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I Am Israel - Documentary Film

 ISRAEL’S NEXT WAR

“And you will hear of wars, and rumours of wars…” – Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 24:6a)

by Dr. John Tweedie, Chairman Christians for Israel International

Israel’s most senior government officials have been engaged in a flurry of political activity in recent weeks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Russia where he again pleaded with Russian leaders not to supply Iran with sophisticated anti-aircraft missile defense systems. Meanwhile, Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, was in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of March where he told a think tank that, if attacked, Israel would return fire at the source of the problem, rather than waste time chasing after “individual terrorists.” Barak was sending a clear warning to the leaders of Syria and Iran, the state sponsors of terror. Should it come to war, they would find themselves in the crosshairs of any Israeli response.

Having been embroiled in two conflicts of short duration in recent years, the battle against Hizb’allah in Lebanon in 2006, and the more recent fight with Hamas in Gaza in late 2008/early 2009 (Operation Cast Lead), Israeli leaders know that the next war will have serious implications for Israel and her neighbours, making all previous conflicts seem pale by comparison. For one thing, Hamas and Hizb’allah boast of having new missiles capable of reaching all Israeli population centres, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the nation’s core.
Well aware of this, Barak was making the leaders of Syria and Iran aware that they would pay the heaviest price should it come to all-out war.

Political Doubletalk
Yet, even as all this pre-war rhetoric was filling the media airwaves my attention was drawn to another headline: US backs off speedy Iran sanctions promised Israel. (Source: DEBKA file). The article went on to say that Washington had eased the threat of harsh sanctions hanging over Iran’s head over its nuclear program just as it was beginning to take effect. This abrupt reversal took place soon after Ehud Barak had left Washington and was heading home after he had received assurances from US administration officials that a new round of tough sanctions on Iran would be in place by the end of March. However, no sooner was his plane in the air when Hilary Clinton, The US Secretary of State, was telling reporters on her plane to Buenos Aires: “We are moving expeditiously and thoroughly in the Security Council. I can’t give you an exact date, but I would assume some time in the next several months.” Translation: Iran: you may proceed full speed ahead in your pursuit of nuclear weapons. The U.S. has other priorities
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Plotting Israel’s Demise
All this was going on as the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was in Damascus for a three way tete-a-tete with Syria’s president Bashar Assad and Hizb’allah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, what might be called a three-ringed circus to plot Israel’s demise. As expected, the Iranian president used the occasion to remind Israel of her imminent destruction. While it is easy to dismiss these repeated threats against Israel as the ravings of a fanatic, Ahmadinejad is the president of a rogue state on the verge of acquiring weapons of mass destruction. He may already have them. He appears to have the missile systems to deliver them. The greater worry, of course, is that should he acquire them, he could then hand them to his Hamas and Hizb’allah terrorist proxies, leaving them to carry out his dirty work. Israeli leaders understand this, hence Barak’s warning of Israel’s long reach.

The Trigger
The primary question is: what will be the trigger event of the next war? In 2006, war broke out when three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped, two by Hizb’allah on the northern border, and one by Hamas along the border with Gaza. In time, the bodies of those kidnapped in the north were returned in exchange for hundreds of live terrorists; however, Gilad Shalit, who was taken near Gaza on June 26, 2006 is still held captive, even as negotiations toward his release continue to splutter along. A 19 year old corporal when he was kidnapped, Shalit has since been promoted to staff sergeant, small consolation to his family members who plead and pray every day for his release. As it is, he will celebrate his 24th birthday on August 28, 2010. By then, he will have spent more than four years in captivity.
Then there is Israel’s most recent conflict, the military incursion into Gaza in late 2008. This was also a short engagement, one designed to limit, if not stop, the incessant firing of Qassam rockets at Israeli communities bordering Gaza, barrages that had been going on for years. The Gaza border has been relatively quiet since that incursion ended, although the international condemnation of Israel that it spawned continues as before.

Lessons Learned
As the drums of war beat ever louder, another war is inevitable, even if its disastrous consequences are unthinkable. The Lebanon war in 2006 demonstrated that battlefield tactics had taken a turn for the worse where Israel was concerned. Hizb’allah, long thought of as a terrorist militia incapable of standing up to Israel’s military might, proved to be an unusually capable adversary. Having taken six years to develop a bunker system of defenses, the foot soldiers of Hizb’allah gave the Israel Defense Forces a black eye, while their rockets and Iran-supplied missiles did serious psychological damage to Israel’s long-held belief that her air force would always rule the skies above. Enemy rockets were raining down on Haifa and reaching as far south as the Sea of Galilee. But when an Iranian made missile struck an Israeli warship, cruising at what was thought to have been a safe distance off the coast of Lebanon, the whole world was suddenly awakened to the new realities of war in the Middle East.

The Next War
Four years on, the stakes are even higher, and the players better prepared than ever to do damage to one another. As I write this, in mid-March, Iran has just revealed its newest weapon – a short-range cruise missile – the NASR 1 (Victory 1) – which it claims is capable of destroying warships of up to 3000 tons when launched from land or sea. Of course, Israel’s greatest concern continues to be Iran’s drive to get nuclear weapons. Israeli leaders and military planners are also aware of the political and military ineptitude that characterized Israel’s performance during the Lebanon War in 2006. They have changed tactics and improved military readiness since then. It may well be that Israel’s military planners have already concocted a battle-plan whereby, if push comes to shove and war is the only viable option, Israel’s military tigers will be unleashed against all known enemies in the region. Instead of being merely bloodied as in previous conflicts, Hamas and Hizb’allah may well be pulverized beyond recognition. As for Syria’s Bashar Assad and his cosy conversations with Ahmadinejad about Israel’s impending destruction, a day may dawn when he will fail to awaken from his sleep as the prophetic fulfillment of Isaiah 17:1 comes to pass: “An oracle concerning Damascus: ‘See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.’” In that day, Ahmadinejad will have the doomsday scenario he so desperately seeks. Unfortunately for him, by then he will have discovered too late that the Muslim Messiah in whom he placed his trust was merely a myth, while the God who watches over Israel “… neither slumbers nor sleeps…” Psalm 121:4