UPDATE UNIFIL complicit in Lebanese ambush?
An Israeli soldier was killed, and another wounded, by Lebanese army forces in an apparently pre-planned provocation.
An opinion piece by Well respected journalist Richard Landes said today that:
"Most baffling, and as yet unanswered in military briefings or media coverage is the role of UNIFIL in all of this. UNIFIL has confirmed that the Israeli activity was coordinated with them, that the Lebanese army was aware of the activity, that the IDF was within Israeli territory: there was no reason for the Lebanese to open fire. So from here the questions abound.
It is clear from the photographs and videos issued by international news agencies very quickly after the clash that the incident was prepared for and staged. Photographs and footage was prepared to be sent out within minutes before the truth surfaced, leaving an indelible media impression. It is also clear from the photographs that as the scene unfolds, until seconds before the actual firing takes place, the UNIFIL forces were relaxed and at ease with the snipers and RPG gunners taking careful aim at the Israelis. Then something strange happens. A video shown on Israeli TV, taken and directly translated to Hebrew from Lebanese footage gives the Lebanese version. From about 5 seconds into the video, UNIFIL soldiers start waving and shouting at the Israelis to “stop”, “stop everything”, “get down” and “go back”. Were they staging a show for the cameras? Given that UNIFIL knew that the IDF was in Israeli territory and that there was no reason for the Lebanese to fire, why did they shout at the Israelis to stop? Wouldn’t it have been their job to uphold UN resolutions and tell the Lebanese to hold their fire?
So once again, we seem to have UN complicity in an attempt to blacken Israel. UNRWA, UNIFIL, the UNHRA, the Goldstone report, the list goes on. Every opportunity and every agency of the UN is complicit in the delegitimization of Israel. One has to wonder whether, in this environment, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will reconsider cooperating with the proposed UN inquiry into the flotilla incident.
Two IDF commanders were gravely hurt Tuesday during exchanges of fire between Israeli and Lebanese forces on the northern border, the IDF Northern Command chief told reporters Tuesday.
Speaking at a press briefing, Major General Gadi Eisenkot said Israeli troops encountered a "planned ambush" by Lebanese forces
debkafile's military sources report indications in Beirut and Jerusalem that, despite UNIFIL's call on both sides to exercise "maximum restraint," the incident which flared at 12:30 p.m. may not be over.
On the Israeli side, helicopters, tanks and artillery are in action and all Lebanese units in the south have gone on full alert since President Michel Suleiman, at two p.m. called on the Lebanese people to be prepared to lay down their lives to defend their country and UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which terminated the 2006 war with Israel.
In Jerusalem, Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu urgently consulted with security chiefs on Israel's response to what it sees as Lebanese aggression. The possibility that the Lebanese soldiers who began the shooting were Hizballah gunmen disguised in military uniform is under investigation.
The incident flared when they ordered Israeli troops to stop installing a surveillance camera on the border fence near Kibbutz Misgav-Am opposite the Lebanese village of Adeisseh village. They accused the Israeli soldiers of encroaching on Lebanese territory. When the Israelis replied they had kept to their own side of the border and refused to back down, the Lebanese started shooting.
According to debkafile's military sources, the clash was staged deliberately by the Lebanese side to divert attention from the radical change in the balance of power in Beirut as a result of President Bashar Assad's abrupt switch of patronage from Hizballah's Hassan Nasrallah to Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri.
To read debkafile's earlier article on the events leading up to this outbreak, click here.
It coincided with a 'major speech' expected later Tuesday by Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iranian-backed Hizballah, and came a day after six missiles were fired towards the Jordanian port of Aqaba and Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, killing one Jordanian.
By JPOST.COM STAFF
It has been reported that at least three Lebanese soldiers were killed in the clashes that erupted between the IDF and LAF at the northern border Tuesday.
The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that there were harsh violations of Resolution 1701 in reaction to exchanges of fire between the IDF and Lebanese army forces on the Lebanese border. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed Israel's UN representative to submit a complaint UN secretary general and security council.
Lieberman said that Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for the very serious incident.
n a statement, the Israeli government blamed Lebanon for provoking the clash, saying it took a particularly grave view of the action as IDF soldiers had been working in complete coordination with UN peacekeepers.
"Israel sees this incident as a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701, one of a long line of violations, first of which is the massive arming of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon," the statement read. "Israel views the government of Lebanon as responsible for this grave event and warns of possible consequences if these violations continue."
Also on Tuesday there were reports that a Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon struck the northern Galilee - but police dispatched to the area could find no trace of an impact.
Residents living close to border reported hearing several loud explosions.
Aharon Valensi, head of the Upper Galilee Regional Council, told television news that residents of the area had been told to take cover in bomb shelters.
"We're ready," he said. "The IDF prepared us for situations like this and we just hope that it is only a localized incident."
Israeli military engineering units maintain a security fence along the border with southern Lebanon. The region has traditionally been a stronghold for Hezbollah but regular Lebanese troops returned to the area in 2006 following Israel's summer war with the Shi'a militant group.
A 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force, UNIFIL, is also deployed in the area.
Following news of the incident, UNIFIL issued a statement calling on both armies to show "maximum restraint" and prevent an escalation of hostilities.
Tuesday's clash follows rocket attacks on Monday on the southern city of Eilat and neighboring Aqaba in Jordan, in which a Jordanian citizen was killed and five others were injured.
According to Israeli sources Lebanese army started firing on Israeli forces on the border and it turned into a major skirmish. At least three Lebanese soldiers are known dead and a Lebanese journalist t died of his wounds.
Ynet reports: Explosions rock northern border Tuesday as IDF clashes with Lebanese forces; three Lebanese troops, journalist said to killed; Northern residents in Israel report major blasts, UNIFIL urges both sides to show restraint.
Jpost reports that, “Exchange of fire between IDF and Lebanese troops prompts both Israel and Lebanon to cite violations of UN resolution 1701; FM submits complaint to UN; says Lebanese gov’t is responsible.”
Most Recommended Comment
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel