By Sig Demling
The lessons are all there for any and all adult Israelis to study:
* LEBANON: A ground victory was there for Israel's taking but Jerusalem collapsed under international pressure allowing Hezbollah to become yet a threat once more to the country's security.
* GAZA: Operation Cast Lead was on the brink of bringing down Hamas when a cease-fire was pushed on the Israeli government. As a result, Hamas rebuilt its arsenal -- as an Iranian proxy -- and emerged more rocket-dangerous than ever.
With the above Exhibits A and B Benjamin Netanyahu's logical mind should deduce that in 2012 Plan C must be promulgated.
Therefore, if victory is to be achieved against the Hamas-inspired -- and Iranian-funded -- terrorist groups in Gaza it must be a full-scale triumph both on the ground as well as in the air and on the sea.
No less important, the victory must be achieved across the diplomatic table where President Obama and his traveling stooge Hilary Clinton must be persuaded that any truce exacted from Hamas without a ground offensive will be as useless as the word of an Arab diplomat.
Make no mistake, the Lebanese War failed Israel because Jewish leaders capitulated before obtaining the guarantee of a demilitarized Hezbollah. Furthermore, the demilitarization should have included long-term safeguards that would insure Israeli security.
But the rush to cease-fire produced a half-baked agreement that has been violated over and over again by a Hezbollah group bent on destroying Israel.
The same fate followed Operation Cast Lead because both Washington and the European Union continue to bend under the overall pressure of Arab oil. Hence, the Israelis stopped the anti-Hamas offensive before it could truly obtain real traction and total victory.
Which brings us to the current crisis and attempt at a solution. The options are twofold:
* A NEGOTIATED TRUCE: This would follow both the Lebanese and Cast Lead patterns. The rocketry against Israel would stop long enough to allow the Arabs to replenish their stores. The truce would be negotiated on the one hand by Israel and on the other by those bent on Israel's destruction. The Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt is a close ally of Hamas. Since Egypt is considered the prime mediator how could anyone expect anything but a pro-Hamas settlement? As long as Egypt is involved in any truce parlay the Israelis will get royally screwed. That's a given.
* A GROUND OFFENSIVE: Of course this will result in heavy Israeli casualties but if victory means a once-and-for-all end to anti-Israel rocket attacks then why not? Especially since the IDF has been preparing for such an eventuality for a long time. In this case the bromide "pain and progress are inseparable" must be the IDF's theme.
Needless to say many political analysts are cautioning Bibi on the grounds that his future re-election could be jeopardized by a ground offensive that backfires either on the ground or across the diplomatic front. Patriot that he is, the Prime Minister must consign thoughts of his political future to the back of his mind.
All that should matter to Bibi now is his country's long-term security. The PM is smart enough to remember the abject failure in Lebanon and the futility of Cast Lead.
If he can't extract a foolproof deal from the so-called mediators then he must revert to Plan C whether it means a scorched earth Gaza or whatever -- as long as the mission is accomplished.
The lessons are all there; lead is stronger than paper.