Didn't take long for Hezbollah to act like the scum they are and fire at a Israeli tank, so ending the 48 hour suspension of hostilities:
QANA, Lebanon – Israeli warplanes carried out strikes in southern Lebanon on Monday, hours after agreeing to temporarily halt air raids while investigating a bombing that killed at least 56 Lebanese civilians, mostly women and children seeking shelter. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said there will be no cease-fire, adding that "srael is continuing to fight."[…]But Israel left open the option of striking targets to stop imminent attacks or if the military completed its inquiry. After Hezbollah guerrillas hit an Israeli tank near the village of Taibeh with an anti-tank missile, Israel said, the army carried out the airstrikes to protect ground troops.
AP Television News footage showed two Israeli tanks side by side in southern Lebanon, with flames suddenly covering one of them. Soldiers emerged from one tank and did not appear to be badly hurt.[…]Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Israel plans to "expand and strengthen" its attack on Hezbollah, diminishing hopes that the 48-hour airstrike halt could become a longer cease-fire. […]In Washington, President Bush stuck to his position that any cease-fire be accompanied by a wider agreement addressing the root causes of the fighting, such as Hezbollah's control of southern Lebanon, and Iran and yria's influence in Lebanon.
I was worried there for a moment, guess I shouldn't of been. Israel understands you don't give the enemy time to breath.
It was to be a perfect Hollywood ending for Hezbollah. Just as the Israeli bombing of the village of Qana in 1996 brought a premature end to Israel’s Operation “Grapes of Wrath,” so too a sequel of Qana II could change, once and for all, the direction of Israel’s current summer blockbuster, “Change of Direction.” Ten years ago, world condemnation of an errant Israeli shell that hit a civilian compound forced then-PM Shimon Peres to curtail the offensive against terror bases.
The setting was also perfect: Kana was again being used as a primary site for launching rockets against Israeli cities. The IDF reported that more than 150 rockets had been launched from Qana and its vicinity at Israeli civilians, wreaking destruction in Kiryat Shmona, Maalot, Nahariya and Haifa. It was only a matter of time before the Israeli Air Force would come for a visit, using pinpoint targeting of the sites used to launch rockets, Hezbollah logistical centers and weapon storage facilities.
On the morning of July 30, according to the IDF, the air force came in three waves. In the first, between midnight and one in the morning, there was a strike at or near the building that eventually collapsed. There was a second strike at other targets far from the collapse building several hours later, and a third strike at around 7:30 in the morning. There too the nearest hit was some 460 meters away, according to the IDF. But first reports of a building collapse came only around 8 am.
Thus there was an unexplained 7 to 8 hour gap between the time of the helicopter strike and the building collapse. Brigadier General Amir Eshel, Head of the Air Force Headquarters, in a press briefing, told journalists that “the attack on the structure in the Qana village took place between midnight and one in the morning. The gap between the timing of the collapse of the building and the time of the strike on it is unclear.”
Gen. Eshel appeared genuinely mystified by the gap in time. He “I’m saying this very carefully, because at this time I don’t have a clue as to what the explanation could be for this gap,” he added.
The army’s only explanation was that somehow there was unexploded Hezbollah ordnance in the building that only detonated much later.
“It could be that inside the building, things that could eventually cause an explosion were being housed, things that we could not blow up in the attack, and maybe remained there, Brigadier General Eshel said.
Eshel reported that as recently as two days ago, military intelligence reported the building area had been used by the terrorists for storage or firing of weapons. It was a bad place to cram dozens of women and children.
There are other mysteries. The roof of the building was intact. Journalist Ben Wedeman of CNN noted that there was a larger crater next to the building, but observed that the building appeared not to have collapsed as a result of the Israeli strike.
Why would the civilians who had supposedly taken shelter in the basement of the building not leave after the post-midnight attack? They just went back to sleep and had the bad luck to wait for the building to collapse in the morning?
National Public Radio’s correspondent reported that residents of that building had left and the victims were non-residents who chose to shelter in the building that night. They were “too poor” to leave the down, one resident told CNN’s Wedeman. Who were these people?
What we do know is that sometime after dawn a call went hour to journalists and rescue workers to come to the scene. And come they did, in droves.
While Hezbollah and its apologists have been claiming that civilians could not freely flee the scene due to Israeli destruction of bridges and roads, the journalists and rescue teams from nearby Tyre had no problem getting there.
Lebanese rescue teams did not start evacuating the building until the morning and only after the camera crews came. The absence of a real rescue effort was explained by saying that equipment was lacking. There were no scenes of live or injured people being extracted.
There was little blood, CNN’s Wedeman noted: all the victims, he concluded, appeared to have died while as they were sleeping — sleeping, apparently, through thunderous Israeli air attacks. Rescue workers equipped with cameras were removing the bodies from the same opening in the collapsed structure. Journalists were not allowed near the collapsed building.
Rescue workers filmed as they went carried the victims on the stretchers, occasionally flipping up the blankets so that cameras could show the faces and bodies of the dead.
But Israelis steeled to scenes of carnage from Palestinian suicide bombings and Hezbollah rocket attack could not help but notice that these victims did not look like our victims. Their faces were ashen gray. Their limbs appeared to have stiffened, from rigor mortis. Neither were effects that would have resulted from an Israeli attack hours before. These were bodies that looked like they had been dead for days.
Viewers can judge for themselves. But the accumulating evidence suggests another explanation for what happened at Kana. The scenario would be a setup in which the time between the initial Israeli bombing near the building and morning reports of its collapse would have been used to “plant” bodies killed in previous fighting — reports in previous days indicated that nearby Tyre was used as a temporary morgue — place them in the basement, and then engineer a “controlled demolition” to fake another Israeli attack.
Also you have to check out EU Referendum for a great analysis of the photo montage set-up by Hezbollah for this staged event…
An interesting tidbit:
After repeated Israeli efforts to destroy Hizbullah’s al-Manar television station have failed, an IDF intelligence unit succeeded this week in hacking the station’s live broadcasts, planting Israeli PR messages in the transmissions..
The al-Manar channel regularly airs juicy propaganda against Israel, including reports of “heroic” and “successful” operations by Hizbullah fighters against IDF special forces.
However, this weekend the IDF prepared a surprise for the Lebanese and Arab viewers of the channel: The broadcast was interrupted and caricatures of Nasrallah appeared on the screen, accompanied by captions reading: “Your days are numbered” and “Nasrallah, your time is up. Soon you won’t be with us anymore.”
Additionally, Hizbullah and al-Manar internet sites also received “special treatment” by Israeli technical specialists, and several were erased from the internet
I love it…”your days are numbered”
UPDATE II 1145hrs PST
Here Israel said that Hezbollah has seen it’s inventory of rocket launchers severly crippled:
The IDF assessed on Monday that Hizbullah’s rocket launching capability was significantly compromised by the fighting that took place in the past three weeks.
It was estimated that, while the organization still has hundreds of rockets with a sufficient range to reach Afula and Haifa, there were only a number of launchers remaining with launching capability.
The Hizbullah still had several Zilzal rockets left that could reach central Israel, Army Radio reported.
In the course of the fighting, the IDF asserted that it had killed some 200 Hizbullah operatives. Though most of the names were not released, one of the more prominent targets hit was Jihad Atiya, who was said to be responsible for the killing and kidnapping of IDF soldiers Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Sueid in 2000.
Meanwhile, it was released for publication that an IAF UAV bombed a truck the previous night that had traveled from Syria into Lebanon on the border between the two countries.
The driver of the truck was wounded, as well as four additional Lebanese customs workers.
Israel had declared a cessation in IAF action, but reserved the right to attack in the case of immediate threat.
It was unclear what the truck was carrying.
You can bet that the truck was carrying a few more rockets and launchers.
UPDATE III 1530hrs PST
Surprise surprise, Syria is starting it’s drumbeats:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the Syrian military on Monday to raise its readiness, pledging not to abandon support for Lebanese resistance against Israel.
“We are facing international circumstances and regional challenges that require caution, alert, readiness and preparedness,” Assad said.
“The barbaric war of annihilation the Israeli aggression is waging on our people in Lebanon and Palestine is increasing in ferocity,” Assad said in a written address on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the foundation of the Syria Arab Army.
UPDATE IV 1535hrs PST
Check out this editorial by Jonathan Ariel in which he states that this war could finish off Radical Islam:
July 31, 2006 The current Mid-East crisis offers a unique opportunity to achieve what the invasion of Iraq failed to accomplish, the defeat of fanatical Islamism, and the accompanying creation of a new regional strategic status quo.
The current war between Israel and Hezbullah, which has been raging for the past 15 days, is, in reality an Israel – Iran war, the first war between Israel and a non Arab state. It is also the first war in which Israel is not fighting a national entity. Israel’s previous wars, were either against one or several Arab states, the Palestinians or a combination of both, all national entities.
This time the motivation for the conflict is not a conflict between national entities over control of territory, but a religious outlook and ideology, radical fundamentalist Islamism. This is an ideology that, by its very nature cannot accept the existence of any nonâ€“Islamic sovereignty in any territory which used to be under Islamic rule, what is called Dar al Islam.[…]The last time it was against the Mufti, this time it is against Hezbullah, a proxy of Iran and the Shiite terrorist movement of global Jihad, (its Sunni counterpart, and sometime ally is Al Qaeda). This means that this war is another theater of the current world war raging between the USA, the vanguard of a political system and ideology called Western Democracy, and the forces of an opposing political ideology, that of Islamic Jihad.
It is also the first war between Israel and Iran, in that for the first time the belligerent party that initiated war against Israel is an Iranian proxy, and did so at the specific behest of Iran, in order to assist the Iranian agenda of replacing its clandestine rogue nuclear program as the focus of international diplomacy.
The outcome of this war will therefore determine what goes on far beyond our borders.[…]Israel and the US, the only two countries with both the acumen to comprehend the Islamist threat to humanity and the willpower to openly confront the Islamist axis, are actively fighting a war against it at the same time. So far however, these two allies have refrained from creating a coordinated and synchronized alliance.
It’s time to change that. The first step is to recognize the current war for what it is, the latest theatre in an ongoing religious war between two inherently incompatible visions. On the one side, what can be best described as a Judeo-Christian alliance that promotes the core western values of democracy, freedom and individual rights. Lined up against it is an Islamist-fascist axis whose prime values are Jihad, dictatorial theocracy and the utter subservience of the individual to the state and its religion.
The next step is to coordinate tactics and strategy. The most logical move would be an Israel offensive against Syria, which has already created a casus belli by continuing to supply Iranian arms to Hezbullah while the war rages. Israel risks relatively little in such a move.
Militarily Syria is no match for Israel. The IDF would probably have an easier time fighting a regular army with state of the art 1990s equipment, than an irregular guerrilla force like Hezbullah. All Syria could do is launch missiles at Tel Aviv.[…]As soon as Israel started dealing with Syria, Damascus would run to Iran to come to its defense, as it committed to doing under the mutual defense pact the two countries have signed. Iran’s military capabilities are no match for Israel’s. Its air, ground and sea forces are all technologically inferior to Israel’s, and its access to Syria is blocked by the US forces in Iraq, which could eliminate the Iranian military, including the 175,000 Pasderan (Revolutionary Guards), the regime’s SS, loyal not to the country but solely to the Islamic regime.
Bottom line, all Iran could do is to launch missiles at Israel’s cities, and try and carry out terror attacks. If there is one thing history has shown, it is that such methods do not win wars. The ayatollahs of Teheran would then be between a rock and a hard place. If they choose to renege on their pledge to Syria, they risk losing their sole ally, and making a conspicuous show of weakness.
Fascist regimes cannot easily afford to show that kind of weakness. If they choose to come to Syria’s aid by launching missiles at Israel, the US and Israel would have the justification they need to attack Iran, and destroy its military capabilities, economy and nuclear program until either the regime surrenders, or an angry populace fed up with the Islamo- fascist regime that has misruled the country for so long, oppressing and impoverishing the population, rises up in anger.[…]The end result would be moderate economic damage, and perhaps 100 civilian casualties. It may sound cold blooded, but we can afford such casualties, which would be less than what we sustained in any of our wars (for the record, in 1948 we lost 6,000, 1% of the entire population, and in 1967 and 1973 we lost respectively 1,000 and 3,000 casualties).
The gains, however, would be enormous. First and foremost, the elimination of the Iran nuclear threat, which is the most dangerous existential threat Israel has faced since 1948. It would mark the first major reverse suffered by the ayatollahs, changing the momentum and probably the course of history, which until now has been in their favor.
With the specter of radical Islam gone, the Israel – Palestine conflict would reverse to its natural proportions, a territorial conflict between two nations, solvable, or at least manageable by the implementation of a “two states for the two nations” solution.
At best it would be solved, at worst it would be the geo-political equivalent of a chronic disease, a nuisance, unpleasant, but something one can live with.
This fight has been postponed for too long. The War against Terror was joined on 9/11, and now it’s time to finally face this enemy instead of lobbing a few missiles at it.
UPDATE V 1800hrs PST
The Israeli Security Cabinet has approved widening the war, and it’s about time:
Israel’s Security Cabinet approved early Tuesday widening the ground offensive in Lebanon and rejected a cease-fire until an international force is in place, a participant in the meeting said.
Airstrikes in Lebanon would resume “in full force” after the 48-hour suspension expires in another day, said the participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. He said there was no deadline for the offensive, though the United Nations Security Council is expected to debate a resolution this week about a cease-fire.[…]Thousands of army reserves have been called up in recent days in advance of the decision, which is expected to lead to sending more troops into the border area. Israeli leaders have said they want to carve out a zone about 1 mile wide that would be free of Hezbollah emplacements.
Israeli forces have been operating in two segments of south Lebanon, sweeping through villages, fighting Hezbollah gunmen and leaving considerable destruction behind.
The participant said the international force must have the ability to intervene with force if necessary to keep Hezbollah guerrillas from returning to the border area.
After the staging of a massacre by Hezbollah the other day plus the fact that there is news Hezbollah has lost most of it’s rocket launchers, Israel understands they are getting close to demolishing this terrorist group. They cannot let up until they have brought them to their knee’s.
Additionally it looks like France is going to try to get Iran to reign in the terrorist group:
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, whose country is a main backer of Hezbollah, met his French counterpart in Beirut on Monday for talks on resolving the crisis in Lebanon.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said earlier on Monday in Beirut it was important to maintain contacts with Tehran as part of efforts to resolve the crisis in Lebanon, where Hezbollah and Israel have been at war for nearly three weeks.
All well and good, but check out what the Foreign Minister said next:
“In the region there is of course a country such as Iran – a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region,” he told a news conference.
You can always count on the French to make an ass out of themselves.
UPDATE VI 2015hrs PST
EU Referendum has posted an important fact. Recall the pictures of the Qana tragedy over the last few days. Every single one of them had this “rescuer” with a green helmet. (h/t Hot Air)
Now take a look at this picture from 1996 at the same place after Israel struck the apartment building
Same man? Sure looks like it…and if you checked EU Referendums earlier post this guy was all over the place staging this “massacre”….
Riehl World View also caught the fact that in all the pictures all the men are covered by a sheet while making sure all the women and children are uncovered:
They certainly seem to be going to a lot of trouble to cover up what looks like a number of adult males, most likely Hezbollah fighters, while making sure that images of any children or women killed in Qana are fully exposed.