US Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all intend to try and make peace between Ukraine and Russia this week.
Kerry is already in Ukraine to show America’s support for the Kiev government.
Hollande told international media Thursday in Paris that he and Merkel would head first to Kiev and then to Moscow on Friday to present Russian President Vladimir Putin with a proposal “based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
NATO, meanwhile, is unveiling details of a plan to bolster its military presence in eastern Europe in response to the Ukraine crisis, according to the BBC. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told the news service it will be the biggest reinforcement of its collective defense since the end of the Cold War, centering on a “spearhead” force of up to 5,000 troops with lead units able to deploy within two days. A network of command centers is being established in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, Stoltenberg said, in response to “the aggressive actions we have seen from Russia, violating international law and annexing Crimea.”
The French president described the months-long conflict with pro-Russia rebels that wreaked havoc in Ukraine as a full-fledged war. “Ukraine is at war. Heavy weapons are being used and civilians are being killed daily,” Hollande said.
Kerry told the BBC in Kiev that the U.S. wants to see a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but will not close its eyes to Russian aggression.
“We want a diplomatic resolution but we cannot close our eyes to tanks that are crossing the border from Russia and coming into Ukraine,” Kerry said at a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
More than 5,000 people have died in the fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebel troops, some of which include Russian “volunteers,” since April 2014. The eastern Ukraine cities of Donetsk and Lugansk are both under rebel control.
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.
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.
The IDF reportedly moved Iron Dome anti-missile systems to defend northern communities Monday night in the wake of Hezbollah threats to punish Israel for Sunday’s spectacular counter-terror bombing raid that killed approximately a dozen Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards fighters.
The IDF told The Jewish Press, “We do not confirm or deny movements” of the Iron Dome systems, although the military previously has announced their redeployment against rockets from Gaza.
A picture of the Iron Dome being transported was posted on social media, but its location could not be verified.
Farmers in Metulla, which is smack on the northern border, were ordered off their fields by the IDF in SMS messages sent out Monday morning. Farmer Chaim Hod was quoted by Yediot Acharonot as saying that he and is workers began pruning apples tress at 6 a.m. and were ordered away from the orchards by mid-morning.
Several Metulla farms are located at the border, beyond a barbed wire fence, and are off-limits to anyone except the farmers and the IDF.
Reserve units stationed along the Lebanese border are on high alert, and several leaves of absence for regular soldiers have been cancelled.
Increased patrols were observed on both sides of the border, with UNIFIL, Lebanese and Israeli troops keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity.
UNIFIL troops are using night goggle and binoculars, according to sources quoted by the Beirut Daily Star.
Israel soldiers were seen patrolling the streets of Metulla, but civilians on both sides of the border do not seem concerned,
Hod said he actually feels safer when he sees both UNIFIL and Israeli soldiers beefing up patrols, and a Lebanese construction worker told the Star, “We are not afraid. As you see we are continuing construction work just a few kilometers from the Israelis.”
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said, “The IDF is prepared, tracking all developments, and ready to act as needed.” The air strike highlights the excellent level of Israeli intelligence operations, which are the key to carrying out counter-terror strikes and make Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah think twice and three times every time he moves.
As in the past, Israel warned Lebanon that it will be held responsible for any attacks by Hezbollah, which controls southern Lebanon and is an influential part of the fragile government.
The threat of a fierce Israeli retaliation to any Hezbollah aggression is a strong deterrent. Hezbollah has fallen into growing disfavor in strife-torn Lebanon because it has brought the war in Syria into Lebanon by fighting rebels to the Assad regime. Lebanese hate Israel but a devastating retaliation by the IDF to Hezbollah rockets would make the terrorist army and party even more unwanted.
Below is a video of the aftermath of the attack on Hezbollah and Iranian commanders, as seen in a telecast from southern Lebanon.
Hezbollah is threatening to take deadly revenge on Israel for Sunday’s strike on terrorists in Syria, but more significant is that Iran has admitted that one of its generals and (five or) six soldiers were killed in addition to Hezbollah’s casualties.
Lebanese sources identified the Iranian field commander as Abu Ali Tabtabai.
Also reported killed was Iranian General Mohammad Aji Alladadi, who was there as an advisor to the Syrian government.
Mohammad Issa “Abu Issa” who was a senior commander of Hezbollah’s Syrian and Iraq network.
Jihad Mughniyeh who was Hezbollah’s point man on the Golan Heights, setting up the terror infrastructure there.
Also presumed killed are Ali Hassan, Hussein Hassan and Majdi al0Musawi.
The IDF is on high alert for a Hezbollah attack and communities on the Golan Heights and the Upper Galilee are on a virtual war-footing.
Unlike previous attacks in Syria on missiles and other weapons destined for Hezbollah, Sunday’s raid struck Hezbollah terrorists on the ground, hitting three vehicles traveling in the Golan Heights.
As usual, Hezbollah responded with threats, especially since Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah last week warned that he will order an attack on Israel at some time or another.
Hezbollah has denied that its fighters are on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, but the aerial bombing on Sunday erased that lie. It said one of the dead was a leading commander, Mohammed Amed Issa, and it admitted that an Iranian also was killed.
The established presence of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Israel’s border will make it even harder for President Barack Obama to take a dovish position on the Iranian nuclear threat without Congress, as well as Israel, doing everything possible to stop an appeasement policy. J. E. Dyer wrote in The Jewish Press here on Sunday:
Syria is now uniquely important to Iran’s nuclear aspirations because of the internal turmoil. There is no meaningful mechanism for enforcing “national” Syrian accountability to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. This is an ideal situation for Iran, and is only enhanced by the fact that the Syrian nuclear program has been on the alternate path to a plutonium bomb, as opposed to Iran’s well-advanced path to a uranium bomb.
A nuclear weapon aimed at Israel is Hezbollah and Iran’s ultimate revenge.
Meanwhile, no one is discounting Hezbollah threats, but it will not have an easy time to attack Israel, especially now that it is clear that Iran is operating across the Golan Heights border.
Hezbollah has enough rockets to cripple Israel, but the price of an attack could be suicidal for the terrorist army as well as Lebanon.
It will be a lot easier and less risky if Hezbollah takes revenge by attacking Jews outside Israel.
It remains to be seen if the death of Alberto Nisman, the state prosecutor in the Hezbollah-directed bombing of the Argentine Jewish Center bombing, was a suicide, as originally suggested, or was murder.
Was it a coincidence that he was shot dead hours after Israel killed six Hezbollah commanders?
Gadi Eizenkott will replace IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz in February, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced Saturday night, with the blessing of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Eizenkott, now Gantz’s deputy, took over the Northern Command after his predecessor quit in 2006 after sharp criticism of his conduct in the 34-day Second Lebanon War that summer, a war which was arguably one of the most embarrassing for Israel in terms of the military’s lack of preparation, poor intelligence, logistic fiascos and loss of life.
Eizenkott has restored some dignity to the IDF following the Second Lebanon War and is backs a policy to show “no mercy shown when it comes to hitting the national infrastructure of a state that, in practice, is controlled by terrorist organization Hezbollah.”
After an 18-month leave of absence to serve as a researcher in an Israeli think tank, Eizenkott returned to the army as Gantz’s deputy in 2013.
“Maj.-Gen. Eizenkott has been chosen from an excellent group of major generals to lead the IDF in the face of the complex security challenges facing the State of Israel. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I wish him success,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.
That would seem be a given, but given the recent years of the IDF commanders anxious to please the Obama administration, it is a “revolution” to think that that enemies should be killed and not “engaged.”
Eizenkott is not considered trigger-happy and will not send soldiers into war unless diplomacy does not work, Yediot Acharonot observed. But when the army has to hit, it will do it the way it should.
He enlisted in the Golani unit, which has produced many of IDF Chiefs of Staff.
Reserve Maj.-Gen. Ilan Biran, who worked alongside Eizenkott and was his senior commander, told Yediot, “After the Oslo Accords, as the GOC Central Command, I was looking for a brigade commander who knew how to handle a complicated and complex area – on the one hand there were the settlers and on the other hand militant cities like Tulkarem and Kalkilya. Eizenkott showed qualities of a model brigade commander, he showed common sense, restraint, unusual responsibility and creativity. He managed to avoid unnecessary conflicts and controlled these cities successfully in what was an extremely delicate task.”
In the recent Protect Edge operation against Hamas this past summer, Eizenkott favored a policy of not trying to destroy Hamas or take over Gaza.
He is known not to be afraid to say what he thinks, a rarity among recent senior military leaders.
The hope is that the Peter Principle will not change him when he takes over from Gantz and that he will continue to be homiest, tough and modest, characteristics sorely lacking in the top military echelon where commanders often worry more about being politically correct rather than protecting the country.
Palestinian Authority unity government chairman Mahmoud Abbas – or “Abu Mazen,” the Fatah terrorist name he uses among Arabs – today (Tuesday Nov. 11, 2014) declared war on the State of Israel.
Claiming that Israel had launched the horrific Arab violence that is being perpetrated against Israelis across the country, Abbas vowed to seize Israel’s holiest city for the PA.
“Israel is leading us into a religious war,” he told thousands of Arabs in the PA capital of Ramallah. Abbas spoke at a ceremony at the Muqata, the PA government seat, to mark 10 years since the death of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman Yasir Arafat.
“Jerusalem will be solely Palestinian,” Abbas vowed.
While Abbas was promising supporters in Samaria that he would lead them to victory in seizing Israel’s capital for their own, PA Arabs further south were clashing with IDF soldiers and Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was completing a Gush Etzion brigade assessment.
“We are in the midst of an escalation,” Ya’alon told the troops. “We will take a firm hand to stop this wave of violence, including more widespread arrests than in the past, and the demolition of the homes of terrorists.
“The fate of any terrorist who raises his hand with a knife, or who uses a car to run people over, is death,” Ya’alon declared.
To the PA leadership, the defense minister added, “The Palestinian Authority and the entities working on the ground to prevent escalation are conducting coordination meetings with us. That is happening despite the rhetoric, calling for escalation, by the heads of the Palestinian Authority.”
Meanwhile, scores of Arabs hurled rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at Israeli soldiers in a violent riot at the Judean Arab village of El Aroub, a burgeoning community that once was a refugee camp. Located close to Highway 60, it is situated close to the Gush Etzion junction and slightly south of Bethlehem.
IDF soldiers responded to the violence with riot control measures and when it became necessary, opened fire in self-defense. A 21-year-old PA Arab was allegedly shot and killed in the melee.
At least 150 PA Arabs were also clashing with IDF soldiers Tuesday in an area south of Hebron, and close to the Jewish community of Negohot.
Security forces were using riot dispersal measures to control the mob and bring the incident to an end without injuries. By 3pm there were no reports of casualties.
Israel’s governing cabinet was set to meet in emergency session Tuesday afternoon in light of the escalation in violence around the country.