"This is the front line of the battle between militant Islam and the rest of the world. It's a battle line that stretched from Afghanistan through Iraq, through Lebanon, through Gaza, down to Yemen, the Sudan, and forward into Mumbai, and London, New York and Washington. And so in fact this is something of enormous global consequences."
With those words, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, opened a briefing of American and international bloggers today, organized by One Jerusalem. You can hear the entire briefing at the One Jerusalem website. While you are there, please consider making a donation to further their excellent work.
Despite that fact that Mr. Netanyahu heads the opposition Likud Party list in the February elections, in which he hopes to win his old job back, Mr. Netanyahu has ordered Likud to suspend its election campaigning for the duration of the Gaza crisis--which may well continue until election day. Mr. Netanyahu is now spending much of his time defending Israel and making her case for self-defense in the international press. He is doing so because of the potential grave consequences riding on whether Israel achieves the goals of its military campaign in Gaza.
"The first consequence," Mr. Netanyahu explained, "is whether Iran has a victory or a defeat in one of its forward outposts on the Mediterranean. It's got two of them, the other one is Lebanon.
"The second question is whether the civilized world gives credence or legitimacy to the hideous tactic of firing rockets on civilians while hiding behind civilians as a human shield. The consequence of affixing blame to Israel or even affixing symmetrical responsibility to Israel and the Hamas means that the world will legitimize the use of this tactic by terrorists and they will have won an important victory here as well.
"So I would say that the consequences are important for everyone. Does militant Islam get rolled back or does it enshrine itself as a fixture both in place and in tactics?"
All that eloquence and perception comes in the opening five minutes of the briefing. Mr. Netanyahu goes on to analyze the doctrine of a just war as it applies to Israel's actions in Gaza. If you have 26 minutes to absorb wisdom from a world leader, I urge you to listen to the briefing from Benjamin Netanyahu in its entirety. Let's hope that the Israeli electorate has the good sense to make him Israel's next prime minister.