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Emet m'Tsiyon

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Fighting on Israel's Northern Border, An Apparent Hizbullah Provocation

UPDATING 8-4,5&6-2010

The peace process means peace of mind for antisemites

Snipers working for Hizbullah or for the Lebanese army which is highly infiltrated by Hizbullah and subservient to it, shot at Israeli officers overlooking a rather routine operation of clearing vegetation from the border area. The soldiers doing the brush-clearing work, perhaps also removing a tree, were on the Israeli side of the border. For much of the northern border, the border fence is well within Israeli sovereign territory. The fence was built within Israeli territory precisely to allow such brush-clearing operations without needing to cross the UN-designated blue line border into Lebanon.

The sniper did not shoot at the soldiers doing the work but at Israeli officers overseeing the operation. Hence, the object was to kill "high value" Israeli targets. In fact, an Israeli Lieutenant Colonel was killed, and a captain was wounded. Three Lebanese soldiers or, more likely, Hizbullah gunmen, were killed plus one Lebanese journalist.

The operation had been announced ahead of time to UNIFIL, the UN truce-supervisory force in southern Lebanon, by the Israeli army. In some of the photos, UNIFIL troops are seen close to Israeli troops. Why do I say that Hizbullah was directly involved??

For two reasons:
1) the "Lebanese soldiers" hit in the Israeli retaliation are heavier, and older-looking than the ordinary Lebanese conscripts. Those in the photo look like they are in their mid-thirties, maybe over forty. The man on the ground is clearly balding [is, that is, if he was not already dead in the photo]. The standing man wearing combat pants and an army T-shirt is obviously heavy.

[photo from Il Giornale 8-3-2010; vedere qui]

This can be explained by the fact that the Hizbullah is a fairly good source of income, a livelihood, for some Lebanese Shiites. And a family man wants a livelihood of course. So Hizbullah paramilitary-cum-terrorist service becomes a career. Lee Smith, author of The Strong Horse, has also pointed out that Hizbullah gunmen are older and noticeably heavier than the Lebanese army draftees. Given the cooperation between the Hizb and the Lebanese army, getting army uniforms for Hizb gunmen would be no problem.

2) The next reason to believe that the ambush was a Hizbullah operation, not merely a Lebanese army action --bearing in mind that the two bodies can and do often collaborate-- is that a pro-Hizbullah journalist was killed in the incident by Israeli retaliation. Corriere della Sera gives not only the name of his paper, al-Akhbar, but identifies it as being close to the positions of the Hizbullah. Corriere also gives the journalist's name, Assaf Abu Rahhal [qui]. The editor of al-Akhbar, Ibrahim al-Amin, is generally considered a Hizbullah mouthpiece by people who have experience in Lebanon.
IL REPORTER - Tra le vittime, c'è anche il giornalista libanese Assaf Abu Rahhal, del quotidiano al Akhbar, vicino alle posizioni del movimento sciita libanese Hezbollah. Il reporter era stato ricoverato nel vicino ospedale di Marjuyun, ma è deceduto in seguito alle ferite riportate dopo - sembra - essere stato colpito da schegge di un proiettile di mortaio. [qui]
Why was the journalist there at that time and place?

It seems that Israeli retaliation came fairly quickly, thus it seems likely that the journalist was killed in an Israeli retaliation not long after the initial attack. Hence, it seems that the journalist was there, was assigned there, sent there, knowing that "action" was coming.

Additional links:

Dead, wounded in massive skirmish on Lebanon border

and here & here & 39-page report on Lebanon/Hizbullah military situation here [by The Israel Project] & Israel Foreign Ministry statement here.

UPDATING 8-4-2010 Lebanese army admits shooting first in yesterday's skirmish

L'armée libanaise reconnait avoir ouvert le feu la première hier à la frontière nord
Un porte-parole de l'armée libanaise a confirmé ce matin l'affirmation israélienne selon laquelle, elle était la première a avoir ouvert le feu sur les soldats de Tsahal. Dans un communiqué transmis hier à l'agence de presse française et repris ce matin par le quotidien libanais ''Anahar'', celui-ci indique que ''l'armée libanaise a bien ouvert le feu en premier sur les soldats israéliens'' soulignant ''son droit absolu d'agir ainsi'' devant, selon le communiqué, ''la violation israélienne de la souveraineté du Liban''.
[source: Guysen News]
Nasrallah accuses Israel of killing Hariri: [here & here & here]. Nasrallah's own Hizbullah has been targeted by many accusations, including leaks from the International Tribunal set up to investigate the Hariri murder in 2005, that Hizbullah executed the murder. At the time, Syria was widely accused of the murder. There is no necessary contradiction here. It is quite likely that Syria used Hizbullah, which is subordinate to Syria anyway, to get rid of Hariri whose desire to act independently most likely annoyed Junior Assad, now ruling in Damascus. Hariri was a billionaire building contractor who presided as Lebanon's prime minister under Syrian sponsorship. In late 2004 or early 2005, he met Junior Assad in Damascus and apparently conveyed some intentions displeasing to Junior.
Reports from The Guardian, Ynet, & Haaretz reporting that the tree was in Israeli territory. And UNIFIL admits it.

Hizbullah accuses Israel of hitting journalists in order to "hide its crimes." This is rather rich. Hizbullah has terrorized the majority of Lebanon's population, including journalists, publishers, and broadcasters. The Hizb's patron Syria has had several Lebanese journalists attacked with the purpose of murder. Gebran Ghassan Tueini [Tweyni], Samir Kassir [Qassir], and May Shedyak were all attacked. Ms Sheadyak was the only one of the three to survive, albeit losing a leg. There may have been more journalist victims in Lebanon, although I can't think of more names. The killing of a Hizbullah journalist in the fighting yesterday --provoked by the Hizb-- is called a Zionist crime "against freedom of expression." Knowing the Hizb's background, that's rich. In psychology that is called projection. That is, the Hizb accuses the other side of its own crimes.
22:36 Hezbollah : Israël a touché des journalistes pour ''cacher ses crimes'' (Guysen.International.News)
Le Hezbollah a dénoncé ''l'atteinte aux journalistes'' par Israël ce mardi lors de l'accrochage avec les forces libanaises. ''Cet évènement s'inscrit dans le cadre des crimes sionistes contre la liberté d'expression. L'objectif est de faire taire les voix qui viennent révéler au public les crimes sionistes à l'opinion publique mondiale et la face de l'ennemi criminel et raciste'', a ajouté la milice chiite libanaise.

Yosef Bodansky's rather detailed report [here]
Fiamma Nirenstein's view [qui]

Here is a BBC eulogy to Tueini:
Gebran Ghassan Tuéni Martyr to the Cause of Freedom and Liberty
In the months prior to his assassination, he was pushing publicly and loudly for international scrutiny into mass graves found near the Syrian headquarters in the Bekaa during their occupation. In his last editorial just four days before his death, Tuéni accused Syria of committing 'crimes against Lebanon. [see original]
Comment by Eliyahu: So much for Hizbullah's claim that Israel is the enemy of freedom of the press in Lebanon.

8-6-2010 Hizbullah's "al-Manar television quoted an unnamed Lebanese army source involved in Wednesday night’s meeting between UNIFIL and the Israel and Lebanese armies as saying that the order to open fire in Tuesday’s border skirmish had 'come directly from the [army] command.'"[here]
8-9-2010 J E Dyer on the threat of a reckless Hizbullized (to coin a word) Lebanese army [here]

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