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Map of Areas Targeted by Hizbulla Missiles

TERROR = POLITICAL GAIN

The uncovering of the terrorist cell in the United Kingdom should help us understand what Israel is up against at the present time - and what the world will be up against in the future. This terrorist group in the UK plotted to execute 4000 innocent people, just to make a political point. These terrorists (or “freedom fighters” as the honorable George Galloway might perhaps call them) were planning to blow up 10 aircraft in the air, together with their passengers, in protest against the British government’s support of Israel.

Such a complicated operation would have taken months to plan, so it must have been in preparation well before the current Mid-East crisis. In the event that the crisis in the Mid-East had not materialized, this terrorist cell would undoubtedly have found a different reason to justify its actions - very probably the involvement of the Blair government in Iraq. And if, by chance, the British government were to have pulled its forces out of Iraq, it would no doubt have found another pretext.

The motivation behind such an obscene and criminal act is rooted in the outcome of the attack in Madrid (when 200 civilians lost their lives), which resulted in a government changeover in Spain, and the consequent withdrawal of the Spanish troops from Iraq - thus creating the following equation: terror = political gain.

The Hezbollah in Lebanon is yet another tentacle of this internationally-based terrorist network, and it is trying to do exactly the same thing. Exploiting the fragile political leadership in Lebanon, the Hezbollah succeeded in creating a state within a state in Lebanon. For the last six years, the terrorist organization took control over almost the whole of southern Lebanon, acting as a military arm of Syria and Iran, and turning the entire area into a horrific and massive weapons arsenal. Hezbollah told the world that its goal was merely to protect Lebanon’s southern border.

In fact, for the past six years, since Israel withdrew to the international border, Hezbollah was planning its attack on the civilian population of northern Israel. Its intention was to kill as many Israeli citizens as possible, in order to force Israel down on its knees. The war against the Hezbollah is not just Israel’s war. It is also Lebanon’s war - its struggle to exist as a sovereign nation (as clearly described in the article written by Michael Behe, a Lebanese journalist: http://www.menapress.com/article.php?sid=1479 ), and it should be the whole world's war.

The entire world should be taking up this war against the Hezbollah. The "terror = political gain" equation is being exploited also by Al-Qaeda and the other Islamic terrorist groups. Today Israel and Lebanon - tomorrow, the world. Disarming Hezbollah is not in Israel’s interest alone. If there is a global consensus that Al-Qaeda’s military abilities should be neutralized, then why does this same consensus not hold against Hezbollah - which is merely another arm of this worldwide terrorist network.


A BLOODY GAME OF POKER

The latest events in Kfar Qana prove once again that the Hizbollah knows how to play its cards well. If we go back to the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers almost three weeks ago, we see that the main goal of this move was to drag the Israeli army back into Lebanon, in order to portray Israel as an eager warmonger seeking to invade Lebanon for a second time.

When Israel retaliated with limited air strikes and not by sending in ground forces, the Hizbollah played their second card, by sending rockets into Israel’s northern cities and towns. The Hizbollah anticipated the Israeli reaction to these rocket attacks. It knew full well that its action endangered the lives of Lebanese civilians, but coldly calculated that one building destroyed by an air strike, accompanied by pictures of dead children being pulled out of the rubble, makes better headlines and photos than a katyusha rocket hitting a car in the main street of Nahariya.

For the past six years, since Israel pulled out of Lebanon, Hizbollah has been putting its flags in the UNIFIL outposts, alongside the UN flags, so that it was quite difficult to determine who was controlling what. Hizbollah terrorists were observed coming and going from these UN posts, with the obviously clear intention of misleading Israeli Intelligence. When Israel hit by mistake a post that was considered to be a Hizbollah post, and killed four UNIFIL soldiers, the Hizbollah played its winning card. World opinion began to turn against Israel.

As the fighting went into the third week, the Hizbollah was not gaining sufficient popularity in world opinion – or even in Arab world opinion. Its plan to end this conflict, by launching a missile on Tel Aviv, was presumably curbed by Iran, which is not interested – at this stage – in using the card that it is keeping up its sleeve in the event of conflict between Iran and Israel.

So now it is time for Hizbollah to play its next card. Being fully aware of the Israeli trauma regarding about the tragedy in Kfar Qana ten years ago, the Hizbollah deliberately fires missiles from within the village of Kfar Qana - and then retreats into a civilian building. Since it is well aware that the IDF is monitoring their rocket launchers, it is quite obvious to the Hizbollah that the IDF will have to react against this village. What the IDF does not know, however, is that the Hizbollah is holding women and children inside the building, in the clear knowledge that it will be targeted by the IDF.

There are questions. Seven hours elapsed between the Israeli attack on the building and the collapse of the building. Is it possible that explosives were being stored in the building? People who were there could have escaped in the interim – unless they were being held there against their will. But it looks like a well planned massacre. The dead women and children serve as another trump card for the Hizbollah. On the one hand, it has succeeded in turning world opinion against Israel (and diverting world opinion from the nuclear shenanigans of its Iranian ally). It has also succeeded in arousing cries of vengeance from the neighboring countries – which maybe will give it the excuse to launch a missile on Tel Aviv as an act of revenge. From the Israeli point of view, it opens an old and painful wound.

In this poker game, I believe there has to be one major goal, and that is to reveal the bluff of the opposing side. Israel should define the facts very clearly. The civilian population of the area was repeatedly warned to leave. Those who chose to stay risked their lives. Israel should make it crystal clear that if a certain village is being used as a base for launchers of rockets on Israeli cities, it may be targeted. The responsibility for any loss of life is with those who use civilians as human shields. Any civilian population that is willing to serve as a human shield for terrorists turns itself into a target. You cannot store rockets in your home, and then claim that you are not involved in the fighting. Whoever sets aside a room in his home for storing rockets or ammunition should be considered as an active party in the fighting and, as such, may be targeted.

Involvement in terrorism is like a disease – there are no half measures. Either you are sick or you are not. Either you are not involved in the fighting, or you are a terrorist. Black or white. There are no shades of grey in warfare.

Udi


These comments on the current situation in Israel were written by a close friend - currently on Shlichut.

Thoughts on "Hamatzav" (the Situation)

So I don't really know how to combat the increasingly critical press, in the UK, and world wide. Maybe the best way would be to muse on some questions which are constantly posed by ...well, by everybody really! I don't think that I am actually coming up with any earth-shattering revelations here, and some of them might be quite banal, but sometimes it helps to get the right perspective on things.

If nothing else, it helps release my own particular frustration on seeing this happen from outside Israel, instead of being there!

Q: Why are we targeting civilians? Doesn't that play into the hands of our critics and enemies?

A: We aren't targeting civilians. Yes, civilians are being killed, and that is more than unfortunate. It is tragic. However, they are not being actively or purposely targeted! They are being killed, and no matter how hard the Israeli army tries to avoid that, we have to remember that the Hamas (in Gaza) and the Hizballa (in Lebanon) are exploiting our unwillingness to kill civilians by positioning themselves in strategic proximity to residential neighbourhoods. In such a situation it is unavoidable that civilians are hurt, but I believe that we are doing our best to keep civilian fatalities to a minimum. This is in DIRECT CONTRAST to our enemies, who are deliberately targeting civilians.

Q: Isn't Israel overreacting?

A: No. Israel is acting to defend its sovereignty. We pulled out of the Gaza Strip (yes, unilaterally, but we withdrew our occupying forces) and we are now being attacked from there. We pulled out of Lebanon, in complete accordance with the UN resolution, and are now being attacked from there. We don't really have a viable alternative. We can't negotiate with terrorists who are making unreasonable demands in exchange for the safe return of our soldiers, otherwise we (and the rest of the free world) will be an easy target for blackmail for ever!

Q: But what about the reaction of the rest of the world? Can we ignore it?

A: We should certainly not ignore it. However, it is probably a "given" that the world will sympathise with the underdog, and we are not (and it's good that we're not) the underdog in this case. Yes, we have a strong army! Yes, we have outstanding soldiers! Yes, we have sophisticated weapons! Should we apologise for this? WE ARE DEFENDING OURSELVES!

Q: But we are making unreasonable demands, aren't we? We are asking the Lebanese government to take control of the Hizballa, but it isn't a secret that the Lebanese government is weak. How can they be expected to solve that problem?

A: Yes, we are asking the Lebanese government to control the Hizballa. They are the only ones who can be held responsible for this, as the attacks are taking place from within Lebanon, This is the only way out of a very unsavoury situation. What other body can be expected to police this border? Should Israel go back to occupying that same area of South Lebanon from which we withdrew 6 years ago?

Q: Aren't we distancing ourselves increasingly from the peaceful solution to the conflict which was envisaged not that very long ago?

A: It's true that a peaceful solution looks to be further away than ever before, but the questions still need to be asked: what are the alternatives? Should we lay down our arms? How would our enemies construe that message? It's safe to say that it would be considered a sign of weakness, and that they would be quick to capitalize on that "victory".

Q: Aren't we causing ourselves economic damage?

A: Yes. Especially when we consider how much we have managed to achieve in the last 2 years. It's heartbreaking to see the upward trend in tourism being reversed yet again, after we have been waiting for so long to see such positive trends. Tourism is only one of the fields which is being affected. Other business alternatives will doubtless hang in the balance. If this is over in a reasonably short time, then the damage will be minimal, and let's hope that that will be the case.

Q: So you're saying that Israel shouldn't be criticised? That whatever Israel does is legitimate, and should automatically receive our support?

A: No! I'm saying that criticism is all well and good, but there are certain red lines that I don't think should be crossed. When I see a full page advertisement in the British press, signed by some very high-profile members of the Jewish community, criticising Israel for their actions, then it leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth! To criticise now? At the very beginning? Why are we so quick to condemn ourselves? There will be ample time for soul-searching, but there is a time and a place for everything! Our soldiers are over there (and my daughter is one of them) fighting for Israel - and I mean for Israel! We have had attacks in Haifa, Tiberias, Zefat, Nahariya, and countless other places. This is the heart of Israel, not just a border town! If that doesn't justify a reaction, then what the hell does?

This, by the way, from a proclaimed liberal, wishy-washy, compromising leftie! I would welcome your thoughts....

Howie Myers