When diplomacy fails: It’s time for Israel to bomb and invade Lebanon – opinion

Even though I am a frequent critic of US President Joe Biden’s handling of Israel, I truly hope and pray that he will succeed in ending the current war with victory for the Jewish state in Gaza and in preventing an escalation in Lebanon.

His envoy, Amos Hochstein, expressed confidence in Beirut on Tuesday that a diplomatic solution could be found to end the conflict.

“The conflict along the Blue Line between Israel and Hezbollah has gone on for long enough,” Hochstein said. “Innocent people are dying. Property is damaged. Families are shattered, and the Lebanese economy continues to decline. The country is suffering for no good reason. It’s in everyone’s interest to resolve it quickly and diplomatically. That is both achievable and urgent.”

But allow me to be skeptical of the chances of success via the diplomatic route, due to the maniacal antisemitism of Hamas, Hezbollah, and their Iranian benefactors, and the ineptitude of the Biden administration on Israel.

Any agreement would require Hezbollah to keep its commitments under UN Resolution 1701 to disarm completely and leave the area south of the Litani River, and no one believes that, after 18 years, they will suddenly honor their commitments. That resolution ended the Second Lebanon War, and since then, Hezbollah has amassed more than 150,000 rockets and become the dominant force in the Lebanese government.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaks during a televised address, June 19, 2024 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED AZAKIR)

So all that’s left is the military approach.

That, too, has been tried you say?

Not really. Israel has been fighting with its hands behind its back throughout this war. Reliant on the US for munitions, the Jewish state has accepted one improper demand after another from Washington.

The time has come for a much more aggressive approach in both Gaza and in Lebanon. Israel should immediately bomb deep into Lebanon and invade its northern neighbor.

THERE ARE three key reasons: Too many Israelis have been displaced for too long; there is no way to win the war without smashing our enemies; and our approach in Gaza has failed, resulting in lessons that must be learned immediately.

The 60,000 evacuees from northern communities left their homes on October 7 expecting to be back after several days. It has already been several months – eight and a half, to be exact – and their plight has been ignored by both Israeli officials and the wider world.

Even educated news consumers in America do not know that more rockets have been fired at Israel in this war from Lebanon than from Gaza and that 80 square kilometers (31 sq. miles) have been engulfed in flames.

There are also too many Israelis living in fear in areas that were not evacuated but have been reached by Hezbollah rockets in this war. We have been putting our children’s lives in jeopardy, and the time has come for that to stop.

I have supported Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition. But there is no point in keeping the government together if it cannot perform its minimal obligation of keeping its residents and citizens safe.

The government owes its northern residents to fight in a way that will be more effective. Wars are not won defensively or with a sanitized approach on offense.

THE SECOND reason for invading Lebanon: We must fight to win.

Israel has been bragging to the world about its relative success in minimizing its enemy’s casualties in urban warfare – certainly when compared to the United States. That success has come at the unacceptable cost of the lives of our young soldiers who were prohibited from opening fire.

I am all for setting rules. But rules are meant to be broken when it comes to minimizing IDF casualties and saving the lives of our boys and girls in a war against evil.

The time has come for Israel to use full force and to stop worrying about how America will respond. Israel has to set its own policies; if they meet bipartisan US standards, great, but if they do not, so be it.

The idea that the IDF has to run a sanitized Supreme Court-approved war needs to be thrown out. That might work well for skirmishes or for small operations, but it simply doesn’t work in a serious, multi-front war.

Of course, there will be many casualties on our side if we invade Lebanon, but the IDF will take the necessary precautions to keep its soldiers protected, and the only way you win is by inflicting tremendous losses on your enemy. There is a need to destroy and kill: That is what war is about.

THAT BRINGS us to the final reason to escalate war in Lebanon: We are losing the war in Gaza, because we have been overly cautious. Too much effort is being made to provide humanitarian aid to an enemy population in Gaza, who instead of providing information to help us find our hostages have been holding them captive themselves.

That was another improper demand of the Biden administration, which is withholding a key shipment of 2,000-pound bombs that could be used for the kind of strikes that could end the war successfully.

When Netanyahu comes to Congress next month, he will surely claim victory in the war. I hope by then he will be justified in doing so.

For now, saying it would be absurd. Rockets fired from Gaza over Tel Aviv and as far north as near Ra’anana (almost 90 km.) eight months into a war is not a sign of winning.

It is a sign of insanity.

After decades of quoting Albert Einstein saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” it turns out he never said that.

The Ultimate Quotable Einstein, an authoritative complication of his most memorable utterances, identified the quote as a misattribution.

Here is a quote that he did say: “I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time, I am right.”

Israel is no genius like Einstein and cannot afford to be wrong again. This is the time to bomb and invade Lebanon – and to finally get it right.

The writer is chairman of the Religious Zionists of America, chairman of the Center for Righteousness and Integrity, president of the Culture for Peace Institute, and a committee member of the Jewish Agency. He was also appointed by former president Donald Trump to be a member of the US Holocaust Memorial Council. The views expressed here are his own. Martinoliner@gmail.com