Israel's Big Gamble

Human Rights Watch accused Israel of targetting civilian vehicles fleeing Southern Lebanon and other war crimes. The accusations, they said, were based on interviews with Lebanese and the Israeli military. The Israelis, they said, were not trying to kill civilians, but neither were they respecting the laws of war in taking care to avoid killing them. No doubt the same goes double for Hizbullah.

The former head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence/spy/etc agency, said that a purpose of the tactics was to show Iran and Syria that Israel was dangerous, and to turn the Lebanese against Hizbullah. Another retired Israeli general thought that the tactics were unlikely to work.

Prime Minister Olmert apparently believes that after they batter Hizbullah, Foreign troops will occupy South Lebanon and protect Israel's border. I find it hard to believe. Why would anybody do that? Without Hizbullah agreement, they would just become the new targets.

Will Iran be intimidated? I doubt it. Iran has 10 times the population of Israel, 60 times the land area and $40 billion in the bank. If I were ruling any country near Israel I would be redoubling my efforts to get nukes - and Pakistan and North Korea could use the cash. Israel is still far stronger than its neighbors, but I doubt that that advantage can last for long. My guess is that the path of Olmert and (General) Halutz leads to destruction.

Meanwhile, the civilian carnage in Lebanon enrages and emboldens Israel's enemies and alienates many of its friends.

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