This War Has Taught Us that Israel Must Revise Its Military Approach

[Guardian-UK] Shimon Peres - In Lebanon we have experienced a new form of battle. Terrorist organizations are armed with a wide range of missiles and rockets that enable them to bypass frontlines. This type of war is more ballistic in nature than territorial. It is driven more by a religious ideology than by nationalistic motivation, seeking to target populations wherever possible, even before trying to control territory. The line of division between the battle front and the home front is largely blurred. This is a war fought in the media as well as on the ground. This battlefield is teeming with television lenses, whose image of the war is no less important than the war per se, making the struggle for legitimacy in the public's mind and the morale of one's own soldiers as central to the conflict as military success. The Lebanese government and the Palestinian Authority have lost control of their territories and armed forces. They have stopped representing peace and security in the territories for which they are responsible. The notion of trading territory for peace was successful in two instances - Egypt and Jordan. It failed in two other cases - Lebanon and the PA. We withdrew from Lebanon, in keeping with UN Resolution 1559, but did not receive full peace in return. We unilaterally withdrew from all the areas of the Gaza Strip but, despite this move, attacks continued to be launched on Israel from that territory. The failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians was not the result of ill will on the part of Israel, but of the lack of unity among the Palestinians. The Palestinians who wish for peace do not have the power to advance it. And the ones who do not want an agreement have the power to prevent it. The initiative to withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank has lost its attraction in the eyes of the Israeli public due to the aftereffects of withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. I cannot envisage a situation today in which the majority of Israelis will support such a withdrawal. The writer is the deputy prime minister of Israel.

2006-09-04 01:00:00

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