Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hezbollah Launches 'Brazen Attack' Inside Israel: 'We're Ready To Fight Israel'

With Brazen Attack Inside Israel, Hezbollah Lays Down New Ground Rules

The ring of explosives detonated alongside an IDF patrol on the border with Lebanon on Tuesday was another in a series of messages from Hezbollah to Israel. It was a brazen attack, carried out inside Israeli territory, the message being that, from now on, every incident in which Israel causes Lebanese injuries will be greeted with a response along the Lebanese or Syrian borders.

As opposed to other recent cross-border attacks, in which the perpetrators didn’t claim responsibility, the message this time was loud and clear: a full admission by Hezbollah. The claim of responsibility also gave a reason for the attack.

“The Group of the Martyr Ali Hassan Haydar detonated an explosive device in the Shebaa Farms,” the Shiite group said in a statement, using the Lebanese name for the Mount Dov region, where the attack took place.

Haydar was a Hezbollah sapper killed on September 5 in Lebanon while attempting to defuse an explosive device attached to an alleged Israel spying apparatus discovered that day. Hezbollah vowed revenge.

At first blush, the developments in Mount Dov, including the Hezbollah claim, appear to portend a larger conflagration on the horizon. The potential for a deterioration of the situation is only increasing, with the Shiite group trying to lay down new red lines for Israel — red lines that Israel is likely to cross: Israel will almost certainly continue to disrupt the smuggling of game-changing weapons from Syria to Lebanon (indeed, those violate Israel’s own avowed “red line”), “forcing” Hezbollah to respond the next time it or its allies come under IDF attack.

The Shiite organization, meanwhile, is taking advantage of Israel’s wariness in order to establish a new set of ground rules. And yet one doubts whether Hezbollah, which doesn’t have many available fighters, is seeking to escalate the situation to all-out war or even a more limited conflagration. The organization is tied up with a war that has already been raging for three years, fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces. This week, eight of its fighters were killed in battles in Syria’s Qalamoun region. In all, a third of Hezbollah’s forces are currently in Syria, where they’re battling a plethora of Sunni extremist groups, including the notorious Islamic State.

It’s thus likely that in the coming months we’ll see occasional flare-ups along the border but no all-out escalation. And yet, the outcome of Tuesday’s attack, which wounded two soldiers, could have been much worse, and one is forced to recall that in July 2006, no one predicted that a cross-border attack (with far more dire results) would precipitate the Second Lebanon War.

The Israeli Army fired artillery shells into Lebanon after at least two IDF troops were injured in a blast on the border between the two states, an Israeli security source told Reuters.
The Israeli Defense Force has confirmed the shelling of Lebanese territory, saying that it hit two outposts of the Hezbollah militant group in the south of the country on Tuesday.
Earlier reports suggested three Israeli soldiers sustained wounds, but the Israeli Defense Force's official Twitter is talking of two soldiers being injured.
According to Lebanon's Daily Star, an Israeli tank detonated a planted explosive device as it was passing through a military route in the Kafr Shouba hills.
Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the blast. It is the first time that the militant Shiite group acknowledges its fighters attacked Israeli troops since 2006.
Security sources told the newspaper that Israeli forces have launched at least 15 shells – at a rate of two a minute – in retaliation.
The attacks reportedly took place just 200 meters from Lebanese residential areas situated along the border. Two days earlier a Lebanese soldier was injured in a shooting in the same area.
Israel and Lebanon technically remain in the state of war since a month-long conflict between the IDF and Hezbollah in 2006.

The deputy leader of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, Naim Qassem, said on Tuesday evening that his group is prepared to fight Israel if necessary.

Speaking hours after Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a bomb attack along the Lebanese-Israeli border which wounded two IDF soldiers, Qassem was quoted by the Daily Star as having said the attack was meant to demonstrate the group’s ability to “respond to Israeli violations”.

“The Shebaa Farms (where the explosion occurred) are occupied and it is the right of the resistance to conduct operations to liberate the land,” Qassem said in a televised interview..

The explosion was meant to signal that the group is ready to fight Israel, despite Hezbollah’s intervention in other regional battle fields, he added.
“We wanted to tell Israelis that we are ready and that there is no way they can assault us while we stand by and watch,” said Qassem, according to the Daily Star.
Hezbollah said earlier that Tuesday afternoon’s attack was carried out by the "martyr Hassan Ali Haidar unit," which is named for a Hezbollah member killed on September 5 when an Israeli listening device in Lebanon was detonated remotely as he tried to dismantle it.

The two soldiers who were wounded in the explosion were said to be suffering from moderate and light wounds following the blast.

The Israeli military said the soldiers were on the Israeli side of the border when they were targeted.
Nevertheless, Qassem said Hezbollah was not limiting itself to tit-for-tat attacks, adding, “It is our right to carry out operations against Israel when and where we see fit.”

When asked why Hezbollah swiftly claimed responsibility for the operation, Qassem said that the move was meant to express Hezbollah's readiness to counter any breach carried out by the Israeli army.
In an implicit warning to the Israeli forces, the Hezbollah official said that the resistance was capable of planting explosives in areas monitored by Israeli forces.

“This means that the resistance went from Lebanese territories to occupied territories” despite heavy Israeli surveillance, said Qassem, according to the Daily Star.
The attack comes amid rising tensions along the border; just two days ago, IDF forces clashed with the Lebanese army in the same area, with the IDF opening fire on suspects who attempted to infiltrate into Israel, apparently to conduct a terror attack.

The European Union is inconspicuously but determinedly threatening to reevaluate bilateral ties with Israel if the Netanyahu government fails to make progress toward a two-state solution and continues its current policy of allowing construction beyond the pre-1967 lines.

The EU’s new policy has gone largely unnoticed due to this summer’s Operation Protective Edge, but EU officials are already busy at work on a set of sanctions against Israel that Brussels could enact whenever the union’s political echelon gives a green light. Indeed, some in the EU are currently considering implementing a mechanism that would immediately penalize Israel for every step deemed unhelpful to the peace process (such as settlement expansion), a senior European diplomat told The Times of Israel.

EU has in the past, for various policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians, including continued settlement expansion, “settler violence,” the “worsening of living conditions for Palestinians,” house demolitions, “evictions and forced transfers” and “increasing tensions” at the Temple Mount.
Critically, the joint statement went on to say that the future of bilateral ties is conditional on moves the EU deems helpful to achieve peace, marking the first time such a linkage was mentioned so explicitly.
“The EU underlines that the future development of the relations between the EU and both the Israeli and Palestinian partners will also depend on their engagement towards a lasting peace based on a two-state solution,” the joint statement stressed.

Last week, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton used a similar formulation in a press release condemning Israel’s decision to advance construction in Jerusalem’s Givat Hamatos neighborhood and to allow Jews to move into houses in Silwan. Both areas are located beyond the pre-1967 lines.

“We stress that the future development of relations between the EU and Israel will depend on the latter’s engagement towards a lasting peace based on a two-state solution,” the recent statement read.
The juxtaposition of Israel’s ties with the EU and Jerusalem’s will to establish a Palestinian state sounded like a threat to some.

“Some analysts saw it as a sign of impending action,” noted Andrew Rettman of EUObserver.com, a journalistic website run by a Brussels-based nonprofit. The Qatar-based Gulf Times newspaper understood the EU’s statement to mean that Israel’s plans in East Jerusalem “pose a threat to … Israel’s relations with the European Union.”

EU officials have started working on mechanisms to impose penalties on Israel, the senior European diplomat told The Times of Israel. The plan under consideration is to respond to every Israeli action deemed detrimental to the peace process by implementing a step that would hurt Israel, the diplomat elaborated.

How would this work? The EU has long insisted that existing EU legislation needs to be implemented, which in many cases is not yet the case. If Jerusalem were to approve another building project in East Jerusalem, for example, the union could opt to introduce a labeling regime for products from West Bank settlements.
Brussels argues that EU law requires such labeling, but the EU has hitherto refrained from implementing a labeling regime, partly so as not to disturb US-brokered peace negotiations with the Palestinians. But now that the talks have broken down, and Israel continues to build beyond the Green Line, there is very little that would hold the EU back from requiring such labels on all settlement goods imported to Europe, the diplomat indicated.

Last month, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja warned Jerusalemthat trade and other relations might suffer if the peace process doesn’t advance at a satisfactory pace. The EU has offered enough carrots, he told Haaretz, adding that “it also seems that it needs the possibility of sticks. If there is no progress, [Israel] has to be shown that there are costs involved in the stalling,” he said.


Caver said...

Wow! Had a front row seat to the eclipse and blood moon this morning. Crystal clear sky....it was amazing. In all my years of watching celestial events, this is the first one to live up to and exceed all expectations.

Have no idea what significance this has but suspect hindsight is going to reveal something very relevant to the end times occurred or started on these dates.

Waterer said...

I saw it with awe too Caver..Full of prayer for those still coming to faith.