The UN-mandated cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah has evoked a media frenzy (at least in Britain), with one article feverishly following another as observers seek to explain the significance of what is perceived as the first real Israeli battlefield failure. Some sample titles and subtitles from various newspapers and online articles are instructive:
• "Cease-Fire: Shaking Core Beliefs in the Middle East"
• "Israel's Verdict: We Lost the War"
• "Israel's Hollow Victory in Lebanon"
• "The Lebanon conflict has prompted anti-Israeli commentators in the Muslim world to demand drastic action against the Israelis—and against Jews worldwide"
• "Viewers have been fed a diet of partisan coverage which treats Israel as the good guys and their Hezbollah enemy as the incarnation of evil"
• "The uncertain end to the war may force Israel to seek negotiated solutions"
Nonetheless, the Stratfor Geopolitical Intelligence Report (online) stated that "an extraordinary thing happened . . . An Israeli army faced an Arab army and did not defeat it—did not render it incapable of resistance."
The conclusion to the report was that "if the current outcome stands, it will mean that there has been a tremendous [political] earthquake in the Middle East. It is cheap and easy to talk about historic events. But when a reality that has dominated a region for 58 years is shattered, it is historic."
We should, however, consider one or two qualifying thoughts. First, previous Israeli military ventures into Lebanon have produced mixed results—not clear victories. Secondly, note the nature of the enemy. Hezbollah is a terrorist group (not a regular army), often disguising its members as civilians, carrying on its activities amid ordinary Lebanese citizens.
Nevertheless, whatever preliminary conclusions we may put forward, there is little doubt that Hezbollah won hearts and minds. With few exceptions Israel is mostly pictured in this whole scenario as the bad guy. It looks very much like the Israelis fell into a trap set by the Iranians, sponsors of Hezbollah.
The Economist called the conflict "the accidental war," but background facts seem to tell us that the conflagration was planned from the time Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000. The overall result looks ominous. Hezbollah, like Hamas before it, has become a political force. And the new Israeli government has been shaken, evidently losing popular support. Furthermore, what has occurred has made Islamic extremists more determined than ever to drive Israel into the sea.
One Lebanese woman pledged her two sons to Hezbollah even though they don't want to join. Statements about fighting to the death abound.
A third of the Jewish people perished during the Holocaust of the 1940s perpetrated by the Nazis. Now anti-Semitic forces are again gathering strength throughout the world, and the state of Israel is a tempting target.
However, the long-term outcome is not in doubt (see "A Coming Divine Deliverance for Israel"). GN