As will be recalled, the Barak Commission was established in September 2006, immediately after the retirement of Aharon Barak as president of the Supreme Court and immediately after the scale of the political-security blunder of 2006 became apparent. The commission’s mandate was unlimited. The amount of work the commission had to do was immense. As is known, Aharon Barak’s approach is that everything is investigatable. However, already at this early stage the commission feels the need to present main preliminary findings to the country’s citizens. The members of the commission believe that because the situation on the northern border has not yet stabilized completely, the exposure of the conceptual and organizational flaws that brought us to this state of affairs is essential.
In the summer of 2006, before crushing Hezbollah, Israel was humiliated. In the Middle East, the implication of humiliation is not just emotional but strategic. When the ocean is seething with sharks, the dolphin must not bleed or project weakness. In the past few months, the Hezbollah offensive led to the Israeli dolphin bleeding and projecting weakness. The bleeding and weakness will haunt us in the years ahead and tempt various sharks to attack us again and again. Therefore, despite the successful conclusion of the IDF operation in Lebanon, the commission has no choice but to state that the events of the past summer were indeed a blunder.
Underlying the blunder of 1973 was the political conception of the status quo. The baseless belief that Israel’s power allowed it to ignore its surroundings and shape its destiny as it wished. In contrast, underlying the blunder of 2006 was the political conception of unilateralism. The baseless belief that Israel’s power enables it to ignore its surroundings and shape its destiny as it wishes.
Seemingly, the blunder of 2006 was the opposite of the blunder of 1973, because it stemmed from a blind belief in withdrawal and not from a blind belief in occupation. In fact, though, the blunder of 2006 entailed an arrogance similar to that of 1973. This time, too, an exaggerated sense of strength led to the basic facts of the conflict being ignored. This time, too, political blindness induced Israel to take hasty steps whose implications were not weighed and whose consequences were not anticipated.
As in 1973, in 2006, too, the writing was on the wall. The potential threat was known but not internalized. Thus, following the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza it turned out that the defense establishment had not formulated a security doctrine that would provide an answer to the challenge of the Qassams. In contrast, the blue army developed a magical and dangerous belief in the omnipotence of the Air Force and in the marvels of precision weapons. As a result, a mistaken military strategy was created, based entirely on fighting from the air.
The war of 2006 did not resemble the 1973 war in its intensity, its scale or in the human losses it caused. It did not endanger Israel’s existence and did not inflict a disaster on the country. However, the 2006 war caused a severe blow to the home front such as we have not known since 1973.
The war of 2006 left behind a series of additional precedents that are also worrisome. Precisely because the war was not waged against a sovereign state but against a sub-state organization, its implications could be serious. Accordingly, this war has to be seen as a kind of giant warning sign.
To read the entire article, click on The war of 2006: Report of the Commission of Inquiry.
But will the root cause beneath the root causes noted in this mock inquiry ever be recognized and reconned with? That is; will the blind hatred and disdain on the part of numerous secular Israelis, the “New Jews” ever be recognized and dealt with?