On Wednesday, Hamas leaders flew to Beirut to pay their respects to Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah. The Sunni jihadists reportedly came to the commander of the Shi'ite jihadist Iranian proxy terror force to receive Nasrallah's blessing for the deal they are now negotiating with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government. If the deal resembles what is being reported, it will represent the worst non-territorial capitulation of a free nation to jihadist forces in recent years. According to media reports this week, Israel has agreed to release up to 2,000 Muslim terrorists from its prisons in exchange for the release of Israeli hostage Gilad Schalit.
If the deal goes through, it will constitute a massive victory for Hamas. The fact that as they stand at the precipice of such a great triumph, Hamas's leaders felt it necessary to come on bended knee to Nasrallah demonstrates Hizbullah's power.
Hizbullah won two strategic victories against Israel. First in May 2000, then prime minister Ehud Barak gave Hizbullah southern Lebanon on a silver platter by withdrawing IDF forces from the area after 18 years. Barak's decision to withdraw from Lebanon came at the end of a year of strategic dithering during which he refused to adopt a strategy for victory over the Iranian proxy. Instead Barak wildly understated or ignored the threat a Hizbullah-controlled south Lebanon would constitute for Israel, and repeatedly announced his intention to leave without victory which - due to his understatement of the Hizbullah threat - was supposed to be unnecessary.
In the months that preceded Israel's withdrawal, Israeli officials gave frequent media interviews in which they condemned as corrupt and ineffective Israel's Lebanese partners in the South Lebanese Army. Incidents of SLA soldiers and officers acting as double agents for Hizbullah were given wide coverage in the Israeli media. At the same time the rationale for their defection to Hizbullah was studiously ignored by the pacifist news editors who championed Barak's strategy of retreat.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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