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Some still consider Israel's decision to respond with a limited war to Hezbollah's invasion, which killed eight and saw two IDF soldiers abducted by the terrorists, an unreasonable reaction to the scale of the provocation. People have forgotten that Hezbollah has not sat quietly in Lebanon and acted as a political party during the six years after Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon. Just eight months ago, Hezbollah fired off rockets at Israel:
Rocket Attacks Don't Dent Sharon By Martin Sieff Dec 29, 2005
WASHINGTON, The latest wave of Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel suggest an ambitious tactical political agenda on the part of the attackers. With Israel deep in the throes of probably its most crucial general election in almost 29 years, terrorist groups are trying to directly influence the political process.
The attacks certainly fulfill the warning of Israeli security chiefs that hostile Islamist groups would seek to follow up the unilateral Israeli withdrawal Gaza earlier this year with a new wave of terror attacks. And certainly so far, the guerrillas still do not appear to be anywhere near reclaiming the capability they enjoyed for years in the Second Intifada of massacring dozens of Israeli civilians, including women and children, almost per week in suicide bomb attacks.
The attacks by Hezbollah from the north are clearly backed by the new hard-line regime in Iran where the new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for Israel to be wiped off the map and questioned the historical accuracy of the Holocaust. As tensions mount between Israel and an Iran rapidly driving to acquire a formidable nuclear strike capability, Iran is clearly showing no hesitation in playing the Hezbollah card.
And in May 2005, this report from Isracast reminds us that Hezbollah showered northern Israel with rockets for three days in September 2004. This came as Ariel Sharon considered the Gaza withdrawal, and led Sharon to forswear a new war in Lebanon at that time -- when Rafik Hariri's assassination forced the Syrians to withdraw from Lebanon themselves:
Along the Lebanese frontier, Hezbollah launched a series of cross border shellings of Israeli civilian and military targets. There were no Israeli casualties but some damage. The IDF responded with limited air strikes and tank fire. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says Israel has no intention of being drawn into a further escalation by the pro-Iranian Hezbollah.
Hezbollah guerillas in south Lebanon shelled Israel for further three days running. Although Israeli aircraft and tanks fired back, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel has no interest in being drawn into a further escalation.
* Sept.11th - Hezbollah fires Katyusha rocket at Western Galilee town of Shelomi - the rocket slams into the industrial zone causing damage but no casualties because the area was abandoned due to Independence Day.
* Sept.12th - Hezbollah fires 2 rockets from south Lebanon at IDF position in Mount Dov area (Shaaba farms) of Syria. No Casualties or damage. Israeli forces return fire at Hezbollah positions in the area.
* Sept.13th - Hezbollah fires 13 mortar bombs at IDF positions in Mount Dov, IDF fires back and hits 3 Hezbollah positions.
One might ask what the UNIFIL forces did during this time. Apparently, not a lot. They didn't act as a deterrent, nor did they do much to stop it. That might come up for discussion at the UN Security Council very soon, because UNIFIL's mandate expires next Monday:
According to Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978, UNIFIL was established to:
* Confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon;
* Restore international peace and security;
* Assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.
Most recently the mandate of UNIFIL was extended until 31 July 2006 by Security Council resolution 1655 (2006) of 31 January 2006.
I doubt seriously that anyone will support its extension, given the complete failure of this mission to provide any sort of protection against terrorism in the region. (UNIFIL link via NZ Bear)
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has a picture that explains why UNIFIL failed so miserably, and why the UNSC will not likely renew its mandate.Sphere It View blog reactions
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