In this In T View we present Joe Settler, writing from somewhere in the liberated land of Israel, and telling us about life there, the war, Israeli society and politics in the aptly named Joe Settler blog.
MG: How does your routine or perception change during a crisis like this? Do you become a news junky, call frequently to check on your family members and friends, worry a lot, spend more time with your loved ones?
Joe Settler: I follow the news slightly more, but that's about it.
MG: Do you think it's an accurate assessment to say that while Israel appears to be winning the actual war they are losing the propaganda battle?
Joe Settler: Israel will only win the Lebanon aspect of this war against Islamic terrorism if Hizbollah is destroyed and the Lebanon government takes responsibility for (South) Lebanon and what goes on in general inside its borders. I can't say that we are winning or losing the actual war or the propaganda war as only the final results will tell.
MG: If you had the chance to watch any of the international coverage of the war like CNN, BBC, or Fox, do you think their coverage has been fair and objective?
Joe Settler: I have not been watching them.
MG: What would you say to your compatriots in the Lebanese blogosphere?
Joe Settler: This is your window opportunity to rid yourselves of the Syrian and Iranian influence in your lives and create a free society and government that you (hopefully) want with the full aid and support of the rest of the world. You can decide to use this opportunity to create a society free of terror and Islamic Fundamentalism with massive global opportunities, or you can sit back and let Syria and Iran via Hizbollah continue to manipulate your lives. The choice is yours.I hope you choose to take this opportunity.
MG: So what's your biggest complaint with the Omert government's handling of this crisis?
Joe Settler: Olmert's not using enough air power ahead of the ground troops arrival, and he hasn't learned the underlying lessons of this war – this is a religious war of fundamental Islamic terrorism against not just the Jewish State, but the entire world. His 'realignment' plan is doomed to return us to the same situation after he implements it.
MG: When a ceasefire is declared, what would you be more comfortable with, UN Peacekeepers in Southern Lebanon or NATO forces? And why?
Joe Settler: A ceasefire without the eradication of Hizbollah beforehand will just return us to the same situation in a matter of time.I prefer neither.
As an independent sovereign entity the Lebanese government must take full control and responsibility for what goes on inside its borders. If it can't and either UN or NATO troops are required to be deployed, then Lebanon might as well be dissolved as it simply can't justify its own existence anymore.
I might not have no problem with NATO troops assisting Lebanese troops secure their interior against Hizbollah and other Syrian/Iranian internal influences as it would be clear that this is part of the global battle against Islamic Fundamentalism, but long term it is very bad for both Lebanon and Israel.
Either way, their entry into Lebanon would be bad for Israel as it would limit our response capability if Hizbollah wasn't destroyed before their introduction.
MG says: Our thanks go out to Joe.
And here is a comment I wrote there in response to a Lebanese reader:
Interesting comment but one unfortunately full of historical and factual errors.
I have no interest in dissolving Lebanon.
Without the Syrian and Iranian influence, much less Islamic Fundamentalism, Lebanon can return to being the Arab Jewel of the Middle East. On the other hand, remaining a proxy of the Axis of Evil negates any reason for it to remain. Lebanon as a state is only 5 years older than the Third Jewish Commonwealth in Israel , and the region certainly doesn’t need another state steeped in Islamic terror.
That the Arab states don’t accept our existence is far more a statement of their failures and autocratic repressive regimes rather than the issue of Israel’s existence. It is unfortunate that you actually believe that the Arab states that offensively attacked Israel from 1948 onwards were somehow on the defensive.
It is also unfortunate that you don’t realize that the Shaba farms actually belonged to Syria and not Lebanon and all maps indicate this. While Syria just recently ‘ceded’ the farms to Lebanon they have still yet to provide the UN with any collaborating documentation that they have actually done so. Nor will they, as Syria, as you are well aware, views Lebanon not as an independent state, but as Syrian controlled territory and therefore they would never write a document that indicated any independence of their Lebanese province.
Unfortunately, Lebanon chooses to, or is unable to manage what goes on inside its borders, and what goes on inside your borders is directed against Israel. Whether the decision is willful or not, it requires that we in Israel defend ourselves against your impotency, incompetence, or malice – you select your motivation.
Accept that Hizbollah have gotten you into this current mess, and the decision to remove this cancer from your midst is your own.
Israel nearly signed a peace treaty once with Lebanon on May 17, 1983 but the Syrians and your internecine problems ultimately prevented its ratification. Remove your ties to Islamic Fundamentalist terrorism and the Axis of Evil and I’m sure peace and its remunerations would quickly follow.
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