Hezbollah planned to assassinate then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2009 in retaliation for the elimination of Hezbollah mastermind terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, according to the London-based Al-Arabi-Al-Jadeed newspaper.
Mughniyeh was killed on February 12, 2008, when his car exploded in the Kafr-Sousa neighborhood in Damascus. Though the assassination was widely attributed to Israel, a recent report by The Washington Post claims the assassination was a CIA-Mossad joint operation.
Al-Arabi’s report claims the Olmert assassination was thwarted by Mohammed Shurba, a high-ranking Hezbollah officer. Shurba was recently arrested by Hezbollah amid concerns that he may be an Israeli agent.
According to the report, Shurba also provided Israel with vital information that helped prevent a Hezbollah terror attack on the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan in 2009.
As of now, Hezbollah hasn’t released any official response to Al-Arabi’s report. One reason for Hezbollah’s lack of response could be embarrassment over Shurba’s high position in the organization. In recent years Shurba held important roles within the organization, among them, head of the personal security detail of Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general.
Another United Nations investigation is about to probe Israel’s involvement in a death among Arab attackers … uh, that is … the panel will probe the death of a UNIFIL soldier in Lebanon while Hezbollah was attacking Israel.
This will be the second such “independent” panel investigating Israel’s role in defending itself from attacks initiated against its citizens.
Currently the UN Human Rights Council is continuing its efforts to “investigate” claims that Israel Defense Forces committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Gaza during the counter terror war to silence the incessant rocket fire being fired against Israeli civilians in the south.
Professor William Schabas was replaced this week with Mary McGowan Davis, a member of the team that produced the notorious Goldstone Report, after resigning his role as leader of the anti-Israel probe of Israel’s counter terror war against Gaza’s ruling Hamas group and allied terrorists. Although Schabas was known to have an open bias against Israel, it was still a surprise to many when he revealed in his resignation letter that he had actually worked as a consultant for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the past.
The “independent panel” to be appointed by the UN is specifically tasked with investigating the death of a soldier from Spain, a member of the UNIFIL contingent operating in southern Lebanon since November 2014.
Spain last week said it was Israeli artillery that was responsible for the death of its soldier, which took place during an exchange of gunfire that followed an attack launched by Hezbollah on an unprotected convoy traveling near the northern border in Israel.
The terrorists fired six Kornet anti-tank missiles at two unarmored jeeps and two civilian vehicles on Israel’s side of the border. The two army jeeps were incinerated instantly. Two soldiers died and seven others were wounded. One of the missiles went astray and struck a civilian home in the border town of Ghajar, destroying it as well.
UNIFIL was tasked with monitoring the ceasefire that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah and seeing to it that the terrorists did not receive any more arms, among other assignments. It has failed miserably at its assignment, perhaps deliberately. After all, it is easier to deal with disappointed Israelis than to face a deadly threat from Iran and Hezbollah terrorists.
Hezbollah thus now boasts of an arsenal of more than 100,00 lethal rockets and missiles of varying ranges which it has received from Syria and Iran, an array of ordnance any modern army could admire.
As a result, Hezbollah has a free hand in Lebanon. Last week the terror group launched its multi-prong attack on innocent northern Israeli civilians and soldiers traveling in a convoy; such attacks in the past have led to bitter wars. This one was clearly aimed at an attempt to kidnap at least one of the travelers if possible. What should Israel have done, if not defend its people and fire back at the source of missile fire?
When a UNIFIL soldier was hit in the crossfire after Hezbollah launched the attack, how does Israel become responsible for that death?
More to the point, what was a UNIFIL soldier doing in such close proximity to a Hezbollah position?
The United Nations is at fault for failing to carry out its own resolution to disarm Hezbollah, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a phone call Sunday.
Resolution 1701 marked the end of the 34-day Second Lebanon War in 2006 and called on the United Nations to disarm “foreign armies” in Lebanon.
UNIFIL soldiers ignored the resolution from Day One, and Netanyahu raised the issue again Sunday while expressing sorrow for the death of a UNIFIL soldier by artillery fire from the IDF in response to the lethal Hezbollah attack last week that killed two Israeli soldiers.
Netanyahu also took the opportunity to point out that Hezbollah operates with Iran funding and policy direction and that Tehran is trying to escalate violence against Israel.
The Prime Minister’s accusation that UNIFIL is not “reporting on weapons smuggling into southern Lebanon” is nothing new, but the presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and planning attacks against Israel is unprecedented.
Last week’s firing of an anti-tank rocket on IDF vehicles was the most serious attack since the war in 2006. The war ended in a military stalemate, in itself a victory for Hezbollah, which also benefited from Resolution 1701 negotiated on the Israeli side by then-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
The United and UNIFIL immediately disclaimed any responsibility to disarm “foreign armies,” meaning Hezbollah, and tried to put the onus on Lebanon.
Government spokesman Mark Regev said at the time:
That resolution clearly calls for the creation of a Hezbollah-free zone south of the Litani River, and anything less would mean that the resolution is not being implemented.
Kofi Annan, who was Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2006, insisted, “The understanding was that it would be the Lebanese who would disarm [Hezbollah].”Obviously, if at some stage they need advice or some help from the international community and they were to approach us, we would consider it, but the troops are not going in there to disarm.”
A senior Lebanese official, Mohammed Chatah, said in 2006:
Hezbollah individuals are people who live in the south and they will not leave their homes and villages, but an armed Hezbollah will not be in the south, pursuant to Resolution 1701 that stated there will be “no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state.”
That also did not happen because Hezbollah held the cards in the Lebanese government, which it now dominates.
It was clear that the resolution would not be enforced, just like the cease-fire resolution after Operation Cast Lead in December 2008-January 2009 was not honored.
The same Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, negotiated both so-called cease-fires.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman ridiculed Israeli “restraint” and said the IDF needs to deliver a harsh blow to Hezbollah in retaliation for yesterday’s attack that killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven others.
The army retaliated with artillery fire to the source of the attack, and one UNIFIL soldier was killed,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was fierce with words but extremely cautious in the military response. As The Jewish Press wrote here this morning, Israel does not want all-out with Hezbollah, if for no other reason than because it would not end in victory because of Israel’s inability to buck the usual international community’s demand that Israel not try to destroy an enemy.
Lieberman used to be one of Israel’s loudest hawks until he decided to be dovish for the election campaign to try to dig up votes from the middle-of-the road sector.
Crippled by a lack of trust, compounded by a police investigation of several of his Yisrael Beiteinu cronies for bribery, Lieberman on Thursday jumped on Netanyahu for being the dove.
He wrote on his Facebook page Israel needs to deliver a disproportionate response that defeats terrorism” and that Hezbollah “wants a proportionate response because it would lead to a war of attrition and perpetuate the conflict.”
It’s time to take the glove off when dealing with terrorism,” Lieberman said, but as Foreign Minister, he knows very well that there is not enough widespread support among Israelis to attack deliver Hezbollah a death blow, if it can.
He also did not say he would take responsibility for the certain death and destruction in Israel from Hezbollah missiles if Israel were to deliver a “disproportionate response.”
Lieberman desperately needs votes, but he may have lost even more by reverting back to his old position of mowing down the enemy at all costs.
A “disproportionate response” certainly is the correct strategy but only in a better world, which might come if people like Lieberman did not go off the deep end to seek votes.
The former prime minister died on January 11, 2014 at the age of 85 after spending eight years in a coma.
Speaking at Sharon’s Sycamore Ranch near the city of Sderot in southern Israel, Netanyahu bluntly announced, “It is Iran that is responsible for yesterday’s attack against us from Lebanon.”
The elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced Wednesday night it “will fight next to the Islamic resistance movement Hezbollah in all its fights against the Zionist State,” according to a report by the Hezbollah-linked Al Manar news outlet in Lebanon. Tehran’s special operations unit has been fighting alongside Hezbollah to bolster government forces protecting President Bashar al-Assad in his civil war against the myriad rebel forces trying to depose his regime since the region-wide “Arab Spring” swept into Syria in 2011. Iran has been a generous benefactor of both Syria and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group for decades.
“This is the same Iran that is now trying to achieve an agreement, via the major [world] powers, that would leave it with the ability to develop nuclear weapons, and we strongly oppose this agreement. We will continue to defend ourselves against all threats, near and far alike,” Netanyahu said.
“Arik well understood the character of the Iranian regime,” he added, “and what he said then is still valid today.”
At the start of a security assessment meeting at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu noted that Iran has been quite busy in the region, placing its proxy forces into position as close as possible to Israeli civilian areas.
“For some time, Iran – via Hezbollah – has been trying to establish an additional terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights,” he said. “We are taking strong and responsible action against this attempt.”
Ariel Sharon was equally blunt in warning the world — and particularly the United States — about the dangers of ignoring the threat posed by Iran and radical Islamists.
In his biography of Ariel Sharon “A Plan For Israel,” pp 244-245), author Uri Dan quotes a 2006 New York Times interview in which Sharon is quoted as saying, “The whole world should be concerned about the Iranian threat.
“Iran, which already possesses ballistic missiles with a range of 1,300 kilometers – capable, therefore, of reaching Israel – is developing missiles with a range of 2,500 kilometers. This danger does not affect just our country, it affects European and other countries as well.
“Once again, it is the role of the international community to block Iran’s nuclear capability, and it is the role of the UN Security Council to take the necessary measures.
“I am very concerned about the voices saying that we have to resign ourselves to the idea that one day Iran will inevitably join the club of nuclear countries…[Europeans'] primary consideration is their economic interests… [Americans] understand the danger presented by nuclear weapons in the hands of a regime like that of Iran.
“The tight control exercised by the International Atomic Energy Agency has led to an interruption, or at least a delay, in the Iranian nuclear program. But Iran is a huge country in which it is easy to hide installations, and the Iranians are masters in the art of double-dealing.”
Russia takes the issue seriously, Sharon added, saying that Iran is the most serious strategic threat that Israel was facing.
“Aside from their nuclear ambitions, the Iranians are actively involved in terrorism,” Sharon noted, “from their regional base in Lebanon,” financing attacks in Judea and Samaria and helping Hamas in Gaza. They “provide them with smuggled weapons… more serious still, the Iranians try to recruit Arab Israelis…”
Neither Hezbollah nor Israel will go to war right now. Israel cannot defeat Hezbollah now any more than it could in the war n 2006, which ended in a military stalemate but a strategic victory for Hezbollah.
Hezbollah won’t go to war against Israel because it cannot afford to lose its already questionable prestige in Lebanon due to the terrorist party’s having entered the conflagration in Syria and bringing it inside Lebanon’s borders.
Hezbollah’s attack in Israel yesterday was an eye-for-an-eye retaliation for Israel’s pre-emptive bombing raid in Syria two weeks ago in which a dozen Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers and commanders were wiped out.
Their plan to attack the Israeli side of the Golan Heights bore out fears that Hezbollah wants to be able to strike Israel along the entire northern border, from the Mediterranean Coast of Lebanon to the eastern side of the Golan Heights.
“Hezbollah” does not just mean the terrorist party and army. It also means “Iran,” its financial and military mother.
“Hezbollah” also means “Lebanon,” to a large extent. Hassan Nasrallah’s party dominates the government, but the world recognizes “Lebanon” and not “Hezbollah.”
Hezbollah, diplomatically, is a state within a state. It has one of the largest military arsenals of any army in the world, with 120,000 missiles in Lebanon, and now in Syria, poised to pulverize not only northern Israel but also Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
It is an act of war when a country’s army attacks another nation and kills two soldiers. “Restraint” is not the proper response. The proper response is an all-out retaliation to end the enemy threat.
But officially, neither Lebanon nor Iran attacked Israel yesterday. The provocateur was a terrorist army and party. Israel cannot wipe out the Hezbollah army because, like Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza, it operates from within civilian population centers and now also is located in the maze of hell that is called Syria,” which no longer exists as a nation except in name.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said yesterday, “My recommendation to those who challenge us in the north is to take a look at what happened in Gaza.”
Hamas had several thousand rockets, some of them sophisticated, but Israel’s Iron Dome system was able to intercept most of them. In addition, the land mass of Hamas-controlled Gaza is all of 139 square miles (360 square kilometers), surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west and an unfriendly Egypt and Israel on the south, west and north.
Lebanon is nearly 30 times larger with 4,015 square miles (10,400 sq km). Besides the Mediterranean Sea on the west and Israel on the south, Lebanon — and Hezbollah — have Syria for a neighbor in the east and north.
Netanyahu said, “The (Israel Defense Forces) is responding now to the incident in the north. The IDF stands ready to act forcefully on all fronts.” In truth, he was only reassuring Israelis and sending shivers down the spines of the West, but he and Hezbollah know very well that Israel is not going to “act forcefully on all fronts.”
Israel does not have an anti-missile system that can protect the country against 120,000 missiles, some of them very long-range rocket and probably with chemical warheads. The IDF indeed could crush Lebanon. It could punish the country for allowing and actively supporting Hezbollah.
Before doing so, who knows how much Hezbollah would cripple Israel with missiles.
But everyone, especially Netanyahu, knows that any large-military operation would leave Israel isolated in the world
The United States stated yesterday its usual wishy-washy position that backs Israel with a big “but”:
We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation.
That was the same language used every time Hamas attacks Israel with a missile.
Any Israeli attack would be “disproportionate.” The international community does not apply the rules of war when it comes to Israel, which always must show it is so Christian that it can turn the other cheek and not use force.
As disgusting it sounds, the bitter truth is that Israeli won’t go to war over the deaths of two soldiers. It should but it won’t.
Israeli does not have the self-confidence, spiritually and diplomatically, to attack Hezbollah and Lebanon.
Nine years ago, Hezbollah kidnapped and murdered two soldiers and sparked a five-week war that proved that exposed, once again, Israel’s real weakness.
The Foreign Minister at the time was Tzipi Livni, who now threatens to become the next Prime Minister of Israel on a rotational basis with Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog.
Livni signed on the dotted line of United Nations Resolution 1701 that was a cease-fire version of the Oslo Accords. Instead of the Palestinian Authority, it was the United Nations that promised to disarm “foreign armies,” without naming Hezbollah.
The resolution stated:
Pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state.
The resolution called for:
Israel to withdraw all of its forces from Lebanon in parallel with Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers deploying throughout the South…
Disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon (implying but not stating Hezbollah)
No armed forces other than UNIFIL and Lebanese (implying Hezbollah and Israeli forces) will be south of the Litani River
No foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government….
The importance of full control of Lebanon by the government of Lebanon .
Of course, Israel withdrew. Not only did UNIFIL not dis-arm Hezbollah, UNIFIL allowed it to continue to smuggle weapons from Iran, via Syria.
The resolution left Hezbollah ins a stronger than ever position and weakened Israel, which proved again its military may be strong but its backbone Is too weak to support a military victory to safeguard the country.
Below is a video of how Hezbollah terrorists escapes an Israel Air Force bombing of a missile launcher in the war in Lebanon in 2006.
Secretary of State spokesperson Jen Psaki issued a statement on behalf of the United States late Wednesday night (Israel time) strongly condemning Hezbollah’s attack from Lebanon on “IDF forces.”
Israel’s “greatest friend and ally” correctly the attack was a violation of the ceasefire agreement that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War but failed to say that in fact the attack was not directed solely at Israel’s army but rather at Israeli civilians as well. It was directed at all Israelis.
Six deadly missiles were fired into northern Israeli territory from a distance of approximately three kilometers deep into southern Lebanon, reaching at least two kilometers into northern Israel. They struck a convoy in which civilian vehicles were traveling as well as two completely unprotected IDF jeeps that were clearly not armored and not intended for military conflict.
Two IDF soldiers were killed, two IDF vehicles were incinerated, and seven other soldiers were wounded. Civilians in the cars that followed were severely traumatized and a few were injured. A civilian home in a Druze village, Ghajar, also was struck by a missile, caught fire and was destroyed. That civilian family is now homeless and other civilians in that village and others were also severely traumatized by the attack and the battle that followed, which also cost a UNIFIL peacekeeper from Spain his life.
This was not a military operation aimed at military engagement. This was a terrorist attack on a random target traveling on a civilian road and a random civilian home in a civilian village. Hezbollah was aiming at civilians, in fact.
The United States has deliberately chosen to ignore these inconvenient and uncomfortable facts in its statement of condemnation. Also missing from the statement is the word “terror.”
That’s odd, since Hezbollah appears on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations but then again, the Obama administration has from the start refused to use the term “Islamist” when discussing terror. Instead it refers to “radical extremism” or “extremist attacks.”
The terms make no sense since extremism cannot be anything other than radical and none of the attacks that have taken place in the past six years of the Obama administration have been associated with anything else other than radical Islamist terror groups. The policy is disingenuous at best.
Perhaps the real issue is connected to Iran and its current round of talks with world powers over “limiting” its nuclear development activities. As if Tehnran actually intends to honestly comply with such an agreement, even if one is reached.
Here’s the statement issued by the State Department. At least it actually condemns the correct side; that’s something anyway.
“The United States strongly condemns Hezbollah’s attack today from Lebanon on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in blatant violation of the cease fire between Lebanon and Israel and UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks. We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation.
“We are deeply concerned by reports of injuries and casualties on both sides of the Blue Line, including the reported deaths of IDF soldiers and the death of a Spanish UN peacekeeper from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). We extend our sincere condolences to the victims’ families. We also stand with UNIFIL as it fulfills its important mandate to maintain peace and security along the Blue Line.
“Hezbollah continues to incite violence and instability inside Lebanon by attacking Israel and by its presence and fighting inside Syria, which violates Lebanese leaders’ agreed policy of dissociating Lebanon from foreign conflicts.”