Friday night a commando unit from Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit) executed an operation in Baalbek, in the Bakaa Valley; the IDF says it thwarted the transfer of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah. One officer was killed and two others were wounded.
Israel says such operations will continue until the terms of Resolution 1701 are upheld and the rearming of Hezbollah is prevented by Lebanon. Of course we know this isn’t going to happen. And we also know that Israel is, in the main, pulling out of Lebanon, even as the evidence stares us in the face that the resolution is going to be ignored left and right.
With enormous predictability, Kofi Annan has protested that we’ve broken the ceasefire. No, came our answer, this is self-defense and in accord with the resolution calling for the rearming of Hezbollah to be prevented.
And Lebanon has said that unless the UN takes action against Israel for doing this, they may have to stop deployment of their forces into the south.
How long will it take before we turn around and go back into Lebanon?
Israeli Intelligence indicates that Hezbollah is interested in keeping the ceasefire for now, in order to have time to rearm. (As I’ve described previously, this strongly resembles a hudna.) Apparently Hezbollah is allowing the Lebanese army to deploy in certain parts of south Lebanon and keeping it out of other parts it wants to retain for its own use.
A senior IDF officer (unnamed) gave a statement to The New York Times on Friday: "If we will see that Hezbollah is rearming itself and running southern Lebanon, I believe the next round is coming."
PM Olmert has reportedly told the cabinet that he would oppose troops for the new UNIFIL force from countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. That would exclude just about the only nations currently willing to participate: the Muslim nations of Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Europe has been just a tad slow.
While the resolution does not give Israel veto-power, it does say that the force should coordinate its activities with the government of Lebanon and the government of Israel. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev explained:
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev explained: "Israel believes that it’s best that we have the ability to be able to communicate with the international forces. As a practical matter, we would have a problem if the international forces don’t have the ability to talk to us."
We’ll have to watch this one…
Haim Ramon has resigned as Minister of Justice.
Ehud Olmert, seeing the political handwriting on the wall, has set aside his "convergence" plan. He’s doing this out of absolute political necessity, but it seems to me that were he to see the smallest opening for reviving it, he would rush to do so. Put simply, I do not trust him: He’s tabling this, not abandoning it.
Says analyst Anshel Pfeffer, in today’s Post: "The decision represents more than a mere change of emphasis for this administration…He has forsaken his great vision.
"As a distinguished graduate of the ‘never admit you’re wrong, never apologize’ school of politics, Olmert isn’t about to say that there was anything flawed with the plan or with his steadfast insistence on going full-speed ahead with it. He merely believes that it’s all a matter of timing…
Well, then, seems to me it’s time to get him out of office before he brings this back!
Yuval Diskin, head of Shabak (General Security Service), told the Cabinet today that "the intensification of terror infrastructure in Gaza is a strategic problem which, if not treated properly, will result in a reality just like in Lebanon.”
"[The] Philadelphi Route is breached, and recently a number of tons of explosives and hundreds of weapons have entered. Recently, USD 1.5 million has been smuggled in through Rafah by the Hamas Agriculture Ministry, and terror experts have also entered."
He recommended reviewing all agreements on the passages, which he said "are ineffective in actuality under Egyptian monitoring."
The presence of these weapons, brought in since the "disengagement" a year ago, is hardly news to those of us who have been watching this. The question now is one of whether we’ll act preemptively, or end up with a major battle on our hands, by virtue of neglect, a la Lebanon.
Then, of course, there’s another question: In the face of this overwhelming evidence, how, HOW, could Olmert still think that unilaterally pulling out of Judea-Samaria could possibly be a good idea.
And there’s more: "In Judea and Samaria Hezbollah is smuggling in money in large sums and encouraging terrorist attacks against Israel. Nasrallah is perceived as a national hero among terror organizations, and they are attempting to learn from him. They understand the power of the antitank missile and guerilla fighting, as using underground bunkers."
Heaven help us to get smart enough to help ourselves.
This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/8/20/posted-august-20-2006.html