At Last, A
After five weeks of battle and
bloodshed at incredible cost, both human and material, the
international community has finally taken an important step
toward halting a war that should never have been allowed to go
on for so long. It now to be hoped that neither side will
violate United Nations Security Council
Has Israel won this war?
Most Israelis, according to an August 11 Haaretz poll, do not
believe that Israel has won, though they don't believe it has
lost it either. Israel has paid a dear price for this war, and
unless the ceasefire is followed by a bold diplomatic
initiative, it has won, at best, nothing more than a few months
or years of respite before the next round of battle with
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has
long been a destabilizing factor in Israeli-Arab relations and a
lightening rod for militant extremism, must be resolved in order
to bring peace to the region. But it is also imperative that the
international community, which realizes that Hezbollah is more
than just Israel's problem, seek a comprehensive resolution of
all outstanding conflicts between Israel and its neighbors.
The achievement of the UN ceasefire demonstrates the
influence the US still wields when it commits to diplomacy. It
remains to be seen whether our government will fall back into
inaction, will use Hezbollah's threat to Israel as a pretext for
widening the conflict with Iran, or will take leadership as a
broker for peace in the region.
There are important
lessons from the destruction in Lebanon and northern Israel, as
well as the continuing and lamentable violence in Gaza and
southern Israel. First, we have learned that Israel's military
deterrence against Hezbollah and Hamas today is ineffective. All
of Israel's military responses to non-state militias have served
only to make the enemy stronger in part by increasing popular
support for them.
Second, we have seen once again that
the existence of the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a
tinderbox waiting to explode into a wider war.
have witnessed the pitfalls of unilateral, non-negotiated
withdrawal, which, as has been seen in both south Lebanon and
Gaza, creates a power vacuum that is easily filled by
Finally, we have seen the singular power of
the United States to influence Israel's actions and, therefore,
its future well-being.
What emerges from Israel's Second
Lebanon War is the centrality of the need to resolve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the benefit of the region, and
to demand that our government take its place among the
We are thankful that there is
a ceasefire at last. We hope that the agreement can be the first
step in comprehensive and long-term agreements. And we thank you
for joining our efforts to bring about a
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish
Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
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