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It was bound to happen sooner or later. This morning the Hizbullah killed 3 Israeli soldiers, kidnapped two and fired mortars and Katyousha rockets near Sheba farms as well as near the Israeli community of Moshav Zarit along the Israeli-Lebanese border. IDF responded with a bombardment of targets in Lebanon and invasion of Lebanon, apparently in pursuit of the kidnappers, and that is just the beginning. Four more Israeli soldiers were apparently killed in action today. The Israeli cabinet is meeting this evening to decide on further steps, following the expected bellicose rhetoric. An ominous red banner across the bottom of my TV screen proclaims "Back to Lebanon." Israelis who remember the Lebanese war cannot be pleased at this prospect.

The IDF was also busy in Gaza today. It bombed a building where the top brass of the Hamas were meeting. The meeting was held in a concrete reinforced basement, so most of the Hamas leaders escaped unharmed. Seven civilians were killed. Mohamed Deif and another Hamas leader were apparently injured. The extent of their injuries is not known.

There is no doubt that the Israeli army is hurting from the second major foulup in about 2 weeks. There is no doubt also that the border incident was unprovoked aggression by the Hizbulla. Since the Lebanese government gives Hizbulla free rein, and insists that it is at war with with Israel, it should not be surprised at Israeli reaction. The Hizbullah celebrated jubilantly in Beirut, a picture that was not calculated to soothe the wrath and injured pride of the IDF. Such celebrations have a price and the price will be paid. The question is, who should be paying the price?

The current crises were manufactured at least in part in Tehran and Damascus. Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak complained today that a deal to swap prisoners and end the Gaza crises was thwarted by a "other parties." - apparently Syria. According to Ha'aretz:


He said that both Khaled Meshal, Hamas' Damascus-based exiled political leader, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had been notified of Israel's commitment to release Palestinian prisoners, and that Hamas officials had initially accepted the deal.

There were "other parties," President Mubarak said, that had led to the failure of Egyptian mediations to resolve the tension in Gaza. He did not specify who these parties were, but his comments were apparently referring to Syria, which is host to the top leadership of the Hamas militant group.

"(Hamas) was being pressured by opposing elements, and other elements that I don't want to name interfered in the negotiations. This led to the abortion of an agreement which was close to being finalized," said Mubarak, and added that "It is no secret that I had worked to bring the crisis to an honorable solution."


As noted previously, the Hamas, the "democratically elected" government of the Palestinians, is really a puppet of Khaled Meshal, who is really a puppet of Damascus. Likewise, the Hizbullah are tools of Syria and Iran.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz threatened that the Hizbullah would be made to regret the kidnapping, but sadly, I doubt that they will. What can Israel do that will make the Hizbullah regret the kidnapping or any other provocation that the Hizbullah perpetrate at the bidding of their masters? Like the Palestinians, the Lebanese are pawns in the game of the Hizbullah and Syria, and their suffering is fuel for the foreign policy engine of the Syrians. The more Hizbullah are killed by Israel, the more they become heroes in the eyes of the Arab world. If Israel hits Lebanese targets, then the stock of the Hizbullah as "defenders" of Lebanon rises again. Syria and Iran will fight Israel to the last Lebanese and the last Palestinian. Syria and Iran set up the game so that the outcome is "heads I win, tails you lose."

It hurts to say this, but to my mind Ehud Olmert is right not to offer to trade soldiers for hostages either. There is every indication that past hostage deals paved the way for further kidnappings. On the other hand, if we believe Hosni Mubarrak, it seems the Israel government was willing to trade hostages for soldiers in any case, in a roundabout way.

Ami Isseroff
( adapted from Israel: Returning to Lebanon at MideastWeb Middle East Web Log.)







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