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Tag: Beirut (page 2 of 3)

15,000 Lebanese Troops Proposed for Israel’s Border

An interview by one of CNN’s Middle East correspondents with Mr. Mohammad Chatah, special advisor to Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, reviewed Lebanon’s proposal to send a contingent of 15,000 Lebanese Army soldiers to patrol their border with Israel. The proposal, subject to approval by Parliament, and to Israel agreeing to withdraw all its forces from southern Lebanon, is being drafted along with an American sponsored proposal to station an international force of 30,00-50,000 soldiers there as well, is being met by mixed feelings from both sides of the conflict, including the Hezbollah.

15,000 ‘Lebanese troops’? Hmmmm. This is a very intriguing and provocative suggestion for a variety of reasons. First of all, when Beirut Lebanon was bombed by Israel with the purpose of destroying the Hezbollah command headquarters in the city’s southern section, after all or most of the Lebanese air force had been disabled; why didn’t the 75,000 strong Lebanese Army spring in to action to defend their homeland? Even now, this force has had little participation in the nearly month-old conflict, except to man a few anti-aircraft batteries and assist with helping fellow Lebanese flee their country for safe havens in Cyprus and beyond.

Another factor to consider is due to Lebanon’s governing political ‘mix’, at least half of this military entity is composed of Shiite Muslims; undoubtedly very loyal to Sheikh Nasrallah who is himself a member of this branch of Islam, as well as most of his Hezbollah organization. It would be naïve not to think that at least part of the official Lebanese armed forces, perhaps several thousand, actually possess two uniforms: one for their duties in the LAF, and the other for perhaps ‘volunteer’ activities in the HWSN (Holy Warriors of Sheikh Nasrallah).

Naturally, Sheikh Nasrallah and other Hezbollah leaders are all in favor of this idea, which will result in Hezbollah returning to southern Lebanon that much quicker, albeit in different uniforms. This would be with the sobering knowledge that should they try to engage in some of their former activities; i.e. firing Katyushas and other missiles into Israel, or kidnapping more Israeli soldiers; then Israel would have the right to declare all-out war against the Republic of Lebanon, with even more devastating results.

Other options involving some kind of international peacekeeping force, or even a more beefed-up version of UNIFIL, this time to be equipped with sufficient military hardware to make it a respectable military force; are also being discussed in the UN and by various other organizations, including NATO and the Arab League. The pitiful scene of Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora breaking into tears as he bemoaned the deaths and injuries of his country’s citizens; and massive destruction of property was enough to spur many into action to try to seek a end to this conflict that has wrecked absolute havoc to both sides. The P.M.’s enthusiastic support of Nasrallah and his organization, however, does make many wonder just where Mr. Siniora stands. Perhaps the Sheik might even offer Mr. Siniora a prominent position in Hezbollah; providing of course that Siniora agree to accept a different version of Islam – Nasrallah’s version, of course.

Reuters alters Beirut photo

Reuters Alters Beirut PhotoRead about the good work Reuters is doing, trying I guess to improve the overall situation in our region.
Hat Tip: LGF

American Nationals Pay Bitter Price of War

As the Israeli-Hezbollah war enters its third week, amongst the civilians and military personnel killed so far are new Israelis of American nationality, including a 21 year old soldier, Staff Sergeant Michael Levin. Levin, who immigrated to Israel three years ago at age 19, had come to Israel by himself; and had joined the army out of a sense of obligation to serve his new country by joining the Paratroop Brigade. One of three solders killed in battles with Hezbollah fighters near the southern Lebanon town of Aita al-Shaab, Michael was one of many immigrant soldiers known as “hayal boded” or lone soldier without immediate family in Israel.

Among the hundreds who attended his funeral at the Mt. Herzl military in Jerusalem, were several members of his family who had flown over immediately upon receiving news of his death. A number of American-born rabbis were also in attendance, including Rabbis Allen Silverstein and Paul Freedman, both of whom considered it especially difficult to be witness such as sad event, particularly since the young solder was interned on the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av; a day marked in Jewish history as one in which numerous tragic events have taken place, including the destruction of both the First and Second Temple. ” Today, on Tisha B’Av, here in Jerusalem, where Jewish hearts have been breaking throughout the centuries, they are breaking again today once again”, Rabbi Silverstein noted during the many eulogies given for Michael. Rabbi Freedman, added that “with Michael’s passing, we pray for a final and lasting peace in Israel”.

Hailing from Holland Pennsylvania, Michael, son of Mark and Harriet Levin, had been raised in a family who had been very active in Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, which prompted him to make the bold effort to come and make his home in Israel, despite his young age. Michael was named for an uncle who had distinguished himself with honor during WWII. One of the eulogists, Tzviki Levy, member of an organization who helps to assist lone soldiers, said: “For a Jewish family of such a soldier, though you live across the sea, we will never forget your son’s contribution to the people of Israel”.

Michael’s death occurred on the same day that two other soldiers plus nine civilians were killed; all the result of the fighting with the Hezbollah. His death follows another American born Israeli, Dave Litchuk aged 52, and also a recent arrival to Israel, who was killed by a Katyusha rocket as he pedaled his bicycle to the safety of a shelter on his border Kibbutz, just a few days before.

No doubt, a number of Lebanese Americans have also been killed so far in the conflict as well, due to heavy bombardment of Beirut and other Lebanese cities. The tragedy of these occurrences is that these people left of comparative safety of their home communities in America, to live in countries where the bitter taste of war occurs far too often. Young soldiers such as Sgt Levine, could have decided to remain in their home country, and thus be far away from such tragic realities. Instead, they decided to “take the road less traveled on” as American poet Robert Frost once wrote. Their memories will not be forgotten.

The Day After

The aftermath of the Israeli attack on a suspected Hezbollah missile site in the Lebanese town of Qfar Qana, has put the entire conflict into a state of (near) suspended animation. The condemnations, and political consultations involving U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, has resulted in her statement this morning that an immediate ceasefire is being requested to both sides to refrain from continuing the military operations, including launching of Ketusha and other rockets toward Israel by the Hezbollah. Ms. Rice, by being asked by the Lebanese President not to visit Beirut, suffered a diplomatic embarrassment that was felt all the way to the Oval Office of the White House.

The quickly hammered out cease fire proposal, which calls for a multinational force to be stationed on the Israeli-Lebanese border, and formal talks between the two countries on a final boundary or ‘blue line’ between the two countries, resulted from the tremendous outcry resulted from the Qana attack in which nearly 60 people were killed, many of them small children. One issue left hanging (at least it wasn’t formerly mentioned) was the issue involving the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers, which was the main catalyst that started this whole conflagration in the first place. That also includes, by the way, IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit who was captured by Hamas Terrorists in Gaza over a month ago.

During the duration of this three week conflict, we the staff of OneJerusalem.com have tried to post articles that express different points of view, both positive and negative, and afterwards invited readers to express their comments and opinions, as is usually done with such matters. Many online newspapers, with special ‘talk-back’ sections, have similar forums as well, and these usually result in all kinds of comments being issued, many on the negative side.

Our web-blog does not currently have any set ‘rules’ involving the content of these comments; and readers can post virtually anything they so desire, even comments of a most unfriendly nature. For the attention, and hopefully benefit, of readers living outside of both Israel, the PA Authority areas, and, of course, Lebanon, we would like to point out to you as follows: There are no winners in such military operations, as war does create ‘winners’, only destruction and human suffering. The attack on the people who had taken refuge in this (Qfar Qana) building was horrible enough, and the entire circumstances of this tragedy are now under investigation. This event, however, was not the only sad event suffered, as other events were very tragic as well – and not just in Lebanon. Israel, though suffering less of a ‘body count’ in lives lost, has been inflicted very costly damage as well; physical as well as economic. And perhaps it is a good time to pull the brake lever in this “runaway train ride” that has been occurring.

What is sad, above all else, is the discovery that the world is still filled with much hatred and bigotry, that seemed to come out into the open following the posting of the article: Turning Point. Readers who live far way from what has been going on in this part of the world, for so many years, must be made to understand that only by living here and being constantly exposed to dangers of terrorism and war, is it possible see things differently than you do. Israelis and Lebanese living in bomb shelters for three weeks, afraid to come out even to buy food, or languishing in places like Cyprus with not much more than the clothes on their backs understand these issues a lot more than those living far away. With a chance now to send the ‘dogs of war’ back to their kennels, a healing process will hopefully begin. We would like to some day see Israelis and Lebanese coming to do business or holiday in each other’s country; and perhaps this may someday be a pleasant reality. At the moment, a lot of animosity and distrust will have to be eliminated, and Lebanon will need to take control of its own destiny and not be ‘controlled’ by forces like Hezbollah. All we can hope for, dear readers, it that you try to understand that there are two sides to every conflict, especially this tragic one.

Calling it like it is

Israel’s present conflict in both Lebanon and Palestinian ‘ruled’ areas adjacent to it is being called by a number of terms, including: Crises in the Middle East (CNN’s favorite), Armed Conflict with the Palestinians and Hezbollah, military reprisal operation, etc. All of these terms appear to be a way of glossing over what the ongoing events have really become; and that the correct term is really that age-old, three letter word: WAR. Most dictionaries, including time tested Webster’s Dictionary, define the conflict as follows:

War: Open armed conflict between countries or between factions within the same country. Another definition: Any active hostility, contention, or struggle. And a third definition: Military operations as a profession or science.
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A Hill Too Far

Many people are becoming concerned that a proposed massive ground invasion by Israeli forces into Lebanon may not wind up accomplishing planned goals. In fact, the very opposite may occur. In what could be the third large scale land operation in Lebanon since the 1978 Litani Operation, Israeli ground forces may wind up becoming bogged down in an area it might best be better not to, in light of current day realities. Planned for the purposes of finding and destroying Hezbollah tunnels, bunkers, and arms caches, the foray may very well end with Israeli forces taking heavy casualties as they confront a wily enemy fighting on its home turf.

For six years now, since Israel’s pull out from southern Lebanon in May, 2000, Hezbollah militia forces wasted no time in filling the resulting vacuum in the former ten kilometer ‘security zone’ bordering with Israel. This not only included moving both Hezbollah fighters and their families into these areas, but the construction of a defensive infrastructure there as well, including planting thousands of land mines, explosive anti-tank charges, defensive bunkers, etc. Hezbollah militia fighters have also become more ‘street wise’ on how to confront, and damage, a better equipped enemy as well. They have been trained by both Iranian and Syrian military experts who have provided the Hezbollah with more sophisticated weaponry, including several varieties of anti-tank missiles. Israeli forces will not be facing lightly armed and semi-trained fighters, but ones who not only have a lay of the land, but who have been preparing for an event like this for years.

During some of the IAF bombing forays of the Hezbollah controlled sections of southern Beirut, a young Hezbollah fighter, speaking excellent English, defiantly said: “it’s very easy for them (the Israelis) to bomb our houses from the air. I challenge them to attack us on the ground, face to face. Then they’ll see what kind of fighters we really are!” Being the kind of people they are, not unlike their brethren in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, these challenges should not be taken lightly.

Israel’s previous experience in southern Lebanon, especially during the two years prior to the pull out in 2000, resulted in a heavy loss of IDF personnel from roadside planted explosive devises, and numerous ‘hit and run’ guerrilla attacks by the Hezbollah. These attacks, not unlike the ones plaguing American led coalition forces in Iraq, represents a different kind of warfare, not requiring the use of heavy armored tanks and similar vehicles. Besides, the hilly Lebanese terrain is less suited to cumbersome tanks and other vehicles, in contrast to the more flat terrain in Gaza and the Sinai.

A number of articles, some of them by experienced military strategists, are already suggesting that the IDF phase down it’s operation as quickly as possible (providing there is a cessation of katyusha rocket attacks, of course). In other words: to quit while we’re ahead, whether Nasrallah and other top Hezbollah leaders are ‘neutralized’ or not. As was evident in other wars, including the Yom Kippur War, there reaches a stage when advancement can be even more damaging, and problematic, than a retreat.

Is Israel’s New War Necessary?

Daniel Pipes, a world renowned commentator and author, wrote an article to both the New York Sun and Jerusalem entitled: Israel’s Unnecessary War. The gist of the article dealt with Israel’s past dealings with both the Palestinians and Hezbollah, including pulling out Lebanon in May, 2000, as well as last summer’s disengagement from Gaza. He also pointed out that many think that this new conflict is mainly for the purpose of obtaining the release of two kidnapped soldiers from the Hezbollah, as well as a third from the Palestinians. While the two incidents that resulted in these kidnappings and deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers may have been the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, they are not the main reason for the intense fighting that is now occurring on no less than three fronts, including the West Bank.

Lebanon war 2006Israel has had to deal with entities who want nothing more than to destroy the Jewish State – to “wipe it off the face of the map” as Iranian president Ahmadinejad so graphically expressed it. Even deceased Yassir Arafat, who often proclaimed himself to be Israel’s ‘partner for peace’ gave covert orders and permission for suicide bombers to blow themselves up on Israeli busses, at shopping malls, and at discotheques. On Israel’s northern borders, the Hezbollah were causing problems years before former P.M. Ehud Barak consented to pull Israel’s troops out of the so-called ‘security zone” which had been set up to keep these forces for firing their Ketusha and other types of missiles into Israeli towns and cities. We all now see that what is going on, from Hezbollah’s viewpoint anyway, has in the works for years. Even Nashrallah himself admitted that his organization had been building up their armament for years, getting for such a day. When they well able fill in the vacuum that had been created, following Israel’s pullout, Israeli border towns and settlements suddenly found themselves facing the smiling and bearded faces of Hezbollah fighters, now occupying positions that both the IDF and the SLA (Southern Lebanese Army) had been occupying – even using equipment that Israel, due to lack of time, had not been able to bring back.

An unnecessary war? War in itself is never pleasant, and is always filled with horrors and human suffering. Many wars are necessary, however, in order to defeat forces of darkness who want to shut off the lift of freedom and enlightenment that would set back civilization to a darker era. The recent article comparing Israel’s present plight with that of England in the early days of WWII is a sterling example. Just look what is presently going on in Israel’s north, with more than a million people living in shelters, and with more internal death, injuries, and property damage than any war fought by the Jewish State since the War of Independence in 1948-49. And this destruction is far from being over, with fears that it could reach Israel’s center; and even Jerusalem as well.

A lot of talk about Israel government policies, including the pull out for Gaza, organized by Ariel Sharon, and a possible future one form the West Bank, have been criticized by many, with the belief that is has weakened Israel’s position with it’s enemies. These matters are open to interpretation and discussion and the final outcome will only be known years from now. The question before all of us living here in this new reality is whether we will ever be able to live ‘side by side’ with these people (i.e., the Palestinians) at all. Lebanon is another matter, and though the Lebanese have virtually no kind feelings toward Israel at present, they may change their minds one day when they have their country back – out of the hands of those who want to change it into something that the majority of those Lebanese, who went out into the streets of Beirut to celebrate the withdraw of Syrian forces, would not like to happen. Few if any of them would like to see their country turned into another Islamic republic, like Iran.

And this war, as painful for them as it is, will hopefully help them realize the dawn of a new day.

Open letter to the Lebanese people

Dear People of Lebanon,

Images. Images of wide-spread destruction, of death and human suffering, and of mass exodus of people trying to flee their country for safe havens in Cyprus and other locations. These are the images shown to the world by zealous news commentators from CNN, Sky News, The BBC, and a host of others, including even Israel’s own dedicated journalists and broadcast teams. What has been going in Lebanon, seemingly almost like a re-run of both the Lebanese civil war and the 1982 Operation Peace for Galilee has once again turned the Country of the Cedars into a scene of destruction and chaos. Watching this human drama unfold has become prime-time viewing for us all, particularly for those who feel that those who are involved in creating this destruction (i.e. the Israeli military forces) appear to be overzealous in their pursuit of their sworn enemy, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and his Hezbollah organization. All of this appears to be going unabated, including the death and destruction that has been rendered upon Israel by the Hezbollah, who refuse to agree to a cessation of hostilities, including the release of two Israeli soldiers being held captive by them, and one of the primary causes for this tragedy to begin in the first place.

Lebanese RefugeesThis situation has unfortunately led to all-out warfare, with hundreds of thousands of innocent Lebanese caught in the middle between the two warring sides. You, the people of Lebanon, composing a variety of religious backgrounds, and living in a land that has contributed much to the history of the region, including a people known as the Phoenicians; whose colorful sailing vessels plied the trade routes of the Mediterranean, and whose people built the mighty City State of Carthage in what is now modern day Tunisia. Your ancestors also helped to build the Israelite Temple in Jerusalem. That is correct; one of your illustrious kings, Hiram of Tyre, was hired by King Solomon to build the Temple; partially made with giant cedar trees cut and brought by sea to ancient Israel in order to be used to construct the innermost chamber of the Temple as commanded by God.

It has been most unfortunate that you, the people of this land with so rich a heritage have not been able to live in peace with the descendants of ancient Israel, as you once did during those glorious days when the combined Phoenician and Israeli commonwealths contributed so much to the cultural and commercial life of the entire eastern Mediterranean. You may not recall, but, before Israel became an independent country in 1948, thousands of Jewish Palestinians used to vacation in Lebanon and go skiing on the slopes of the Souf or Lebanon Mountains during the winter months. Your unwillingness to be at peace with your Israeli neighbors has done you more harm than good; especially due to groups like the Hezbollah being allowed to thrive there and conduct their terrorist operations. No doubt, many of you are not supporters of Sheikh Nasrallah and the Shiite Islamic ‘fiefdom ‘ he created. In fact many of you, especially those of Christian or Druze persuasion, may even live in dire fear of this organization, whose main aim is to turn your country and a big part of the surrounding area into a strict Islamic fundamentalist Caliphate with Nasrallah as its leader.

Nasralla on poster in DamescusI assure you, people of Lebanon, that your neighbors to the south do not want to occupy you, and do not want to be your enemy. They would like nothing better than to be at peace with you; a peace similar to the one they have with another nearby country, which is more than 95% Muslim, i.e. Turkey. In case you not aware of it, more than 400,000 Israelis visit Turkey annually: spending millions of dollars in tourist resorts, casinos, and other attractions offered by a country who decided many years ago that the was a better way to ‘fly’. Why can’t this happen in your country as well, with Israeli tourists skiing once again in the Souf as their great grandparents did, enjoying the casinos, hotels and discotheques of a rebuilt Beirut, and investing capital into your banks and other financial institutions. If you truly want your country to once again be called the ‘Switzerland of the Middle East’, then this is the best way to accomplish this goal, and not by siding with one of the world’s most vociferous terror organizations whose ranks and leader are no less heinous than the Al Qaeda organization and Osama bin Ladin himself.

So, People of Lebanon, the choice is yours. As has been said so correctly by Dr. Phil McGraw, one of America’s most popular television show psychologists: “you either get it, or you don’t”. At this moment, dear Lebanese people, as you watch your country being torn apart once again as your board ships and other conveyances provided for your escape: you apparently don’t get it.

What The Hell Is Going On

I hadn’t turned on the news and was working away in that zone of focused concentration that comes along every so often – quite ironically on a tourism piece for a British website – when Saar walked in the house, immediately turned on the TV and said, “Haven’t you seen all the balagan?” And there went my totally focused concentration and with it any need to be writing tourism pieces for British websites.

What the hellAnother two soldiers kidnapped on the northern border, the live news reports on every channel told me, then rumors about the ones who were missing, later the news that 4 were dead and 4 missing and then the confirmation that 8 were dead.

And then massive Israeli air strikes on southern Lebanon and Hezbollah started raining down Katyushas on the north, or was it the other way round, I can’t even remember and can’t keep up with just how fast things have exploded into catastrophe.

The next morning we wake, weary-eyed from a late night watching the round-the-clock coverage of the tragedy as it unfolded, and turn on the TV to see that rockets have hit Nahariya. Nahariya!

“Call Shelley,” I tell Saar, which he does after a couple of seconds it obviously takes his mind to absorb the information. Shelley, his sister, is already a good hour into her escape to Tel Aviv and launches hysterically into descriptions of whistling rockets, incessant booms, billowing smoke and fire and a house near her that was hit.
What the hell was going on? Katyushas in Nahariya? Bombs in Beirut?

A heavy depression hangs over the Haaretz offices when I come into work. It’s definitely a depression, not a panic, a depression, mixed with concern and a deep sense of confusion. Weren’t things slowly, ever so slowly, maybe, just maybe showing some slight hint of a sign of improvement not that long ago? How could the rug have been so quickly swiped from under our feet?

More strikes on Beirut and the news that Rosh Pina had closed its airport and then that rockets had hit Safed. I was there last weekend.

Everybody’s cell phones keep going off as we’re trying to put the weekend pages together, pages that normally attempt to bring some color for a Friday morning, maybe some art pieces, a few light features, but no one’s in the mood for cooking columns this week, and the pages are devoted to analyses and pictures of devastated buildings, blown up roads, rubble and fire.

“Can we call it war? Is this a war?” the editor’s asking. “Not yet, we can’t say war, throw that picture, change the headline.”

“They’ve hit Haifa!” someone shouts.

“My son’s there…”, “My daughter’s there…” and all the cell phones start ringing again.

I MSN Lisa, who generally knows everything about everything: What the hell is going on?

Iran, madness, crazy, Syria, Nasrallah, world opinion, U.S., UN, she gives me her sharp analysis and it doesn’t do anything to calm the slowly rising anxiety I am feeling in my stomach.

In the office, the discussion has moved on as to whether the suiciders on buses were worse (yes) and what would happen if they hit the oil refineries in Haifa, and general consensus settles on the word disaster.

But they won’t hit the refineries, right? Saar calls, “They’ve never hit Haifa before.”

Iris’ phone rings, and from the long conversation that proceeds in German we gather it’s her parents urging her to come home. And leave Elad? she says after hanging up. His army unit is based in the north and the emergency call-up orders for reserves are already in the post.

We send our paper to the printer and hand over the baton to the night desk.

In the morning, big headlines, red pictures.

All day we flick through the channels, CNN, BBC, Sky News, Channel 10, Channel 2, back again. We hit Nasrallah’s building. “Yes!” says Saar, his hands in the air. But the World Cup was last week.

The death toll rises, Beirutis flee, Nasrallah’s still alive. I turn back to my tourism piece as the planes are flying overhead. A Canadian friend pops up on MSN. We chat late into the night.

It’s only been four days and it feels like months already. This is madness. I check Lisa isn’t in the north and press her for more insights. Regional conflict or brokered ceasefire, Saudis, deep shit, things are BAD in Gaza ….missile in Tiberias!

Nasrallah says that Tel Aviv’s next.

But they can’t hit Tel Aviv.

Right …

Today on the Northern Front

Right after the attack yesterday of Nasrallah’s offices and the HQ buildings in the Dacha district of Beirut, an Israeli Class 5 gun ship, the “Achi Chanit” was attacked with a C802 Missile fired from within a residential area in Beirut. Again there are a bunch of questions being asked and we got a few of them today.

Army Intelligence was not aware the Hezbollah had the C802 (a Chinese made Iranian brand missile) and the attack was very accurate. At 16 KM out the ship did not expect the strike. Nasrallah in a recorded message right after the Air Force redecorated his home and offices exclaimed that the war in now going to be all out and continued to describe the burning Israeli ship and “tens of dying and burning soldiers on board”. A slight exaggeration to say the least, as I am writing these words I can see the ship sailing to the Ashdod port for repair. The ship was hit and a fire on board killed 1 sailor and 3 are missing presumed dead. A hard hit for the Navy and a lesson learned.
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A Matter of Perspective

During the midst of Israel’s last military confrontation in Lebanon, known then as Operation Peace for Galilee, The Israeli military had boxed the entire Palestine Liberation Organization (the PLO) into a virtual corner in West Beirut, forcing their leader, Yassir Arafat, to agree to go into exile with other PLO leaders and a number of faithful cohorts, many of whom are still alive and active in the same organization, including PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazan). Israel had a golden opportunity to rid itself once and for all of the leadership of an organization responsible for numerous acts of heinous terror against the Jewish State since the PLO’s founding during the early to mid 1960’s. Israel’s agreement to let Arafat and Co. sail away into exile on a cruise ship bound for eventual docking in Tunis is history now, but one can only wonder what would have transpired in both Israel and in the areas known as the “occupied territories” had the Israeli military decided to rid it’s country once and for all of these people who, after a sojourn in Tunisia, were later allowed to return to their ‘homeland’ following a now defunct peace agreement known as the Oslo Accords.

That agreement resulted in Mr. Arafat being chosen, along with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to receive the world’s most revered award for peaceful pursuits: The Nobel Peace Prize.

Both Afarat and Rabin are dead now, Rabin partially as a result of winning that esteemed award. And despite numerous gestures of good will on behalf of Israel, including pulling out of part of these ‘territories’, Israel now finds itself in the middle of yet another confrontation, not only with her old Palestinian enemies, but with an even more threatening and potentially dangerous adversary, the Hezbollah, led by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. In the coming days, it may very well be that the IDF will succeed in ‘boxing’ up Nasrallah and his ilk in a similar corner as Arafat and friends were back in July, 1982. Nasrallah, who has been Israel’s northern Public Enemy No.1 for years now, never misses an opportunity to rub his verbal ‘salt’ into Israel’s wounds, each time something occurs along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. Since Israel pulled it’s army out of southern Lebanon in May, 2000, several events, including the kidnapping of three IDF soldiers, gave the Sheikh a virtual field day to direct his hate filled ‘lectures’ toward Israel and anyone else who oppose his grand plans to “Islamize ” the entire region, beginning with Lebanon. If he and his cohorts are not killed, but cornered as Arafat his PLO followers were, will Israel offer him the same opportunity to go into exile as well; possibly to Iran?

The events of the past two days have now given the Israeli government the ‘window of opportunity’ it has been looking for since its controversial dis-engagement from Lebanon. Will the window be ‘opened ‘ wide enough to accomplish the job of ridding both itself, and the world for that matter, of a very dangerous man and the organization he heads? Or, will that opportunity slip by and Nasrallah and Co. be allowed the same gesture, as Arafat was? If allowed to leave, perhaps, the Sheikh and a future Israeli leader may even stand together one day in that pristine palace in Oslo, Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize as well. After all, back in 1982, who would have thought Arafat would have done so? Let’s all hope this possible déjà vu doesn’t come to pass.

The truth about the latest Middle East Crisis

We know that the IDF will have to stop its activists in Lebanon. We know that our chances of getting back the abducted soldiers are slim to none. We also know that since the beginning of these events the “window of opportunity” began closing. It was a matter of time until the calls by the international community and especially the weaker links – Russia and France – would bring about an end to our ability to operate in the region and retaliate to the “slap in the face” Nasrallah and Hezbollah gave us.

NasrallahWe also need to thank Nasrallah at this point. He gave us the chance to “clean house”, get rid of a festering puss filled boil that is the Hezbollah. For that we thank him. Iran and Syria are countries that are truly behind these recent events but getting started with the foot soldier is a good start. Hey Nasrallah, have you been to the office lately?
We redecorated, hope you like it.

So let’s start at the beginning. A few days before the attack and abduction of the two soldiers on the Northern border, an Iranian diplomat on his way back to Iran diverted his flight to Damascus, Syria. His mission was to arrange for a distraction from the Iranian nuclear issue that was to gain momentum at the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg. As some of you may know that mission was accomplished and that summit in now all about the crisis in the Middle East and less about the Iranian threat. Nice move Ahmadinejad. Nasrallah and Hezbollah was charged with the task of “heating up the northern border”. Also, please note that during all these attacks on Lebanon, Syria has not made a sound or comment.

To be fair, the Israeli army screwed up – it was amateurish at best and everyone knows it. Commanders in the North were as recently as May heard to say that Hezbollah has made no strides forward in recent years. In the press conference General Adam, commander of the Northern front said there was no intelligence warning at the time and their was a stand down just days before the abduction. All this despite the outright announcements of Nasrallah that Hezbollah has the right and duty to kidnap Israeli soldiers and that was the intention in the near future. Right after the abduction he was mockingly laughing and amused at the ease at which the soldiers were kidnapped and at the fumbling behavior of the Israeli Army. He was right to do so – he promised warned and he found us unprepared. Lesson learned.

The army had repeated warning by reserve soldiers in the area complaining about the lack of visual surveillance along certain areas of the border road. Second screw up was the fact that the 2 hummers moving along the border were not covered by artillery as they should have been. Third screw up – the time it took for the army to realize that the soldiers were kidnapped, reportedly as long as an hour and a half before the “Hannibal” (soldier kidnapping protocol) procedure was called.

Finally, the knee jerk military response was reckless at best. The tank following the escape route long after the trail was cold and then running into an ambush killing 4 more soldiers on top of the first 3 killed during the abduction. The Hezbollah sniper

The army is trying to cover all this up using the heat of battle but it won’t work. Announcing an internal investigation by a low level Lieutenant Colonel with aspirations for future advancement is an obvious sham. These cases should be investigated by an external party or a retired full bird colonel with nothing to lose. This will not and should not fly – heads must roll and going all the way to the top of the food chain.

So putting all that aside, we are now in this new situation. Israel left Lebanon in 2000. Lebanon during these last 6 years did nothing to secure and stabilize the region and the border with Israel. Lebanon did however build up Beirut. The “Switzerland” of the Middle East has risen again. Tourism was back and things were looking up financially. BUT, the cancer was left to grow and fester. Hezbollah during these 6 years built up positions, arms and troops and was given free rein by the Lebanese government. The Lebanese government let the Hezbollah into its “veins”. This is the cancer that is now eating Lebanon and destroying the tourism and financial gains made in the last few years. Now of course Lebanon is calling for a cease fire in the region and this is after its been standing by while a terrorist organization has been attacking another country from within its borders. That seems perfectly logical to the Lebanese government. Now there have been voices calling for the replacement of the Prime Minister and the removal of Hezbollah from Lebanon – but these need to be a little louder and be accompanied by actions.

Israel will not enter with ground troops into Lebanon. We’ve been there and it sucks to say the least. That means that we will operate from a distance and what is happening in the last few days is exactly that. Hezbollah has its offices and homes within the civilian population in Beirut. That means that when attacking the Hezbollah there will be civilian causalities regardless of how hard we try to avoid them. The air force has dropped flyers in the recent 24-48 hours warning the civilians to stay away from known South Beirut neighborhoods controlled by Hezbollah.

The international community including the US is calling for Israel’s restraint. Kofi Anan our “impartial and loving” friend at the UN and the European Union are starting to make demands and threaten with financial sanctions. The window is closing.

Hezbollah represents 50% of Shiite Muslims in Lebanon. That means that we can not and will not destroy Hezbollah. We will however make the Lebanese people realize that in order for them to have a good, peaceful life; Israel will need to have the same. They will be held responsible for actions from their territory and they will need to get rid of the “cancer” within.

War In The North

Katyusha missiles were fired today at the Israeli settlements in the north. One resident, a forty years old woman was killed when a missile hit her bedroom. Twenty-three others were injured. The Israel bombed tonight bridges and infrastructures in Lebanon, including the international airport of Beirut. The operation, which was nicknamed “Rightful pay” has escalated after the goverment’s emergency meeting yesterday.

In the meantime Hizballa admitted of firing new kind of missiles at Israel, Raad missiles. The word “Raad” is in Arabic and translate into deterring. These new missiles have a longer range then Katyusha missiles and make more damage.

Israel raised the level of alertness to level C, the last level before a national emergency. Aside from fighting Hizballa in the north, Israel is still fighting Hamas in the Gaza strip as well.
Reserves were sent for to reinforce the forces.

This new round of violence started with Hamas’ abduction of the soldier Gilad Shalit, during a raid on an IDF post in which three other soldiers were killed. Then it was escalated after Hizballa has also broke the international border and kidnapped two other soldiers who were patrolling the border, killing eight others.

Some in Israel wondered about the relative silence of the world at the Palestinian and Hizballa’s violation of international border and law, as but peripheral condemnation by the Europeans and the UN, no real action has been taken or even plotted to be taken against the offenders. Some voices in the UN accused Israel of exercising to much power. It appears that violations of international law are acceptable, when they are performed against Israel.

In coordination with the war in the north, many Israeli web sites were attacked and damaged by Arab hackers. The sites were deformed and messages against Israel were written in them. Israeli hackers are reported to have already retaliated by doing the same to high grade Arab sites.

War

I guess this says it all. It’s official. This is Yediot Ahronot‘s front page. The word at the top is MILCHAMA – WAR.

War in Lebanon - Front Page of Yediot Ahronot

As of this morning there is one woman killed in Naharia from rocket attacks. These attacks have been going on all morning and have covered broad areas of the North. The Air Force has dicommissioned the Beirut airport and the sea ways have also been closed. Lebanon is going to bare the brunt of this recent attack in the north and will be held responible for all Hizbulla actions. Reports and images show that there are growing numbers of dead. The Hizbulla that occupies known restricted areas in west Beirut has been eyed. The army has announced a dead zone one kilometer from the border setting a new rule that any person seen in that zone will be shot without warning. The army is calling this operation “Due Pay”. This is going to go on for a while…

Our hearts are with the families of the fallen and captured soldiers.
Peace.

United States says Hizbollah is selling fake viagra

Hizbollah is selling fake ViagraSome 19 organization members indicted of extortion, money laundering, thefts and illegal trade aimed at collecting money for terror group

Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynet

[An American journalist who spent significant time in Lebanon once told me that Hizbollah was “a street gang with a foreign policy.” I guess he was right! – ed]

WASHINGTON – The FBI uncovered a network attempting to smuggle Hizbullah agents into the United States through Mexico, FBI Director Bob Muller revealed at a House of Representatives hearing.

Hizbullah agents aided others connected to Hizbullah to enter the U.S., Muller said without elaborating.

According to estimates, the U.S. currently has 11 million illegal immigrants from Mexico. U.S. officials have expressed their fears in the past of cooperation between drug cartels and terror organizations in terms of border infiltrations.

The FBI director said during the hearing that apart from Hizbullah members, there was an attempt to smuggle four Chinese atom scientists into the U.S.
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