Tag Archives: Hezbollah

Mideast: Dec. 8, 2009

Many small waves breaking at the same time. Strong undercurrents…

Israel appears to be moving toward giving up the north-half of the village of Ghajar to Lebanon, probably along with Shebaa Farms. This would effectively mean that no Lebanese territory would then be under Israeli control. (This could have been resolved much sooner, but for disagreements between Lebanon, Syria and the UN as to the true ownership of the lands in question.)

Residents of northern Ghajar who don’t wish to become Lebanese citizens would have the right (as full Israeli citizens) to remain in Israel, though they would have to leave their current homes in the north end of town. Some resettlement funds will probably be allotted by the government.

With the Israeli ‘occupation’ at an end, Hezbollah should stand down, but will they? They have recently deployed thousands of rockets south of the Litani River in direct contravention of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

Indications seem to be that Syrian President Assad may be prepared to ‘get creative’ on certain issues related to the Golan Heights. (More on that soon…)

Israel has notified various embassies that diplomatic visits to the Gaza Strip will not be possible through Israel at this time. While some people will be critical of the move, there’s an easy workaround for the problem — visit Gaza through Egypt instead.

If Hamas will not engage with Israel, then Israel should not be expected to facilitate the diplomatic adventures of Gaza’s overtly-militant Hamas government, which (only this week) tested out some new, sophisticated rockets freshly smuggled into the territory through its extensive tunnel network.

West Bank
As previously disclosed, PA PM Salam Fayyad will be running the show in Ramallah from now on, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas booking off work for an extended vacation.

There’s a distinct possibility that the Americans may be getting ready to hand over control of Palestinian security force training to the Brits and Canadians currently working on that mandate under US General Keith Dayton.

The opportunity to achieve a lasting peace between Jewish and Arab Palestinians has rarely, if ever, been nearer. The opportunity to reach a peace deal between Israel and Syria, as well as between Israel and Lebanon, has absolutely never been closer.

But what about the Iranian ‘leadership’? They’re already dealing with fraying public control, a stumbling economy, apocalyptic delusions, looming international sanctions for their nuclear transgressions — and now this? Possible peace? It must be driving them crazy. And that’s the sort of thing that could be dangerous for everyone — if only because they’re the ones supplying the missiles to Hamas and Hezbollah.

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The Floating Cookie Jar

…and whose hand was caught inside it?

FrancopPaperwork aboard the German-owned, Antiguan-flagged container ship ‘Francop’ shows the origin of some of its arms containers to be the Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas, contradicting the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem’s assertion that the ship was carrying commercial goods from Syria to Iran.

The minister was also contradicted by an official spokesman for the Lebanese militant organisation Hezbollah, who declared that the group “…staunchly denies any link to the weapons that the Zionist enemy has seized from the Francop ship.” Additionally, Lebanese Minister Michel Aoun announced that if they couldn’t get weapons from Iran, then they’d get them from China.

The weapons were hidden behind bags of Iranian-made silicon, with some of the arms cases being labeled ‘PARTS OF BULLDOZER’ and listed on the ship’s manifest as ‘aerosols’ destined for the Syrian port of Latakia.

Video footage of the raid

In reality, the shipment contained thousands of 107 mm Katyusha and 122 mm Grad rockets, about 9,000 mortars shells, and several hundred thousand Kalashnikov rounds — enough to sustain an intense armed conflict for about a month. The weight of the shipment was determined to be 320 tonnes and many of the individual crates were labeled ‘Ministry of Sepah’.

FrancopCargoAmerican ships and satellites appear to have been involved in tracking the ship, but seizure of the vessel by the Israeli Navy was delayed until just after the conclusion of American-Israeli joint defense exercise, Juniper Cobra.

This event follows closely after another Iranian arms ship was snared by US warships in the Gulf of Suez last month. In 2002, Israeli forces captured the Karine A arms ship loaded with 50 tonnes of Iranian-supplied weaponry destined for Hamas militants in Gaza.

News links…

BBC: Israelis seize Iran arms ship

Jerusalem Post: Defense officials say weapons bound for Syria, Hizbullah

Jerusalem Post: Syrian FM: Ship was not carrying arms

More detail via Debkafile:
Captured Iranian arms ship tip of the iceberg of vast weapons sealift to Hizballah


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Hamas Test-Fires New Missile

New weapon puts Tel Aviv within range of Hamas attacks

Debkafile is reporting that the new addition is a modified Iranian version of the Chinese Silkworm missile. Though originally designed as a ship-to-ship or shore-to-ship missile, the Silkworm design is easily adaptable for precise ground-to-ground assaults. (Note: It is also possible, though less likely, that the missile could be an Iranian C-802 variant called the Noor. A surface-skimming, cruise missile of this type was used by Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon-Israel War in 2006, causing heavy damage to the Israeli corvette INS Hanit.)

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, Iranian proxy Hezbollah has already claimed that it can hit Tel Aviv from north of the Litani River with its Iranian-supplied Zelzal-2 missiles.

‘Hamas has many 60-km range missiles’

HY-2-Naval-Launch-1S(JPost.com) Hamas has likely succeeded in smuggling dozens of long-range Iranian-made missiles, capable of striking Tel Aviv, into the Gaza Strip, a top defense official said on Tuesday after OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin revealed that the terrorist group had test-fired a rocket with a 60-km. range.

Yadlin told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the IDF had detected the launch of a rocket with a 60-km. range from the Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea last week.

The missile, officials said, was probably a version of an Iranian-made artillery rocket that is 5 meters long and can carry a 45-kg. warhead. To increase the rocket’s range, they noted, Hamas had the option of shrinking the warhead to 25 or 30 kg., enabling it to strike deeper into Tel Aviv.

In what the IDF said was a coincidence, the Home Front Command is scheduled to test the air sirens in the Tel Aviv area on Wednesday, as part of nationwide tests that began earlier this year. Defense Ministry officials recently met with representatives from the Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan municipalities to discuss the latest developments.

Officials said that the Hamas missile test took place on Thursday, when the rocket was fired into the Mediterranean Sea under cover of darkness and bad weather. Israeli tracking systems detected the launch and tracked the projectile as it flew some 60 km., the farthest Hamas has reached since it began firing rockets in 2001…

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Middle East: Religion vs. Extremism

Score two victories for religious common sense over irrational hatred.

Patriarch of Lebanon’s Maronite Church lashes out at Hizbullah

“Weapons and democracy cannot coexist,” said Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, patriarch of Lebanon’s Maronite Church, in an interview to Lebanon’s al-Massira magazine to be published on Saturday.

During the interview, conducted on Thursday, Sfeir lashed out at Hizbullah, maintaining that the Shi’ite organization threatened Lebanon’s security and stability.

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‘Waqf quietly pleased at Salah’s arrest’

Heads of the Waqf Department have quietly expressed their satisfaction with the Israeli authorities’ recent measures against Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and top Fatah operative Hatem Abdel Qader, a senior official with the Ministry for Internal Security said on Thursday.

Salah and Abdel Qader have each been arrested by the Jerusalem Police for their role in instigating the latest wave of violent protests at the Temple Mount.

The two have also been banned by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court from entering the Old City of Jerusalem for different periods of time.

The official praised the heads of the Waqf Department for their role in “calming the situation” and preventing a further deterioration.

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But we’ve still got a long way to go…

Thousands Rally for Islamic Jihad

Tens of thousands of Islamic Jihad loyalists held a rally in Gaza on Friday to commemorate the group’s slain founder.

Holding plastic models of rockets and wearing masks and mock suicide bomber’s vests, the members chanted “death to Israel” and “Muhammad’s army will be back to wipe off the Hebrew state.”

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Is one Jewish state one too many?

Originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post Jun 6, 2009

YorkThis month a consortium of Canadian universities and institutions will be sponsoring a conference at York University in Toronto that will effectively conclude that one Jewish state in the world is one too many.

The conference, innocuously named “Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace,” will ostensibly debate whether a “one-state” or “two-state” solution is the best way to advance peace. But the conference’s symbol is a map of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with a zipper sewing up the seam lines between them. And a close look at the speakers and the abstracts of their intended speeches show that the overwhelming consensus will be that Israel should cease being a Jewish state and morph instead into a binational one.

It is a rich irony indeed that the conference is ostensibly proposing that Israel annex the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – a position that once might have been considered solely in the domain of the most right-wing Israelis. But as the program speeches make clear, the proposed solution is not to simply allow Israel to annex territory. Rather, it is to strip the Jewish state of its Law of Return (allowing Jews to immigrate) and uproot the country from its Jewish foundations.

York University’s program makes only a nominal attempt to stir genuine debate. The program is riddled with speakers who take as a given that Israel is an apartheid state that discriminates against Palestinians and that is fundamentally “unjust.” A number of the speakers are recognizable as organizers and advocates of the movement to boycott Israel. Indeed, the handful of notable professors who do not believe that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state stand out like vegetarians at a slaughterhouse.

Belatedly realizing the nature of the conference, some have begun to pull out.

Conference defenders have been quick to point to the right of free speech and the value of academic debate to support the program. And it is clear that when discussing Israel and the Palestinians passions are likely to run high. But the issue is not freedom of expression or the value of hearing alternate viewpoints. The issue is not York University’s right to hold such a conference, but rather its desire to do so.

A CONFERENCE is not held in a vacuum. Against a backdrop of the ascendency of Iran calling to destroy Israel, Hamas consolidating its hold over the Gaza Strip and continuing to rain rockets against southern Israeli cities and a global increase in anti-Semitism, is it possible that York University doesn’t understand that a conference calling on Israel to cease being a Jewish Zionist state plays into the hands of those seeking to annihilate it completely?

Never mind that the proposed “one-state” solution is completely unrealistic. Never mind that there is not a single mainstream Israeli political party that would ever endorse it – and that it will therefore simply never materialize. Never mind that a conference held at the end of June, with few students on campus, is mostly an exercise of academics preaching to the converted. The pernicious nature of this conference is not measured by its efficacy at promoting its solution. It’s measured by the legitimacy it confers on those who will build upon it to promote genocide.

This conference, if unopposed, will be copied. The notion that for the sake of peace and justice Israel must be denuded of its Jewish character will be lent the imprimatur of a respected university. In time, nongovernmental organizations, quasi-governmental bodies and international institutions may well quote the conclusions of such conferences, and the movement to boycott Israel will be immeasurably strengthened. Groups like Hamas and Hizbullah will seize on its conclusions immediately, using them to excuse their terrorist activities against the Jewish state.

One need not cut off debate, or the presentation of alternative viewpoints. But is it really too much to expect respected universities not to endorse the destruction of Israel as the world’s only Jewish state?

The writer is author of 101+ Ways to Help Israel: A Guide to Doing Small Things That Can Make Big Differences.

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