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Monday, July 31, 2006

'Palestinians' call her 'black spinster' and 'dark lady'

WorldNetDaily is reporting that the 'Palestinian' media are referring to US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice as a 'black spinster' and as a 'colored dark skin lady.'

The official 'Palestinian' media outlets controlled by 'moderate Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's Fatah party have referred to Dr. Rice this week as the "black woman," "raven," "colored dark skinned black lady" and "black spinster" in their reports.

WorldNetDaily lists some of the instances in which Dr. Rice has been tagged with racist epithets by the 'Palestinian' media:
According to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch, the PA daily Al Hayat Al Jadida detailed Wednesday's Ramallah protests in which Rice was described as a "raven" who "brings only destruction."

Al Hayat Al Jadida featured pictures of ralliers brandishing anti-Rice placards, some reading, "Murderer Rice go to Hell" and "Get out." One placard had Rice drinking the blood of dead babies and stating, "I need more blood."

A cartoon last week in the PA controlled Al Quds depicted Rice pregnant with a monkey. A caption read, "Rice speaks about birth of new Middle East."

In a previous article by Al Hayat Al Jadida, Rice is described three times as the "black woman," and her father, who was an ordained Presbyterian minister, was called the "black clergyman [who filled Rice's head with Bible stories]." The article warned, "Beware of this 'black spinster,' we don't want to say 'the black widow' out of respect for her femininity and her intelligence."
But it's not 'just' the media:
A report this weekend by Palestinian Media Watch stated, "In addition to the offending news articles, the PA society is orchestrating demonstrations, children's activities, and hateful visual displays all personally attacking Condoleezza Rice."

WND reported from the scene in Ramallah last week as hundreds of protesters gathered outside a meeting between Abbas and Rice, many chanting, "Down with America," "[Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah hit America," "Fire rockets into Tel Aviv," and "We don't need American money."

Palestinian police clashed with some protesters who tried to shove their way into the government building.

A group of ralliers who said they were affiliated with Fatah told WND they would try to charge Rice when she emerged.

The main protest organizer, who was outside leading the crowd, was Zyad Abu Ein, a senior Fatah official and general manager of the PA's Ministry of Prisoners. Ein is well known to be a close Abbas confidante and is considered one of the most important members in Ramallah of Fatah's Revolutionary Council.

Ein told WND aside from last week's street protests near the Abbas-Rice meeting, he asked Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails to stage what he called a "day of rage" against Rice's visit by not cooperating with prison wardens.
This is not the first time that the 'Palestinian' media has published racist epithets about Dr. Rice. On June 23, 2002, the following article appeared in the Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:
"A Light Upon the “Israeli” National Security Advisor!"

by Dr.Abd Al Aziz Al Maqaleh
Official PA daily,Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
June 23, 2002

“What is happening with the National Security Advisor evokes sadness and distress, and renders all the actions of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright insignificant and limited, in comparison to the actions of the Advisor.

"I do not conceal that from the very onset of the election campaign which brought Bush Jr. to the White House, I was among those who were enthusiastic and pleased with George Bush’s taking the helm of the American Administration. This was despite the troubling doubts which surrounded his attainment of the most important position in the world. "I, as well as most of my colleagues who followed these elections, did not want the opponent, Al Gore, to get into the White House, because of what has been said of his developed and strong connections with the Jewish Lobby, and the “Israeli” entity in particular. This, although he -that is Al Gore- appeared to be the epitome of a soft and gentle man, and the things he said during the campaign were balanced and wise, and there was a touch of wisdom and repose to his conduct.

“My enthusiasm for George Bush II increased after he entered the White House and upon his chose to appoint to his administration two people from among the colored, a first in the history of American regime, the first: Secretary of State Colin Powell, and the second: National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. We said then, both in private and in public, that these two colored senior officials are a part of the Third World, even if only due to the color of their skin, which should be reflected in their heart and soul, and inspire in them empathy for the problems of this Third World, whose situation is similar to that of their kinsmen among the neglected blacks of the country of Uncle Sam. The experience of the colored in the United States, the patronizing and racism, will remind both of them of the humiliation and looting of the natural riches suffered by Third World countries.

“But what happened after that was embarrassing and astonishing, and perhaps what happened with the dark complexioned lady, or, more accurately: black, the National Security Advisor evokes sadness and distress, and renders all the actions of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright insignificant and limited, in comparison to the actions of the Advisor. This, bearing in mind that the press referred to Albright as a ‘wolf’.

"What compounds the astonishment is that the Black Lady always makes a point, whether the opportunity presents itself or not, of denouncing the Palestinians to the point where her positions and statements have come to be nearly daily lessons to the American people and the world, causing regret to every Arab who was optimistic about her arrival on the political scene, especially when comparing her stupid positions with Albright’s, who, time has proven had greater wisdom and sense of international responsibility, and was less aggressive than this pitiful woman who has dealt a blow to the image of the Black American in the eyes of the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants. In addition she increased the despair in the face of any hope that there will be more neutral officials in the American Administration, which is becoming increasingly pro-Zionist and identifying entirely with the continuous daily aggression against the unprotected Palestinian people who are struggling to regain their stolen rights.” (PMW.ORG.IL 06/27/02)

Jaw dropping statement of the day

Fwance raises the white flag of dhimmitude:
Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Monday.

"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region," Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran – a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.
Yeah, Ahmadinadinnerjacket is such a nice guy. Let's go out and have a Carlsberg with him.

What cease fire?

As of 2:00 AM this morning, Israel suspended air operations over Lebanon other than reconaissance flights. But the ground war continues. And this afternoon, the Katyushas continue.

YNet is reporting that several rockets landed in one of the open areas near Kiryat Shmona this afternoon. No one was hurt. Other than that, no rockets have been fired at Israel since about 8:00 last night.

Speaking in the Knesset today, opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu called on the government to continue the war, characterizing the prospect of a missile war beginning any moment as a strategic threat.
"A third of the country is paralyzed because of this. Who knows whether this will include other citizens as well. This is a strategic threat…that requires a strategic victory. Those were the objectives set out by the government, justly, wisely, and boldly. They were presented to the security cabinet on the 13th of this month."
He urged the government not to stop midway, and to complete the war.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz agrees. He said that the government will expand ground operations in Southern Lebanon. Peretz told the Knesset:
"Under no circumstance will there be an unconditional and immediate cease-fire. There is no change in our resolve."
Senior officers in the northern command criticized the decision to suspend air operations, saying that it had taken them by complete surprise and that they had learned about it from the media (not surprising since the US State Department spokesman announced it before Israel officially agreed!).

Justice Minister Haim Ramon, who is normally considered a dove, told Army Radio:
If the war ends today, it would be a victory for Hizbullah and global terrorism and would have far reaching consequences.

I'm convinced that we won't finish this war until it's clear that Hizbullah has no more abilities to attack Israel from south Lebanon. This is what we are striving for.
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the IAF did carry out one more operation three miles from the Syrian border before the cease fire went into effect:

Despite the suspension, IAF jets reportedly carried out two raids at approximately 1:30 a.m. near the village of Yanta, about five kilometers (three miles) from the Syrian border.

The IDF confirmed the earlier highway attack that came before the halt in aerial attacks. The cessation went into effect at 2 a.m. on Monday morning.
Lebanon has made itself a party to the negotiations. Its foreign minister said today that it would not accept any offer until there is first an unconditional cease fire:
"We will not accept any offer before an immediate and complete cease-fire. Rice is giving Olmert more time," Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh said on Monday in response to comments made by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging UN action on a resolution that would ensure a comprehensive settlement to the crisis.
You have to wonder how clueless the Lebanese government can be:
Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said that Hizbullah's victory was a victory of the entire Lebanese nation. He warned that the Lebanese army "would join the battle" if Israel launches a large-scale invasion of Lebanon.

Lahoud stressed that Hizbullah cannot be disarmed since the Lebanese army was not as strong as the IDF. He objected to the deployment of a new international force in southern Lebanon but noted that Lebanon would support the strengthening of the existing UNIFIL force.
Someone ought to tell Lahoud to read Al-Guardian.

Hizbullah men await the Israelis, then the Sunnis

Reading this article in Al-Guardian, which is a lengthy interview with Hezbullah terrorists, I have to wonder why the Lebanese government, the non-Shia Lebanese and the Arab governments generally are not finding a way to allow Israel to do the job for all of them. Everyone knows that it's in the interest of the United States for Israel to defeat Hezbullah. But as this article illustrates, it's not just in Israel's and the United States' interest.

Hat Tip: The Big Pharoah
For Ali and his comrades, the latest conflict is a war of survival not only for Hizbullah but for the whole Shia community. It is not only as a war with Israel, their enemy for decades, but also with the Sunni community. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have all expressed fears of Iranian domination over the Middle East.

"If Israel comes out victorious from this conflict, this will be a victory for the Sunnis and they will take the Shia community back in history dozens of years to the time when we were only allowed to work as garbage collectors in this country. The Shia will all die before letting this happen again."

He says that even if the international community calls on Hizbullah to disarm as part of a peace deal, he and his men will not lay down their arms. "This war is episode two in disarming Hizbullah. First they tried to do it through the Lebanese government and the UN. When they failed, the Americans asked the Israelis to do the job."


And even when the battle with the Israelis is over, he adds menacingly, Hizbullah will have other battles to fight. "The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let's finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later."
Read the whole thing.

The Ouwet Front: Free Ain Ebel From Hezbollah invasion

This is from a Lebanese blog. You may recall that I posted some quotes from a New York Times article on Ain Ebel on Friday. Since then, no one has done anything to get these people out, and I doubt anyone will either.

Hat Tip: The Big Pharoah
The situation in Ain Ebel is unbearable. Thousands of civilians have fled to the village from nearby villages and more than 1000 rockets have hit the village, there is no more food neither clean water and diseases r spreading.

Now here comes the most sickening part:

Hezbollah has been firing rockets from the village since Day 1 hiding behind innocent people’s places and even CHURCHES. No one is allowed to argue with the Hezbollah gunmen who wont hesitate to shoot you and i ve heard about more than one shooting incident including young men from the village and Hezbollah.

Urgent appeals have been done through phone calls from terrified people who wouldnt give out their name fearing Hezbollah might harm or even eliminate them.

This is the true image of our brave Islamic Resistance, putting the civilians and their homes as body shields to the Israeli bombardements.

Let the message spread and let those criminals move out of the village once and for all.

Free Ain Ebel from the terrorists !

Michael J. Totten: Hezbollah’s Coup d'État

I enjoy reading Michael J. Totten's blog, because he knows the turf, having lived in Beirut, and yet he's usually brutally honest (I say usually because I took exception to a couple of things he wrote when he visited here not too long ago). Here are his views on the current situation in Lebanon:

Cable news reports that 82 percent of Lebanese now support Hezbollah. Prime Minister Fouad Seniora – whatever his real opinion in private – is now closer to openly supporting Hezbollah in public than he has ever been.

The March 14 Movement (the Cedar Revolution) is, at best, in a coma if not outright dead.

Hezbollah was popular while Israel occupied South Lebanon. When Israel left Lebanon it finally became possible for Hezbollah's power to be strictly relegated to it own little corner because support for the organization evaporated.

Now that Israel is back, Hezbollah's support is back.

It doesn't matter if this support is reasonable or not. (It isn't reasonable. Israel wouldn't even be in Lebanon if it weren't for Hezbollah.) But it was entirely predictable.

Support for Hezbollah will drop again after Israel leaves. But Israel can't (or won't) leave until some kind of arrangement is hammered out. And Israel will now have to deal with a manifestly more hostile Lebanese public while working out that arrangement.

This is a disaster for Lebanon, a disaster for Israel, and a disaster for the United States. It is a tremendous boon to Syria and Iran.

I wish I knew what a possible solution might be, but I don’t. I’m pretty sure, though, that “more of the same” isn’t it.

UPDATE: Tony Badran says "Hezbollah's plan all along was a classic coup d'etat, very similar, as Pierre Akel recently wrote, to the fascisti's takeover in Italy." Seems to be working very well for them right about now.

I'm sorry for not being my usual more-optimistic self. What can I say? It is not always warranted.

When I first arrived in Beirut a British expat friend who lived there for nine years said "Do not underestimate them" when I told him I was going to meet and interview Hezbollah.

Please allow me to second that.

Read the whole thing.

In my view, Israel has no choice but to keep fighting to the extent that we are allowed to fight. We cannot leave the situation as it is today.

Big Pharoah: Hezbollah the Brave; Hezbollah the Cowards

Egyptian blogger Big Pharoah puts Hezbullah in its place:
Nevertheless, there is one thing I really cannot understand, cannot fathom. How can such brave religiously inspired fighters reach such level of cowardliness and hide their arsenal in and shot their rockets from the midst of civilians? I have asked this question in a Hezbollah Paltalk chat room and one of them told me to show the room evidence that Hezbollah uses civilian villages and towns to fire their rockets. "Show me evidence they don't do so," was my answer.

My evidence is as follows. The UN humanitarian chief, in a pig flying moment, accused Hezbollah of "cowardly blending" among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds during two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel. That's number one. Number two. The Israeli planes are bombing towns and villages. Regardless of my shock at some of the sites Israel bombed (the Lebanese army is an example), I don't expect the Israeli air force to keep on targeting villages and towns while the rockets and their launchers are in the mountains and the plentiful Lebanese open fields. Bombs are expensive right? Israel can't be wasting so much money while the bunkers and the rocket launchers aimed at its cities are out there in unpopulated areas.

Do Israeli bombs in many times become erroneous and many of the smart bombs turn out to be very dumb instead? The answer is yes. Is Israel to blame for the terrible events of today? The answer is a partial yes. Where should the blame be squarely upon? On those who know about Israel's erroneous bombs yet continue to hide and blend among civilians. On those who are responsible for the lives of Lebanese civilians.

Israel took responsibility for the lives of its own citizens in the north. It built them shelters and placed sirens in their vulnerable towns. Where are the Lebanese shelters? Where are the shelters in Qana? Or is Hezbollah busy digging military bunkers instead? And if Qana did in fact have shelters, will Hezbollah fighters be kind enough to conduct their war away from them or they will do what they did to the UN posts? Besides, why would Israel care about Lebanese civilians while the "Lebanese" fighters themselves don't do so?

Anyway, I have decided to be proactive and do something about this issue hoping that Qana won't ever happen again. I am not sure if Hezbollah's tech savvy militants downloaded Google Earth before, but I have, as far as I knew how, pinpointed mountainous and spacious open fields from where Hezbollah can fire as many rockets as it pleases (apologies to you Israelis out there).
Read the whole thing and see the map.

Remember Amihai Merhavia HY"D?

Amihai Merhavia was the 24-year old commander who was killed in Bint Jbeil last week. Did he look familiar to any of you? Look again. (This came to me as a Powerpoint presentation - I converted it into jpeg's to show it to you).

Hat Tip: Yisrael in Shilo

Translation: Do you remember him? Just this week, he was killed in Lebanon leading his soldiers. Have you ever seen him before? Are you sure you haven't? Go to the next slide.

Translation: Yes, that's him. Do you know why he lost consciousness? Go to the next slide.
Translation: You have not seen and will not see these photos in any of the media. Please pass on. Photography: Miriam Tzachi.

(For those of you who are not Israelis and don't recognize the uniforms, they are the uniforms of the Magavnikim - the border police. According to Yisrael, the 'action' took place at Havath Gilead).

EU Referendum: Milking It?

EU Referendum: Milking It

This post from EU Referendum shows how pictures of the 'rescue' yesterday in Qana were staged for maximum effect. It shows that two children's bodies were photographed over and over again throughout the day. Does anyone know the real death toll at Qana? I doubt we ever will.

Hat Tip: Gershon in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York

Was Hezbullah shooting rockets from Qana?

Someone sent this video as an MPeg file, but after spending all too much time trying to figure out how to upload mpeg's to my blog (I can't even figure out how to upload YouTube files!) I found the same video over at Vital Perspective. Before you view the movie, read this (you'll find it there too):
If a location is a legitimate military objective, it does not cease to be one because civilians are in the vicinity. As Article 28 of the 4th Geneva Convention provides:
The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.
Clearly, the deliberate placing of military targets in the heart of civilian areas is a serious violation of humanitarian law, and those who chose to locate such targets in these areas must bear responsibility for the injury to civilians which this decision engenders. As international law expert Yoram Dinstein notes:
Should civilian casualties ensue from an attempt to shield combatants or a military objective, the ultimate responsibility lies with the belligerent placing innocent civilians at risk.
In light of that, examine this visual proof of rocket firing by Hezbollah from within Qana and the use of human shields throughout Lebanon by firing and hiding amongst the civilian population:
Make sure to watch the video (some of you may have seen part of it already - I had. This is a longer version).

Just wondering about Qana

Over at the Power Line Blog, John Hinderaker asks an interesting question:
This AFP photograph shows Beirut demonstrators with a giant poster of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that was used in a rally protesting the accidental killing of civilian human shields, along with terrorists, in Qana:

What seems odd about this is that the banner was unfurled within hours after the Qana attack took place. The building where the civilians died was bombed on Sunday morning, and the demonstration took place during daylight hours, later the same day. I have no idea what kind of facility it takes to produce a 30-foot-high banner like this one. It is obviously professionally done. It would be interesting to know where this banner was produced; who designed and paid for it; and how its production was expedited so that it was ready for use, on the street, within hours after the event being protested.
John has more questions too, so make sure to read the whole thing.

Hat Tip: Kranky (in the civilized world)

Naomi Ragen, in a mailing to her list last night, also asked whether Qana is "more Pallywood:"

Hat Tip: Harvey in Efrat

1. Tonight, an IDF spokesman showed aerial photos of rockets being fired from residential areas in Qana. It showed the portable rocket launchers being parked beneath residential buildings. The spokesman said that the bombs dropped on Qana were dropped at 1 a.m. The reports of the building collapse took place at 7 a.m. Also, no bombs actually hit the building. So, who was responsible for the collapse of that building? Could Hezbollah weapons have exploded, destroying the building? Was it deliberate, a way to pressure Israel into a ceasefire the same way they did last time, in exactly the same spot? And why is no one in the media picking up on this time gap and asking questions? [Well, the bloggers sure are. Many of us posted it last night. CiJ]

2. The number of those injured is being supplied by Lebanese sources, and being quoted by all the news stations. So far, only 26 bodies have been recovered. [Even I wasn't aware of that. CiJ] But news reports are saying the number was twice that, and half are children. That too is supplied by unknown sources and repeated by the major media.
For those of you who think that Naomi is being far-fetched, recall that IDF Brigadier General Amir Eshel hinted at the same thing last night, and recall that just last month, an explosion at a Gaza beach that was blamed on Israel turned out to have been caused by explosives being stored by Hamas on the beach.

Unfortunately, the world's mind is made up, and even if this is eventually determined to have been an instance of 'Pallywood North,' most of the world will still blame Israel, as is the case with the Gaza Beach incident, and as was the case with the Muhammed al-Dura incident six years ago. But maybe the United States and a couple of other countries will acknowledge the truth - if we are lucky and convincing.

Arab countries upset over Qana - but not for the reasons you think

The Arab countries that were trying to form a coalition against Hezbullah - led by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia - are upset over the Qana bombing because "it plays right into Hezbullah's hands," according to an article in today's JPost by Khaled Abu Toameh. The incident is expected to trigger further and more massive protests on the streets of several Arab capitals, with demonstrators venting their frustration against Arab heads of state and governments, diplomats from the three countries, based in Jordan, told The Jerusalem Post.

The incident at Qana also may affect negotiations on the release of two Israeli hostages, according to Lebanese Shiite leader Nabih Berri, who is authorized to negotiate on Hezbullah's behalf. Berri told reporters in Beirut that "conditions for exchanging prisoners have now changed." He did not elaborate.
"What happened in Kana plays into the hands of Hizbullah and Muslim fundamentalists throughout the Arab world," said one diplomat. "We were praying to Allah that such an incident would not happen."

Another diplomat said that his government would now find it "extremely difficult" to sit on the side and watch as Lebanese women and children were being pulled out from the rubble.

"My government has been under attack for criticizing Hizbullah, which triggered this war by kidnapping the two Israeli soldiers," he said. "Now we are being attacked as traitors and many Arabs are accusing us of supporting Israel in its war against Hizbullah. But the incident at Kana has changed everything and we are now forced to take a tough stance against Israel."

According to the diplomat, the US will lose most of its allies in the Middle East unless it stops the Israel-Hizbullah war. "We are already under tremendous pressure," he noted.

"Many Arabs and Muslims are inciting against the Arab governments for failing to join the battle against Israel. In the next few days the pressure on the Arab presidents and monarchs will increase and there's a limit to how long they could hold."

The killings in Kana unleashed widespread anger across the Arab world, which appeared to be united in strongly condemning Israel for "deliberately" targeting innocent civilians. Images of rescue workers carrying bodies of children sent thousands of Arabs to the streets in spontaneous outburst of anger.

While most of the Arab world reacted with harsh rhetoric, the Palestinians vowed to step up their suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israel. Militias belonging to ['moderate'] Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen threatened to launch terrorist attacks on US interests in the region and to destroy Israeli embassies around the world.

Several other Palestinian militias issued a joint statement in which they announced their intention to step up their attacks on Israel in retaliation for the Kana deaths, saying Israel should expect an "earthquake" soon.
As if any of them ever needed an excuse for terrorism....

Perspective on Qana

The day's news has been dominated by the bombing in Qana. Arnold and Frimet Roth at This Ongoing War give us some perspective:

However, let's be brutally honest. Many of those who claim to be outraged and distressed today over the unnecessary loss of life are thrilled at the opportunity to join in the bash-Israel free-for-all.

When the innocent women and children are Israelis, the reactions heard 'round the world are few, tempered and carefully "balanced" so that they include rebuke of the victim, Israel, as well.

A case in point is the suicide bombing of August 9, 2001, where our Malki died.

On that day, fifteen innocent people - most of them children - were murdered. A sixteenth person, a young mother, remains unconscious until today. More than 130 people, most of them women and children, were mutilated and maimed but survived.

On that day, Kofi Anan could not even trouble himself to face any journalists. His spokesman was sent to read his statement that he deplores not only the act in question but "all acts of terror" - code words, as we know, for acts by Israel against terror organizations.

On that day, the Belgian EU Presidency unreservedly condemned the bombing and abhorred the cowardly act which"mainly claimed the lives of innocent civilians." Of course, every last one of the Israeli victims was innocent. But apparently the EU head found that a bit hard to digest. Presumably he was bemoaning the loss of the life of the murderer himself.

On that day, Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian "hero", and now Israel's most molly-coddled murderer-prisoner, said the following:
"Attacks like today's are "the only way to end the occupation of Palestinian territories. This is a decision that the whole Palestinian people agree upon."
On that day, the Pope said nothing.

On that day, the Security Council of the United Nations did not convene.

The massacre at the Sbarro restaurant did not take place in a building adjacent to rocket launchers or in the vicinity of any other weapons of war. There were no militants and no soldiers in the targeted building.

And there was certainly no warning issued to the customers to vacate the building in advance of the attack.

In that massacre, one entire family was decimated. Mother, father and three of seven children perished.

In that attack, an American couple's only child, pregnant with their first grandchild-to-be, perished.

Does anyone still believe there is one standard for both sides of this conflict?
Read the whole thing (and see Malki HY"D's picture).

US: IAF to suspend activity over Lebanon for 48 hours

Al-AP is reporting that Israel has agreed to a 48-hour suspension of air activity in Lebanon. Israel has not yet confirmed the report as of this writing (12:55 AM local time).

The suspension of over-flights was announced [before Israel confirmed its agreement! CiJ] by US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli. Ereli said that Israel has reserved the right to attack targets if it learns that attacks are being prepared against it. Does this mean we can attack targets only before the Katyushas are fired at our cities, but that afterwards the attack is no longer "being prepared" and therefore we cannot respond?

"The United States welcomes this decision and hopes that it will help relieve the suffering of the children and families of southern Lebanon," Ereli told reporters traveling with Rice. Excuse me. I just lost my supper.

There's more:
Ereli said that Israel will coordinate with the United Nations to allow a 24-hour period of safe passage for all residents of south Lebanon who want to leave the region. [I wonder how many terrorists will leave and how many civilians will be forced by Hezbullah to stay. CiJ]

"We expect that Israel will implement these decisions so as to significantly speed and improve the flow of humanitarian aid," he added.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Rice met Sunday night and discussed the IAF attack and conditions for a cease-fire, including the proposed deployment of an international force there, an official said.

During the meeting, Olmert's military secretary, Gadi Shamni, briefed Rice about the Kana attack and explained that Hizbullah had used the town to fire rockets at Israel, the official said on condition of anonymity because the two-hour Olmert-Rice talks in Jerusalem were private. [Well, I certainly hope that's what he told her. In fact, he should have told her that last night. CiJ]

The official provided no details about the conditions for a cease-fire or the deployment of a peacekeeping force that were discussed.

The official and Olmert's office both said the fate of the disputed Shaba Farms territory was not talked about. [Well, that's good news. CiJ]

Israel has not ruled out withdrawing from the area, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is not opposed the discussion of the territory as part of negotiations for a long-term cease-fire arrangement, an official in her ministry said.
Can you imagine any other country in the world agreeing to this sort of thing? Can you imagine any other country in the world being asked to agree to this sort of thing?

Update 1:10 AM

Ed Morrissey a/k/a Captain's Quarters reports that Israel has also agreed to a 24-hour suspension of ground operations!

But Ed is much calmer about this than I am:
This is a smart move by the Israelis. It gives Hezbollah 24 hours to manuever, of course, but the time won't be long enough to bolster their capabilities in any meaningful manner. The suspension shows that the Israelis will respond to the global community within reason, taking some of the diplomatic heat off of Israel and the US.

A suspension puts more pressure on Hezbollah than it does Israel. The world has screamed for a cease-fire, and Israel has conditionally agreed, at least for a short period. If Hezbollah quits firing over the border, the Israelis may extend it, allowing the conflict to settle. However, no one really believes that Hezbollah will honor this -- after all, they started the war, and they obviously believe this plays to their benefit. Once they launch another rocket, all bets are off, and Israel will get at least another two weeks before the ADD-addled global diplomats again forget that Hezbollah started the war.

The US also benefits with this suspension. Given that our State Department announced it first and that it came at the end of Condoleezza Rice's trip to Jerusalem, it appears rather obvious that the demand came from the White House. That kind of intervention establishes that we have some limits -- even if they are foolish limits -- to our laissez-faire attitude towards Israeli action.

I predict that the suspension will not last; Hezbollah will continue its operations, providing yet another point of clarity in this conflict.
I hope you're right. If this war actually ends now, it seems very unlikely that Hezbullah will be disarmed, and that will just invite another, more painful war in the future.

Update 2:12 AM

The Jerusalem Post's Israel Alert (no link yet) has the 'official' word. It is slightly different from what's been reported above.
IAF to suspend activity over Lebanon for 48 hours

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed an American report that the IAF would suspend aerial operations over Lebanon for the next 48 hours.

But the officials left open the possibility that Israel might hit targets to stop imminent attacks on Israel, and that the suspension could end sooner if the military completes its inquiry into the Kafr Kana tragedy in less than 48 hours.

Israel also said it would allow a 24-hour period where all residents of southern Lebanon who wanted to flee northward would be able to do so, in coordination with the UN.


1. No ground activity suspension, although there is a commitment to allow 'residents' to flee northwards.

2. The air suspension could end sooner if the army completes its 'inquiry' into what happened at Qana (which wasn't even mentioned before - I had put it into the original post and took it out because I saw that the articles in the media weren't mentioning it!).

Sunday, July 30, 2006

DEBKAfile: Israel offering concessions for cease fire

DEBKAfile is reporting this evening that Israel is offering concessions to reach a cease fire. According to DEBKAfile, a combined French and Lebanese force will take up positions along Lebanon's borders with Israel and Syria to prevent terrorists from entering Lebanon and from attacking Israel. The deal includes the release of the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbullah three weeks ago, and the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel. It also includes turning over Shaba Farms/Mount Dov to international control.

The Jerusalem Post reported this morning that only four Lebanese prisoners are known to be held by Israel: Samir Kuntar, Nissim Nasser, Yehia Skaff and Ali Faratan. I doubt Olmert could ever live down releasing Kuntar.

DEBKAfile notes that France has cordial relations with Hezbullah and that it has maintained contact with Hassan Nasrallah throughout the fighting.

DEBKAfile also makes several disturbing points regarding the Israeli concessions:
1. Release of Lebanese prisoner in return for Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. The argument is still ahead on the exact definition of “Lebanese prisoners.” defined. [See above regarding Kuntar. CiJ]

2. Withdrawal of Israeli positions from the Shebaa Farms and the Mt. Hermon and Mt. Dov slopes and passes for the handover of these strategic points to the multinational force. This would give Nasrallah, who has been fighting to achieve this end for six years, his greatest triumph and give Syria and the Palestinians an object lesson on the application of brute force to obtain results.

3. Israel no longer presses for the disarming of Hizballah. That too is left to the “international community.”

In other words, just as Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert handed over the Gaza-Egyptian border terminals to a European unit in 2005 to expedite the pull-out from the Gaza Strip, so too is Olmert again entrusting to a foreign force the Israel-Lebanese border and the security of northern Israel - with the Shebaa Farms thrown in as an extra. This result lets Nasrallah come out on top after provoking a full-scale war and provides a boost for all the forces of fundamentalist Islamic terror waging war on the West. It is also the outcome of the Israeli army’s unfortunate failure to break the back of Hizballah in 18 days of combat. [A failure that would not have occurred had Israel behaved for the last three weeks like it did today in Qana. CiJ]
When this war ends, I hope the country's leadership is seriously taken to task for its ineptitude in conducting this war. You all know that I will attempt to use this blog to do just that.

US will veto Security Council resolution

The UN Security Council will be meeting in about fifteen minutes to take up today's Qana attack (yet another sure sign that Israel is winning the war). YNet is reporting that the United States will veto any Security Council resolution that condemns Israel.

Thank you George Bush and John Bolton!

Lebanese army says it fired on Israeli helicopters

Al-Reuters is reporting that the Lebanese army claims that it opened fire on four Israeli helicopters that were trying to land troops near the town of Yammouni in the Beka'a Valley in Eastern Lebanon. The report is attributed to 'security sources and witnesses.' According to Al-Reuters, the helicopters flew away before Israel launched air raids on the area.

What makes this report more plausible is that Al-AP is reporting that the air force did strike Hezbullah positions in this area around 9:00 tonight, firing at least two missiles according to 'witnesses.' Al-AP is also reporting that helicopters opened machine gun fire on the mountainous area about fifteen kilomteres from Yammouni.

Qana building collapsed eight hours after strike

When I heard the news from Qana this morning, I assumed that the attack had taken place mid-morning - an hour or two before I heard about it - and that the building collapsed immediately. I'm sure a lot of other people assumed that. But I was wrong.

The attack actually took place sometime after midnight last night and the building collapsed around 8:00 AM today. The IDF would like to know why. I'd also like to know why people stayed overnight in a building that had been hit by missiles. Surely they must have known that it was at risk of collapse.
"The attack on the structure in the Qana village took place between midnight and one in the morning. The gap between the timing of the collapse of the building and the time of the strike on it is unclear," Brigadier General Amir Eshel, Head of the Air Force Headquarters told journalists at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, following the incidents at Qana.

Eshel and the head of the IDF's Operational Branch, Major General Gadi Eisnkot said the structure was not being attacked when it collapsed, at around 8:00 in the morning.

The IDF believes that Hizbullah explosives in the building were behind the explosion that caused the collapse.

Another possibility is that the rickety building remained standing for a few hours, but eventually collapsed. "It could be that inside the building, things that could eventually cause an explosion were being housed, things that we could not blow up in the attack, and maybe remained there, Brigadier General Eshel said.

"I'm saying this very carefully, because at this time I don't have a clue as to what the explanation could be for this gap," he added.


Eshel said that an additional attack took place at 7:30 in the morning, but added that other buildings were targeted. "This was an attack on three buildings 460 meters away from the structure we are talking about. Four bombs were dropped and all of them are documented by the planes' cameras. They all struck their targets. In addition, we carried out a filming sortie that photographed the village during the afternoon showing that the three targeted buildings we struck. We have verification of strikes on the building and that the bombs reached their targets," Eshel said.

"An attack that took place at two in the morning struck two targets, both of them 400 meters away from the building (that collapsed). They were also destroyed. The attack between 12 and 1 a.m. struck the area of the affected house, and there were accurate strikes on the target. We are asking the question – what happened between 1 in the morning and 8 in the morning… we understand this building was attacked between 12 and 1 in the morning, seven hours before it was seriously damaged," he said.
Eshel said that more than 150 rockets had been fired from Qana and its environs at different locations in Israel since the war started.

140 rockets hit the north today

One hundred and forty rockets hit northern Israel today, with the brunt being borne by Nahariya, Kiryat Shmona and Akko (Acre). Eight people were wounded this morning, one moderately and seven lightly. Some 29 people suffered from shock.

This afternoon, one person was moderately wounded and four persons were lightly wounded in rocket barrages that landed in Kiryat Shmona. Two other persons suffered from shock.

In one barrage of at least 10 rockets, a house sustained a direct hit. Other damage was also reported, including several fires.

Magen David Adom reports that in total today, in 54 incident of rocket attacks in northern Israel (each 'incident' can have more than one rocket), 69 people have been injured: 4 moderately (including IDF soldiers), 18 lightly injured, and 47 people suffered from shock.

There were also alerts in Haifa and Tverya (Tiberias). Several rockets landed on the outskirts of Haifa; none hit Tverya today.

Deputy OC Northern Command Brig.-Gen. Alon Friedman said Saturday that the missiles fired at Afula on Friday were not Iranian-made Fajr-5s, as originally reported, but an older Syrian-made rocket. This was the first time missiles of this type have been fired at Israel by Hizbullah.

Police said that one of the missiles that landed near Afula contained 100 kg. (220 pounds) of explosives - an amount that could have caused extensive damage and casualties. No one was wounded in the attack, and the Home Front Command instructed Afula residents to remain indoors. The attack caused a fire, which was contained by firefighters with the help of a helicopter.

Assad: Qana attack 'state terrorism'

The chinless ophthalmologist from Damascus, whose father was the world's expert on the subject, is calling Israel's targeting of rocket launchers guarded by human shields in Qana, Lebanon earlier today 'state terrorism.'
"The massacre committed by Israel in Qana this morning shows the barbarity of this aggressive entity. It constitutes state terrorism committed in front of the eyes and ears of the world," Assad said in remarks carried by state news agency SANA.

Hezbullah is Lebanon

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora thanked Hezbullah today for its 'sacrifices' on behalf of the Lebanese people. Sorry, but no excuses for Siniora this time.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuoad Siniora expressed his 'gratitude' to Hizbullah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah for "sacrificing their lives for the country."

During a press conference held in wake of the Qana village incident in which 55 Lebanese were killed, Siniora asked: "Is Israel's mission to wipe out the Lebanese? It seems they want to kill all of us. One of those killed today is a baby just one day old. With its aggression, Israel is encouraging extremism."

"Israel won't obtain a thing through the war," he added. "Does it believe that through war it will obtain goals? They won't obtain a thing, and the opposite is the truth. The entire Lebanese nation is united against the Israeli aggression," Siniora said.

Siniora emphasized that Lebanon won't take part in negotiations between Israel and Hizbullah "until the Israeli war machine stops spilling the blood of innocents."


Earlier, Siniora was interviewed on the American CBS network and turned to American citizens for aid in reaching an immediate ceasefire. The Lebanese prime minister declared that "there was no point in holding diplomatic negotiations when the blood was boiling."

In response, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who arrived at the United States to manage Israel's public relations [Just what we didn't need, especially since even Olmert admits that our best spokesman is none other than 'opposition leader' Bibi Netanyahu. CiJ], said that "Siniora can tell Hizbullah to stop firing and there will be a ceasefire, but the government there is acting like a side observer. When Hizbullah stops shooting, the tragedy will end."

Peres added that the Lebanese people were not Israel's enemies, but that they could not allow Hizbullah to act as a state within a state. Peres said that Siniora does not influence over his country.
What an appropriate place for Siniora to be - on CBS, the bastion of (un)truth. Maybe they can even have Dan Rather come back to interview him.

Bliss Street Journal - The Blog: The Siege of Mari

Bliss Street Journal - The Blog: The Siege of Mari

I think I must have had this open on my computer last week when the computer crashed. I know I intended to post this. It came from a Lebanese blogger (whose blog I have bookmarked).

Hat tip for reminding me: Kranky (in the civilized world)
Residents who have recently escaped from Mari tell of a dramatic, desperate situation in the village. The Druse residents, who have no affinity at all for Hizbullah, resisted Hizbullah's attempts to enter the village. The IAF apparently and unwittingly assisted in their resistance by bombing the roads leading into the village, cutting off the militia's ability to enter the town, at least temporarily. Hizbullah responded by cutting off the town's electricity and water supply, essentially laying seige to a town on its own side of the border, hoping that its residents would pack up and leave. Many of them have done so. My sources say that Hizbullah has been desperate to enter the village but has as of yet been unable to do so in large numbers. Residents also describe a growing humanitarian crisis in the village due to the lack of fresh water.

I wonder if the UN will help with their humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, I fear not.

Read the whole thing.

Pizza and ice cream for kids in shelters

Now you can do something else to help out in Israel.

Dozens Hundreds Thousands of kids in northern Israel are spending their summer vacations in bomb shelters. You can help them out by sending them pizza and ice cream to brighten up their days. Just follow this link and you can pay using a credit card through PayPal.

Haveil Havalim # 80 is up

The host this week is the one and only Soccer Dad (Haveil Havalim's founder) and you can find this week's issue here. I got linked a couple of times and so did a lot of other great blogs, so make sure you check it out.

Pictures from Lebanon

Australia's Herald Sun has pictures of Hezbullah 'fighters' sitting in a Katyusha launcher in the middle of a residential neighborhood (this is what goes on in your neighborhood too, isn't it? I assume not). Here's one picture: You can find the rest here. The Sun notes that the terrorists are dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly disappear, and are carrying automatic assault rifles and ride in on trucks mounted with cannon.

The photographs, from the Christian area of Wadi Chahrour in the east of Beirut, were taken by a visiting journalist and smuggled out by a friend.

According to the Herald Sun:

The Melbourne man who smuggled the shots out of Beirut and did not wish to be named said he was less than 400m from the block when it was obliterated.

"Hezbollah came in to launch their rockets, then within minutes the area was blasted by Israeli jets," he said.

"Until the Hezbollah fighters arrived, it had not been touched by the Israelis. Then it was totally devastated.

"It was carnage. Two innocent people died in that incident, but it was so lucky it was not more."

The release of the images comes as Hezbollah faces criticism for allegedly using innocent civilians as "human shields".
The IDF also has a video of Hezbullah shooting rockets from behind a three-story residential building in Qana. You can find that one here.

Hat tip: Little Green Footballs

US and UK sticking with Israel

The United States and the United Kingdom both fell short of calling for an immediatel cease fire today in the aftermath of the civilian deaths in Israel's attack on the Qana-based Kassam launchers.

Lebanon asked US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice not to come to Beirut today, and so she has remained in Jerusalem.

Rice said Sunday that she was "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life" in an attack on a village (Qana) in southern Lebanon, but she did not call for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hizbullah.

"We want a cease-fire as soon as possible," she said.

According to Rice, "We are also pushing for an urgent end to the current hostilities, but the views of the parties on how to achieve this are different."

"We all recognize this kind of warfare is extremely difficult," said Rice regarding the recent IDF attack on Qana, noting it comes in areas where civilians live. "It unfortunately has awful consequences sometimes."

"In the wake of the tragedy that the people and the government of Lebanon are dealing with today, I have decided to postpone my discussion in Beirut," Rice said. "In any case, my work today is here."

She also said it is time for a cease fire. "I am here in pretty difficult and dicey circumstances because I do believe that it is better to try and address these issues face to face with the parties."

But she repeated that a cease-fire could not mean a return to the position before the 19-day war, which was triggered by Hezbollah's abduction of two Israel soldiers on July 12.

"We have to try and do our work well so that there will not be more and more and more incidents over many, many more years," Rice said.

Britain's foreign secretary described the event as a 'tragedy', and a 'setback for any peace deal.'

"We need to go back and pick up the pieces," Britain's Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett told Sky News in an interview Sunday, promising to continue working with all players in finding a solution to end the violence.

Beckett, however, stopped short of calling for a cease-fire.

"We have repeatedly called on the Israelis to act proportionately," Beckett said.

Yesterday, Beckett's predecessor, Jack Straw, called Israel's actions "disproportionate." Thank God he is no longer the British Foreign Secretary.

I guess it kind of goes without saying that the rest of the world condemned us, and that Hezbullah and Hamas have both vowed revenge. Come to think of it, I have not heard from Australia yet. They may not be so quick to condemn us either.

IDF ready if Syria attacks

A high-ranking IDF officer in the northern command told the Jerusalem Post today that while the IDF is not seeking war with Syria, it will respond harshly if Syria attacks:
"We are continuing with our message that we are not interested in fighting with Syria," the officer said, "But we are fully prepared for a Syrian attack, in the case of which we will strike back extremely hard."

The IDF officer said he believed Syria has been receiving the clear message Israel has been sending its way that Israel does not want to fight Syria. Whatever happened on border was completely depended on Assad, the officer said. "It is up to him, and at the moment we don't know what he plans to do."

He said that Saturday's IAF attack on a road that led from Syria into Lebanon near the border was meant to thwart attempts to smuggle weapons from Syria into Lebanon.

The IDF is also anticipating a possible Syrian attack on Israel in response to the ongoing IDF operations in Lebanon. It is also known that Syria has increased its forces along the border out of fear in Damascus that Israel might attack Syria.

Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the United States that the US would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.

IAF targets launching sites in Qana; Hezbullah won't allow rescue

The IAF targeted rocket launching sites in the Lebanese town of Qana this morning with deadly results. A three-story building hit by IAF missiles collapsed, several houses that were used to launch Katyusha rockets were destroyed, and depending upon which estimate you believe, as many as sixty people may have been killed.

Nearly half the victims were reported to be children whose parents decided to place them in the line of fire after they were warned to evacuate due to the impending strike on the Katyusha launchers.

If the name of the town sounds familiar it may be because Israel hit a UN outpost there in 1996 during Operation Grapes of Wrath. In that case, civilians had gone to the UN outpost to escape bombings, while Hezbullah 'fighters' stood outside and fired missiles.

An IDF officer confirmed the strike, saying that civilians had been warned to leave the area, and that at least ten rockets had been fired from within the village at Israel, and dozens more rockets had been fired from nearby. Qana was apparently the principle shooting point for rockets shot at Nahariya over the past two and a half weeks, as well as for rockets shot at Kiryat Shmona, Afula and Ma'alot among others. As a result of those attacks, according to the IDF, eighteen Israelis were killed and hundreds more were wounded.

An IAF officer told the Jerusalem Post that the air force had been targeting the village for the past three days and on Saturday night struck ten different targets inside the village. He said the building hit Sunday was picked because intelligence indicated that Hizbullah guerillas were hiding inside together with Katyusha rockets and launchers. The guerillas fire rockets and then flee into the nearby buildings.

The IDF believes that Hezbullah was using Qana as a launching point due to the symbolism: after artillery shells killed 100 people in 1996, Israel was forced to suspend Operation Grapes of Wrath. YNet recalls that incident:
In 1996, during Operation Grapes of Wrath, the IDF shot an artillery shell at fire sources in the village of Qana in southern Lebanon. The shell hit a UN outpost in the village, which was functioning at the time as a shelter for residents of the village. The shell caused the death of over 100 Lebanese civilians and the injury of tens more village residents.

The results of the shelling disaster realized the Israeli fear of international pressure. Pictures of the dead and injured were broadcast throughout the world, giving birth to intense international pressure on Israel to end the operation even though its objectives were not yet achieved.

A short time before the events of Qana, the UN initiated an US-led mediation process between Israel and Syrian and Lebanese representatives (who acted in coordination with Hizbullah). After a number of days of negotiations, the representatives signed an agreement called Understandings of Grapes of Wrath (4.26.1996), in which the two sides committed not to involved civilians in war.

Practically, it was agreed that Hizbullah would abstain from firing Katyusha rockets at Israel, and that the IDF would abstain from shooting at civilian targets in southern Lebanon. Likewise, it was agreed upon to establishment of a follow-up committee, in which the United States, France, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel would participate, that would oversee the application of the understandings. One possible interpretation of the agreement is that Israel recognized Hizbullah's right to strike IDF soldiers in the security buffer zone.
Two points I'd like to make.

First, for those of you who didn't read it yet, go back and read my post last night about how Professor Kasher decided that it might be okay for the IDF to risk civilians casualties if proper warning was given.

Second, I'd like to point you to a Lebanese blog post that has some very unkind things to say about us. I'd like to point out to you that he says that Hezbullah is not allowing people to be rescued from at least one of the collapsed buildings. Here's what he says (forgive the foul language and note the part in red):
To Israelis: Before believing your IDF's bullshit about Hezbollah hiding in that building, try just for a minute to imagine yourself stuck under a ton of rubbles, alive, but not being able to move because the beasts next door refuse to allow cranes to come and remove the rubbles. I’m sure you’d rather die a much quicker death!
Sounds like Hezbullah is not allowing cranes to come in and try to pry people out of the rubble. I guess they want more civilian deaths.

And to the blogger who wrote that, if you see the link from me and want to try to change your post, feel free, I've already screen-captured your post.

Al-Manar: We interrupt this broadcast...

YNet reports this morning that London-based Arabic Daily al-Sharq al-Awsat is wondering how al-Manar is continuing to broadcast despite several IAF hits on its facilities.
According to a report in the London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, no one knows where Hizbullah television station al-Manar is being broadcast from since it went underground after Israeli attacks.

Apparently not even guests interviewed on al-Manar programs know where the headquarters are, “in keeping with complicated regulations which prevent them from knowing the precise location,” the pan-Arab newspaper reports.

Phone calls to the station are not a simple matter either, as all its employees have changed their phone numbers. Therefore, the newspaper reports, to reach senior al-Manar employees by phone, one must pass through a complex chain of communications, mostly cellular. Thus, the location from which Hizbullah TV broadcasts remains a riddle even to some of its employees, and broadcasts are done from numerous locations to maintain secrecy.

A spokesman for the station, Ibrahim Farkhat, said al-Manar had prepared protocol for broadcasting during emergency situations. He noted the station was in a “terrific” state, despite the “difficult circumstances on the ground.” Al-Manar’s broadcasts were somewhat disrupted, however, by Israeli Air Force strikes on the station, which can be felt in its simplified broadcast schedule and hasty and meager news reports.
Maybe. On the other hand, they may not be in such a terrific state. The Jerusalem Post is reporting (in the paper edition - I have not seen this online) that over the weekend, Israel managed to interrupt al-Manar's broadcasts:
The Israeli material showed a clip from one of Nasrallah's own recent TV broadcasts in which he acknowledged that Israel's air force was too strong for Hizbullah to grapple with. This was followed by footage of the IAF destroying Hizbullah targets.

The Israeli-introduced material also featured a photo of Nasrallah with a gunsight superimposed on his features. A third clip featured an Arab-language voiceover warning that Nasrallah was dragging Hizbullah to disaster and that he was lying about what was happening on the battlefield.
This is all very nice and I know that the 'propaganda war' is important, but I wish we were hitting them as hard from the air as we are hitting them with this 'cute' stuff.

Syria shot down Israeli drone

DEBKAfile is reporting that Syria shot down an Israeli drone over Lebanon in the eastern border area between the two countries on Friday. The drone was marking weapons supply trucks coming over the Syrian border so that the IAF could bomb them once they were on the Lebanese side of the border. According to DEBKAfile:
The pilotless craft crashed on the eastern slopes of Jebel Barukh. The IDF bulletin evaded mention of the Syrian role and reported that a technical fault had caused the crash and the fragments had been destroyed from the air to prevent their falling into the hands of Hizballah.

While Israeli leaders reiterate constantly that Israel has no intention of going to war with Syria, Damascus openly supports Hizballah with massive injections of weapons and other aid. It has already crossed several red lines.

1. A Syrian weapons system opened fire on an Israeli target for the first time.

2. The ambush of the Israeli drone by Syrian air defenses was a calculated move to clear the way for Syrian convoys loaded with rockets and rocket launchers to roll into Lebanon free of constant bombardment by Israel warplanes.

3. The drone was shot down while flying in Lebanese air space. This was a signal from Damascus to Israel that it would not scruple to target Israeli military forces inside Lebanon when its interests were deemed to be in jeopardy. Earlier this week, the Syrian information minister Buthaina Chabane declared that if Israeli artillery came within 20 km of Damascus, Syria would fight.

Israel’s official spokesmen and its military held back from answering her, just as the Americans let Syria get away with its hostile interference in the Iraq war.

Although Bashar Assad has turned his country into a central hub and highway for fighters, arms, explosives and cash to bolster the Iraq insurgency, Syria has gone unpunished except for a single American air attack on a busload of Hizballah fighters heading into Iraq.
The Israeli destruction of a Lebanese terminal on the Beirut - Damascus highway and of weapons being shipped to Hezbullah last night was apparently a response.

IDF opening new ground offensive

The IDF withdrew most of its troops from Bint Jbeil yesterday. OC Northern Command Udi Adam declared that the town is 'almost in ruins.' A small force was left behind to control the town, which once had a population of 20,000 Shiite Muslim supporters of Hezbullah.

At least 50 Hizbullah gunmen were killed and hundreds were wounded during gunbattles in Bint Jbail over the weekend. Most of the wounded were from Hizbullah's special forces and had come to reinforce the regular Hizbullah guerrillas in the village. Soldiers confiscated dozens of handguns and rifles, as well as ammunition, grenades, mines, and five anti-tank missiles.

As Battalion 890 of the Paratroopers Brigade began to pull out of Bint Jbail, Military Intelligence personnel using a drone spotted a group of Hizbullah terrorists on motorcycles on their way to set up an ambush for the withdrawing troops.

IDF troops deployed accordingly and engaged the enemy force, killing 26 Hezbullah fighters. Seven soldiers were wounded, including one seriously.

On Saturday night, the IDF bombed the border area between Lebanon and Syria to prevent the Syrians from resupplying Hezbullah with arms. For the first time, the Syrians had to close the border area. Last week, I mentioned that Israel would likely have to attack the Bekaa Valley - the area in Eastern Lebanon that borders on Syria - in order to make sure that Hezbullah's weapons are not simply replaced. There seem to be some indications this morning that may happen.

If it's going to happen, I think it had better happen soon. There's a draft resolution at the UN Security Council (presented by Fwance) calling for a cease fire, US Secretary of State Rice has suddenly gotten into her head that Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's government ought to be propped up by gifting the Shaba Farms to Lebanon, and so far there's only one volunteer to staff the 'peacekeeping force' and it's Fwance. Of course, the Fwench know more ways to retreat than any other country in the world, and have a history in Lebanon already (Lebanon and Syria were once Fwench colonies), and the Fwench say they won't come unless there's a cease fire in place first. The IDF says it needs 7-10 days to finish the job (which it has been saying for the past three weeks). I'm not sure they're going to get that long to finish. Release of the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbullah is supposed to be part of the deal.

In the meantime, fourteen rockets in four barrages landed in and around Kiryat Shmona at 7:00 AM today, one of which scored a direct hit on a public building. Two barrages of rockets were also fired at the Western Galilee. One landed near Shlomi and the other near Nahariya. No reports of injuries or damage. The sirens went off in other northern cities but there were no rockets.

Yesterday, more than 90 rockets were fired at northern Israel again. Fifteen landed in and around Nahariya with three people injured and evacuated to hospitals. Rockets also landed near Tverya (Tiberias).

Let's hope things are not as they appear to be

All I can say about this one is let's hope that this guy is right.

Hat Tip: Kylieleandra

I said to myself at the beginning of this action that I would give anything to see a real battlefield defeat, but that it was much more likely that someone would step in at the 11th hour and get a ‘ceasefire” that would once again hand the terrorists a victory and leave the Israelis hollow for their efforts.

But that was 12 days ago, and frankly things certainly appear to have changed. For the first time in my life, Arabs that kill Israelis are not being given the cover of “peace missions” and “cease fire” calls for “dialog” for their actions. Arab terrorists have started a war, and they have for once – gotten exactly that in return. And I have to say as revolting as war is, I find this fact to be downright refreshing. Finally, starting a war has consequences beyond who sits on what side of the negotiation table. Finally starting a war might mean that you will lose! What a concept! (It certainly takes all the fun out of it, doesn’t it? – which is precisely why I think the President is following that idea. Terrorism isn’t any fun if it doesn’t get you what you want, but instead costs you everything you have. The first step towards ending terrorism is to stop making it pay as a strategy for engaging the enemy. )

Oh, and all this noise about "international support for peacekeeping". Uh,huh. Yeah right you betcha. International peacekeeping brigades populated by the ghostly Family Circus Character known as "Not Me".

The trick for the Israelis it seems, is keeping Hezbollah in the right frame of mind. Keep them thinking that they might just beat the Israelis this time. Keep them right up next to the border.

Oh what heroes we will be for fighting the Zionists.
Come a little closer now...
Oh how we will be praised in the capitals of Islam
Come on…
We’ve got them on the run Ali, we only need to push them a little bit harder
Come on sucker, just a little bit more…

Then SNAP! The Israeli trap is slammed shut like the worlds biggest rat trap.

The Israelis have been preparing the battlefield since the very beginning of this action. Don’t for a second start kidding yourself into thinking that they are following some slapdash half assed “ war by a little bit” strategy because they haven’t. Their actions have been taken with the greatest deliberation.

They know exactly what they are doing.

In my opinion, they are going for ‘all the marbles’ this time. Israel cannot and will not accept an enemy on its border that can and will fire missiles into its population. This time they are explosives, what happens when they are chemical and biological weapons?

An enemy that has pledged to commit genocide against them is not someone who any Israeli, or any Jew of any sort is going to negotiate anything with.

If you have been lead into thinking that this is going to be “lost by Israel”, I think you need to pick up a history book and talk to someone, anyone, who is from Israel. If you think that this action is going to lead to some sort of “talk” with Hezbollah or Iran or Syria, well then you’re high and I wouldn’t recommend taking any sort of urine tests any time soon because you won't pass.

It’s my opinion that Israel is in the process of preparing Southern Lebanon for the annihilation of Hezbollah and by that I mean, Iran. Remember what I said last week, Hezbollah is to Iran what the Nazi “Hermann Goering Division” was to the Wehrmacht, it’s a division of fighting troops, that’s all, no more no less. Its not a political party, its not a fraternal insurance organization. They are shock troops for Iran, no more, no less. Hitler and Mussolini had wall sized propaganda posters of themselves overlooking the town squares and the wide support of the populace too. It didn’t stop them from being genocidal monsters. The fact that there are Arabs who admire Hezbollah shouldn’t color anyone’s impression of who they are, what they stand for, and what they intend to do if given the chance.

In my opinion what Israel wants at this point in the war is an overconfident enemy committed to a course of action. They want as many of Hezbollah south of Sidon as is possible, and they want them to bring as much of their resources as they can lay their hands on with them.

Just picture General Custer riding down on the camp at the Little Big Horn saying;

“Come on boys we’ve caught them napping”.

Only this time, The Israelis are the Sioux, and Sheik Hassan Nasrallah is General Custer.
Read the whole thing.

Reading Lebanese Civilian Casualties

I picked this up off the Washington Post opinion pages (off what they call a blog):
In the gruesome arithmetic of war, the actual carnage on a battlefield dominated by civilian areas, given Israel’s level of effort -- 3,000 attack sorties and about 30,000 artillery rounds fired against about 1,000 targets -- probably suggests to Israeli generals and government leaders that their campaign is "succeeding" in minimizing civilian harm.

Which is to say, from their perspective, Israel is killing about 31 people a day by the current count, not a seemingly high number.

I know some will say it is grotesque to count and average civilian deaths to gauge "success" and failure in war, but I do so in response to others using the Lebanese death toll as a measure, and also to demonstrate how distorted our view of conflict is, when measured in civilian deaths.

Appearing on CNN on Tuesday, Shimon Peres, an otherwise well-informed official, even said that the level of civilians deaths in Lebanon wasn't high because, look how many people NATO killed in the Kosovo war, "over 10,000."

The 10,000 figure caught my attention, because I conducted the definitive civilian bomb damage assessment (for Human Rights Watch) after the 1999, 78-day Kosovo bombing. We concluded that just more than 500 civilians died as a result of NATO bombing. That Israel's deputy prime minister has such a distorted image is worrisome, and it says an awful lot about the abuses of civilian casualties by politicians and commentators to make political points.

As the United States (should have) learned many years ago in Kosovo and Iraq, in terms of public opinion, it doesn’t really matter what the dominant precision-guided conventional military force does if people have a fundamentally different image of war’s carnage in their heads.

(Of course, the number of immediate civilian deaths does not take into consideration those that will accumulate in Lebanon among the elderly, very young and others taken ill due to the loss of water and sanitation associated with loss of electrical power, as occured following the 1991 Desert Storm campaign in Iraq.)

Despite air attacks against "strategic" targets throughout Lebanon, since the earliest hours of this 14-day campaign, Israel has demonstrated on the ground that it is limited in its tactical objectives vis-a-vis Hezbollah: It is using less than one full division and relying heavily on special forces because it is not intent on taking a large swath of Lebanese territory; it has urged Lebanese civilians to evacuate the battle zone to clear the way for battle against Hezbollah.

The limited strategy ironically has had two effects: First, by not using a larger force, and by not seeking to clear the entire area where Hezbollah operates further north, Israel may have undermined its tactical objectives in the far south. That is, unless Israel is willing to accept some number of military and civilian deaths in order to draw Hezbollah fire and fighters -- the magnet theory -- a route to their eventual and sure elimination.

Second, other than from the United States, Israel has not received any public acclaim or even acknowledgement through what it sees as its limited objectives and restraint. Despite its desire to minimize civilian harm and pursue a military strategy that the military claims is hamstrung by the requirement to avoid civilians -- that is, in not going after a larger band of Lebanese territory or in not using even greater force -- Israel just can not seem to convince anyone that it is fighting humanely or that it is on the side of Lebanese civilians.

Facing a more determined foe in the southern villages, the Israeli Defense Force is looking for moves it can make, particularly with its superior firepower, to undermine the dug-in fighters. One method will be to go after the cell-phone system, the primary means of communication and command and control amongst Hezbollah fighters. Such attacks, predictably, will again unleash condemnation for Israel attacking "civilian" infrastructure. The reason is that cell-phone towers are often on public and civilian buildings: Here in New England small towns, they are increasingly in church steeples.
And he's not even considering the extra casualties our soldiers have taken by sending in ground troops when we could have hit from the air. I wonder when - if ever - the IDF will ever decide to pull out all the stops again?

Hezbullah leader said to be hiding in Iranian Embassy

Israel hasn't tried to kill Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah since the massive bombardment of South Beirut ten days ago. If this Washington Times article from Friday is right, we now know why. He's hiding in the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Yes, the same embassy where kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are being held.

Hat Tip (for the Times article): Little Green Footballs

Intelligence reports indicate the leader of Hezbollah is hiding in a foreign mission in Beirut, possibly the Iranian Embassy, according to U.S. and Israeli officials.

Israeli military and intelligence forces are continuing to hunt for Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's secretary-general, who fled his headquarters in Beirut shortly before Israeli jets bombed the building last week.

"We think he is in an embassy," said one U.S. official with access to the intelligence reports, while Israeli intelligence speculates Sheik Nasrallah is hiding in the Iranian Embassy.

If confirmed, the reports could lead to an Israeli air strike on the embassy, possibly leading to a widening of the conflict, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Foreign embassies are sovereign territory and an attack on an embassy could be considered an act of war.


U.S. officials confirmed the existence of intelligence reports about Sheik Nasrallah hiding in a Beirut embassy after Israel's Ma'ariv newspaper reported Wednesday that the Hezbollah leader was thought to be in the Iranian Embassy. The newspaper, quoting intelligence officials, said Sheik Nasrallah has set up an operations center in an embassy basement that is coordinating Hezbollah attacks.

However, the U.S. officials said the intelligence reports have not confirmed Sheik Nasrallah's precise location.

Iran's embassy in Beirut is located in the Shi'ite stronghold known as the Bir Hasan section, in the western part of the city.

The embassy also is a major base for Iranian intelligence and is used by large numbers of Ministry of Intelligence and Security agents, as well as by senior members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran's shock troops that are linked to international terrorist activities.


A Middle East diplomat confirmed that Israel is seeking out Sheik Nasrallah and that the Iranian Embassy appears mostly evacuated. However, the diplomat stated: "Wherever he is, he is a legitimate target," similar to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. "He's responsible for organizing attacks and killing Israelis," the diplomat said.

In Tehran, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman denied that the embassy in Beirut was sheltering Sheik Nasrallah and dismissed reports of his presence there as Israeli government "disinformation."
Nasrallah using Goldwasser and Regev as human shields to prevent an Israeli airstrike sounds all-too-plausible to me.

Pictures on the walls

In many Jewish homes, people keep pictures of great Rabbis on the walls. YNet interviewed a soldier who is currently hospitalized in Rambam Hospital in Haifa. The soldier, 20-year old Ohad Mor, talked about what was on the walls of the homes of 'innocent civilians' in Bint Jbeil:
"In every house in Lebanon there is a picture of Nasrallah and rifles. When this village hates you - they have no choice, it is their education since birth - you come to understand the legitimacy of the IDF."
I thought about giving you a picture of a sleepy looking Nasrallah from tonight's al-Manar appearance, but decided I didn't want to destroy my blog by putting his picture on it.

Nasrallah says Israel wants cease-fire, U.S. opposed

In a speech on Hezbullah's al-Manar television tonight, Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed that Israel wants a cease fire but that the US is opposed.
"The bombardment of Afula and its military base is the beginning ... Many cities in the center [of Israel] will be targeted in the 'beyond Haifa' phase if the savage aggression continues on our country, people and villages.

"The Israelis are ready to halt the aggression because they are afraid of the unknown. The one pushing for the continuation of the aggression is the U.S. administration. Israel has been exposed as a slave of the U.S.

"There are developments on the diplomatic front, and attempts to end the crisis, thanks to our strong position. The enemy attained no military achievements. They admit this."
Nasrallah also claimed that Israel suffered a "serious defeat" in ground fighting around Bint Jbial.

While Israel did not suffer a defeat at Bint Jbeil, and while it is (hopefully) not looking for a cease fire, this does not mean that the war is going well. In a column in Sunday morning's HaAretz, military analyst Zev Schiff says that Israel is not giving US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice enough military cards to keep the war going:

... [Rice] needs military cards, and unfortunately Israel has not succeeded to date in providing her with any. Besides bringing Hezbollah and Lebanon under fire, all of Israel's military cards at this stage are in the form of two Lebanese villages near the border that have been captured by the IDF.

If the military cards Israel is holding do not improve with the continuation of the fighting, it will result in a diplomatic solution that will leave the Hezbollah rocket arsenal in southern Lebanon in its place. The diplomatic solution will necessarily be a reflection of the military realities on the ground.

Also from the Syrian perspective there seems to be a contradiction between the American strategy and the steps Israel has taken with regards to Syria. Washington wants the solution to the problem of Hezbollah as a militia to be found in Lebanon. There are those in Washington who are recommending a connection to Syria must be found on this matter, but at the State Department and the White House they say this would simply invite Syria back into Lebanon, and this should not be allowed.

Damascus must be worried about a foiling of the American-Lebanese diplomatic plans. Syrian concerns should have stemmed from Israel, but for days now Israel is doing everything possible to convince Damascus it is not in any danger. If there is no danger from Israel, Damascus can certainly allow itself to undermine any possible plan meant to weaken and defeat Hezbollah. It will act on its own and with Iran without any fear.

Israel has limited options for continuing the fighting. Since it has not succeeded to date to restrict Hezbollah's war of attrition against urban centers in Israel, including the targeting of Afula, the only option is a rapid operation for the capture of southern Lebanon in order to destroy the Hezbollah rocket arsenal prior to the transfer of a multinational force to the area. It may have other serious options, but these will not affect the rocket arsenal of Hezbollah. This is a race against time and against Hezbollah that is aided by Syria and Iran.

The further along the diplomatic process moves, international pressure will be exercised against Israel, including by the Americans, calling for an end to the targeting of Lebanese infrastructure. There is no point mobilizing reserve divisions if they are not going to be used appropriately, from a strategic point of view, before the end of the war.
And in an article in the JPost over the weekend (which I have not found on their web site), historian Michael Oren (currently on reserve duty in Avivim on the Lebanese border) says that Israel has to start treating Hezbullah like a real army and not like a 'rag tag' group of militiamen.

I know for a fact that Israeli army troops are being shipped north in the morning. If there's really going to be a cease fire by Wednesday so that the Fwench can send their troops in as part of a multi-national force, I have to wonder why.