli soldiers are kidnapped and subject to conditions of detainment that chill the blood. Israeli soldiers are dying in combat in Lebanon, courageously fighting to protect Israeli civilians and Israel’s very existence. Israeli civilians are killed in their homes, on their streets, in their workplaces. Four UN soldiers–still passively observing as Hizballah fighters fiercely defend the military installations they constructed under the UN”s watchful eye””are killed and the UN immediately accuses Israel of deliberately targeting them.
Would it be any different in the case of an expanded, beefed up international intervention force? Or would that force serve as the avant-garde of the human shield now composed of the Lebanese population?
Measured against the existential danger facing Israel and, concomitantly, the rest of the free world, the vague notion of a multinational force is shockingly frivolous. Its advocates skirt every concrete problem, beginning with the disarmament of Hizballah, and introduce preposterous notions such as inviting Syria to participate because it has the only Arab army that could handle those tough Hizballah fighters. The force would be under French commandment, but the French won’t go anywhere near the region until it has been pacified. The force would operate under UN mandate, prevent cross-border attacks, pave the way for deployment of the Lebanese army on the troubled frontier as specified in UN Resolution 1559″¦but only if the warring parties agree in advance. As for the underlying issues, a close look reveals that the ceasefire is based essentially on satisfying Hizballah demands for massive liberation of Lebanese prisoners and evacuation of the Sheba”a Farms, thereby justifying the unprovoked July 12th attack.
In short, the ceasefire crowd is promising peace in our time.
French participation in any military operation is highly problematical. French participation in the ceasefire movement is total and, on the domestic scene, exhilarating. Public approval ratings for Chirac-Villepin are up by more than 10%. The media are at a fever pitch of anti-Zionist hysteria. Anticipating victory in Rome, they announced a stunning turnaround in US policy, claiming that Condoleeza Rice came away from her meeting with Fuad Sionora finally convinced of the need for an “urgent ceasefire.” That story vanished the next day, when the American Secretary of State reiterated her government’s opposition to hasty interruption of combat. Undaunted by the facts, the media hammer away, invent new stories, convinced that victory””in the form of cowardly surrender””is just around the corner.
It won’t work this time. The resolve of determined nations””Israel, the US, Great Britain, Canada, and certain Arab countries among others””is too strong, the evil designs of Iran via Hizballah are too clear, the stakes are too high to allow good old international opinion to come to the rescue of jihadis who attack boldly, promise hellfire and damnation, and then squeak for help as soon as they start losing.
The failure of the Rome Conference to impose that kind of international opinion is in fact a success for a new, post-UN era in international relations. No multinational force is going to combat Hizballah and deliver a sharp blow to apocalyptic Iranian projects, and no jumble of nations can formulate coherent policy on life and death matters. All the humanitarian hype will not hide the fact that this is war, in war you take sides, and you fight to win. It is true of the jihadis, it is true of those who fight them. You can’t be both at the same time.