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The Wages of Weakness

By Michael Freund
12/7/2006, 12:00 AM

Israel's foes have now succeeded in opening a second front against the Jewish state.

In a particularly painful and disturbing incident, Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon carried out a cross-border raid along the northern frontier this morning, kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and killing seven others.

Israel_lebanon And so, Israel now finds itself desperately trying to retrieve abducted servicemen being held by Islamist fanatics both in Gaza and Lebanon.

The audacity of the terrorists, and their willingness to attack Israeli forces head-on, is a direct result of the weakness that has characterized Israeli policy in recent years.

In May 2000, Israel pulled out of Lebanon like a thief in the night, and in August 2005, Israel fled Gaza in broad daylight. Preferring to buy short-term quiet at the expense of long-term strategic interests, Israel ended up paying a heavy price.

These actions effectively put terrorists on notice that violence works, and that they have little to lose, and much to gain, by continuing to attack the Jewish state.

But it is not too late to stem the tide, and to turn things around in Israel's favor. If the Government has the fortitude and the determination to deliver a smashing blow to Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon, something good might yet emerge from the disaster of recent weeks.

But whatever happens, let one thing finally be clear: in the long run, the wages of weakness are far more costly than the price of standing firm.