Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

23 Tammuz 5766 - July 19, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Israel Seeks to Defeat Hizbullah

by M Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

Israel is seeking to deal a decisive defeat to Hizbullah and not just a strong blow. This is what is meant by Israeli officials who say that they seek to change the rules of the game in Lebanon.

As Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Halutz said, the ideology of Hizbullah cannot be wiped out through force of arms, but their capabilities as a fighting force can be destroyed.

For several years Hizbullah, as well reflected in the arrogant behavior of its leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, has felt that it is riding a wave of success that it attributes to the potency of its Islamic ideals. Israel seeks to thoroughly destroy Hizbullah and then to secure guarantees that it cannot rebuild. If successful, the defeat would be felt by Hamas and Iran and Syria as well as by Hizbullah. The dismantling or severe weakening of the Hizbullah Shiite militia would be a major blow against global terrorism. However Israeli analysts warn that if Hizbullah emerges intact as a fighting force — even due to world pressure — Israeli prestige and the global war on terrorism could suffer significant setbacks.

Israeli military leaders have said repeatedly that they need time to finish the job. So far it seems that they have it. Washington's position has not included any serious suggestion of pressure on Israel to stop, and even the Europeans mentioned prominently that Hizbullah was at fault for starting the hostilities. Members of the G-8 industrial nations meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, issued a joint communique Sunday that seemed to give Israel more time to act.

On Tuesday the IDF announced that it believed that close to half of Hizbullah's fighting capability had been destroyed in the six days of the IDF operations in Lebanon. Deputy IDF Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky said that the offensive against Hizbullah would reach its completion "in a matter of weeks." Later in the day IDF sources said that it could be as little as one more week.

The Jerusalem Post reported that there appears to be an anti-Hizbullah coalition spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. These three countries, and many individual Arab commentators and political analysts, are convinced that the leaders of Teheran and Damascus are using Hizbullah to divert attention from Iran's nuclear program and Syria's pressures from the West to curb its terror activities. Their displeasure with Hizbullah extends to Hamas, which is widely perceived as also being a client of Damascus and Teheran.

The Saudis were the first to publicly criticize Hizbullah by saying that people should distinguish between legitimate resistance and dangerous adventurism by some parties without cooperation from their governments and the Arab states. The fact that Israel has forced the Hizbullah leaders into hiding emboldened Egypt and Jordan to voice similar criticism. The Palestinians stand almost alone in their continued support of Hizbullah.

By nightfall Monday, 210 Lebanese had been reported killed.

Over 700 Katyusha rockets were fired by Hizbullah at Israel since July 13, 2006, killing 12 Israeli civilians and wounding over 300. In addition at more than six soldiers were killed. IDF aircraft have flown over 1,600 sorties, the IAF's unmanned aerial vehicles have logged approximately 250 hours of flight time in the skies over Lebanon and over 130 missile launch sites in Lebanon have been attacked.


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