|Israel Resource Review
||19th August, 2006
HIZBULLAH RETURNS TO SOUTH LEBANON
Middle East News Line
Hizbullah operatives have returned to the Israeli-Lebanese border.
Israeli military sources said Hizbullah fighters and operatives were
seen returning with tens of thousands of Lebanese residents to the
communities from which they had fled in July. The sources said some of the
Hizbullah fighters were seen with weapons and communications equipment.
"They are quite open about it," a source who tracks Hizbullah movements
said. "The Lebanese know it and even our soldiers at their posts in Lebanon
Under a United Nations-arranged ceasefire, Hizbullah operatives were not
allowed to bring their weapons to southern Lebanon. The Security Council
resolution also called for the surrender of Hizbullah weaponry.
However, Israeli and Lebanese sources said armed Hizbullah operatives arrived
with flags of the Shi'ite militia. They said some of the operatives planted
flags throughout southern Lebanese villages while others distributed food
On Saturday, an Israeli commando was killed in a clash with Hizbullah
operatives near Baalbek in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Military sources said an
Israeli special operations force sought to block Iranian weapons shipments
"The goal of the operation was to disrupt and prevent smuggling of
weaponry from Iran or Syria to Hizbullah," an Israeli military statement
said. "The goals of the operation were achieved in full."
The Lebanese Army has been sent to the Israeli-Lebanese border. On August
18, the Lebanese army was seen patrolling the 75-kilometer border.
Lebanese sources said the army planned to construct checkpoints and
towers along the border area to enforce security. The army's 10th Brigade
established bases within 1.5 kilometers of the Israeli border, the first
such deployment since 1968.
Three battalions of the Lebanese Army's Fifth Brigade were also deployed near the
Syrian border. Hizbullah has been receiving shipments of Iranian weapons
The UN has sought contributors to an enlarged international force to
help patrol southern Lebanon. So far, several NATO members, such as France
and Turkey, have refused to issue commitments amid concern that their
soldiers would become targets of Hizbullah.
"You can't send in men and tell them: 'Look at what is going on, [but]
you don't have the right to defend yourself or to shoot,'" French Defense
Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told the French radio RTL.
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The lessons of Lebanon - II
"We has met the enemy, and he is us!"
LENNY BEN-DAVID, THE JERUSALEM POST August 19, 2006
The war did not go well. It's easy to point to Hizbullah's six years of
preparations, its fanatic devotion to death, and an endless supply of
technologically advanced Iranian and Syrian weapons. But the analysis of
what went wrong must first be focused on ourselves.
Five of my sons and sons-in-law fought in this war. Now coming out of
Lebanon and surviving some of the bloodiest fighting, they are filled with
anger. Their short-term and long-term orders were confused and
ever-changing. The emergency stocks for their reserve units were in horrible
condition. One reservist special forces unit lacked basic communications
equipment, they were provided guns that they had never trained on, and their
rushed training was done in conditions unlike anything they would see in
Truly by the grace of God, one son missed his death by a few seconds and
yards. Instead he had to evacuate dozens of dead and wounded under fire. The
evacuation force never came, and the survivors had to carry the dead,
wounded and themselves miles back to the Israeli lines.
Over the course of the war soldiers were held back for weeks when they were
ready to charge. When they were finally dispatched, they were given
unachievable missions in impossible time constraints. Soldiers were sent on
daytime missions that should have been carried out only under the cover of
darkness. Some died as a result.
My generation has failed our sons. Not because we failed to give them the
proper equipment. We failed to provide them and
ourselves with proper leadership. At the start of this war I never felt such
a lack of confidence in our national and political leadership. At this point
in the war - and I suspect it is only half-time - I feel despair.
Last week, the commander-in-chief of the IDF admitted that at the moment
Israeli soldiers were chasing after their abducted comrades and engaged in
fighting Hizbullah on July 12 - on the eve of the war - he was busy selling
his stock portfolio. The police meanwhile charged a senior Kadima Member of
Knesset, Tzahi Hanegbi, with bribery and a handful of other crimes.
And today, the police announced that they would charge Minister Haim Ramon
with sexual abuse.
What shame! Did we receive the leaders we deserve?
ALL OF this has been a long time coming. There was no public outcry when
aides to Israeli prime ministers made fortunes in under-the-table kickback
deals with Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian cronies. Why, for instance,
were the Palestinians paying high prices for cement and gasoline from
Israeli companies when they could have gotten the products at a fraction
from Arab companies? Why were Israeli officials and their relatives involved
in the Palestinian casino?
What Israeli officials profited from the disengagement from Gaza? Is there
any truth to the claim by the eccentric Israeli-French billionaire, Shmuel
Flatto-Sharon, that the northern Gaza Jewish settlements were demolished to
make way for a Palestinian casino with a silent Israeli partner? We
dismissed it then as a crank claim, but today, who knows? Palestinian
rockets are now fired from those sites.
We were silent when senior IDF officials were allegedly fired and replaced
by army friends of Ariel Sharon's sons and cronies. Are we paying the price
today in the army's malfeasance, nonfeasance and misfeasance?
Columnists in the Hebrew press are questioning where in the war are the sons
of the `branja, Israel's political, media and financial elite. Their sons
don't seem to show up in the casualty lists, because, as one columnist
charged, their children are overseas, do not serve, or sit at cushy office
jobs in the army.
We stood quiet while the civil rights of thousands of Jews from Gaza were
trampled by the police. We didn't realize that the government's abandonment
of these citizens in 2005 would be a precursor to the neglect of hundreds of
thousands of Israeli citizens in the bomb shelters of the north in 2006.
How much IDF and government planning, manpower and resources went into the
disengagement last year that could have been expended on preparing for the
Hizbullah war this summer?
I have always opposed airing Israel's dirty laundry in public, but perhaps
it is time to do it. Israel's supporters are pouring out their sympathy and
dollars to help rebuild Israel's north. They must make sure the millions of
dollars are not going to be funneled through the companies of political
cronies and party hacks.
I know of what I speak. After the December 2004 Tsunami, I was approached by
American sources looking for immediate supplies of water for Asia. Water
from Israel could expedite delivery considerably. I approached an Israeli
minister for assistance. The call back came from a political party hack who
had already figured out the percentage that would go to political purposes.
The great political sage from Okefenokee Swamp, Pogo, expressed Israel's
predicament best some 30 years ago when he proclaimed, "We has met the
enemy, and he is us!"
Israel has another war on its hands. In the Hizbullah war, our citizens
performed unselfishly with extraordinary valor, patriotism and volunteer
spirit. They reacted in ways their leaders did not deserve.
Now Israel's citizens must battle again, this time in Israel's own political
The writer served as Israel's deputy chief of mission in the Washington
Embassy. Today he is an international consultant to corporations and foreign
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