Okay, here's Israel's side on this. I'm looking for a comparable commentary from the other side. Does anybody have one?
Mess with Israel at your peril
Uri Dromi International Herald Tribune
Published: July 14, 2006
JERUSALEM The recent outburst of violence in the Middle East might look like just another one of those cyclical rounds in which Arabs and Israelis grab at each other's throats. Yet at stake is something much more serious: the ability and the willingness of Arabs to accept the existence of Israel in their midst.
Twice in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in 1948 and in 1967, the Arabs tried to destroy Israel. In 1948 there was a premeditated plan resulting in a concerted attack by five armies, charging the newly-born Jewish state from all directions. The Arabs of Haifa, for example, were advised by their "brothers" in Syria to leave temporarily to Beirut, because, they boasted, "in two weeks we will throw the Jews into the sea."
The rest is history. When the war was over, the Jews had the land, and the Arabs of Haifa, their children and their grandchildren became refugees in Lebanon. The anniversary of 1948, which in Israel is celebrated as Independence Day, is mourned by Palestinians as Naqba (Arabic for catastrophe).
The Six Day War was not planned, but was rather an escalation. President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt intoxicated himself and the Arab masses into believing that this time Israel could be knocked out. When the guns went silent, the Arabs once again had reasons to regret their aggression, with the West Bank and Gaza in the hands of Israel.
Since then, we have had the Yom Kippur War, the Attrition War, the Lebanon War, two intifadas and endless terror. Israel has not only survived, but has become stronger. It is a vibrant and prospering democracy, with robust economic growth over the last five years, the highest number of books published per capita in the world, and second place in the world in the publication of articles in scientific journals.
The Arabs, in the meantime, with all their aggression, have only brought on their peoples misery and poverty. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan tower above this self-destructiveness as leaders who really served the best interests of their people by making peace with Israel.
So now Hamas and Hezbollah are again feeling Israel's muscles, to see if we have mellowed. It has long been the idea of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, that Israel has become weak, like a cobweb that can be easily torn apart, or better, destroyed from within. These people, who mistake democratic life for weakness, just can't grasp the fact that a democracy, if attacked, will always have the upper hand because free and proud people who fight in self defense will not be defeated.
The Arabs' cries of joys over the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers will soon turn into cries of pain, when Israel brings home the message that no, it hasn't mellowed. And when the dust settles, Arabs will once again realize that their aggression against Israel only strengthens the Jewish state and weakens the Arab cause.
Hamas, with its reckless conduct, will move the world community to declare the Palestinian Authority a failed state. Hezbollah, with its arrogance, will stir the rage of the Lebanese people, who will be fed up with its disastrous acts. The Lebanese have already demonstrated their capability vis-à-vis the Syrians, when they had enough of them in Lebanon.
Finally, if I were President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, I would wipe the smile off my face and start worrying. Soon enough, this troublemaking Alawite dictator of Sunni Syria, who has hosted every terrorist organization in the region, will learn the hard way the basic lesson of the Arab-Israeli conflict: If you mess with Israel, Israel wins and you lose.
Uri Dromi is the director of international outreach at the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem.