The rocket menace that no one wanted to acknowledgeTo see Amos Harel signed on this kind of article is not surprising; to see Avi Issacharoff signed on it is surprising. Another mea culpa from HaAretz.
Hat Tip: IRIS
1.Where have the rockets suddenly come from? For six years the Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon were a source of contempt in the Israeli press. Analysts, economists and others argued that the defense establishment regularly exaggerated a peripheral threat to influence deliberations on the budget. Why else would the head of Military Intelligence decide that the Hezbollah had 12,000 rockets, when only a few months later he had claimed it held only 11,000? In the past few days it turns out that the imaginary Hezbollah arsenal is real, and it is striking Haifa, Safed and Tiberias.Read it all.
The denial was not a press monopoly. Politicians and even some General Staff officers refused to regard the issue as a priority. The pullout from Lebanon, following 18 years of blood letting was accompanied with such an enormous sense of relief that any talk on what was left behind was considered troublesome.
The rocket deliveries continued on weekly flights from Iran to Damascus and Beirut, and Israel followed the movement with a near academic curiosity. In the immediate aftermath of the withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May, 2000, hundreds of Lebanese rushed to Fatma Gate, near Metula, and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers. In response, the Israel Defense Forces enclosed the soldiers in a metal cage, and then pulled the position away from the border all together in an effort to avoid friction.
If the Israel Defense Forces tried to avoid friction, Hezbollah sought it out. In the years that followed the Shi'ite organization deployed in dozens of positions along the border. On several occasions these outposts served as launching pads for Hezbollah attacks, including attempts to abduct soldiers. In some instances, the IDF responded by targeting these outposts, but it never sought to prevent them from reclaiming their positions along the border once the trouble was over.