This is the most stupid sentence I have heard in a long time, and one can hear it a lot on TV these days. Very few of the journalists flown in to cover the new Lebanon conflict apparently take the time on the plane to read up a little before they go live with nonsense of that sort.
Of course it is not because of the two kidnapped soldiers, just like the army's return to Gaza was not because of one kidnapped other soldier. Those were just triggers. The current war on two fronts means that we have finally been forced to realized that "Land for Peace" is a formula which does not work. It has been the guideline of most governments in the last 15 years, but it has failed. Every time we have ceded territory we got punished for it, rather than rewarded.
Example Lebanon. The UN-verified Israeli withdrawal to the international border has created a certain lull in the daily small intensity fighting that was the routine ever since the creation of the buffer zone in South Lebanon, but in fact it did only produce an illusion of security. And, the final result was written on the walls for a long time, we just didn't want to know it. Israeli intelligence knew that Hezbollah was amassing missiles, hiding them among the civilians in South Lebanon. We knew they are building bunkers and observation points right on the border. We may not have know the full extent of those efforts. But that those efforts are not meant as confidence building measures was also clear from the frequent violations of the border by Hezbollah raids and occasional Katjusha fire into the towns and villages of Northern Israel. On the day of the kidnapping the North was hit by 150 Katjushas. At some point it had to boil over.
The same thing in Gaza. Instead of getting busy with building the first part of their anticipated State after the total withdrawal including the destruction of the Israeli settlements, the Gazans were busy producing Quassam rockets, and digging tunnels to smuggle more weapons in from Egypt. From the day we left Gaza for good (or so we thought) to the decision to reenter Gaza with ground forces, the Israeli towns and villages near the border were hit by 600 Quassam rockets. At some point it had to boil over.
I have heard this argument from the Israeli right many times and never believed it: "The Arabs will interpret such a withdrawal as weakness and result of their terror tactic. They will use the new freedom to intensify the terror rather than to lessen it." Well, I have to admit, they were right on.
Hamas and Hezbollah have convinced one more Israeli dove. There can not be peace without the total destruction of their capability to terrorize the Israeli population. Only once those organizations have been totally destroyed, by all means and whatever the cost in terms of Israeli and Arab casualties, only then the remaining forces among the Palestinians and all other current enemies will have learned the lesson: Israel can not be defeated by violence. Only then they will be ready for peace.
This also means that Olmert's plan of further unilateral withdrawals has no future - unless it is backed up by the credible threat of total destruction of any entity daring to attack Israel from any territory returned, whatever the cost may be. I hope Olmert has the stomach to build that lost credibility now, once and for all.
May the force be with you, Ehud!