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Gingrich On The Lebanese Cease Fire

by @ 8:30 am on August 19, 2006. Filed under Hezbollah, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Newt Gingrich, Syria, War On Terror

Newt Gingrich appeared on Bill O’Reilly Thursday night and called the cease fire deal that ended the Israel-Hezbollah war a defeat for the United States and Israel, and a victory for terrorism:

O’REILLY: Continuing now with FOX News analyst Newt Gingrich. Nobody I know thinks that the United Nations force and the Lebanese army is going to restrain Hezbollah’s military machine, going to disarm it, going to cause any disruption to it. Why then, if that’s true, did Israel stop fighting?

GINGRICH: I frankly don’t know. I think that this is a very bad defeat for the democracies. I think the United Nations’ resolution is a disaster. I think it will not be implemented effectively.

We’ve seen the United Nations force in South Lebanon for over 20 years totally fail to do their job. There’s no reason to believe they’re going to do it now. And I think everybody should notice that Assad of Syria and Ahmadinejad of Iran both publicly, in an orchestrated way, claimed credit in the last 24 hours for having defeated the United States and defeated Israel. I think this is a very significant defeat for the United States and for the democracies.

O’REILLY: See now, we had the Israeli ambassador in the United Nations, Dan Gillerman on earlier this week. And he’s a smart guy. And he basically said look, world opinion matters to Israel in the way we conduct ourselves. And we wanted to give the world a signal that we are for peace and that we are reasonable people in this way.

But if they do it again, and he said on this ? I don’t know whether you saw it, but he said on this program that’ll be the end of Lebanon. That will be it. One more time, Lebanon’s done. And by implication, Syria as well. Is that what you think will happen if Hezbollah starts up again?

GINGRICH: I don’t know. I mean, you know, I would have thought this time that the Israelis would have gone into Lebanon hard enough to destroy Hezbollah.

If you look at the total number of missiles fired at northern Israel, if you look at the almost a million Israeli refugees, you know, the news media almost never covered the Israeli refugees, the Israeli children hiding in bomb shelters, the fear in northern Israel. It’s a very one- sided news coverage.

So my question for Ambassador Gillerman would be, what makes him think the news media will be any more fair next time?

And next time, remember, Hezbollah will be hiding behind a United Nations force, which will announce promptly they’re going to investigate.

I think it is a substantial failure. I think it’s very revealing that Hezbollah is already passing out Iranian money to help rebuild South Lebanon. I predict Hezbollah will come out of this stronger than they were before the war started. And that is really a very bad defeat for the United States and the democracies.

And I think that, in the end, Gingrich will be proven right. This was a bad deal. The Israeli people are beginning to recognize it as well:

From the failure to get food and water to the troops, to complaints of an uncertain war plan and overconfident generals, the Lebanon war is fast being viewed within Israel as a major stumble. Military and political leaders already are trading blame; some are expected to lose their posts. Officers say the mistakes show weakness in the military, the Israel Defense Forces, known as the IDF. Many Israelis worry that the failure of the military to squash the Hezbollah militia will make their country more vulnerable to other enemies.

“For four weeks we failed to defend ourselves against daily bombardments against our cities. This is a failure that never happened before,” said Yuval Steinitz, a Likud Party member and former chairman of parliament’s defense committee. “This is going to send a bad message.”

And there will likely be political consequences for all of this.

JERUSALEM — With the conflict in Lebanon quieted, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert now moves on to his next task: the growing dissent at home.

Five weeks ago, before two of its soldiers were kidnapped from a border post and Israel responded with air strikes and a massive ground invasion, Mr. Olmert was laying the groundwork for an eventual consolidation of settlements in the West Bank.

Now, with the Israeli public in quiet revolt over a military operation that they see as not quite effective enough, his young government has found itself on an entirely different path that is likely to lead away from the Prime Minister’s West Bank plan.

“We’re only 24 hours in [after the ceasefire] and already the knives are out,” said Rafi Smith, of the Smith Research Institute polling agency. “People are waking up to what they think is a very grim result and I think many questions will be asked.”

Two weeks ago, Mr. Smith’s polling data showed Mr. Olmert with an approval rating as high as 70 per cent, and Defence Minister Amir Peretz enjoying support of 60 per cent. This week, after the ceasefire, those numbers dropped dramatically: Just 31 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with Mr. Peretz’s performance, while 62 per cent said Mr. Olmert did not handle the war well.

As I’ve said before, this cease fire did not solve the problem, it merely delayed the final outcome, which is likely to be more deadly now.

Previous Posts:

Peace In Our Time…Not So Much
Why Israel Lost
Quote Of The Day II
Quote Of The Day
Israel Accepts UN Cease Fire Deal

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