Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Calm up Until Now Was Only an Illusion

The calm which has, on the face of it, prevailed in southern Lebanon since the massive air force attack on June 24 of this year was virtual. The combat on the ground did not let up even for a moment. But since Hizballah did not fire Katyushas at the Galilee and the IDF succeeded, up until yesterday, in carrying out its actions in the security zone without combat losses, the war was off the front page and there was an erroneous impression of calm. Like every Lebanese illusion, this bubble also exploded. What happened yesterday could also have happened one month ago. However, the harsh results obligate an inquiry and the drawing up of lessons.

The background to the event is the change in Hizballah's combat tactics, which was carried out under pressure from the Syrians and the Lebanese government. Even today, Damascus and Beirut want Hizballah to continue applying military pressure on Israel but without causing an escalation.
It is clear to Assad that Katyushas at Kiryat Shemona will lead to the suspension of efforts to resume the political negotiations and additional damage to Lebanon's infrastructure. Therefore, Hizballah has been ordered to reduce to the minimum the shelling of IDF and SLA positions. In many instances, similar shellings have led to the "Grapes of Wrath" understandings being broken by both sides, and in the end, to Katyushas.

The organization's leaders have decided to focus on placing explosive charges in the security zone and kidnapping IDF soldiers.
Against this stepped-up activity, the IDF and SLA have made exceptional successes in recent months. Since the beginning of the year, approximately 60 charges have been uncovered. Only four of them exploded and caused casualties. Since the beginning of the year, the IDF has lost fewer soldiers than in similar periods in past years. The IDF has also succeeded in preventing the placing of charges through initiated actions on the ground. The ambush that Golani soldiers laid yesterday was part of these initiated actions. This time as well, the force succeeded in its mission to prevent a Hizballah gang from laying charges.

But the battle claimed a bloody price because the Hizballah personnel were the first to open fire.
This fact gives rise to a difficult question: How did the Hizballah personnel succeed in discovering the IDF force which was supposed to be well-hidden? An additional troublesome question: How did the terrorists succeed, in broad daylight, in sneaking up and approaching the force until it was within close range, without being discovered? It is true that from the second they were fired upon, the Golani men operated without fault. They stuck to their mission and fought appropriately. But the circumstances in which the battle was opened demand an exhaustive inquiry, and not only because of the sad results from our point of view, but mainly so that similar events will not recur in the future. Resource: mfa.gov.il

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