AN ISRAELI withdrawal would deprive Damascus of its excuse for occupying its neighbor, a founding member of the UN whose independence it never formally recognized. Once out of Lebanon, Israel will have the tools and legitimacy with which to concoct an ongoing effort to ostracize Syria diplomatically, so long as it pulls the strings of a belligerent Hizbullah.
CONTINUED ILLEGAL, repressive and savage occupation of south Lebanon will inevitably inspire armed resistance, and that will bring casualties. The Israelis and Netanyahu - with only a little over 10 weeks to the elections - would be foolish to believe that domestic opinion favors such action. The Israelis may invade as often as they choose, but every action will make it harder for their government to make inevitable compromises and learn to live in peace with their neighbors.
HOW CAN it be said, on the one hand, that Israel must not withdraw forces without security and normalisation agreements with Syria, and then, on the other, to waste three years without exchanging a single word with the Syrians?
DOES ISRAEL imagine that the Arab peace-loving nations will allow it to profit by its insolent aggression and annexation and dictate terms as aggressors seeking to wrest that which belongs to Palestine, Syria and Lebanon? Real peace means Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories.