No Ceasefire is Better Than a Bad Ceasefire

The prosecution of his war by Ehud Olmert's left-leaning government has been a disaster. It has been and based on the desire to avoid another occupation.

Ted Belman,

Ted Belman
Ted Belman
The prosecution of his war by Ehud Olmert's left-leaning government has been a disaster. It has been and based on the desire to avoid another occupation. There is a belief among the Left, undeterred by events, that occupation is the problem. This belief led to the signing of the disastrous Oslo Accords, the retreat from Lebanon in 2000 and the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. And finally, it motivates Olmert's Convergence Plan.

It is a consequence of this belief that Olmert at first prosecuted an air war only, then allowed for pinpoint incursions only, with a withdrawal immediately after, then allowed for a buffer of one kilometer, which still was only to consist of a no-man's land without occupation. This has finally given way to multiple incursions without immediate withdrawals; at first, only to the extent of five kilometers and now to the Litani River, but only temporarily, because the buffer of choice is still five kilometers in width.

Olmert is dedicated to avoiding an occupation rather then to achieving victory. Six years ago, Ehud Barak ended the occupation that was causing bad PR and 12 Israeli lives per year. Now, six year later, Israel is paying the price for that retreat both in terms of bad PR and in terms of lives lost. The lives lost will soon exceed the lives that would have been lost had Israel stayed (6 times 12). This war did more to worsen Israel?s reputation then the occupation did. The financial cost of this war far exceeds the cost of the occupation had it continued.

Yet the idea that occupation is the problem, and not the solution, persists.

Olmert and the IDF say that this war is about reestablishing our deterrence. Had we stayed in southern Lebanon, it would not have been necessary. So, what will Olmert say after the ceasefire and withdrawal when the rockets keep falling?

Olmert took control of the war, much to the chagrin of the military, ostensibly for political purposes. Yet, his choices couldn't have done more harm to Israel politically. Israel has lost the high ground in a war that should have been a no-brainer.

Where will this all end? Olmert is hoping for a ceasefire to be imposed, even though he says that the IDF will remain until relieved by an international force. Such a force may never materialize, but if it does, it will only serve to prevent Israel from fighting Hizbullah; it will not protect Israel from Hizbullah.

A bad ceasefire resolution is worse then no ceasefire. Israel should make ready to reject an unsatisfactory ceasefire and to go it alone.

Under no conditions should Israel allow Hizbullah to win any concessions. They would simply validate its "resistance". Israel should say "no" to an exchange of prisoners other then the prisoners captured subsequent to the kidnapping of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, and should say "no" to the retreat from Sha'aba Farms.

As part of a long-term plan, Israel should cause all Lebanese south of the Litani River to move north of it. Most have already done so. The purpose of this being threefold: 1) Israel will be able to remain in occupation up to the Litani River without being attacked on the ground; 2) it will end the Katyushas being fired at Israel; and 3) it will keep the pressure on Lebanon to sign a permanent peace agreement. If Jordan and Egypt can do it, then why not Lebanon? As with Egypt, this would be a land-for-peace deal.

Finally, Israel should continue attacking Hizbullah and prevent any missiles from entering Lebanon.