Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Olmert Comes Undone

So it has come to this. All those bodies, all those photographs of dead children–more than 1,400 cadavers (we are not including the 230 or so Hizbollah fighters and the Israeli soldiers who died)–are to be commemorated with the possible resignation of an Israeli prime minister who knew, and who cared, many Israelis suspect, little about war. Yes, Hizbollah provoked last summer’s folly by capturing two Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese-Israel border, but Israel’s response–so totally out of proportion to the sin–produced another debacle for the Israeli army and, presumably now, for its Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

Looking back at this terrifying, futile war, with its grotesque ambitions to “destroy” the Iranian-supported Hizbollah militia, it is incredible Mr Olmert did not realise within days that his grandiose demands would founder. Insisting the two captured Israeli soldiers should be released and the militarily powerless Lebanese government should be held responsible for their capture was never going to produce political or military results favourable to Israel. One would have to add that Tzipi Livni’s demand for the Prime Mnister’s resignation sits oddly with her support for this preposterous war.

A close reading of the interim report of Judge Eliahou Winograd’s report on the summer war–to which Mr Olmert himself only granted the title the “Second Lebanon War” a month after it had happened–shows clearly that it was the Israeli army which ran the military, strategic and political campaign. Again and again in Winograd’s report it is clear that Mr Olmert and his Defence Minister failed to challenge “in a competent way” (in the commission’s devastating phrase) the plans of the Israeli army.

Day after day, for 34 days after 12 July, the Israeli air force systematically destroyed the major infrastructure of Lebanon, repeatedly claiming it was trying to avoid civilian casualties while the world’s press watched its aircraft blasting men, women and children to pieces in Lebanon. Israelis, too, were savagely killed in this war by Hizbollah’s Iranian-provided missiles. But it only proved the Israeli army, famous in legend and song but not in reality, could not protect their own people. Hizbollah fighters were told by their own leadership that if they would just withstand the air attacks, they could bite the Israeli land forces when they invaded.

And bite they did. In the final 24 hours of the war, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed by Hizbollah fighters and their land offensive, so loudly trumpeted by Mr Olmert, came to an end. During the conflict, a Hizbollah missile almost sank an Israeli corvette–it burnt for 24 hours and was towed back to Haifa before it was able to sink–and struck Israel’s top secret military air traffic control centre at Miron. The soldiers captured on the border were never returned–pictures of them, still alive, are flaunted across the border at Israeli troops to this day–and Hizbollah, far from being destroyed, remain as powerful as ever.

And so one of Washington’s last “pro-American” cabinets in the Middle East is now threatened by the very militia which Mr Olmert claimed he could destroy.

ROBERT FISK is a reporter for The Independent and author of Pity the Nation. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s collection, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. Fisk’s new book is The Conquest of the Middle East.

 

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
Samantha Krop
Questioning Our Declaration on Human Rights
Morna McDermott
Classrooms, Not Computers: Stop Educating for Profit
Patrick Walker
Today’s Poor People’s Campaign: Too Important Not to Criticize
Julia Stein
Wrestling With Zionism
Clark T. Scott
The Exceptional President
Barry Barnett
The Family of Nations Needs to Stand Up to the US  
Robert Koehler
Two Prongs of a Pitchfork
Bruce Raynor
In an Age of Fake News, Journalists Should be Activists for Truth
Max Parry
The U.S. Won’t Say ‘Genocide’ But Cares About Armenian Democracy?
William Gudal
The History of Israel on One Page
Robert Jensen
Neither cis nor TERF
Louis Proyect
Faith or Action in a World Hurtling Toward Oblivion?
David Yearsley
The Ubiquitous Mr. Desplat
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail