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Thursday, September 28, 2006

The real reason that the IDF was unprepared

This article - which appeared in yesterday's JPost, although I could not find it online yesterday - hits the nail on the head. The author, Shmuel Katz, is one of the last remaining lions of the founding generation of the Herut party - one of the parties that merged to form the Likud. Katz co-founded the Herut Party with Menachem Begin and was a member of the first Knesset. Katz has Begin's kind of moral clarity.

Please allow me to digress for a moment to explain what I mean by "Begin's kind of moral clarity." In 1982, the Sabra and Shatilla massacre was disclosed to the world on Rosh HaShanna. Begin (then Prime Minister) went to services at the Great Synagogue on King George Street in Jerusalem that morning - just as he did every year. By the time the services ended, a group of 'demonstrators' had gathered outside the synagogue, and Begin's security detail wanted to whisk him out the back to spare him the confrontation. Begin said "Christians kill Muslims and the Jews are to blame? I have nothing of which to be ashamed" and insisted on going out the front entrance. Unfortunately, politicians with Begin's integrity have been missing from Israeli politics since his son Benny resigned from the Knesset several years ago.

Anyway, back to Shmuel Katz and hitting nails on the head....
But perhaps the worst blow to Israel's security was the notion that giving the Arabs chunks of territory - and that unilaterally - would be a large step forward on the way to peace. That notion was exemplified by the abandonment of the Gaza Strip. This prospect was at once embraced by our media, which preached the defeatists' slogan of "Land for Peace."

As if to prove the provenance of peace, Ariel Sharon invited Egypt - in a careless breach of its peace treaty with Israel - to send troops into Sinai and thence to the border with Gaza, the so-called Philadelphi corridor.

The reliance on Egypt to look after us has resulted in the swift transfer of large quantities of arms into Gaza. Tunnels into the Negev will also soon be available. How Israeli leaders could have perpetrated such a monstrous life-and-death blunder needs a psychological enquiry. [I don't think it needs a psychological enquiry. It needs a criminal one - the one Sharon was trying to avoid by surrendering Gaza. CiJ]

YET ISRAELIS are not the only people who could be manipulated into believing in some cranky fantasy. A weird similarity exists today between Israel's state of mind, to that of Britain after Munich.

Though the British knew enough about the monster named Hitler, a large segment of the population was overjoyed when prime minister Neville Chamberlain came back from Munich with a paper in which that promised "peace in our time." (I arrived in London, as it happens, the day Chamberlain came back and experienced the noisy acclamations in the streets.)

Just 15 months ago, Olmert gave his own "peace in our time" speech to a left-wing audience in New York. After telling them of the wonderful future in store as a result of abandoning Gaza etc., he went on: "We all desperately need it. We are tired of fighting. We are tired of being courageous. We are tired of winning. We are tired of defeating our enemies… We want [the Palestinians] to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors." It was in that spirit that Olmert thought the war would facilitate his withdrawal plan and sent our soldiers into battle.

WHATEVER committee is appointed to investigate the war, it will not have fulfilled the vital obligation to examine the pre-war laxity and self-satisfaction in the behavior of its public servants - and the dangerous delusions the leaders, egged on by the media, disseminated among the people.

That, however, is as far an inquiry committee can go. For taking the obviously tough decisions about the nation's future, the people must gird its political loins.
Read the whole thing.

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