By Uri Avnery
"Thus spoke a commander of the Lebanese army, the deployment of which along the border is being celebrated by the Olmert-Peretz government as a huge victory, because this army is supposed to confront Hizbullah and disarm it. Israeli commentators have created the illusion that this army would be at the disposal of the friends of the US and Israel in Beirut, such as Fuad Siniora, Saad Hariri and Walid Jumblatt.
But not only the balloon of the redeeming Lebanese army has been punctured. The same has happened to the multi-colored second balloon that was to serve as an Israeli achievement: the deployment of the international force that would protect Israel from Hizbullah and prevent its re-armament. As the days pass, it becomes increasingly clear that this force will be, at best, a mishmash of small national units, without a clear mandate and "robust" capabilities. The commando raid carried out by our army today, in blatant violation of the cease-fire, will certainly not attract more international volunteers for the job.
So what remains of all the "achievements" of this war? A good question.
All these are serious questions, and it is certainly necessary to clear them up. But it is more important to investigate the roots of the war:
* What made the trio Olmert-Peretz-Halutz decide to start a war only a few hours after the capture of the two soldiers?
* Was it agreed with the Americans in advance to go to war the moment a credible pretext presented itself?
* Did the Americans push Israel into the war, and, later on, demand that it go on and on as far as possible?
* Was it Condoleezza Rice who decided in fact when to start and when to stop?
* Did the US want to get us entangled with Syria?
* Did the US use us for its campaign against Iran?
The war against the Palestinian people is being waged in order to keep the "settlement blocs" and annex large parts of the West Bank. The war in the North was waged, in fact, to keep the settlements on the Golan Heights.
All over Israel, they are already talking about the "Next Round", the war that will at long last eliminate Hizbullah and punish it for besmirching our honor. That has become, so it seems, a self-evident matter. Even Haaretz treats it as such in its editorials.
In the South, they don't speak about the "Next Round" because the present round is endless."