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Liveblogging the War: Tuesday July 25th

The IAF struck 36 Hizbullah targets overnight, including rocket launchers and Hizbullah structures. And Hizbullah resumed firing Katushas this morning, with no injuries and one Israeli man suffering shock.

 

The circumstances behind yesterday’s chopper crash are still unclear, but the IDF is examining the possibility that the helicopter was accidentally shot down by IDF fire. If this is the case, this would not be the first incident of “friendly fire.” For instance, yesterday a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) opened fire on Israeli ground troops.

 

On the southern front, in Rafah, the IDF launched an aerial attack on an Islamic Jihad arms warehouse, and attacked a structure in which Hamas manufactured weapons.

 

In Nablus, IDF forces apprehended 12 wanted terrorists, among them members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and Fatah. This was not before terrorists opened fire at the soldiers. And in Ramallah, soldiers found 20 Kalashnikov rifle bullets.

 

Meanwhile, in a flying pig moment, the UN humanitarian chief accused Hizbullah of “cowardly blending” among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds. Sure, he also called Israel’s offensive “disproportionate” and “a violation of international humanitarian law,” but that is to be expected.

 

On the diplomatic front, this morning Prime Minister Olmert is expected to present US Secretary of State Rice with Israel’s conditions for a cease-fire in the north (implementation of Resolution 1559, which calls for Hizbullah’s disarmament and the deployment of the Lebanese Army in the south of the country). He is also expected to tell her that Israel will not object to a strong international force stationed in south Lebanon for an interim period.

 

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

 

Wednesday updates here.


11:38PM: The IDF have surrounded the Mukata compound of the PA in Ramallah in an effort to arrest terrorists holed up there.

Deja vu anyone?

11:23PM: Here’s a great piece by Mark Steyn in The Australian:

Mark Steyn: If only they had refused to indulge Arafat

A few years back, when folks talked airily about “the Middle East peace process” and “a two-state solution”, I used to say that the trouble was the Palestinians saw a two-state solution as an interim stage en route to a one-state solution. I underestimated Islamist depravity. As we now see in Gaza and southern Lebanon, any two-state solution would be an interim stage en route to a no-state solution.

In one of the most admirably straightforward of Islamist declarations, Hussein Massawi, the Hezbollah leader behind the slaughter of US and French forces 20 years ago, put it this way: “We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.”

Swell. But suppose he got his way, what then? Suppose every last Jew in Israel were dead or fled, what would rise in place of the Zionist entity? It would be something like the Hamas-Hezbollah terror squats in Gaza and Lebanon writ large. Hamas won a landslide in the Palestinian elections, and Hezbollah similarly won formal control of key Lebanese cabinet ministries. But they’re not Mussolini: they have no interest in making the trains run on time. And, to be honest, who can blame them?

If you’re a big-time terrorist mastermind, it’s frankly a bit of a bore to find yourself deputy under-secretary at the ministry of pensions, particularly when you’re no good at it, and no matter how lavishly the European Union throws money at you, there never seems to be any in the kitty when it comes to making the payroll. So, like a business that has over-diversified, Hamas and Hezbollah retreated to their core activity: Jew-killing.

In Causeries du Lundi, Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve recalls a Parisian dramatist watching the revolutionary mob rampaging through the street below and beaming: “See my pageant passing!” That’s how opportunist Arabs and indulgent Europeans looked on the intifada and the terrorists and the schoolgirl suicide bombers: as a kind of uber-authentic piece of performance art with which to torment the Jews and the Americans. They never paused to ask themselves: Hey, what if it doesn’t stop there?

Well, about 30 years too late, they’re asking it now. For the first quarter-century of Israel’s existence, the Arab states fought more or less conventional wars against the Zionists and kept losing. So then they figured it was easier to anoint a terrorist movement and in 1974 declared Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation to be the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”, which is quite a claim for an organisation then barely a decade old. Amazingly, the Arab League persuaded the UN, the EU, Bill Clinton and everyone else to go along with it and to treat the old monster as a head of state who lacked only a state to head.

It’s true that many nationalist movements have found it convenient to adopt the guise of terrorists.

But, as the Palestinian movement descended from airline hijackings to the intifada to self-detonating in pizza parlours, it never occurred to its glamorous patrons to wonder if maybe this was, in fact, a terrorist movement conveniently adopting the guise of nationalism.

In 1971, in the lobby of the Cairo Sheraton, Palestinian terrorists shot Wasfi al-Tal, the prime minister of Jordan, at point-blank range. As he fell to the floor dying, one of his killers began drinking the blood gushing from his wounds. Doesn’t that strike you as a little, um, overwrought? Three decades later, when bombs went off in Bali, killing hundreds of tourists plus local waiters and barmen, Bruce Haigh, a former Aussie diplomat in Indonesia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, had no doubt where to put the blame. As he told Australia’s Nine Network: “The root cause of this issue has been America’s backing of Israel on Palestine.”

Suppose this were true: that terrorists blew up Australian honeymooners and Scandinavian stoners in Balinese nightclubs because of “the Palestinian question”. Doesn’t this suggest that these people are, at a certain level, nuts? After all, there are plenty of Irish Republican Army sympathisers across the world (try making the Ulster Unionist case in a Boston bar), yet they never thought to protest against British rule in Northern Ireland by blowing up, say, German tourists in Thailand.

Yet the more the thin skein of Palestinian grievance was stretched to justify atrocities halfway around the world, the more the Arab League big-shot emirs and EU foreign ministers looked down from their windows and cooed, “See my parade passing!”

They’ve now belatedly realised they’re at that stage in the creature feature where the monster has mutated into something bigger and crazier. Until the remarkably kinda-robust statement by the Group of Eight and the unprecedented denunciation of Hezbollah by the Arab League, the rule in any conflict in which Israel is involved – Israel v PLO, Israel v Lebanon, Israel v (Your Team Here) – is that the Jews are to blame. But Saudi-Egyptian-Jordanian opportunism on Palestine has caught up with them: it has finally dawned on them that a strategy of consciously avoiding resolution of the Palestinian question has helped deliver Gaza and Lebanon and Syria into the hands of a regime that’s a far bigger threat to the Arab world than the Zionist entity.

Cairo and co grew so accustomed to whining about the Palestinian pseudo-crisis decade in, decade out, that it never occurred to them that they might face a real crisis one day: a Middle East dominated by an apocalyptic Iran and its local enforcers, in which Arab self-rule turns out to have been a mere interlude between the Ottoman sultans and the eternal eclipse of a Persian nuclear umbrella.

The Zionists got out of Gaza and it’s now Talibanistan redux. The Zionists got out of Lebanon and the most powerful force in the country (with an ever-growing demographic advantage) are Iran’s Shia enforcers. There haven’t been any Zionists anywhere near Damascus in 60 years and Syria is in effect Iran’s first Sunni Arab prison bitch. For the other regimes in the region, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria are dead states that have risen as vampires.

Meanwhile, Kofi Annan in a remarkable display of urgency (at least when compared with Sudan, Rwanda, Congo and others) is proposing apropos Israel and Hezbollah that UN peacekeepers go in to keep the peace not between two sovereign states but between a sovereign state and a usurper terrorist gang. Contemptible as he is, the secretary-general shows a shrewd understanding of the way the world is heading: already, non-state actors have more sophisticated rocketry than many EU nations; and if Iran has its way, its proxies will be implied nuclear powers. Maybe we should put them on the UN Security Council.

So, what is in reality Israel’s first non-Arab war is a glimpse of the world the day after tomorrow: the EU and the Arab League won’t quite spell it out but, to modify that Le Monde headline, they are all Jews now.

11:07PM: A senior Hizbullah official has said the group did not expect Israel to react so strongly to the capture of two Israeli soldiers.

And what did they expect us to do after they captured our soldiers and fired missiles into our cities?

 

10:00PM: What IDF control over Bint Jbeil means:

“We have achieved full control over Bint Jbeil and, as such, many residents of northern Israel will now be protected from low-trajectory fire, and soon, from high-trajectory fire as well. We are working toward this end. Terrorists who fight us will be hurt.”

Brig. Gen. Gal Hirsch, commander of the IDF’s Galilee division
 
9:13PM: Yet another Nazi comparison:

Tory MP: IDF`s Lebanon raid reminiscent of Nazi atrocity on Warsaw ghetto (Agencies)

I’m speechless. We are attacked by terrorists who want to wipe us out, rockets are raining down on our cities, and we are compared to the very people who tried to exterminate us before the Islamic terrorists took up the cause.

8:55PM: Katushas have rained down on the Maalot area in northern Israel, with 4 people being injured so far.

8:43PM: IDF troops, who took control of Bint Jbeil earlier today (see 3:15PM update), discovered “war rooms with eavesdropping and surveillance equipment made by Iran, being used by Hizbullah against Israel,” as well as “a large cache of weapons and communications devices. ”

8:26PM: The IDF have killed a senior Hizbullah commander near the villages of Maroun al-Ras and Bint Jbeil.

 

6:52PM: Thousands of people are praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, following a call from leading rabbis for all Jews to recite Psalms in light of the Hizbullah terrorist war against Israel.

 

6:25PM: The latest Shire Network News podcast, on which Tom Paine interviews yours truly and Egyptian Sandmonkey, has been posted.

 

5:38PM: The IAF has attacked a warehouse in southern Gaza, used to produce weapons.

According to the IAF, this warehouse was also attacked Monday and earlier today.

That’s one well-built warehouse.

 

5:08PM: Here is audio of Governator Arnie’s pro-Israel speech from Sunday’s rally in Los Angeles (see 1:20PM update from yesterday’s post). Hat tip: Chaim.

 

5:00PM: Iran continue to threaten Israel:

Iranian media outlets published sections of interviews given by Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad-Reza Sheybani, who said that Hizbullah’s military capability has greatly increased in the last decade, and threatened that if Israel harmed Syria, the Iranians would respond with force.

 

Sheybani stressed that Iran would support Syria if it is attacked by Israel. “There should be no doubt on this issue: If Syria is harmed, even in the slightest way, we will respond with force. This, on the basis of the joint defense agreement in effect between the two countries and already signed by the two ministers of defense,” he said.

 

Sheybani added that he thought “Israel did not have the ability to deal with Iran’s capabilities.”

Meanwhile, Hizbullah’s Iran representative (or is that Iran’s Hizbullah representative? Same difference), is also issuing menacing threats.

Hizbullah representative in Iran, Hussein Sif al-Din, threatened that his organization planned to increase its attacks in Israel, until “no place in Israel will be safe.”

 

At a conference in Tehran, attended also by Hamas and Palestinian Authority representatives, al-Din threatened that “this war will be remembered as the beginning of the end of Israel.”

Now about those nukes..

 

4:55PM: The Jerusalem Post reports that a 76-year-old Haifa man died of a heart attack during today’s barrage of rockets on the city.

 

3:15PM: The IDF have taken control over Bint Jbeil – known as the “capital of terror” in southern Lebanon- so far killing at least 40 Hizbullah terrorists, and capturing some others. The IDF is still encountering “pockets of resistance” on the outskirts of the village, while most of the terrorists left inside (just under 100), are hiding in the Kasbah marketplace. As expected, the terrorists are exploiting the civilian population, as well as Israel’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties, and are shooting from inside mosques, hospitals, and schools. 

 

3:10PM: The IAF has destroyed the rocket launcher that fired 16 rockets at Haifa today.

 

3:07PM: The letter-writer strikes again: Mahmoud “Gorilla Boy” Ahmadinejad writes to Jacques Chirac. Not sure what the contents of the letter are, but I am sure the words “Zionists,” “Jews”, “must be destroyed”, and “mutual benefit” make an appearance.

 

3:02PM: The IDF Intelligence Chief has told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Syria has placed its military at its highest state of alert in recent years, but this is a defensive, rather than offensive, alert.

 

2:58PM: A 15 year-old girl has been killed, and 48 wounded, in today’s barrages of Katusha rockets in the north of Israel.

 

12:27PM: Barrages of Katushas have hit Haifa, Maalot and Nahariya. 7 people wounded so far.

 

12:17PM: 4 IDF soldiers have been lightly wounded during a gun battle with Hizbullah terrorists in southern Lebanon.

 

11:27AM: More Katushas have landed in our northern communities this morning, with no injuries being reported.

 

11:24AM: The IAF has hit 15 Katusha rocket launch sites in south Lebanon this morning, as well as 18 Hizbullah buildings in Tyre, 6 weapons warehouses throughout Lebanon, and 2 cars suspected of carrying Hizbullah terrorists near Tyre.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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