A Window of Opportunity at the White House

(Ha'aretz) Amir Oren - In recent days, and without any prior coordination, IDF commanders in the various branches have all spoken in favor of a military initiative by Israel, to be conducted in tandem with the American campaign in Iraq, designed to eradicate the threat posed by Hizballah's weapons. In their view, Israel should not have to endure a situation of prolonged exposure to the threat of thousands of missiles and rockets whose range covers the northern half of the country. According to these officers, a concentrated operation focused on Hizballah is necessary - and not one that is a repeat of previous operations in which the flight of the refugees (and the fighters) northward was damaging for Israel and allowed Hizballah to recoup. The objective of a new operation, say its advocates, must be to free Israel and Lebanon from the military grip of Hizballah, and to implement the final clause in the Taif agreement, which calls for the disarming of all the militias in Lebanon, restoration of full sovereignty to the Lebanese government, and the installation of Lebanese army troops on the border with Israel. Even those who propound such an operation are not complacent about it. Six hundred Hizballah fighters spread out in five sectors will no doubt prove to be a bitter enemy, say Israeli officers who are Lebanon veterans. Even those who see a "window of opportunity" for such military actions are well aware that this window is situated in the wall of the White House.

2002-12-30 00:00:00

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