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Israeli Forces Target 'Hezbollah Tunnels' From Lebanon

World  (tags: israel attacks, israel landgrabs, zionism, Lebanon, Iran, media, israeli forces, middle-east, news, world, government )

- 14 days ago -
The last war between Israeli and Hezbollah in 2006 resulted in an Israeli defeat in Southern Lebanon


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fly bird (26)
Tuesday December 4, 2018, 7:19 pm
The last war between Israeli and Hezbollah in 2006 resulted in an Israeli defeat in Southern Lebanon.

Israel has launched an operation as of Monday night to destroy tunnels between Lebanon and Israel which were dug by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite resistance movement.

Israeli Defense Force (IDF) announced “Operation Northern Shield” Tuesday after demolition efforts had already begun. The IDF said in a tweet that their aim is “to expose and neutralize cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon to Israel.”

The Israeli army said there have been suspicions that Hezbollah was constructing “attack tunnels” leading into Israel from Lebanon since the 2006 war. For now, the tunnels do not appear to be operational but still pose "an imminent threat," the Israeli military said.

The operation remains on Israeli soil, though there is a possible threat of escalation. "Whoever tries to harm Israel will pay a heavy price," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Hezbollah has not given a statement as of yet.

Israel and Hezbollah have avoided major conflicts at the Lebanese-Israeli border since their last war in 2006 in which Hezbollah inflicted a historic second defeat on the Israeli forces when Tel Aviv launched a campaign against southern Lebanon in an attempt to claim more territory. Fighting lasted 33 days and claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians. About 1,000,000 people were displaced.

Hezbollah was formed in 1985 with the open backing of the newly-founded Islamic Republic of Iran as a militant political party and militia born out of repression against the Shiite Muslim minority in Lebanon as well as the Israeli occupation of the country's Shiite-majority south.

The group defines itself through its struggle against Israeli settler-colonialism in Palestine and Lebanon, particularly the 1982 Israeli occupation of South Lebanon which ended in the defeat of Israel and its withdrawal from the country in 2000.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday December 5, 2018, 6:02 pm
Is the Israeli military operation along the border with Lebanon for real?
December 5, 2018

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) announced suddenly on Tuesday morning the start of a massive military operation along the border with Lebanon. The reason, said the IDF, is to search for “offensive” tunnels dug by Hezbollah which, according to a report on Israeli Army Radio, are “penetrating Israeli soil and have been prepared for carrying out terror attacks on Israel.” The report added that the occupation army had declared the border area to be a closed military zone. Yedioth Ahronoth pointed out that Israeli ministers were told not to speak to the media about the campaign dubbed “Operation Northern Shield”.

“The Israeli army has launched Operation Northern Shield in order to neutralise terrorist tunnels from Lebanon,” explained Prime, Foreign and now Defence Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We are proud of the commanders and soldiers of our army who are carrying out complex operations and achieve practical successes… Anyone who attempts to harm Israel will pay a high price. We must act strictly and responsibly at the same time and on all fronts. We will continue with more overt and covert procedures that guarantee Israel’s security.”

However, analysts have already cast doubt on the aims of the operation announced by Netanyahu, who has been Minister of Defence since the resignation of Avigdor Lieberman in the wake of the failure of a covert operation in the Gaza Strip last month. He is said to be covering that failure, which could have led to an early General Election, as well as whitewashing the police recommendation to indict him on corruption charges.

READ: Israel launches attack on Lebanon, claims destroying Hezbollah tunnels

One specialist in Israeli affairs, Dr Saleh Al-Naami, described what is going on along the Lebanese border as a “propaganda” exercise intended to divert public attention from the failure of the Israeli Special Forces in Gaza which put the fate of Netanyahu’s government on the line. The Times of Israel more or less concurs with that analysis. Operation Northern Shield, it said, is the fulfilment of the propaganda spouted by Netanyahu last month to cover up his failure to deter the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.

“You are only seeing a partial picture of the ongoing operation we are engaged in,” Netanyahu told the Israeli public at the end of the two-day escalation last month. “I will not say tonight when we will act and what we will do… But I have a clear plan.” It was “impossible,” he insisted, to make public some of the details. According to the Times of Israel, many Israelis did not believe Netanyahu’s “concern for the country’s security situation,” but preferred to believe that this was to avoid an early election. Indeed, the news website expects the Prime Minister to announce the appointment of a foreign minister or a defence minister to prop up his ailing coalition government. “We are in the midst of a military campaign,” he told journalists. “The security of the state is above all else.”

What’s more, said Al-Naami, the exercise along Israel’s norther border is much less than a real operation targeting tunnels allegedly dug by Hezbollah. “Netanyahu recognises that Israeli military activity inside Israel does not lead to a confrontation. All he wants is to cause some suspense about the operation to divert attention from possible corruption charges.”

Meanwhile, another Palestinian specialist in Israeli affairs Momen Migdad, explained that when the Israeli occupation army carries out a real military operation, it starts with sudden, concentrated and intensified air and artillery strikes. “However, since Tuesday morning, there has been no announcement by the Israeli occupation army of a state of emergency or request for the people living in Southern Lebanon to go to their shelters.” For the IDF and Netanyahu to describe the discovery of a tunnel as a major achievement, he added, is a bit of a joke, and a massive exaggeration. “Netanyahu aims to deter the opposition and embarrass it.”

Knesset member Yoel Hasson agreed that the announcement about the operation in the north is an attempt to divert attention from the police recommendations to indict Netanyahu. He called for the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee to convene urgently and discuss the issue. “The timing [of the operation] … cheapens the army as well as Israel’s security interests, and shows particular disregard for residents in the north,” the head of the opposition bloc said. “Is it Operation Northern Shield or Operation Netanyahu Shield?”

One commentator took an entirely different line. Gal Berger of Kan Public Broadcasting claimed that the IDF “operation” is being used by Netanyahu to divert Israeli eyes from “the bags of Qatari cash” destined for Gaza and going through Israel in the days ahead.

Despite all of this scepticism, the IDF Chief of General Staff, Gadi Eisenkot, pointed out that the Israeli cabinet approved the operation on 7 November. The “Hezbollah tunnels,” he insisted, are now a “direct threat to Israel’s northern communities and army bases.” Eisenkot’s claim was compromised, though, when Ofir Gendelman, the spokesman to the Arab media for the Prime Minister’s office, explained that Israel has “been following the digging of the offensive tunnels by Hezbollah for years.”

If the tunnels have been monitored “for years”, why have they suddenly become a direct threat now even though no major change has taken place on the northern front since the end of the 2006 Israeli offensive against Lebanon? Netanyahu still needs to provide persuasive details about the operation to prove that it is real, and that he is not simply exploiting his expanding power as Prime, Foreign and Defence Minister to avoid prosecution and an early General Election.

fly bird (26)
Saturday December 8, 2018, 8:38 am
Netanyahu Focuses on Hezbollah Tunnel Raids amid Fraud Investigation (VIDEOS)
December 7, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took foreign diplomats to the border with Lebanon on Thursday, ramping up anti-Hezbollah rhetoric amid a controversial military operation to destroy alleged attack tunnels.

Israel announced on Tuesday that it had discovered alleged Hezbollah tunnels infiltrating its territory from Lebanon and launched an operation to destroy them, but Lebanon has disputed claims amid accusations Netanyahu is trying to distract from his legal problems.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that “he expects the UN to strongly condemn the violation of Israel’s sovereignty”, according to his office’s Twitter account.

He said in a Hebrew-language statement on Thursday:

“I told the ambassadors that they should condemn this aggression by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, unequivocally, and of course also to intensify the sanctions against these elements.”

Netanyahu said Thursday that Hezbollah, like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, was acting on behalf of its patron Iran.

He said:

“Anyone who attacks us will have bloodshed on their own heads. Hezbollah knows that and Hamas knows it too.”

The military said it had located one such tunnel dug from a home in the Kfar Kila area of south Lebanon that crossed into Israeli territory and was working to “neutralize” it.

Lebanon’s parliament speaker Nabih Berri said on Wednesday that Israel had provided no evidence of tunnels allegedly built by Hezbollah to launch cross-border attacks.

There has been no comment from Hezbollah.

Amid the much-publicized tunnel operations, Netanyahu has been condemned by opposition politicians and commentators for seeking to distract from mounting personal legal woes and a fragile political coalition.

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Wednesday accused Netanyahu of “blowing the [tunnel] incident out of proportion”.

Livni alleged that part of Netanyahu’s thinking was to deflect criticism from residents of southern Israel who say he has failed to quash the threat of cross-border rocket fire from militants in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli leader is seeking to hold his governing coalition together after last month’s resignation of defense minister Avigdor Lieberman over a controversial Gaza ceasefire, which left him clinging to a one-seat majority in parliament.

The prime minister took over the defense portfolio after Lieberman’s resignation.

He has also faced mounting legal woes, with police on Sunday recommending that he and his wife Sara be indicted for bribery, the third such decision against the premier in recent months.

(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)

fly bird (26)
Saturday December 8, 2018, 12:44 pm
Israeli says fires at Hezbollah activists, Lebanon calls them army patrol
Saturday 8 Dec 2018

Israeli soldiers at the Lebanese border opened fire at suspected Hezbollah activists on Saturday, the military said, the first such incident since Israel launched a crackdown this week on cross-border tunnels into its territory.

Lebanon said Israeli soldiers had fired in the air when they were surprised by a Lebanese army patrol on the Lebanese side.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Israel said three people who were "apparently Hezbollah activists" approached its forces on the Israeli side as they carried out an operation to shut down tunnels that Israel has said were dug across the border by the Lebanese group.

"Troops fired towards the suspects in accordance with the standard operating procedures. The three fled. The work in the area continues as usual," the Israeli military said in a statement.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency said the Israeli soldiers shot into the air when they saw a Lebanese army patrol near the border demarcation, known as the "Blue Line".

"Israeli enemy soldiers shot into the air following their deployment near the Blue Line in Kroum al-Sharaqi region to the east of Meis al-Jabal village," NNA said.

The Israelis "were surprised, due to thick fog, by a routine Lebanese army patrol inside the Lebanese territories", it added.

Israel's military said on Tuesday it had found a number of passages dug across the Israel-Lebanon border to be used for carrying out attacks inside Israel. It sent mechanical diggers, troops and anti-tunneling equipment there to shut them down.

The situation has so far remained calm on both sides of the border. But the Israeli operation has brought renewed attention to a frontier across which Israel and Hezbollah fought a war in 2006.

The Israeli military has said its activity would, for now, stop on the Israeli side of the border. But an Israeli cabinet minister said on Friday that Israel was prepared to take action in Lebanon against cross-border tunnels if deemed necessary.

The United Nations peacekeeping Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), confirmed the existence of a tunnel near the "Blue Line" on Thursday, describing it as a "serious occurrence".,-Lebanon.aspx

fly bird (26)
Saturday December 8, 2018, 12:46 pm
Israel gave no proof of border tunnels, says Lebanon's Berri.
5 Dec 2018

Israel provided no evidence of cross-border attack tunnels in a meeting with U.N. peacekeepers on Wednesday, Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said.

The Israeli military launched an operation on Tuesday to "expose and thwart" tunnels into its territory which it said came from Lebanon.

Israel accused Lebanon's Hezbollah movement of digging across the frontier. It said the tunnels did not function yet but posed "an imminent threat".

There was no comment from Iran-backed Hezbollah.

"The Israelis did not present any information," at the meeting with the Lebanese army and the UNIFIL peacekeeping force, a statement from Berri's office said.

Berri, a political ally of Hezbollah, said Lebanon had asked for geographic coordinates but received none.

"This (Israeli accusation) is not based on any real facts at all," Ali Bazzi, a lawmaker from Berri's parliamentary bloc cited the speaker as saying after a meeting.

Lebanon's foreign ministry will submit a complaint to the United Nations about "repeated Israeli violations," state news agency NNA said.

Mechanical diggers, drills and other heavy machinery were seen from south Lebanon throughout Tuesday, working on the Israeli side of the heavily-guarded border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late on Tuesday the operation would continue for as long as necessary.

The Lebanese army said it was "fully prepared to face any emergency" and its side of the border remained calm on Tuesday.

Israel and Hezbollah have avoided major conflict across the border since their last war in 2006, though Israel has mounted attacks in Syria targeting the heavily armed Shi'ite Hezbollah.,-says-Leban.aspx

fly bird (26)
Monday December 10, 2018, 8:33 pm
Netanyahu is hyping Hezbollah ‘attack tunnels’ to stay in power.
7 December 2018

CJ Werleman

With the next election around the corner, the Israeli prime minister is manufacturing a conflict with Hezbollah to distract from his other failures

The Israeli military this week launched an open-ended operation to destroy what it called a network of “attack tunnels” built by the Lebanese movement Hezbollah, despite the government declining to identify exactly how many had been detected or how they would be destroyed.

For the past several years, according to the Israeli official narrative, the prospect of Hamas fighters emerging from tunnels armed with automatic weapons, grenades and missiles to take civilians hostage, has been the nightmare of every Israeli living adjacent to the besieged Gaza Strip. Now, the government is hyping the same threat among communities located on the Lebanese border.

“The Israeli army has launched Operation Northern Shield in order to neutralise terrorist tunnels from Lebanon,” explained Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We are proud of the commanders and soldiers of our army who are carrying out complex operations … Anyone who attempts to harm Israel will pay a high price.”

Fire and brimstone

Naturally, analysts, pundits and even Israeli military officials have taken to the airwaves to warn of the probability of another Israel-Lebanon confrontation, which would be the first since the deadly and disastrous 2006 war.

These warnings of fire, brimstone and pending doom, however, miss the proverbial forest for the trees. Israel, and much less Netanyahu, don’t seek a war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and these tunnels do not pose an existential threat to Israel’s security.

At best, or in what would constitute a worst-case scenario for Israel, a mere dozen or two Hezbollah fighters could pop up from these tunnels, and then “spread out, take key positions and begin employing snipers and anti-tank missiles” against the Israeli army before being killed relatively quickly.

Moreover, Netanyahu has described these tunnels as a "violation of Israeli sovereignty”. If this is the case, why has he ordered the military to attack these tunnels only on the Israeli side of the border? Since when hasn’t Israel responded to an attack on its soil with overwhelming and often disproportionate actions?

It could easily destroy the lion’s share of this tunnel infrastructure on the Lebanese side of the border, without worrying about Hezbollah dragging itself into a conflict it is not fully willing to fight, given its ongoing commitments to the Assad regime in Syria.

Ultimately, Operation Northern Shield is a cynical marketing gimmick - one meant, by design, to shield only one individual: the Israeli prime minister.

‘Operation Netanyahu Shield’

Yoel Hasson, an opposition member in the Israeli parliament, asked: “Is this Operation Northern Shield or Operation Netanyahu Shield?”

Even the Israeli public, one that is often easily swayed by warnings of cataclysmic doom, is not buying what Netanyahu is selling, with a poll showing 58 percent of voters believe the prime minister is over-hyping “security concerns” in an effort to stave off elections and keep his fragile hold on power.

It’s no coincidence that Netanyahu’s anti-tunnel operation was launched just two days after Israeli police recommended he be indicted for bribery, fraud and other charges, accusing him of “trading regulatory favours for fawning news coverage” - possibly the most damaging corruption charges against him.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech at the start of Hanukkah on 2 December (AFP)

Prominent Israeli political scientist Shlomo Avineri told The New York Times that while the tunnels constitute a “legitimate” concern, it’s “overshadowed by the fact that it’s been exaggerated, presented as a bit more than it is and working for the benefit of Netanyahu politically. Everything has to be deconstructed in terms of the election campaign.”

Saleh al-Naami, a specialist in Israeli affairs, was more assertive in his analysis, describing Netanyahu’s anti-tunnel operation as a “propaganda” stunt meant only to distract and divert attention from his failed covert operation in Gaza last month.

The politics of fear

Netanyahu has spent his entire public career weaponising the politics of fear. Whenever he faces headwinds in the polls, particularly as elections draw near, Netanyahu has used Palestinians, Iran, African migrants and Hezbollah as props in his effort to mobilise support for him and/or his government.

One only has to recall how he resorted to blatant and shameless race-baiting to pull off a come-from-behind victory in the 2015 election, as he warned: “Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves.”

When his Likud Party was hammered in the 1992 election, Netanyahu sought to consolidate his hold on the party by hyping up the threat of Iran, warning then that Tehran was “three to five years” away from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

This is who Netanyahu is - a cynical, opportunistic politician who profits by capitalising on the Israeli public’s innermost fears. With the next election around the corner, he sees a manufactured, phoney war with Hezbollah as a way out of his political mire.

fly bird (26)
Monday December 10, 2018, 8:34 pm
"It’s no coincidence that Netanyahu’s anti-tunnel operation was launched just two days after Israeli police recommended he be indicted for bribery, fraud and other charges."
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