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Liveblogging the War: Wednesday August 2nd

IDF commandos returned safely to Israel this morning, after completing a raid of the Hizbullah stronghold of Baalbek (100 km north of the Litani River, which Israel had set as a northern boundary for its expanded ground operation). While Lebanese sources claim the aim of the raid was to capture senior Hizbullah terrorist Mohammed Yazbek, the operation was a success since the commandos killed several terrorists, captured 5 others whom they brought back to Israel (including one by the name of Hussein Nasrallah!), and did so without sustaining any injuries (This, despite the fact that Hizbullah had earlier claimed that they had surrounded the commandos). Lebanese security sources said the IDF commandos landed by helicopter, while the IAF launched 6 air strikes near Baalbek (in what one Lebanese officer said was an “unprecedented” IAF presence in the air).
 
The IAF struck 50 targets in Lebanon overnight, including Hizbullah homes, structures to which terrorists have fled after firing rockets, targets aimed at aiding Hizbullah members who operated in Aita al-Saab and Baalbek, rocket launchers, and access routes and bridges used by terrorists.
 
Meanwhile, the IDF continued its operations deeper inside Lebanon, with troops taking up strategic positions in the villages of Mis al-Jabal, Mahbiv, and Balida in southeast Lebanon, Ataybeh, al-Adisa, and Rav al-Tadis, northwest of Metulla, and Maroun al-Ras, Bint Jbail, and Ayta a-Shab in southwest Lebanon. Troops battling Hizbullah in the villages of al-Habib and Aita al-Shaab managed to kill 7 terrorists.
 
For their part, Hizbullah managed to fire more rockets into northern Israel.
 
On the southern front, the IAF struck a Hamas weapons storehouse in Gaza, terrorists threw 3 bombs at IDF forces operating overnight near Jenin, and terrorists launched a Kassam into Israel.
 
On the diplomatic front, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres disagreed on the expected end to Israel’s military operations in Lebanon, and France said it is boycotting the meetings on the deployment of an international force in Lebanon.
 
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
10:53PM: An investigation into the Qana incident has concluded that the IDF believed the building was uninhabited and used by Hizbullah terrorists, and, had they known there were civilians in the building, the air strike wouldn’t have been okayed.
  
10:45PM: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has backtracked on his earlier remarks, stating that the military offensive against Hizbullah in Lebanon “has no connection” to political plans on other fronts.             

10:10PM: Bill O’Reilly makes some valid points:

Killing Civilians in a Time of War

Worldwide demonstrations against Israel after about 60 people, including many women and children, were killed by Israeli bombs in southern Lebanon. Of course, these protestors, many of them pro-Hezbollah, also targeted the USA for condemnation.

No question, the Israeli bombing was a mistake and will hurt Israel in the court of public opinion, but mistakes are made in all wars. Abu Ghraib was a huge mistake by the American military in Iraq and the USA has suffered because of it.

However, isn’t it interesting that the Islamic fascists never make a mistake?

We rarely see worldwide demonstrations condemning their consistently barbaric behavior. In violation of a U.N. mandate, Hezbollah has fired thousands of missiles targeting civilians into Israeli cities. Have you seen many demonstrations against that?

How about after 9/11? Did you see mass demonstrations condemning Al Qaeda? Did you see protests when those savages beheaded civilians on videotape?

The answer is no. The terrorists can do pretty much anything without the world condemning them. Want more? Iran is defying the United Nations on nuclear weapons. Any demonstrations? Muslims are slaughtering each other inside Iraq. Any protests?

“Talking Points” could list examples all day long. The truth is that hatred, not compassion for civilians, is driving these hypocritical demonstrations we saw over the weekend. This is not justifying the killing of innocents by Israel. My analysis is addressing a different problem: select outrage to advance the cause of Islamic fascism.

Back in America, the left-wing press counsels negotiation. OK, it’s worth it. We’re trying. But let’s look at the negotiating record. President Clinton and Israel negotiated with Yasser Arafat until every cow in the world came home.

Arafat didn’t want peace. Why? Because his terror activities made him millions of dollars. If you don’t believe me, speak to his widow, currently living lavishly in Paris.

The U.N. has negotiated with Iran over nukes for years. No result. Iran doesn’t want peace, it wants jihad.

North Korea doesn’t want peace either. It signed a nuke agreement with the Clinton administration and promptly violated it.Does Al Qaeda want peace? Even Howard Dean could figure that one out.So what makes anyone believe Hezbollah would negotiate in good faith? The sad truth is that many in the Muslim world want to kill Jews and Americans.

“Talking Points” does want peace, but also wants to blunt the growing danger of Islamic fascism. Allowing Hezbollah to sit on Israel’s southern border with thousands of missiles isn’t a peaceful conclusion. It’s capitulation, which is exactly what the jihad has won.

9:57PM: I’ve been plugged by AFP (No need to call 911..):

Two days after the air-strike at Qana that killed more than 50 civilians mainly children, the international blog search engine Technorati showed that Qana is its second most requested key-word — as thousands tune in for alternative views and accounts.

“A hell of a morning! Israelis breakfast a la carte: rare, medium and well done children and women in one of South Lebanon’s villages, Qana. An order large enough to feed an entire battalion and to make the Lebanese roar,” reads a blog from Beirut-based Pamela Chrabieh Badine.

Above is the picture of a battered child’s corpse lying on a stretcher.

From the other side of the border comes the version of “Aussie Dave,” a 31 year-old Australian who immigrated to Israel in 2000.

“While I am sure everyone will be quick to condemn Israel, Hezbollah is fully responsible for this tragic loss of life,” he writes.

“They launch rockets from civilian areas because they know Israel’s response will draw criticism as civilians are invariably killed. And they increase the chances of civilian casualties by preventing civilians from leaving these areas.”

From Washington in the United States, Doha, a 25 year-old Lebanese man, says: “This is truly a brutal way of operating by Hezbollah. I hate violence and death. Enough is enough; the Lebanese government needs to take a stand. My country is wounded.”

Which prompts a grateful “Aussie Dave” to respond: “From an Israeli blogger to a Lebanese blogger: stay safe and know that we here in Israel wish you absolutely no harm.”

Far from the scene, the world’s public swaps views and impressions in hyperspace — often expressed in the stripped-down shorthand that in all languages has been spawned by blogs, texting and other instant messaging services.

“When you’ve an army like the Israeli defence force you can’t go round making big holes in buildings without trying to find out what there is underneath. Goddammit – that’s too much,” writes 34-year-old Johan Yanet from French Polynesia.

“I’m no one in particular but I’m part of public opinion. Well Israel’s lost my vote … I’m sorry but dead babies isn’t propaganda, it’s carnage,” he writes.

Among openly political writers, Steve Schippert on the right says: “Undeterred by global outcry as over two thousand rockets and missiles have rained down upon Israeli cities with relatively little note, Israel has made good on their prime ministers declaration of ‘enough’. Israel is providing a lesson on fighting the war on terror.”

But “Frank Liberal” asks: “Will someone explain to me why the ‘forces of freedom’ took part in the killing something like 30 children, and adult civilians as well?

“Were those children part of the forces of terror? Is that it? What, were they terrorizing neighborhood cats or something? Does Bush think that Muslims shouldnt be allowed to breed, and those children were the next generations terrorists? Better to nip it in the bud, Mr. Bush? Is that it?”

Loic Le Meur, a pioneer of blogging in France, said “opinion is now being expressed directly on the blogs of thousands of people.”

“Convincing people of the justification for a war, or of the need to stop it, has become a real battle of wills.”

Unfortunately, no mention of Israellycool, nor the URL, means no traffic benefits for me.

9:35PM: The man killed by a Katusha earlier today was David Lalshouk, 52, a Boston-born man who was struck while fleeing on his bicycle.

Before being killed in a rocket attack on Kibbutz Sa’ar north of Nahariya, Dave Lalshouk told his neighbor that he refused to leave to the center of the country with his wife and daughter and decided to stay in the kibbutz to look after the properties of residents there.

Lalshouk was killed by shrapnel from a rocket as he drove his bicycle in the kibbutz.

—-

Lalshouk stayed in the kibbutz with his dog Duke, who stayed by his owner’s body after the attack.

Alberto Ubin, a friend and neighbor, said: “He emigrated from Boston 20 years ago, met a woman from Nahariya, married her and conceived two daughters. 15 years ago the came to the kibbutz and we were the family who adopted them. I am trying to think what made him leave the house when the siren was sounded, to mount the bicycle and ride on the road. I think he tried to bring a dog he adopted lately inside the shelter.”

—-

Dana Brand was “adopted” by the Lalshouk family when she moved in to the kibbutz 13 years ago. “Dave was a good man who cared a lot, but for small things, private and family things. He didn’t like to standout.”

Brand said Dave loved animals. “If there was an abandoned animal in the kibbutz they called him to help. The orchards were also his life. As he invested all his free time in that.”

9:20PM: IDF soldiers are engaged in fierce gunbattles in south Lebanon. They have already killed at least 7 Hizbullah terrorists, bur 1 soldier has been seriously wounded, and 8 have been lightly wounded.

7:27PM: As asinine as it comes: A group of IDF reservists have reportedly threatened to refuse to participate in the fighting in Lebanon after Prime Minister Olmert said that the IDF’s success in Lebanon would advance his proposed realignment plan.

We are in the midst of an existential war and these guys are issuing these threats?

7:08PM: Green and bear it: Little Green Footballs on Green Helmet Guy.

If you listen to him in the video, he has a very high-pitched voice. It reminds me of this video I uploaded a few months ago.

6:58PM: Another story from the Ha’aretz news ticker:

Hezbollah kills Lebanese civilians suspected of aiding Israel

Not only do we not murder Israeli civilians suspected of aiding Hizbullah, we even allow them to be part of our Knesset.

6:52PM: Ha’aretz reports that the Islamic Movement fears an attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

U-huh. Kind of reminds me how I read about police beefing up security around mosques after the Muslim terrorist shot-up a Jewish Federation building in Seattle last week. (It’s those pesky Jewish terrorists causing havoc around the globe that you have to worry about…)

6:35PM: The latest fallen heroes:

Michael Levine, 22

Staff sergeant Michael Levine, 22, announced to his mother already at the age of 16 that he wanted to immigrate to Israel and enlist to a combat unit in the IDF. Four days ago, Michael shortened a trip to the States to visit his family in order to return to Israel and to fight in the north. Tuesday, Michael’s mother received the bitter news in Philadelphia: Michael, who followed his dream and enlisted to the paratroopers, was killed in the difficult battle near Aita al-Shaab in southern Lebanon.

Michael immigrated from Mangold, Pennsylvania three years ago, leaving behind his parents and two sisters. He lived in the religious Kibbutz Yavneh, and after, moved to an apartment in Jerusalem with two other soldiers.
 
Reut, Michael’s friend from the kibbutz, said that he was always funny and friendly: “I met Michael when he immigrated from the US three years ago. When he first arrived, he studied in the ulpan (special class for learning Hebrew) on Kibbutz Yavneh, and that’s where I met him. It was very important for him to go to a combat unit in the army, even though he didn’t have to enlist. He simply wasn’t ready to give up. I remember him as a funny guy, friendly and sweet. He had a lot of friends on the kibbutz, and some that he met in Jerusalem.”

A short while ago, Michael received a special discharge from the army in order to visit his family in the United States. Upon hearing news about the outbreak of war in the north, he decided to shorten his vacation, and returned to Israel four days ago. His friends say that he went to his commanders and asked to be sent immediately to the northern border.

—-

“Michael was just a fantastic kid who gave his all to the army..”

—-

“He, like all the other lone soldiers, cannot comprehend that Michael is no more. They call me and say that they still expect him to just show up. He had a good heart and there isn’t one American in Jerusalem that doesn’t know him. We lost one of our most optimistic kids. He had his feet on the ground and never hurt anyone.”

Ilan Gabai, 22
After losing his best friend Lt. Yiftach Shrier in Maroun al-Ras last week, Lt. Ilan Gabai was killed Tuesday in battles in Aita al-Shaab. ‚ÄòIn their lives and in their deaths they never separated,’ Shrier’s brother says

Just a few hours after speaking with his family on the phone and asking them to be strong, First Sergeant Yehonatan Einhorn was killed in fierce battle against Hizbullah in south Lebanon

“Last Saturday Ilan consoled Yiftach’s parents,” said Lieutenant Colonel Itzik Bar, commander of the Paratroopers Brigade training base.

Ilan served as a platoon commander in 101st Battalion’s reconnaissance company. Friends who arrived at the Gabai family home in Tivon on Tuesday said Ilan had a hard time coming to terms with Yiftach’s death. Ilan’s parents visited the Shrier home in Haifa last week, and Ilan himself paid a visit to Yiftach’s parents last Saturday while on leave.

In his childhood Ilan suffered from severe asthma. Despite his health problems, he excelled in basketball and later, when he joined the Paratroopers Brigade he overcome the medical obstacle and was chosen to attend an Officers’ Course.

In a booklet print at the end of his company’s basic training, his friends wrote to him: “You are a commander who constitutes an exemplary model for your soldiers. You taught us things that will remain with us always. You taught us how to stick with our mission and strive for victory. You were the most devoted platoon commander ever.”

—-

The Shrier family of Haifa, whose son Yiftach was killed last week, were shocked and pained to receive news of Ilan’s death. Their son Yiftah and Ilan went through the military together and became best friends.

Lt. Yiftach’s twin brother, Yarden, found it difficult to express his feelings upon hearing the news, and just said, “In their lives and in their deaths they never separated. The were together for the whole track, starting from basic training until the Officers’ Course and they served in the same battalion. Ilan was here Saturday night to console us. He was here, sat here in our house and suffered with us over Yiftah’s death.”

The mother, Yafa, said that when Ilan came to their home while the battles were still raging, he told her that he regretted more than anything not being able to attend Yiftach’s funeral. “He invited me to spend time with him after this war was over,” she said, her eyes brimming with tears.

Yehonatan Einhorn, 22

Just Monday night, First Sergeant Yehonatan Einhorn spoke with his mother on the phone and asked his family to be strong. Just a few hours after their phone conversation, Yonathan was killed in a fierce battle against Hizbullah in the area of Aita al-Shaab in south Lebanon.

—-

Yehonatan studied at a Yeshiva high school, following which he attended a pre-army preparatory program. He joined the IDF paratroopers reconnaissance company together with his friends, then moved to the 101st Battalion.

Yehonatan took part in the fierce battle a week ago in Bint Jbeil, where eight troops were killed. His good friend Gideon Goldenberg, also from Gimzo, was seriously wounded in the battle and is still hospitalized at the Rambam Hospital.

Yehonatan, however, managed to evade injury when his cell phone miraculously acted as a shield blocking shrapnel from wounding his person.

On Sunday Yehonatan and his friends had a few days break, and they went to Haifa where he met his parents, who brought him new glasses to replace the ones that broke during combat.

Yehonatan’s parents said he told them of the fierce fighting in Lebanon.

“This is a battle of life and death,” he told his parents. “It is either us or them.”

“He was the salt of the earth,” Yehonatan’s uncle Avraham said. “He took everything in stride; he was crazy about the army and the paratroopers in particular. Whenever he had the time he would travel throughout the country with his friends.”

6:10PM: Today’s rocket tally now stands at over 200.
 

4:21PM: Some of the long range rockets that were fired at Israel today landed near the Palestinian village of Pqua, in the Jenin area. No doubt that if it fell on Jenin, the palestinians would claim a massacre at the hands of Israel.
 
Speaking of which..
Palestinian witnesses in the Jenin area, who noticed the rocket parts which fell between Beit Shean and Afula, said the rocket appeared to have fallen in the Gilboa area.
 
A Fatah activist from Jenin added that the rocket hit was heard clearly around the city, and a spark and a flame were also clearly seen.
 
The Fatah member related that local residents cheered when they heard the rocket fall and saw the resulting flames. ‚ÄúEven if it were to fall on our heads, it wouldn‚Äôt have spoiled our joy. All of us here are praying for Hizbullah‚Äôs success and victory,” he said.
And that sums up their raison d’etre quite nicely. They are happy if Jews are being killed, even if it means their own lives, and the lives of their children, are at risk.
 
4:13PM: Medics have treated a total of 128 casualties in today’s rocket attacks.
 
2:08PM: An Israeli man has been killed after a Katusha struck Kibbutz Saar, north of Nahariya.
 
So far today, there have been 300 rockets fired in to Israel. Not only that, but Hizbullah fired a missile that fell in an open area of the West Bank, approximately 70km from the northern border – the farthest a missile fired by Hizbullah has reached since the start of the conflict 20 days ago.
 
12:55PM: Something else Olmert said – that the outcome of the Lebanon fighting would create “new momentum” for his plan to separate from the palestinians by withdrawing from much of the West Bank – is generating some criticism from the Israeli Right.
 
Chairman of the National Unity party, Benyamin Elon:
“Olmert’s words are reckless, his speech irresponsible…Talking about uprooting settlements and expelling Jews from their houses while their sons are fighting on the front line is irresponsible, creates rifts, and engangers Israel’s victory in the war.”
Right activist Baruch Marzel:
“From the moment he planned to clear outposts in Judea and Samaria he has been busty setting up outposts in Lebanon and Gaza. The person does not learn from mistakes, realignment is equal to Qassams on Kfar Saba and Netanya.”
“Olmert’s comments on the continuation of the blind run towards the realignment give backing to terror and encourage Nasrallah…It seems Olmert is interested in disbanding the consensus around the war.”
12:15PM: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has stated that we have “entirely destroyed” Hizbullah’s infrastructure, and Hizbullah has been disarmed “to a large degree.” He cited the reduction in the number of rocket attacks as proof, but I’m guessing this was before this morning’s barrages.  
 
11:33AM: 67 rockets have landed in Israel this morning.
 
10:57AM: Now it is reported that 2 people were lightly hurt by rocket shrapnel in Acre, and a man was lightly wounded by shrapnel in Kiryat Shmona.
 
10:45AM: After a lull in rocket attacks over the past few days, Hizbullah have already fired many rockets in to northern Israel this morning, including 3 in Safed, 4 in Tiberias, 5 in open areas near Ma’alot, 5 in the Rosh Pina area, and 2 in the Galilee panhandle. While there have been some fires, there have been no reports of injuries.
 
9:50AM: News agencies are standing by the Qana photos, despite evidence they were staged.
The AP said information from its photo editors showed the events were not staged, and that the time stamps could be misleading for several reasons, including that web sites can use such stamps to show when pictures are posted, not taken. An AFP executive said he was stunned to be questioned about it. Reuters, in a statement, said it categorically rejects any such suggestion.
LGF and EU Referendum have some nice rebuttals.
 
9:15AM: Follow-up on the great Alpaca-Llama controversy (see 9:58PM update of Monday’s post): Well folks, I now have photographic evidence of our Zionist Death LlamasTM (I have to conclude that Monday’s photo showed our equally deadly Zionist Death AlpacasTM).
 

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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