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August 28, 2016 / 24 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Lebanon War’

IDF Preparing for War with ISIS, Rebels, Following Truce in Syria

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Russian efforts to reach a truce between the President Bashar al-Assad regime and the various rebel groups in Syria appear to be close to a successful resolution, and so Israel is already preparing for the day after the final truce, when it is safe to expect that Jihadist fire would be turned south, at the “Zionist enemy.” According to Israeli media reports, the northern Golani Brigade ran a series of exercises last week in the Golan Heights and near the Lebanese border, in preparation for war with ISIS and Hezbollah — two sworn enemies in the civil war.

Despite a string of minor breaches, the IDF has traditionally viewed the Syrian border as stable, although it makes certain to retaliate for every violation of Israeli sovereignty, no matter how minor. Over the past two years, each time an errant shell landed in an open field on Israel’s side of the border, it was followed by a barrage of Israeli artillery at the source — which is why those slights have been kept down. So far, neither the Islamist militias nor certainly the Syrian army have been interested in provoking the IDF.

But Northern Command Chief Gen. Aviv Kochavi is directing his troops’ training programs to prepare for Jihadist attacks using machine guns, anti-tank rockets, and mortars, as well as attempts to penetrate the border. Last week’s training exercise in Golani dealt with just such scenarios, involving coordinated invasion attempts by the Jihadist groups in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. One entire battalion, according to reports, took on the role of the local civilian Arab population, in an attempt to isolate them from the fighting.

Gen. Aviv Kochavi (who was still Brig. Gen. And a paratrooper when the picture was taken). / IDF

Gen. Aviv Kochavi (who was still Brig. Gen. And a paratrooper when the picture was taken). / IDF

The maneuver emphasized profuse use of megaphones by IDF commanders who speak Arabic, to warn Arab civilians about IDF activity against the rebel groups, encouraging them to keep away from those groups. In most cases, the IDF does not regard local Arab villagers in south Syria and Lebanon as necessarily hostile. Many local civilians who had been injured during the fighting were evacuated to Israeli hospitals to receive treatment, which, hopefully, established a positive rapport between the villagers and Israel.

Still, the IDF has no illusions about the Hezbollah being able to divert its forces from the Syrian campaign to the Israeli border following a truce, which is why last week’s training maneuvers also included a refresher course on fighting in dense, urban populations, including vertical fighting inside high rise buildings, resembling the conditions in the Hezbollah dominated coastal Lebanese cities..

Part of the IDF new thinking about the post-Syrian truce reality focuses on logistics, with the assumption the should a war break out with Lebanon and possibly with Syria, the IDF is likely to penetrate much deeper into enemy territory than it did in the second Lebanon war. Effective distribution of food, ammunition, equipment and fuel, as well as rescue operations, will necessarily have to reach as far into the same territory as the fighting forces, which will require a high level of cooperation among land and air troops.

JNi.Media

Danon Warns UN Security Council Hezbollah Snuggles Bases Among Civilian Homes, Schools

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon warned the UN Security Council at a special meeting Tuesday that Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrilla terrorist group is aiming some 120,000 missiles at Israeli cities; a number far higher than the 7,000 rockets the group had in 2006.

In fact, Danon produced evidence that supported his claim that Hezbollah possesses more missiles in its underground arsenal than the entire European membership of NATO together maintain above ground.

Worse, perhaps, is the fact that the group has built many of its bases next to children’s schools — a human-shield tactic used by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

At the meeting, which was held to discuss the situation in the Middle East, Danon shared new intelligence which included aerial imagery of a village that had been transformed into a terrorist base.

“The village of Shakra in southern Lebanon has become a terrorist stronghold,” Danon told the Council. “One in every three buildings there is being used for terrorist infrastructure which includes launching pads for missiles, weapons caches and more.

“Nor has Hezbollah stopped here; it chose to situate its bases next to schools and other public structures. And in so doing, it has endangered innocent civilians,” he said.

Weapons are also being stored in civilian areas, according to IDF soldiers who spoke with the BBC. “Every mission that I’ve been on personally has been observing Hezbollah operations in a heavily populated area,” a soldier told the UK-based media outlet. “In a house with a family living in it, or in a house next door or behind it.” “It is the responsibility of the UN Security Council to evict Hezbollah from southern Lebanon,” Danon emphasized.

The IDF pointed out in an article published Tuesday on its English-language blog that Hezbollah has joined Iran in working to destablize the entire Middle East, with footholds around the world. “This Shi’ite militia from Southern Lebanon has grown into a sizable international threat,” according to Israel’s military analysts.

Hezbollah trains, funds and fights alongside armies and militias that promote Iranian interests and ideologies, exacerbating conflicts not only throughout the Middle East, but also by exporting chaos well beyond their borders.

Former national security adviser IDF General (ret.)Yaakov Amidror told the BBC on Tuesday that Hezbollah’s firepower is magnified more than ten-fold over what it was before the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

“Now they have more than 120,000 rockets and missiles,” Amidror said. “It’s a huge number that you don’t find in any country in Europe, for example. When you see all these efforts, you ask yourself one question: what for?”

Hana Levi Julian

Experts: Putin Sent Israel the Wrong Missing Tank

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted in a heartfelt ceremony from Russian President Vladimir Putin a Magach-3 Israeli tank that had been captured by the Syrians in the 1982 Battle of Sultan Yacoub in the First Lebanon War, and had been on display in a museum in the Moscow area. Netanyahu posted in his Facebook page: “My wife Sara and I have participated today in an emotional ceremony of returning the tank that had fallen in Syrian captivity during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub in the First Lebanon War.” But now, according to Yedioth Aharonoth, one week after Israel received the tank in which the still missing in action Israeli fighters had met their demise, it appears, to the chagrin of the mourning families, that it may not be the same tank.

On June 10, 1982, IDF 90th Armored Division was rushed forward with orders to gain as much ground as possible before a cease-fire would come into effect. Late that night the force fought its way through Syrian infantry in the Lebanese village of Sultan Yacoub, in the eastern Beqaa Valley, only four miles from the Syrian border. Apparently, in its rush to gain ground, coupled with intelligence failures, the force was cut off and surrounded by Syrian army units. At dawn, the force broke out and escaped to the south, supported by Israeli artillery. The battle lasted six hours resulting in the force losing eight tanks and 30 men. The force was unable to destroy the disabled Magach-3 tanks they left behind and those were recovered by the Syrians, and were put on display in Russia and in the Tishreen Panorama Military Museum in Damascus. Three IDF soldiers remain missing in action: Zachary Baumel, an Israeli-US citizen, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman. These soldiers were captured and paraded through Damascus on top of their captured tank.

Returned tank lands in Israel / Courtesy

Returned tank lands in Israel / Courtesy

In his Facebook post, Netanyahu noted that the returned tank is “the only testimony to our missing soldiers from that battle… For 34 years we’ve been searching for our fighters and will not cease the search until we inter them in a Jewish cemetery in the State of Israel. For these 34 years the Baumel, Katz and Feldman families have not had a gravesite to visit. Now they’ll have this tank, a remnant from the Sultan Yacoub battle which they can visit and touch and remember their sons in Israel.”

Not really, says tank expert Lt. Col. (Ret) Michael Mas, who told Yedioth the returned tank is not the one inside which the three missing soldiers were fighting. “It’s very sad that the prime minister and the media follow misinformation,” Mas said. “This is not the tank that belonged to the missing. What was returned is a whole tank, and the tanks where the missing fought look different. While this is for sure one of the eight tanks captured by the Syrians in the battle, this tank bears no mark of any injuries. When Netanyahu said that the families who haven’t had a gravesite to visit will now find peace, he committed two errors: one, it’s not their tank; and two, they’re missing, not dead.”

Returned tank in Israel / Courtesy

Returned tank in Israel / Courtesy

Pirchia Heiman, Yehuda Katz’s sister, responded angrily, telling Yedioth: “All the families of the missing are enraged. What do we need all these spins for?” She asked, adding, “Since I’ve heard of the plan to return the tank I waited eagerly, I couldn’t sleep at night. Ten days ago they conducted the ceremony in Russia and there Ndetanyahu said the families would have this tank ‘to be able to touch it and the memory of their sons,” and he already knew it was the wrong tank, but we didn’t. Only the next day did we get the right shield number for the tank, not through the IDF, and I realized this wasn’t Yehuda’s tank.”

At this point it should be noted that PM Netanyahu could have avoided this embarrassment had he read up IDF reports filed 18 years ago, which determined after a thorough examination of the tank on display in Russia that it’s not the tank that belonged to the missing soldiers, and that the soldiers who fought in this tank were able to flee the scene unharmed and are alive and well.

Here’s another embarrassing point Netanyahu could have saved himself had he read the IDF reports: the three missing soldiers fought in two different tanks, one of which was burnt beyond recognition, and neither of which is the returned tank. Like cars, tanks receive identifying numbers, and this tank, 817581, is not the one.

Or, as Lt. Col. (res) Danny Krief put it, “Clearly, the Russians didn’t care which tank they handed over, and that’s what Netanyahu used for his gimmick.”

JNi.Media

Russia to Return Israeli Tank Captured 34 Years Ago in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for signing a presidential decree ordering the return to Israel of an IDF tank that was captured 34 years ago during a ferocious battle in the First Lebanon War.

“I thank the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, that he responded to my request to return the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The tank, used by the IDF during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub during the First Lebanon War on June 10, 1982, was captured by the Syrian army and eventually transported to the Soviet Union, then a Cold-War ally with Syria. The tank has since remained in Moscow, stored in a museum of armored tanks.

MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, the former deputy defense minister, was an officer in artillery unit 7054 that helped rescue a battalion of Israeli tanks trapped by a Syrian ambush in Sultan Yacoub, Lebanon.

“We fired the whole night, and in the morning the battalion was rescued – except for that one tank and the three missing soldiers, whose fate is still unknown today,” Ben-Dahan recalled to Tazpit Press Service (TPS), referring to the continued mystery behind three IDF soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, who went missing in action during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub. During the entire battle, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed and eight tanks were lost.

“Hearing about the return of the tank sends me back 34 years,” Ben-Dahan told TPS. “It gave me chills.”

Ben-Dahan also expressed hope that the tank’s return might bring news about the fate of the missing soldiers, though he said he cannot comment on any discussions or progress toward that goal.

Netanyahu raised the issue of returning the tank with Putin last month, after having received a request from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

“For the families of the soldiers missing in action, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, there is no trace of the boys nor a burial plot to go to for 34 years now,” noted Netanyahu. “The tank is the only evidence of the battle, and now it will be returned to Israel thanks to President Putin’s response to my request.”

A delegation from the IDF’s Ordnance Corps is in Moscow working with representatives from the Russian army to transport the tank back to Israel as soon as possible.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Very Senior Hezbollah Terrorist Killed in Alleged Israeli Air Strike

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Mustafa Badr A-Din (Mustafa Badreddine), age 55, a very senior military leader in the military wing of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, and possibly even the number two man under Hassan Nasrallah, was assassinated in Syria.

He had replaced his brother-in-law Imad Mughniyeh (Moughniyah) who was killed in Damascus in 2008 by a car bomb, for which the Mossad was blamed.

Badr A-Din was in charge of all Hezbollah military operations inside Syria, and before that was involved in planning attacks against Israel.

Badreddine was also blamed by the UN for the murder of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri in 2005.

One Hezbollah website and some Lebanese TV stations has blamed Israel for the death of Mustafa Badr A-Din, claiming he was assassinated in an Israeli air strike. But other Hezbollah social media sources say they are still investigating the cause of death.

He apparently killed on Tuesday, May 10th, but Hezbollah only announced it on Friday.

Mustafa Badr A-Din’s assassination is a major blow to Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is a terrorist group funded by Iran and operating in Lebanon.

They have a political stranglehold over Lebanon from which they launch attacks against Israel. They are also heavily embedded in the war in Syria, acting on behalf of their Iranian patron. They’ve lost an estimated 1400 fighters in the Syrian civil war, which may be as much as a third of their fighting force.

Shalom Bear

Fallen ‘Lone Soldiers’ Leave a Family and Country in Mourning

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Ten years after the death of her son Michael, an American-born IDF soldier who fell in battle, Harriet Levin is still learning to cope.

“Every day is different,” Levin said in an interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS) on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day, which begins Tuesday night. “I’ve learned to deal, but then there are really bad days – I call them my ‘Michael days.’”

First Sgt. Michael Levin died during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Serving in Battalion 890 of the Paratroopers unit, Michael was killed by anti-tank fire while clearing a building in Aita Al Shaab, a city in southern Lebanon. He was 21 years old.

Levin represents a group of soldiers known as “lone soldiers” – citizens of other countries who leave behind their families and friends and come to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

Thousands of lone soldiers serve in the IDF. During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, three lone soldiers, two Americans and one French, were killed in action in the Gaza Strip.

Since 2009, four lone soldier centers across Israel have been established in Michael Levin’s memory.

“Mostly I just try to focus on the good that we’re doing in his memory and that really keeps me going,” Harriet Levin said. The centers are “run by lone soldiers so they really understand their needs,” she added. “We just keep growing and getting better and better.”

Joshua Flaster, director of the Lone Soldier Center and a former lone soldier serving in an infantry unit, helped establish the center along with his comrades after completing his service.

“I came to Israel 11 years ago on my own, as a lone soldier, and sadly have lost good friends in the army,” Flaster told TPS. “Since my release from active-duty service I’ve had to say goodbye far too early to lone soldiers I’d helped advise and integrate into Israel.”

Memorial Day, known in Hebrew as Yom Hazikaron, carries special weight for soldiers, lone or otherwise.

“Yom Hazikaron is a day of sad reflection and, of course, a little scary for any soldier,” Flaster said. “Soldiers are sent to stand by the graves of members of their unit who fell before them. A country comes to a stand-still and as a nation we take on the pain, loss, and price paid to be a free people in our own land.”

Harriet attended the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin ceremony at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill on Tuesday, which featured the untold stories of fallen lone soldiers.

“It’s not only the loss of my son but the loss of all of Israel’s children, both in wars and terrorism, who have given their lives so we have a homeland,” Levin said. “He’s not the only one. He came here from the States and he really didn’t have to, but that’s what really makes Israel so fabulous.”

The differences between Memorial Day in the U.S. and Israel are “like night and day,” Levin said.

“The United States just doesn’t get what a Memorial Day is,” she said. “In the States it’s about barbecues and sales and opening your shorehouse and it has nothing to do with people who have given their lives for their country – here that’s all it’s about.”

Michael is remembered for his smile, courage, and unhalting Zionism.

“His smile would melt you and his eyes would twinkle,” Levin told TPS. “But his seriousness came through when it came to Israel. He had a passion for Israel and a love for this country. He was doing exactly what he wanted to do with his life.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israel Must Be Prepared to Also Redraw the Map

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Russia, Iran, ISIS, Turkey, Kurds… everyone seems to be playing, except Israel.

The map of the Middle East is being redrawn, while Israel is simply trying to just hold on to what it has, hoping Jordan doesn’t collapse tomorrow, Hezbollah doesn’t take over the Golan Heights, ISIS doesn’t overrun the Sinai and that Iran and Russia don’t conquer what’s left of Syria.

While the regional powers are working hard to redraw the maps, extend their power and control, Israel is simplistically bragging about being an “Oasis in the Jungle.”

Unfortunately, Israel will find itself in an even tougher neighborhood once the lines are permanently redrawn, and that oasis will be even harder to maintain.

Instead of building more border trenches and wall, Israel needs to seriously consider regional expansion, just like everybody else is doing.

Israel needs to start pushing the jungle back, not staving it off

Israel should be prepared for the upcoming collapse of Jordan and to take over that country’s administration.

Instead of letting Hezbollah encroach on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, Israel needs to be considering how to fully take control there too, which might be openly picking a side.

And it’s only a matter of time before we find ourselves back in Hezbollah’s southern Lebanon.

Israel’s position of passivity and overt non-interference is temporarily keeping things quiet inside our borders, but by not openly taking sides, we’re also setting ourselves up for a worse situation down the road.

One solution Israel needs to consider is a new Israeli model of regional conflict management – some expansionist empire building and developing patron-client relationships, just like Iran, Russia and the other countries are openly doing.

The regions of Jordan and the Syrian Golan Heights must fall under Israeli rule, with the local limited-autonomy governments answering to Israel. We don’t need to transfer our citizens over, only our governmental administration.

In exchange, as part of the Israeli empire (and not the Iranian or ISIS empires), Israel will supply our client states with water resources, training to help them maintain their borders and assistance building their economies. This will help push back the jungle away from our borders.

We all know that sooner or later Israel will be heading back into southern Lebanon. It’s going to be a very, very difficult war.

A buffer zone needs to be carved out again to keep Hezbollah away so we don’t end up back there every few years, fighting an even more difficult war than the previous one.

If we don’t join in and play the regional game of redrawing the map, we’re going to instead find ourselves boxed in by the really bad guys, and that’s going to be much worse.

JoeSettler

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/israel-must-be-prepared-to-also-redraw-the-map/2015/09/16/

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