Sunday, July 16, 2006
Why the Katyushas are Falling
Subject: Why the Katyushas are Falling
by Steven Plaut
People have very short memories. Most Israelis do not even recall the
events that have led up to the rain of katyushas and other missiles on
Israeli civilians this week.
In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon after a long wave of terror attacks on
Israel. At first, the announced Israeli goal was to advance 40
Lebanon and so drive all the rocket shooters from range of Israel. At first
the operation, called "Peace for Galilee," enjoyed over 90% support from the
Israeli public, including Israeli Arabs.
The army actually advanced more than 40 kilometers. It eventually took
most of Beirut and Israel attempted to install a friendly government in
Lebanon, composed mainly of Lebanese Christians. Following the
assassination of the head of the main Christian militia, the Falange,
Christian militia members infiltrated two Palestinian camps in the suburbs
of Beirut, Sabra and Shatilla, and murdered about 400 civilians in
retaliation. The Bash-Israel forces blamed Israel for that, for a massacre
perpetrated by Christian Lebanese Arabs against Palestinian Arabs.
At one point, Israeli snipers had Arafat in their sites. Ariel Sharon
ordered the snipers to let him go unharmed. Under American pressure,
Israelagreed to a ceasefire and then to let Arafat and his terrorists
"evacuated" on American ships to Tunisia. There they languished until
Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres invited them to "return" to the West Bank and
resume terror activities there, after 1993. While US forces were on the
ground in Beirut, the Hezbollah bombed a US army barracks and murdered over
200 GIs. US battleships then bombed Hezbollah villages from the sea in
retaliation. Yes, ships of the same US that always wants Israel to exercise
restraint and avoid bombing areas that contain civilians.
Meanwhile, in Lebanon after 1982 Israeli casualties mounted. Because
of the unexpectedly large number even in the initial fighting, greater than
the number in the Six Day War, public opinion began to turn against the
government. Support dropped as further deaths of troops were caused by
The Israeli Left underwent a process of radicalization that has been
compared by many to that of the American Left during the Vietnam war.
led by the Meretz chiefs Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Sarid, led protests
denouncing the Begin-Sharon government of being war criminals and fascists.
These were the same people who later would demand that Right-wing Jews be
indicted for "incitement" for using harsh rhetoric. A large demonstration
against the war was held in Tel Aviv, and the media fabricated an imaginary
number of 400,000 participants, a number that has assumed mystical power and
has been sanctified by Israel's leftist media.
What had began as mere disagreement by the Israeli Left over tactical
decisions in what had been regarded as an essentially just war quickly
morphed into an outburst of openly anti-Israel extremism in the Left. The
Labor Party joined in, seeing this as a way of overturning the Israeli
election and knocking the Likud government out of power. Meanwhile, an
official state commission of inquiry was set up and later found that, while
Israel had nothing to do with the Sabra and Shatilla massacres, Ariel Sharon
was still indirectly to blame for not having had the prescience to see what
the Falangists would do after their leader was assassinated by Palestinians.
None of the judges on that commission and none of the leftist journalists
trying to demonize Sharon had had the prescience to see what the Falange
would do either, and none of THEM had issued any warnings before the
Meanwhile, Israel eventually moved its forces back from Beirut and set
up a "Southern Lebanese Army," allied to Israel and financed by Israel,
manned by Christians and moderate Shi'ites in southern Lebanon. As the
Hezbollah and some other forces grew stronger inside Lebanon, with Syrian
and Iranian support, Israeli troops came increasingly under attack by
bombers and snipers. Israel instituted a series of "controlled carnage"
agreements with the terrorists, under which Israel agreed that as long as
the attacks on Israel were "within reason", Israel would turn the other
cheek. The attacks did not remain within reason, and the terrorists
frequently bombed the northern Galilee. Israel occasionally responded with
brief retaliatory raids, but basically pursued cheek-turning as its defense
policy. Public frustration grew with the toll of soldiers.
While Israel probably could have stopped the attrition attacks against
its troops in southern Lebanon by exercising serious military initiative
against the terrorists and their base villages, it did not. The casualty
toll continued to rise. Israeli public opinion, most as shortsighted as the
politicians, began demanding a unilateral withdrawal to stop the killings of
soldiers. A "peace" movement calling itself Four Mothers led the pressures
for capitulation. One of the Four Mothers was in fact a leftist pro-Saddam
Jewish father, who ran a pro-Saddam anti-America organization in Israel. They
succeeded. Israel's government made a choice. Instead of Israeli soldiers
inside fortresses in Lebanon being targeted by terrorists, Israeli children
in Nahariya and Safed would be the targets for rockets filled with thousands
of lead pellets to maximize civilian carnage.
Ehud Barak implemented a cowardly unilateral withdrawal of all Israeli
troops in Lebanon in the summer of 2000. As part of that, he abandoned the
militia men from the Southern Lebanese Army and their families to the
mercies of the Hezbollah and many were murdered. Some were granted asylum
inside Israel, although Israeli leftists demanded that these "collaborators"
be treated as criminals, because they had been "traitors to their own
people". When they were integrated into Israeli Arab towns, the Israeli
Arabs beat and terrorized them, to the cheers of Israeli Jewish leftists.
Israel's entire intelligence and informant network inside Lebanon was lost
as a result of the withdrawal and the betrayal of the SLA.
Barak's withdrawal took place under fire, with the Hezbollah and others
shooting at the retreating Israeli troops to demonstrate their contempt, and
to show the world that the Jews were successfully being driven out by
terrorism. Barak had no problem with that show or weakness. The withdrawal
was so panicked that Israeli computers with sensitive information were left
behind, as were crates of Bibles.
Ehud Barak's 2000 capitulation in Lebanon was a parody of Dunkirk.
Israel had agreed to a capitulation in exchange for nothing. The Hezbollah
continued to shell northern Israel after the withdrawal and sometimes sent
in infiltrators who murdered and kidnapped. Overall, however, the death
toll was below what it had been when Israeli troops were inside Lebanon. The
Israeli chattering classes saw that as a great victory and as a precedent
for solving the problems of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. All Israel needed
to do was have a unilateral withdrawal and build a nice fence.
Even before the 2000 capitulation by Barak, there were countless
warnings that it would simply result in a massive new war. Nothing
prevented the Hezbollah from setting up thousands of rocket launchers smack
on the Israeli border, waiting for the showdown. I myself published dozens
of articles between 2000 and 2002 explaining exactly what would be the
result of Barak's cowardice. Here is one: (
http://www.freeman.org/m_online/may00/plaut1.htm ) I predicted northern
Israel would be attacked by masses of missiles and that Israel would be
forced to reconquer all of southern Lebanon at a large cost in Israeli
lives. The only difference from what had been before Barak's capitulation
would be that, *this time*, no southern Lebanese Christians or Moslems would
believe any promises made by Israel, having seen how Israel betrayed the
SLA, and so Israel would have no allies nor informants.
Because of 9-11, the showdown was delayed. The US was on the war path
and Syria wanted to keep a low profile. After the liberation of Iraq, Syria,
while controlling the Hezbollah, was trembling in fear, with NATO troops on
its northern and eastern borders, and with pro-US regimes to its south.
Syria was suddenly surrounded. It kept the Hezbollah heeled, for the
Meanwhile, Syria was partly forced out of Lebanon by US pressure, and
the Hezbollah replaced it with Iran as its arms supplier and patron. When
the Hezbollah infiltrated Israel and murdered three IDF troops, Israel did
nothing. It turned the other cheek. Just a bit more "controlled carnage."
In fact, Israel "bought" the bodies of the three back, plus an abducted
Israeli criminal being held in Lebanon, in exchange for releasing 450
murderers. It never avenged their murders.
And that was all it took. The Hezbollah had its proof. The Jews had
lost their stomach for fighting, were on the run, were pursuing peace
through appeasement and surrender. There was no reason to put off the
showdown any longer.
As a direct result of the cowardice and shortsightedness of Ehud Barak
and the Israeli chattering classes in 2000 who cheered and supported him,
hundreds of rockets and missiles have bathed northern Israel in the past few
days. Haifa has been turned into the Sderot of the North. Nahariya has
become the new Stalingrad.
I admit that I thought the rain of rockets would come sooner. Here is an
article of mine published in 2003:
*Israel's Nightmare Is Not Saddam*
*By **Steven Plaut* <http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/authors.asp?ID=1223>
*FrontPageMagazine.com** January 8, 2003*
I am about to reveal to you a great revelation, a huge scoop, so you had
better hold on to your helmets.
In the coming Gulf War conflagration, the security threat and danger to
Israel will NOT be from Iraqi SCUD missiles. Let me repeat. When the
Americans and the Allies invade Iraq, the threat to Israel will NOT be from
Iraqi missiles. Instead, the threat will be from the Hizbollah in Lebanon,
this thanks to ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the Israeli Labor Party.
Let me explain.
First, Iraq probably has far fewer SCUD launchers than it had in 1991 and
the ones Saddam has may not all work, due to problems with spare parts or
similar. Even if they work, he may not use them; weekend polls are showing
that Israelis favor massive military retaliation against Iraq by huge
majorities EVEN if Iraq attacks "ONLY" with ordinary conventional weapons
(Haaretz, Jan 6, 03). So it is quite possible Israel will shun the sage
advice of President Bush and Secretary Powell to retaliate against Iraq by
aggressively turning the other cheek. (The Administration has been sending
Israel undiplomatic messages almost daily letting Israel know the US expects
it to exhibit pure Quaker pacifism if Saddam tries to provoke it.)
Then even if Iraq DOES manage to shoot the missiles, it will probably be
able to do so for no longer than a few days before the US finishes mopping
up - my personal prediction is the US ground invasion will last six days and
will become known as the Second Six Day War. If Iraq does launch missiles at
Israel, it is likely that most will not get through because of Israel's
anti-missile technology. And if some do get through, they are as likely to
land on Arab towns and villages as on Israeli Jews, what with the notorious
inaccuracy of SCUDs. In fact, Sharon could even HELP some land on Jericho,
Ramallah, Nablus, Gaza City, etc. And any SCUD that might hit Tel Aviv is
likely to produce less casualties than one of the regular Oslo suicide
bombings, such as the twin bombings a few night back in Tel Aviv's old
central bus station perpetrated by the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade under the
direct personal control and command of Yassir Arafat.
So should Israelis take a deep breath and laugh off the security threat? The
answer is of course NO. There IS a real security threat to Israel from the
Gulf War, but it is not from Iraq. It is from Lebanon. Because of Ehud
Barak's policy of unilateral capitulation and withdrawal from southern
Lebanon when he turned it over to the mercies of the Hizbollah back when
Barak was Prime Minister before Ariel Sharon took over, there are now
thousands of missiles sitting just meters outside the Israeli border with
Lebanon, controlled by the Hizbollah. They are aimed at Haifa and all of
northern Israel and some could reach Tel Aviv.
The Hizbollah is itching to convert the US attack on Iraq into an all-out
Arab-Israeli war. The Iraqis would be overjoyed to have the Hizbollah try to
create the illusion that the Gulf War is a "War of Civilizations" against
the Islamic world. The Hizbollah is anxious to create maximum disruption for
the Americans, and what better way to do so than creating a diversion they
hope will rally the Arab world behind their jihad and Saddam's, just when it
is least convenient for the United States? What better way to help out
Saddam than making sure Israel is goaded into fighting in Lebanon smack
while the US is invading Iraq, all this to rally solidarity among the
Moslems against the "Zionist-Crusader aggression"?
The Hizbollah of course is little more than a puppet of Syria. Syria is
content to play spoiler behind the scenes, feeling secure that American rage
is directed against other Arab fascist regimes, at least for the moment.
Syria is making little attempt to hide the fact that it is abetting Saddam,
and the Western news agencies have been reporting that Saddam is hiding his
weapons and equipment, including possibly weapons of mass destruction,
inside Syria until the pesky inspectors get out of the way. Syria is likely
to give the Hizbollah the green light to turn all of northern Israel into a
killing field, just as the US ground forces enter Iraq, figuring the US will
prevent Israel from meaningful reprisals against the Hizbollah and its
All of this is now more than likely because of the policies of Ehud Barak
and his parody of Dunkirk two and a half years ago, when he ordered
Israelto capitulate to the Hizbollah and evacuate its security zone in
Lebanon. The Barak theory, long since proclaimed as gospel by the Israeli
Left and its amen choruses overseas, is that once Israel has withdrawn from
Lebanon, the Hizbollah will have "nothing to fight about". Got that? When
the rockets start raining down on Israeli schools and homes from the
northern border, will Israelis have the courage to remind Barak and his
Labor Party friends about how they assured everyone that the Arabs never
attack Israel when they have "nothing to fight about"?
In fact the Arabs have never needed "anything to fight over". They have been
attacking Jews in Israel for a hundred years without ever having "anything
to fight over". Did bin-Laden have "anything to fight over"? Did he need
The "nothing to fight about" doctrine has of course also long been the
underlying foundation of the Oslo "peace process" from the start. If
Israeljust gives the PLO everything it wants, such as what Barak
offered them at
Camp David II in 2000, then of course the Palestinians will have "nothing to
fight about". Except they reacted to that insane offer by launching war. And
if current Israeli Labor Party contender and leftist Amram Mitzna offers the
PLO even more than what Barak did, as he promises, then the PLO will again
"have nothing to fight about". Except they will.
Even if Israel granted the Palestinians absolutely everything the EU
Israel-bashers and the State Department "Arabists" think it should, the PLO
will simply use its new state to attack Israel and launch new atrocities and
wars. Tell the "nothing to fight over" theory to the families of the 23
murdered people in Tel Aviv this week, murdered by Palestinians who have
nothing to fight over and by the "peace process".
What became of Ehud Barak? The same dim-witted fellow who says that had he
been born a Palestinian he would have become a terrorist? Well, he is one of
the many creatures already scrambling and positioning themselves on the
decks of Amram Mitzna's sinking Labor Party ship, hoping to "pull a Nixon"
and compete for party Chief after Mitzna's campaign crashes in Oslo flames
in the coming elections.
There seems little doubt the Hizbollah will rain missiles down on northern
Israel when the Gulf War begins. (The civil defense preparations in
Israelseem to be designed for the Hizbollah attacks mainly, not any
odd Iraqi SCUD
getting through.) What is not at all clear yet is whether Israelis will have
the commonsense and minimal instinct of self-preservation to tear up the
Oslo "accords" and deal with Arafat and the PLO as they should have long
*Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa in northern Israel.*
Here are some other earlier pieces on Lebanon: