An Unacceptable Cease Fire Proposal

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News reports claim that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is going to recommend that the cabinet accept the cease-fire to be voted upon by the UN Security Council tonight.

If so, this is a betrayal of everything Israel said when it went to war over the abduction of two Israel soldiers — to wit, that Israel would not leave Lebanon without them.

A UN resolution has two types of paragraphs: preambulary and operative. The preambles describe the problem that they are addressing. The operatives define what is to happen.

The draft resolution states in one of its preambles:

PP3. Emphasizing the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers,

There is no operative paragraph calling upon Hizbullah to release the soldiers as a precondition for Israel to cease fire and withdraw from Lebanon.

This will undoubtedly set the stage for Israel to, once again, release hundreds of unrepentant murderers in exchange for two soldiers whose goal was merely to keep the peace. It will be celebrated by terror groups everywhere for years to come as a victory for Hizbullah.

And I fear that they will be right. If the first goal of this month of military operations was the Mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim, redeeming captives, then it will have been a failure.

[UPDATE: NRO’s The Corner offers US administration spin, Michael Rubin’s take that this is a defeat for the war on terror, and Rich Lowry blaming Olmert for running a lackluster campaign. John Podheretz says it’s not a total disaster, but “Olmert is still toast.” Might as well read it all.]

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5 Responses

  1. Menachem Petrushka says:

    Dear Rabbi Menken

    Let us do a simple cheshbon.

    There are reportedly 8000 Hizbollah fighters. In the last month Israel claims to have killed about 550 Hizbollah while losing 150 Korbanot on the battlefield. At that rate she was going, Israel would have lost 2000 soldiers to wipe out Hizbollah. Israel mainly went to war to crush Hizbollah which had shelled its cities, killed its soldiers and took 2 prisoners and not for the first time either.

    I think the U.S. did Israel a big toivah by getting its feet out of the fire.

    I am not the one and maybe this is no the place, but one could argue that given the level of hester panim in this war, a cease fire was not a bad thing.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Religious Jews understand that our values are not put into action only in “religious” settings but in all aspects of life. When Jews or their organizations or arms of government act in ignorance of HaShem’s demands or in direct opposition to them, the long-term results are not pretty. We have in the sorry mess of this latest war a wakeup call that we thankfully can respond to appropriately even now. Business as usual is dead and gone.

  3. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Tzvee, about 40% of the combat soldiers and officers in the IDF are religious-zionist (Dati Leumi). Do you really think that what such a significant percent of the military believes has no bearing on what it does?

  4. Moshe says:

    Tzvee,

    You are free not to give Mr. Menken any attention.

    That’s why you read his blog, right?

    No one forced you to read it, so there is no reason to belittle him.

  5. tzvee says:

    I am sure that the IDf does not think in terms of mitzvot. The notion that halakhic concepts or thinking has any relevance to the the military or diplomatic conditions of the middle east has no basis in reality. And unless Mr. Menken has some credentials in this area I have no reason to give any of my attention to his opinion, though he should feel free to express his frustraions in whatever format he chooses.