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Tag: Lebanon War

One Syrias Issue

The Jerusalem Chronicle reported Saturday night that the British government is refusing to release documents with information concerning the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982. They claim the sensitive material could potentially harm diplomatic ties with Syria.

The three Israeli soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, went missing after clashes with Syrian and Palestinian troops near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub during the Lebanon War in June, 1982.
Baumel, Feldman, Katz

Ivor Lucas, the UK’s ambassador to Syria, submitted a report to London on the day of the clash, and may have even witnessed the soldiers’ capture by Syrian troops.

A legal team from Manchester is reportedly taking action over the silence from the UK government, acting on behalf of Zachary Baumel’s mother, Miriam. They are demanding the release of information from the British government.

The common response received by the British Foreign Office, after petitions for the release of information, according to Baumel, has been:

“We are conscious that the release of sensitive information would cause harm to our relationship with Syria.”

To which Baumel protested, according to the Jewish Chronicle:

“I just want the public to know this is a humanitarian matter…We keep getting information that these boys and my son were seen in Damascus and that there were witnesses, and anyone who saw something or who could help must help. I feel the possibilities are great that he is still alive, but certainly the families of those who were seen in Damascus are entitled to closure…I am calling on the British government to act in a humanitarian manner and let the families know by releasing this document, for us to go further in finding our children. If you have children, if one of your children would be lost, how would you feel?”

Meanwhile, Syria is very much a point of suspicion for Israeli and Western intelligence lately.

According to the Jerusalem Post:

“A compound in western Syria with buildings and hundreds of missile-shaped items has been identified as functionally related to a nuclear reactor Israel destroyed northeast of Damascus in 2007…Satellite footage of the site in Masyaf was obtained by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security and shows a compound built in a ravine and surrounded by what appears to be a line of trenches.”

The facility could also possibly be a Hezbollah stronghold. A WikiLeaks cable reported increased Syrian support for Hezbollah, including domestic facilities and the donation of longer-range rockets and guided missiles that “could change the military balance and produce a scenario significantly more destructive” than the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

A U.S. Defense Department official told the New York Times Hezbollah has 50,000 missiles and rockets, including 40-50 missiles able to reach Tel Aviv, and 10 Scud missiles.

HEZBOLLAH COUNTDOWN 2010: SWINGING A BIG AX IN THE LEBANON FOREST

It is widely held, almost certain that Hezbollah has thousands of rockets and missiles hidden in bunkers and basements throughout Shiite areas of Lebanon.

NasrallaThe tiny country’s new government is a flimsy coalition of Western-backed countries and of course Hezbollah, which retains virtual veto power over the government. On Wednesday the new government endorsed the terrorist organization’s rights to keep their arms, which comes in spite of a United Nations resolution demanding that “The Army of God” disarm. The resolution is the same one which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

The decision by the Lebanese government to let Hezbollah keep its arms was announced while the Lebanese army opened fire at four Israel Air Force warplanes, which were flying above the southern part of Lebanon. The jets were forced to leave the country’s airspace and return to Israel.

Hezbollah who is listed by the United States as an international terrorist organization receives regular aid from Iran and Syria, and Washington says that Islamic militants with affiliation to Al Qaeda have taken advantage of Lebanon’s unstable government and have infiltrated the country.

Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah boasts that since 2006, the group has replenished their weapons stock and now has more than 30,000 rockets which can strike virtually anywhere in Israel.

Hezbollah members hold two seats out of thirty in the Lebanese cabinet and 11 of the 128 seats in parliament. Their strongest national support comes from Lebanon’s Shiite population. All 30 cabinet ministers voted last Wednesday to approve the statement giving Hezbollah the right to keeps its weapons.

There are mixed reactions from the almost divided country and obviously much concern here in Israel – where plans are underway to deploy a system to shoot down rockets from Lebanon.

Hezbollah Countdown 2010: Hezbollah Brings Terrorism to the Class Room and Farther

anne frankIn an action this week Hezbollah proved that indeed they are not only anti-Zionist but altogether anti-Jewish – of course given this powerful terror organization’s track record of Holocaust denial, this should not come as such a shock.

The Hezbollah-owned television station, Al-Manar, condemned the distribution of a textbook in an English language school in Lebanon, because it contained excerpts from The Diary of Anne Frank.”

In their report, Al-Manar made claims that the distribution of the book was in violation of a Lebanese law, which bans the import of Israeli goods and Lebanese cooperation with Israeli institutions.

About the book, which both English and Arabic translations have apparently been sold for years in Lebanon, Al-Manar wrote on their website, is “focus[ing] on the persecution of Jews during the war, but even more dangerous is the theatrical and dramatic method employed to narrate the diary [entries] in an emotional way.”

iron domeA lawyer who represents the Committee for the Boycott of Zionist Goods, named Naeem Qal’ani said during the Al-Manar TV report:

“This act is definitely punishable under the penal code, and the dealers and importers of the book will certainly be prosecuted…It’s a flagrant violation of the law and is a move towards normalization [with Israel]. The Prosecutor-General’s Office must take action immediately, for this is a criminal act.”

Since the television report the school has removed the textbook from its curriculum. Omar Nashsabe an editor at the Lebanese daily “Al-Akhbar”, however, came to the book’s defense:

“The law [banning Israeli goods] talks about the State of Israel: the Israeli flag, Israeli institutions, the Israeli entity, as a nation…Anne Frank is not Israeli. Anne Frank is part of world literature.”

A statement was released by The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, “denounc[ing] this disgraceful act as a twin blow against decency. It is a blatant expression of Holocaust denial, and an assault on one of the great works of modern literature and civilization.”
The book remains off of the curriculum of the school, which remains nameless.

Mean while in related news, during a recent briefing, IDF Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi told reporters that with Iran’s help, Hezbollah has gotten their hands on “tens of thousands” of rockets to be used against Israel in an upcoming war. While most of the rockets have the same limited range as the ones fired at Israel during the Second Lebanon War, some of them have a range of over 300 kilometers.

Also in the briefing, Ashkenazi informed that in 2010 Israel will deploy the first two “Iron Dome” batteries on the Gaza border. While it will make Israel a harder target, it will not be 100%. Ashkenazi said, “You cannot build a canopy of iron over the whole country. It is an illusion. In future wars, rockets will fall here.” Instead the goal of the “Iron Dome” is to reduce the amount of incidents and increase warning times to allow the IDF to evacuate areas where rockets could hit.

It is needless to recount the IDF’s seizure last week of an Antiguan vessel carrying Iranian arms to a Syrian Hezbollah station. These guys are ready for war and still insist that they were the victor’s of the 2006 Israeli invasion. Obviously they fear that Netanyahu’s Israel will take another stab at crushing Hezbollah in Lebanon, prior to any kind of strike on Iran.
What will happen next? Only fate can tell…

Navy Seals Commandeer Antiguan Ship Carrying Iranian Weapons to Hezbollah

During an overnight raid on Tuesday last week, the Israeli Navy, about 100 nautical miles off the coast west of Israel and near Cyprus, seized hundreds of tons of weaponry on a ship sailing with an Antiguan flag. The weaponry was sent by Iran and destined for Hezbollah, in Syria.

The IDF was monitoring the Francop for several days before Navy Seals boarded it in the middle of the night. When they found the dangerous cargo, they easily commandeered it and sailed it to Israel.

The government of Antigua informed Israeli Intelligence that a ship left from the Bandar-Abbas Port in Iran with cargo which was shipped through the Suez Canal, unloaded in the Mediterranean Port of Damietta in Egypt and then loaded onto the Francop. The intended destination was the Latakia Port in Syria.

The ship’s crew was unaware that there were weapons on board, as they were disguised as humanitarian aid.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem denied the entire event. He said:

“Unfortunately there are official pirates disrupting the movement of goods between Iran and Syria, I stress, the ship was not carrying Iranian arms bound for Syria, nor was it carrying material for manufacturing weapons in Syria. It was carrying [commercial] goods from Syria to Iran.”

Meanwhile both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres complimented the Navy and the IDF, for the exemplary execution of a critical operation.

Today in Knesset, Tzipi Livni said:

“We all today praise the Navy and IDF over the seizure of the ship – it’s not a controversial matter. There are issues over which there are no coalition and opposition. We are all partners in the people of Israel’s war on terror – whether it’s Hamas, Hizbullah or other supporters [of terror]. Well done.”

Now since the world is basically ignoring this OBVIOUS WAR MONGERING ACTION BY IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH LAYING THE GROUND WORK FOR THEIR NEXT WAR – WE THOUGHT WE WOULD PUT TOGETHER A LITTLE GALLERY FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE (again, these are not weapons as the Syrian Foreign Minister explained, these are commercial goods!!!!)

Three Years Later – Dan Haloutz and Lebanon II

Sunday July 12, marked the third anniversary of the beginning of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. For a lot of people, especially those who lost loved ones in the 34 day conflict in which 121 Israeli soldiers and 44 civilians lost their lives, the day was marked by reflections and sad recollections of the event, which had begun following the Hezbollah led attack on an Israeli army patrol along Israel’s northern border in which several soldiers were killed and two were taken captive. The remains of the two taken captive, Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser were later returned in two black coffins, more than two years later.

Dan HaloutzOn this day, one particular individual, former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, still appears to stand by the decisions he made during the war, and does not regret his actions during the conflict – actions that have been criticized by many since then.

“The government’s decision to take action (against the Hezbollah) was correct and justified” Halutz said, when interviewed by media reporters. “Sometimes these decisions must be made, even if they are not popular”, he continued. He did finish the interview by saying that the decisions were made by “a leader who was willing to accept responsibility for the outcome of those decisions – that is what leadership is all about”.

Since then, Halutz has left active duty and entered private life as a salesman of high line BMW automobiles for Kamor Motors, Israel’s main importer of the German higher priced auto line. In fact, Halutz appears to have done so well in his new profession that he was recently appointed CEO of Kamor Motors, and is reported to have received around 5% of the company’s stock, worth an estimated $1.99 million. Not bad for only being about two and a half years in the car business. And it doesn’t stop there, as he was also appointed as Chairman of the Board of Starling Advanced Communications; a start-up company jointly owned by Raphael, Elbit and Nochi Dankner’s IDB group, where he earns an estimated $7,500 a month.

Halutz even went so far as to say that if he were in the same position as he was in on July 12, 2006, he would make the same recommendations as he did then to the Defense Minister (you know who he was – that guy who was photographed trying to look through a pair of binoculars on which the lens caps were still on).

On top of all this, let’s not forget Halutz’s military pension, which considering his rank and length of military service must be an amount that a lot of corporate executives would like to be living on.

The war not only caused a considerable amount of damage in Israel, as well as incapacitating and uprooting at least a million Israelis. It also did considerable damage to Lebanon’s infrastructure as well as killing more than 1,000 civilians.

A number of Israeli officers who served under Halutz were not so upbeat in their opinions concerning the conflict, including outgoing Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Moshe Kaplansky; who noted a number of failures related to the war, particularly the decision to call up the reserves only in the last days of the conflict. He also said that IDF budget cuts and concentrating against fighting terrorism led to a state of being unprepared when the war broke out.

Dan Leaves Us

Halutz Leaves
I guess we all saw this coming in July:

The outgoing chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Dan Haloutz, announced his resignation on Tuesday night, after months of criticism over the IDF functioning during the second Lebanon war.

Despite all the good things that were said about Dan Haloutz, I think that this move was a must. Now if only Peretz would learn from this move…Peretz has already been placed in check and the process of selecting the new chief is going to be monitored:

“Although the defense minister formally makes the appointment, it is his [Peretz’] intention to set up a clear process, in order to choose the best possible chief of staff,” Olmert said.

Who’s Winning

Claims and counter claims by both Israel and the Hezbollah organization makes you start wondering who really is coming out ahead in the conflict, now in its 14th day. Both of the major players have suffered property damage and casualties; and though it’s easy to track Israel’s casualties, 39 dead soldiers and civilians at last count, it’s virtually impossible to have any idea how many Hezbollah fighters and family members have been killed as they rarely divulge these statistics, and even make great efforts to remove their dead in order not be photographed and displayed by foreign news medias. Property damage in Israel has also been graphically shown; and although this has occurred even more so in many parts of Lebanon, it has been done mostly for PR purposes, to try to drum up sympathy for Hezbollah’s cause.

In warfare, there are very seldom complete winners, as the price paid, in human lives and property damage is almost always more costly than benefits derived by victory. WWII was an exception to this, however, as had Nazi Germany and their Pacific allies, the Japanese Empire forced America and her allies to agree to an armistice, our world would be a much different planet, not to mention what might have happened to virtually all Jews living outside the United States.

Determining the victors in warfare also has to do with who has the psychological advantage as well. For example, following the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein actually declared himself the winner of the conflict, as his still being in power was considered by himself as a major victory. All that changed twelve years later, however. In what now appears to be showdown “knockdown, drag out” conflict between Hezbollah’s Secretary General and spiritual leader, Said Hassan Nasrallah, and Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert; both are either claiming or predicting victory without fully realizing the implementations of the word. Concerning property damage suffered, Israel’s loses are mounting in the tens of millions (of dollars), but losses to both Hezbollah and the country of Lebanon run into the billions with the unfortunate victims being the Lebanese people themselves. From an economic standpoint, it will take the people of Israel a couple of years to fully recover from damages sustained. The Lebanese, however, will need a decade, if not longer, to return to where they were just a month ago.

Nasrallah, in his speeches and interviews during the conflict, says that his organization will help the Lebanese people rebuild their shattered country (with the help of outside parties, of course). The Sheikh had better find out just who will be willing to help in this process, which will also mean dedicating billions of dollars or Euros to rebuild his organization as well. He must believe that his very continued existence is enough of a reason to claim that he and Hezbollah are coming out on top. Reality will soon begin to paint a different picture though, as even long-time benefactors like Iran may not be so willing to open their treasury for Nasrallah’s benefit. Iran, in economic difficulty itself, and due to be levied partial sanctions by the U.N., had trouble enough giving a much smaller sum to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority .

So who’s really winning this conflict? It all depends on who you are, and where you are.

War Updates

Haifa was bombed today with three salvos of Katyusha missiles. Some Missiles landed on buildings and some landed near the industrial zone and the distillation factories.

One missile landed on an apartment building, which has collapsed. Although the apartments were mostly empty since the residents were in the shelters, four people were lightly injured and evacuated to the hospitals. There was some concern that people may have been trapped beneath the rubble. Fire forces put out the fire that has burst in the place while in the meantime searched for possible trapped people using dogs.

Zefat was also bombed again today, and a building was hit with a direct hit. Fortunately the building was already evacuated for the fear of an attack. The neighbors reported of panic and fear. The mayor of Zefat, Ishai Maimon, has been receiving complaints from citizens that said that the town is not well equipped with shelters. Residents who do not have relatives to flee to in the south are saying they’re feeling neglected.

At noon a few Katyusha missiles landed in Carmiel. One of the missiles hit a duplex house and penetrated the house of one family. Once again the family was fortune enough to leave their houses prior to the attack.
Many families in the central area and south of the country have opened their houses for people from the north. Hundred of people have left their houses, mainly families with small children, and are being hosted in the houses of Jewish families all over the country.

In the meantime Israel is still heavily bombing southern Lebanon, infrastructures and Hezbollah facilities. This morning the Lebanese media has reported that an Israeli aircraft has being shot down above Lebanon, however the IDF spokesman denied it.

At noon the Minister of Security, Amir Peretz, had a small press- conference and announced that Israel will not stop the attack until its goals have been achieved. He mentioned the vast support Israel is accepting from the international community. He also said that has far as the information he has, there was no plain crash in Lebanon.

A third front may have been started this morning, when Osher Damri, a warrior in the platoon Harub, was killed in an attack during an operation in Nablus. This operation comes as many Palestinian organizations are trying to send suicide bombers into Israel, to help Hezbollah.

The heat is apparently getting to the east, as Iran today offered a cease-fire in exchange to the release of Palestinian prisoners and the Israeli soldiers.

Lebanon Front Now Open for Business

Israel back in LebanonThis morning 2 soldiers were kidnapped on the northern border and so far there are 11 wounded. There is now fighting on two fronts and we are glued to the news again. There is no doubt that this was expected. Announcements in previous days calling for the kidnapping of additional soldiers by Islamic groups now prove to be the course of action in our region.

The army is chasing down the captors and an operation is underway to destroy key bridges and infrastructure in the hope of returning the soldier. People are looking at Olmert and Peretz the new prime minister and Defense Minister. This is a test for them as well and they need to balance the gut impulse and the fanatic voices in government that call for an immediate escalation and war on both fronts. On the other hand this is the Middle East. That means that when someone comes at you and tries to push you around you stomp them immediately and with conviction. This is a test for the new government and the leadership. The army is willing and more then able. It’s now time to settle the score.

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Ynet News reports:

Under massive fire in a coordinated attack, Hezbollah kidnaps two IDF soldiers, demands prisoner release in exchange for troops. Israel confirms two soldiers missing. IDF strikes targets in south Lebanon, conducts ground search in bid to locate troops.

“In accordance with the obligations the Hezbollah movement has taken on itself to release the prisoners and detainees, the movement managed to capture two soldiers on the border with occupied Palestine. The two were taken to a safe place,” the Lebanese organization declared in a statement aired on its television station al-Manar.

See the Video here

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