An Outline of what the BESA speakers had to say:

Mordechai Keidar- BESA:

The conflict began 1350 years ago when Islam was sub-divided into Sunni and Shi’a. Hezbollah is part of the Shi’a sect. The name Hezbollah means a group of people devoted to G-d who will therefore be victorious. There are those who side with the devil who will lose. The “other” is commonly referred to as Sunni Muslims or Jews, and any other group the Shi’a Muslims deem outside their sect. What we are fighting right now is not against missiles and rockets, but a larger issue. The issue is the ethos of the Shi’a Muslims; we are fighting against a religion.

Zeev Magen- BESA:

There is a lack of involvement on the part of Iran with Hezbollah. Iran has not put itself into this war because they are wary of what Israel will do to them if Israel wins the war. Iran was surprised at Israel’s ability to defend itself. Israeli attacks on Lebanon are in size disproportionate to the Lebanese attacks on Israel.

Iran is anti-pluralism. Iran hates the idea of more than one belief in G-d. They see only truth and non-truth. Israel and the United States represent pluralistic beliefs not only in religion but also in liberalism in politics. Neither of these two countries have one stand or platform that everyone stands behind.

In order for Israel to win the war they need to wipe out the Hezbollah power.

Hillel Frish- BESA:

The difference between the war right now and wars Israel fought in the past is the platform of the Arab nations. In the past it was always Israel against the entire Arab world. Today we see Israel fighting with one Arab country with no other Arab country assisting outright.

Israel must try to unravel the connection between Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, recognizing:

1. American hegemony- things only get done through Washington.

2. Fear of Egyptian reaction- Egypt may turn its back on the Palestinians with Jordan on its side.

3. Solution is in Teheran and Damascus.

Meir Rosen- Former Israeli Diplomat:

Israel is not connected to any bloc, it acts alone.

1. Nuclear power in Iraq – 1981 – Israel blows up the reactor, acting on its own. 2. Israel goes to Entebbe alone to save the hostages.

Phenomenon in Middle East where political bodies are also terrorist organizations (e.g. Hamas, Hezbollah).

Green Light from US – What are US interests?

1. To strengthen democracy in Lebanon- not to disrupt government of Lebanon at the same time. 2. Stop Hezbollah from acting as a state within a state.

How can Israel just sit by while Iran is building a nuclear program? The nuclear program is the problem of the whole world and not just Israel’s.

If Hezbollah loses, it will be a significant blow to Hamas and the Palestinian cause.

Terror not just problem in Israel. 12% France is Muslim. World has seen many terrorist actions- London, Madrid, etc.

If Hezbollah wins there will be a greater collaboration between world terror organizations. This will be a very perceptible danger.

Need to involve the European countries more.

Yackov Amidror- Major General, ex-commander of IDF National Defense College:

A. There are several different threats in this war.

1. Rockets- air force.

2. Short range missiles- ground force. Bunkers in southern Lebanon, where 80% of the missiles are fired from.

B. The IDF is divided into sections in order to deal with the different threats. The must deal with the infrastructure, the bunkers and the launchers. However, once those are destroyed, new ones pop up. The IDF can’t take a break from fighting, the Hezbollah infrastructure.

Goal: Conquer and clear out Southern Lebanon. After the war, ask what price we should pay to fight a ground war. Make sure the IDF did not damage the strength of the reserve force. Can only destroy whatever Hezbollah brings out of storage. Anything inside is harder to find.

How do we know if we are winning? If we can hit only Hezbollah and make sure the rockets do not reach anywhere in Israel. We need to get rid of Hezbollah.

An international force is bad for Israel. Hezbollah is a terror organization and has no accountability. Need to:

1. Create a serious international force that is willing to put in time and money. Understands issues in Middle East, not one-sided.

2. Can’t end war until this force arrives.

3. Can’t be only in south Lebanon, get rid of Hezbollah and prevent Syrian attack on Lebanon.

4. UN to decide if Syria or Lebanon gets the Shebaa farms.

Radical Islam (this would include Hamas and Hezbollah) is a major threat in the war. Until now each group got power from another group’s success.

Israel will win when the cities of Kiryat Shemona, Tel Aviv, Afula and Haifa are not under threat anymore.

Yiftach Ron Tal- Major General and former Commander of IDF Ground Forces:

No issue about army’s size.

Change in modern battle. It is no longer one nation’s army against another nation’s army.

We are fighting a guerilla war, our army fighting a guerilla army. In order to achieve greater goals in battle, the IDF has changed its tactics. IDF in recent years has changed its tactics from a strong ground force to more strategic battle planning.

Have ability to get close to them whether it is logistics, intelligence or fire.

Israel is fighting guerilla organizations; it takes time to beat them.

Need to remember that all this is temporary. Hezbollah can come back even though they suffered major setbacks so far. They get help from Syria and Iran. Rockets are meant to threaten Israel. Freeing the kidnapped soldiers has become secondary in the goals meant to be achieved through the war.

Another goal is to carry out UN Resolution 1559.

Centers on strong international force and preventing the Hezbollah force. There are not many countries volunteering to be this force. If we win it will be good for Israel. If it is only a partial win, it will still be a small improvement to the region.

We were not able to finish the problem in Gaza, and we are therefore facing a war on two fronts. If Israel wins and can stop the rockets from Lebanon, it can lessen the chance of an Iranian attack. If we don’t attack Iran then maybe the US will.

The other address is Damascus. We need to give Syria an ultimatum to stop its help to Lebanon.

IDF has to remember Syria also has their own rockets. Need to get rid of this threat as well. This is a chance to deal with Syria too.

International border between Lebanon and Israel. Syria and Lebanon never had a normal border, a remnant from the days when the French were in power.


The nature of this war is between a nation and an organization and not two nations against each other.

Result of battle:

1. Military accomplishments are high, but it is not possible to kill the last of the terrorists or get every single rocket.

2. Look at the map of the interests of all players, everyone has to compromise on something.

3. Internal Lebanon: Lebanese and its connection to the terrorist organization of Hezbollah. Hezbollah has other interests and the Lebanese government will need to deal with them.

Kana- reverted Hezbollah back many steps.

One more week or two and there will be a break in combat.

See how fast international force will get here. Israel can’t leave until they come. Even if they come in 3 months we will need to wait until they get there. And even then it will take a long time for them to get set up.

Don’t see goal of other actors to get rid of Hezbollah.