Late last night, a soldier was killed, and 3 others wounded (one critically, one moderately and one lightly), as 2 IAF Apache combat helicopters on their way to Lebanon to assist IDF forces, collided and crashed south of
Kiryat Shmona. According to an initial investigation, the helicopters apparently made contact in mid-air. What seems to have been discounted is the idea that the crash was caused by Hizbullah fire.
The IAF struck approximately 40 targets in Lebanon overnight, including Hizbullah buildings, headquarters, rocket launching devices, access routes and bridges (in order to disrupt the terrorists’ movements in south Lebanon). The IDF also fired artillery shells at rocket launching sites along the Israel-Lebanon border.
On the southern front, IDF troops pulled out of a Gaza refugee camp in the early hours of today, after a two-day incursion in which at least 14 people were killed, most of them terrorists. Later on, Hamas terrorist Mohammed Harara, a woman, and 2 children, were killed after an explosion in Harara’s house. While palestinians claim it was an IDF shell, the IDF has yet to comment. The IDF had been operating a nearby neighborhood searching for tunnels and weapons.
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
5:50PM: That’s it from me for today. The Jewish Sabbath is approaching, and I will be offline for the next 24 hours.
I hope this is a peaceful Sabbath for my fellow Israelis in the north and in the south, as well as the brave young IDF men and women fighting the good fight. I also hope the innocent Lebanese civilians stay out of harm’s way, while the IDF attempts to free both of our countries from Hizbullah’s destructive influence.
My prayers are with all of you.
5:45PM: An IAF official has stated that we hit the Hizbullah rocket launcher that was launching rockets towards Haifa and caused the injuries of over 30 people. The launch site was located near Tyre, in southern Lebanon. We also hit 4 short-range Katyusha launch sites.
5:40PM: Ben Stein (hat tip: Dan):
So, now I see that some commentators are saying that Israel’s bombing of Lebanese Hezbollah strong points and neighborhoods is “disproportionate.” The Israeli campaign, so this story goes, is bullying and terrorizing the Lebanese populace, and this is (so the argument goes) typical Israeli thug behavior.
Let’s see. In World War II, the Germans bombed exactly no United States cities or towns. We bombed the hell out of them, day and night, for more than two years, including helping the British with firebombing Dresden, one of the most appalling civilian killings by a free people of all time.
Was it disproportionate? Well, no. The Nazis had bombed our allies, the British, in terror raids for years. They had started a world war. They had created a genocide unspeakable in human history. So, yes, there was horrible killing, but is anyone now saying it was disproportionate? Maybe a few, but not many.
The Japanese bombed exactly zero U.S. cities except for a few stray bombs on Honolulu. We firebombed every city we could find and used the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Was this disproportionate? No, because the Japanese had started a world war and caused unspeakable suffering through Asia and the Pacific. Bombing was what it took to end the war in both Europe and the Pacific.
Now, Israel is bombing Beirut. The Lebanese have been sheltering Hezbollah killers who have been rocketing and bombing Israel for ten years almost every day. The Lebanese have admitted the terrorists into dominant positions in their government. In every way, Lebanon has made itself a haven for terrorists bombing civilians day in and day out in Israel. Is Israel finally standing up and saying enough “disproportionate”? Yes, if you think Israel and Jews should be permanent victims who suffer, bleed, and die in silence the way the Nazis preferred. No, if you believe Jews have the same rights as other people to defend themselves.
Look, if the Israelis wanted to inflict a lot of casualties from the air, they could. They have the second best air force in the world. Clearly, they are showing restraint. Three hundred dead is a lot, and every human’s death is sad unless he’s a terrorist, but we were killing 30,000 in a few hours in World War II and glorying in it. No news shows were showing German civilians getting fried and saying how sad it was. It was war against butchers and war is horrible, but it’s war, and to defend human decency, sometimes war is necessary.
By any historic measure, Israel’s response to a decade of torment is extremely restrained — maybe too restrained. And it can stop any time the Hezbollah says they will use peaceful means to get their aims. I don’t hear them saying that. What I hear is a thousand Hezbollah rockets falling on exclusively civilian targets in Eretz Israel. There’s your answer about whether Israel’s response is disproportionate.
5:33PM: A new barrage of Katushas has hit the north, including Tiberias, and the Upper Galilee.
4:23PM: Here in Israel, we are using our nervous energy in different ways. For instance, my good friend Harry has decided to channel his into making this metal song.
3:53PM: The number of wounded from the Haifa attacks has climbed to 30.
3:50PM: Bill Maher:
..I have to say, watching George Bush talk about Israel the last week has reminded me of a feeling that I hadn’t felt in so long I forgot what it felt like: the feeling of pride when your president says what you want your president to say, especially in a matter that chokes you up a bit. I surrender my credentials as Bush exposer – from the very beginning – to no man, but on Israel, I love it that a U.S. president doesn’t pretend Arab-Israeli conflict is an even-steven proposition. Lots of ethnic peoples, probably most, have at one time or another lost some territory; nobody’s ever completely happy with their borders; people move and get moved, which is why the 20th century saw the movement of tens if not hundreds of millions of refugees in countries around the world. There was no entity of Arabs called “Palestine” before Israel made the desert bloom. If those 600,000 original Palestinian refugees had been handled with maturity by their Arab brethren, who had nothing but space to put them, they could have moved on — the way Germans, Czechs, Poles, Chinese and everybody else has, including, of course, the Jews.
But I digress. I really wanted to say that, for all those who accuse the likes of myself and the birthday girl of being unpatriotic, or hating America first, the feeling I’ve had watching Israel defend herself and a US president defend Israel (a country that is held to a standard for “restraint” that no other country ever is asked to meet, but that’s another story) just reminds me how wrong that is. I LOVE being on the side of my president, and mouthing “You go, boy” when he gets it right. He just, outside of this, almost never does
3:30PM: In my 12:10PM update, I surmised that most Australians are
not “getting it” when it comes to this war against Hizbullah. A couple of commenters (Chrisse and Seawitch) have suggested that many Australians do “get it.”
On that note, Aaron has posted some photos from some of the pro-Israel rallies around Australia. He also has this graphic, which should put things into perspective for my Australian readers.
3:10PM: A second barrage of Katushas has hit Haifa, with 1 rocket landing in Kiryat Yam, and the others landing in open areas. No injuries have been reported from this second attack, but the toll from the first attack is currently 19 injured.
2:45PM: According to the Berlin Zeitun newspaper, German and Russian intelligence services are in contact with Hamas and Hizbullah in a bid to win the freedom of the 3 captured IDF soldiers.
2:42PM: Latest word about the Haifa attacks: 17 wounded, 2 seriously
2:05PM: Fellow anglo-Israeli blogger Jameel has posted this photo of the would-be palestinian suicide bomber who was caught in the nick of time a few days ago.
Remember the chase for the suicide bomber on Wedneday around Kfar Sava and Hod HaSharon (near the mall) which I blobbed about? Here’s a picture of the would be bomber. Great work by Israel’s police, Shabak and IDF for catching this guy before blowing himself up, and possible causing a huge attack.
Talk about Freudian slips.
1:57PM: The IAF has been striking more targets in Lebanon, including Lebanon’s main road link to Syria, a bridge, and a Hizbullah stronghold in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.
1:52PM: Now it’s 6 people hurt, 2 seriously, in the Katusha attacks.
1:50PM: Pajamas Media:
Sky News reporter in a Haifa hote rooftop has to run for cover when Hezbollah rockets hit the city while he was broadcasting live. A few minutes later he is explanining what happened earlier and two more very load explosions are heard. Runs for cover again. Camera shows damage in buildings.
1:48PM: Katushas have rained down on Haifa, the Upper Galilee, and near Safed and Kiryat Shmona. One of the rockets scored a direct hit on a residential building. At least 2 people are seriously wounded in Haifa.
1:42PM: Arutz Sheva report that we killed 30-40 terrorists yesterday.
I am not sure where they obtained these figures, since Hizbullah never report on their casualties.
1:35PM: The pilot killed in the chopper crash last night: Major Ran Yehoshua Kochva, 37, of Beit Hanania.
1:08PM: Here are two important sites that have come to my attention:
Kidnapped Israel Soldiers – a petition concerning our three kidnapped soldiers. At this point there are almost 5,000 signatures from around the world.
Crisis in Israel – a clearing house for people needing things and those that are willing to donate.
Please visit these sites, and spread the word.
1:01PM: The IDF has begun calling up thousands of reserve soldiers “to reinforce IDF units operating in different areas and allow the standard forces to operate in the north.”
12:50PM: Here’s a little on 3 of the 4 soldiers killed yesterday afternoon.
Major Benji Hillman, 27 Only three weeks ago he married Ayala and moved to live with her in Maccabim-Reut.—-
One of his family friends said: “He was a man of great stature, he loved the army and planned a military career, ‘salt of the earth.’ There are not many people like him, this is an absolute disaster that something like this happens only three weeks after we all saw him so happy at his wedding.”
Nadav Balua, 21
Nadav celebrated his 21st birthday two weeks ago, and his parents went to visit him at his base, after he had not been home for three weeks.
His aunt, Irit Ben Hamo, said in tear that Nadav (Nadi, as his family members called him) insisted on joining a top quality commando unit, rather than being a simple soldier.
“He was not one of those who evade their duties. He said he wanted to defend his home. He told his mother ‘I will defend you.’ The mother objected because she didn‚Äôt want him to be far away from her, but one bright day he told her, ‘mother, I have been accepted to the commando unit.’ She called me that day and told me she has a bad feeling about the future.”—-
“He was a man, always lent a hand first. Our Nadav is coming home today for the last time in a coffin. He is a soul, a flower. He is a child picked in his youth,” she said.—-
“Every mother would want such a child, every woman would want such a groom. He insisted on going to the combat unit and would come home with blood on his legs. His mother would tell him, ‘you are too gentle for such a combat unit,’ but he would dip his feet in iodine and return to the unit on weekends,” she said.
Staff Sergeant Rafanel Muskal, 21
Staff Sergeant Refanel Muskal (Fani), 21, from Mazkeret Batya, studied at the religious high school “Amit” in Rehovot. He played basketball in the local Mazkeret Batya team, and before he was inducted to the army he studied for a year at the military preparatory program in the Golan Height’s Keshet community.
Rafanel was scheduled to be released from the army on August 2007. His high school friends said that he loved the country, loved to hike and made many friends throughout the years.
12:38PM: Regarding my 11:12AM update, a UN officer says that the observation post was hit by an IDF shell, not a Hizbullah rocket. Didn’t I tell you that they would blame Israel?
12:35PM: For those of you who are clinging to the misconception that Hizbullah are “resistance fighters,” whose objectives are to have some prisoners released from Israeli jails, and an Israeli withdrawal from the Shebaa farms area (notwithstanding the fact that Israel fully complied with UN resolution 1559), allow me to draw your attention to Hizbullah’s real objectives.
In a scathing speech to a rally of more than 1,000 supporters, Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said peace deals between Arabs and Israel would not bring stability to the Middle East or legitimacy to the Jewish state.
“There is no solution to the conflict in this region except with the disappearance of Israel,” he told the crowd. “Peace settlements will not change reality, which is that Israel is the enemy and that it will never be a neighbor or a nation.
With views like those, it is hardly surprising that they are Iran’s proxy in Lebanon.
Now how would you expect Israel to react to such an enemy, an enemy against peace, avowed to our destruction, and who started attacking our cities with rockets?
12:10PM: Here’s a great editorial from The Australian:
Editorial: Self-defence is a universal right
July 20, 2006
Israel’s critics are too often guilty of selective outrage
THE tyranny of distance still afflicts Australia, or at least certain segments of the Australian commentariat. For from a distance of nearly 15,000km, many local media outlets look at the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and see a decidedly one-sided affair. Last week, The Sydney Morning Herald headlined a front-page story declaring Lebanon “UNDER SIEGE” by what its correspondent called “Israeli attacks causing soaring civilian death tolls in Gaza and Lebanon”, setting the tone for the paper’s coverage of the conflict. Meanwhile, at the ABC on Tuesday night, Tony Jones badgered former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak over Israel’s refusal to call a ceasefire, while the UK Independent’s Robert Fisk regularly rants against Israel on the nation’s broadcaster. Yet the closer one gets to the front lines, the less Israel cops the blame. In the Middle East, the normally anti-Israeli Saudi Arabian Government has said Hezbollah bears “full responsibility for . . . ending the crisis”. In Lebanon, there is even more support for Israel’s actions. On Tuesday night’s 7:30 Report, of all places, several Lebanese officials placed blame for the current conflict on Hezbollah ‚Äì not Israel. The question that comes to mind, then, is whether those who effectively suggest Israel should meekly accept its neighbours’ attacks actually support the Jewish state’s right to exist?
It’s a legitimate question. Certainly Israel should not be immune to criticism. But if Israel’s right to exist is accepted, then the exercise of its corresponding right to protect itself should not be treated with such outrage. Since Israel pulled out of Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah has become more powerful in southern Lebanon, thanks to its friends in Iran and Syria. During this time it has also subjected Israel to regular harassment ‚Äì even as Israel has, until the kidnapping of two of its soldiers last week, been restrained in retaliation. One wonders how those who criticise Israel’s response to Hezbollah would urge the Howard Government to respond were a foreign enemy seizing cops and dropping artillery shells into Balmain in Sydney or Fitzroy in Melbourne. Those who condemn images of Israeli girls writing messages on artillery shells are rarely if ever heard denouncing the relentless propaganda that brainwashes Palestinian children to hate their Jewish neighbours and celebrate the deeds of suicide bombers. Meanwhile, the ancient idea of proportionate response has lately become a rhetorical cudgel for those who would hobble Israel. Yet in taking the possibility of overwhelming retaliation off the table, the doctrine encourages bad behaviour on the part of Israel’s enemies who know they would never be called to account.
In retaliating against Lebanon and evicting that country’s Shia interlopers, Israel is simply behaving as a rational actor. And in doing so it strikes a blow for the principle that all states should be treated similarly. This is the only way forward for Israel in dealing with the Palestinians: if Hamas wants to be recognised as the legitimate government of the Palestinian people, then the world should go along with this and no longer accept “rogue state” claims that Qassam rockets and suicide terrorist missions launched from its territory are not its responsibility. Violent internal politics or historic grievances about dispossession and occupation do not excuse bad behaviour. The situation is still fluid in the Middle East. And any attack on Tel Aviv by Hezbollah would radically change the equation. But the quick defeat of Hezbollah ‚Äì and by extension its mad backers in Tehran ‚Äì would not just be a win for Israel but for Lebanon and the region as well.
I hope Australians start understanding this. Because although Australia is an ally in the war on terror, I get the feeling most Australians are not “getting it” when it comes to this war against Hizbullah. And I think this is borne out from these vote results, courtesy of the Sunday program in Australia.
16 July: Do you agree with Israel’s attack on Lebanon?
Yes – 19%
No – 81%
11:12AM: An army spokesperson has stated that a barrage of Hizbullah-fired rockets aimed at northern Israel fell short of their targets…and struck a UN observation post near Zarit. It is not clear if the post was occupied at the time. Either way, I am waiting for the UN to condemn Israel for this attack.
10:32AM: Another reason that it is hard to get at the Hizbullah terrorists: the network of underground bunkers. Imshin draws our attention to some photos of these bunkers. As she notes, these bunkers went down 5 meters into the ground, housed weapons, connected to an underground structure, and were camouflaged in the bushes.
10:22AM: An IDF officer explains yesterday’s fighting with Hizbullah terrorists in the Lebanese village of Maroun al-Ras.
The entire village, it turned out, had become a Hizbullah stronghold. Bunkers were built, as well as positions.
“They turned the population there into a bulletproof vest,” the officer said.
“Unfortunately, in this war, we will have more injuries and people killed. We can’t promise otherwise. We’ll be sorry for whoever get hit, but there will be more. We already expect it. We have a strong army that must fight this terror organization, which threatens the security of Israel,” he said.
Hizbullah are clearly hiding behind civilians, making it very difficult for Israel to get to the terrorists. This increases the risk to Lebanese civilians and IDF soldiers alike.
10:15AM: According to the London-based al-Hayat newspaper, palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stated – following a meeting with Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin – that Israel will be releasing a large number of prisoners in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit.
10:08AM: Regarding the drop in the number of Katushas fired at Israel, the IDF were “hard pressed to explain the reason.” Besides my wishful thinking of the previous update, other possible reasons include:
10:02AM:It bears mentioning that no Katushas were fired at Israel overnight. I hope this points to the fact that we have struck many of their rocket launchers, and reduced their Katusha stockpile.
9:57AM:Yesterday, over 50 rockets launched by Hizbullah landed in Israel. This brings the total of Katusha rockets landing in Israel in the past week to 900 rockets (via an IDF Spokesperson press release)
8:35AM: The IAF are resuming strikes in Lebanon, and have warned civilians to flee.
About the AuthorAn Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder of Israellycool, happy family man, and lover of Australian sports and girlie drinks
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