On July 17, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed the Knesset, Israel's legislature. "There are moments in the life of a nation, when it is compelled to look directly into the face of reality and say: No more!" he thundered. "And I say to everyone: No more! Israel will not be held hostage -- not by terror gangs or by a terrorist authority or by any sovereign state." Israel, Olmert stated, is fighting for "everything that everyone in the enlightened world takes for granted and never imagined that they would have to fight for -- the right to a normal life. … We have no intention of giving up our desire to live a normal life. We will not apologize for this desire, and we do not need anyone's approval to defend ourselves."
Israel will have to maintain that sense of moral backbone if it is to emerge victorious from this latest Arab attempt to obliterate it. It cannot expect the world's support or approval. For once in its short life, Israel will have to abandon its ridiculous commitment to the "community of nations" -- a community of nations that wishes to see Israel eviscerated.
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls Israel's defensive incursion into the Gaza Strip and Lebanon unacceptable, involving as it does the "use of full-scale force." "All the sides that are involved in the conflict must immediately cease military action," says Putin. This from the likes of a ruthless former KGB agent whose country is historically responsible for gulags, pogroms, unceasing expansionism and mass extermination of political opposition.
Pope Benedict XVI equated Israel's response with the actions of Hezbollah and Hamas, explaining, "neither terrorist acts or reprisals, especially when they have such tragic consequences on the civilian population, can be justified." The Vatican should have little moral authority in the realm of international politics, especially when it comes to Israel. No long-standing organized religious institution promotes the sort of international moral relativism the Vatican espouses. And in light of its history, the Vatican hardly has the standing to condemn a Jewish right to self-defense.
President Jacques Chirac of France says that Israel's response to the kidnapping of its soldiers and the coordinated terror attacks on its homeland has been "totally disproportionate." Of course, one would not expect a French president to know that the point of war is a completely disproportionate use of force culminating in victory. For the French, a proportionate response is, presumably, surrender.
While the world complains, Israel is busy doing the kind of necessary dirty work from which the world benefits. In 1956, Israel, along with Britain and France, temporarily prevented Egypt from nationalizing the Suez Canal and thereby monopolizing one of the world's most important trade routes. In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear power plant in Osiraq, setting back Saddam Hussein's attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction. In 1982, Israel's invasion of Lebanon destroyed a good deal of terrorist infrastructure in an area that was one giant terrorist training camp. If America is the world's policeman, Israel is the Middle East's custodian.
Now, Israel may have to do what the world secretly wishes: It may have to dismantle both the Syrian and the Iranian regimes, the true sources of terror in the Middle East. If Israel decides to finally do what it must to assure its long-term security, it will attack those regimes. America can and should provide support; thankfully, President Bush seems quite willing to do so. Meanwhile, the world will doubtless shed a few tears and stamp its feet at Israeli aggression while it quietly pops champagne.