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Surprise: Consequences of Israel’s Arrogant Policies

Tuesday 14 October 2008, by Michel Warshavski

The Yom Kippur supplements of the Israeli newspapers were dedicated to the 35th anniversary of the October War, one of the worst defeats of the Israeli military since the establishment of the state of Israel. Most of the commentators felt obliged to connect the October 1973 war to the Lebanese war of 2006. And indeed, these two wars do have one important characteristic in common that didn’t escape the attention of the Israeli journalists: the surprise syndrome.

The Syrian-Egyptian offensive, the day of Yom Kippur 1973, was a total surprise for the Israeli military and political establishment, and although military intelligence provided a huge amount of reliable evidence about a coming attack, they were unable to draw the conclusion that a war was impending. Such a failure can easily be understood if one remembers the general atmosphere prevailing in Israel after the military victory of 1967. For the establishment as well as the wider public, Israel’s military superiority was so obvious, that no Arab regime would even dream to attack. Moshe Dayan was defending the status quo when he spoke of "1000 years without war or peace," and a young general named Ariel Sharon was threatening to impose law and order from Turkey to Iran, if needed.

One of the consequences of this arrogance and limitless self-confidence is blindness concerning the surrounding world. "No matter what the Gentiles speak, what counts is what the Jews are doing" Prime Minister Golda Meir used to say in these days. But the Gentiles—in this case, the Arab regimes—were preparing a second round, receiving plenty of new armaments from the Soviet Union and replacing the old corrupt military cast with a new generation of senior officers, highly motivated by the need to regain dignity for the Arab nation.

The Lebanese resistance to the 2006 Israeli aggression was even more a surprise because, unlike the October war, it was a 100 percent Israeli initiative, in which everything was planned and prepared ahead of time, that is, except for the possible, in fact unavoidable, response of the victims.

Surprise! Hezbollah retaliated for the Israeli massive attack by shelling the cities of northern Israel, and the State of Israel was not prepared for such an obvious development. In a typically colonialist attitude, the Israeli establishment forgot to take into consideration the reaction of those being attacked, and like every colonial power was taken by surprise. Like in 1973, like in the first invasion of Lebanon in 1982, like with the first and the second Intifadas. Like the French in Algeria and the Americans in Vietnam.

Overwhelming military superiority and surprise always go hand in hand, connected by blind self-confidence and arrogance. Despite the defeat in Lebanon two years ago, arrogance is still the dominant tone of the Israeli leadership when speaking about relations with the surrounding countries. This is why one can easily predict that Israel will be, once again, taken by surprise, when it will be confronted by the resistance of the peoples and the states that are not ready to accept its hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East, especially its lunatic project of a preemptive strike on Iran.

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