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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 01:21 PM        Israel enters Lebanon
NY Times

July 12, 2006

Israeli Forces Enter Lebanon After 2 Soldiers Are Seized
By GREG MYRE and STEVEN ERLANGER

JERUSALEM, July 12 — The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah seized two Israeli soldiers and killed three more in a brazen raid this morning along Israel’s border with Lebanon. Israel immediately responded by sending an armored force into southern Lebanon for the first time since withdrawing six years ago.

The clashes dramatically escalated tensions at a time when Israel already is waging a military offensive in the Gaza Strip to seek the return of another soldier held by Palestinian militants for more than two weeks.

Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he held the Lebanese government responsible for the assault by Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim group that participates in Lebanese politics but also continues to battle Israel.

“I want to make clear that the event this morning is not a terror act, but an act of a sovereign state that attacked Israel without reason,” Mr. Olmert said. “The government of Lebanon, of which Hezbollah is a part, is trying to shake the stability of the region.”

The United Nations representative to southern Lebanon, Gier Pedersen, condemned Hezbollah’s capture of the Israeli soldiers and said it “escalates the already tense situation.”

The Lebanese government did not comment in the hours after the clashes began. Hezbollah effectively controls Lebanon’s southern border despite international pressure and a United Nations resolution calling on the Lebanese government to take control of its borders and disarm militia groups.

While Israel has overwhelming military might in both southern Lebanon and Gaza, Hezbollah and the militant Palestinian faction Hamas both have leverage in the form of the captured Israeli soldiers, raising the possibility of duel confrontations that could carry on indefinitely.

Israel says it will not negotiate, and is demanding the unconditional release of its soldiers and an end to the rocket fire coming out of Gaza and southern Lebanon.

Hamas and Hezbollah, meanwhile, are seeking the release of large numbers of Arab prisoners held by Israel.

Just two years ago, Hezbollah managed to win the freedom of more than 400 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners in exchange for an Israeli businessman who was being held in Lebanon and the corpses of three Israeli soldiers killed in a Hezbollah attack along the border in 2000.

Today’s fighting erupted when Hezbollah attacked northern Israel with rocket fire in the morning, injuring several Israeli civilians in the northwestern town of Shlomi, the Israeli military said. Israel responded with artillery fire and air strikes that targeted roads, bridges and Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon. Later, Israeli troops moved into southern Lebanon in the first such incursion since Israel pulled its troops back into Israel in 2000.

The Israeli strikes were part of an apparent attempt to keep Hezbollah from moving the captured Israeli soldiers further to the north. Also, at least two Lebanese civilians were killed, according to Reuters.

The Israeli military did not immediately provide details on the border clashes.

While cross-border shooting exchanges break out with some frequency, it has been exceedingly rare for Hezbollah and the Israeli military to come face-to-face on the ground over the past six years.

But Hezbollah said its fighters seized two soldiers along the volatile and heavily guarded frontier. “The two captives were transferred to a safe place,” the group said in a statement.

It said the kidnappings had been planned for months and were intended to help free Arabs held in Israeli jails in a prisoner exchange.

Residents in Lebanon’s Shiite-dominated southern suburbs handed out sweets and set off firecrackers in celebration.

In the past, Hezbollah has launched attacks against Israel when there is heavy fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The latest assault comes at a moment when the region is already roiling with the Israeli-Palestinian crisis in Gaza.

Early today, Israeli troops moved in force into central Gaza, expanding the two-week-old Israeli offensive intended to secure the release of the captured soldier and stop rocket fire into Israel.

The Israeli air force also dropped a powerful bomb on a home in Gaza City at around 3 a.m., saying it targeted senior Hamas leaders. But the blast killed nine members of the Abu Selmiya family, according to Dr. Juma Saqqa, the spokesman for Shifa Hospital, where the bodies were taken.

There were visiting Hamas leaders in the house at the time of the bombing, but they escaped with only minor injuries, Palestinians said.

Nabil Abu Selmiya, a Hamas leader, was killed along with his wife, Salwa, and seven of their children, ages 7 to 18, Dr. Saqqa said. The couple also had two sons who survived the attack, and a married daughter who lives elsewhere.

The Israeli military said the main target was Muhammad Deif, the top figure in Hamas’s armed wing and a man who has been sought by Israel for more than a decade. The Israeli military said Mr. Deif, who has been blamed for the deaths of dozens of Israelis, was injured.

Hamas officials refused to say whether Mr. Deif was at the house at the time of the bombing, but insisted that he was safe.

Just after midnight, scores of Israeli tanks, armored personnel carriers and armored bulldozers, covered by Apache attack helicopters and armed drones, crossed into central Gaza near Kissufim.

Clearing roads and firing tank shells, the troops moved southeast of the town of Deir al Balah, into the neighborhood of Abu Alajeen, residents there said. At least one Palestinian, a member of the official security forces, died in an exchange of fire with Israeli troops, and another was wounded, according to a Palestinian journalist living in Abu Alajeen, as the sound of tank shell explosions made him difficult to hear over the phone.

Israelis are also interrupting local radio stations to broadcast a warning in Arabic that “the Israeli Army is going to continue its operation in the Gaza Strip until the captive soldier is released.” The broadcast says:

“Israel is interested in your well-being. Is this the welfare that Hamas promised you?”

The message warns Palestinians not to allow militants to fire rockets into Israel.

Militants tried to fire makeshift rockets toward the Kissufim border crossing as a column of dozens of armored vehicles and hundreds of soldiers pushed into central Gaza, but the rockets appeared to fall short, Reuters reported.

“Our main target is the terrorist infrastructure: the rocket crews, the gunmen, the arms caches,” said an Israeli commander who was not allowed to give his full name, according to a pool report.

“But of course we are here to show that if, God forbid, any of us is captured by the enemy, the army will do everything to secure his return,” he said.

The army confirmed only that its troops had entered central Gaza. The Israelis want to ensure that the captured soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, is not moved out of Gaza. He was captured on June 25 during a raid into Israel.

Greg Myre reported from Jerusalem for this articleand Steven Erlangerfrom Gaza City. Hassan Fattah contributed reporting from Dubai.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 01:42 PM       
I'm still not so sure Israel realizes they're at war, yet.
Olmert's started saying he'd indirectly return prisoners and negotiate with Hamas this week.
The article doesn't mention Syria even once, which is curious.
Some reports are saying the two soldiers captured were from one of the IDF's unit of Druze.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 01:55 PM       
So is this the one where we're all doomed, or is that the next one?
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 11:49 PM       
Alright, I am sympathetic towards israel and their need to defend themselves. And I agree that what Hezbollah did was outrageous and deserving of action.

But was absolutely no diplomatic option available aside from this? Would it be impossible to ask other parties to pressure Lebanon to reign in on Hezbollah, and assist in finding the two IDF soldiers?

Is the Lebanese government SUCH a Syrian puppet that this wouldn't be an option?

What is President Bush, Tony Blair, and co. doing? This whole thing seems to be unraveling really, really fast, and it doesn't seem to have provoked the appropriate response from the West.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5175160.stm

Israel attacks Beirut's airport

Israeli aircraft have fired rockets at the runways of Beirut's international airport in Lebanon, forcing its closure and the diversion of flights.
It follows the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants.

Meanwhile, 10 civilians were killed in fresh Israeli air raids in southern Lebanon, security sources said.

Israeli jets have pounded targets in southern Lebanon in retaliation for the soldiers' capture. Israel has said it holds Lebanon responsible.

The Beirut airport is Lebanon's only international airport.

It is located in the Lebanese capital's Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs.

Shortly after Israeli shells began falling on the runways, a senior airport official announced the facility was closed and asked scheduled flights to divert to Cyprus.

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said the soldiers' capture was an "act of war", but Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah insisted the two would only be returned via talks.

Mr Olmert said he held Beirut responsible, but Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora denied any knowledge of the Hezbollah operation and refused to take responsibility for the soldiers' capture.
----

In a related story.....

This story just amazes me. To have the head of "political" Hamas, housed in SYRIA, present himself as the chief negotiating power in Palestine boggles my mind.

" Whether you want it or not, I am the only partner you can speak to about the release of prisoners and suspending the Qassam rocket attacks. "

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/736816.html

'I'm the man,' Meshal says in first comments since crisis broke

By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff

The first speech yesterday by Khaled Meshal, the Damascus-based head of Hamas' political bureau, since the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit was intended mainly to reinforce his leadership position vis-a-vis both Palestinians and Israel. His statements contained little real news. He reiterated the Hamas promise not to hurt Shalit and the position that he would be released only in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

What Meshal did do was to declare that he and not the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, or Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, is the sole spokesman for the Palestinian people in the territories and beyond.
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 12:18 AM       
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 03:00 AM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinTheOmnivore
But was absolutely no diplomatic option available aside from this? Would it be impossible to ask other parties to pressure Lebanon to reign in on Hezbollah, and assist in finding the two IDF soldiers?

Is the Lebanese government SUCH a Syrian puppet that this wouldn't be an option?
To answer your question...YES! So much so, that attacking Lebanon and holding their government responsible doesn't make any obviouse sense. The only explanation is that Syria just signed a mutual defense pact with Iran, so if Israel attacks Syria, it will be seen as an attack on Iran too. I don't know what diplomatic option there is - Syria supports terror, occupies Lebanon, and has timed these kidnappings AND rocket attacks into central Israel, kibbutzes and the like, all as a strong provocation.

Diplomacy failed back in October, 2000 when Israeli soldiers, and some civilians were kidnapped by Hizzbalah, while UN peace keepers video taped portions of the incident. The UN wouldn't even release the tapes which Israel hoped would identify the kidnappers, and offer clues....I'm simplifying the whole ordeal, but long story short, Israel only just recently got the remains of the Israeli hostages.
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 09:17 AM       
I do not understand any of this shit. I don't understnd any strategic gain from what Hezbollah is doing, and I don't understand what Israel could possibly hope to gain from collective punishment in gaza and attacking the aiprort in Lebanon. It's like some sort of hideous rush to death.

Has anyone ever checked what's in middle eastern water? Everyone over there is nuts.
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 10:36 AM       
Although I think the actions in Gaza have been a bit excessive, I feel the "government" in Gaza (and Hamas) has left Israel with little choice. If they find that kidnapping soldiers is effective, they will keep doing it over and over again.

I don't like the idea of power being cut off for entire sections of Gaza, but when you have outside entities (see Hamas article above) using Gaza as a launching point for attacks, something has to be done.

The government there needs to control their borders and eliminate their criminal, terrorist elements. They have failed to do either.
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 10:54 AM       
The reason I haven't posted about this is a have no ideas at all about solutions. It is just open season for crazies over there. And yeah, you can't allow people to think kidnapping works, but you can't allow people to think creating a humanitarian crisis works either. There's nothing going on but can't allow stuff and it looks like it's spiralling very quickly. I can't imagine anyone in any faction wants to see everybody die and surely they aren't all 100 percent insane.

It makes me think of WWI where all parties thought all other parties had left them no choice.
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 11:19 AM       
The Middle East needs a good solid war, IMO. One where you have trenches and tanks and soldiers kneedeep in the shit, not this fire a missile from 1000 miles away stuff. The West needs to sit back and let it happen, and it has to be so utterly devastating to everyone involved that when it's over, everyone looks around and goes, "holy fuck, what just happened?"

They need to get it out of their system once and for all. Peaceful solutions won't work as long as both sides still think they are more clever and/or superior than the other side. The Israelis sit there all smug with their high-tech military, while the Muslims never drop the retarded "you stole the land we stole from the people who stole it from you thousands of years ago while we were mucking around in shitholes" attitude.

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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 11:42 AM       
Problem solved.

Next!
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 12:55 PM       
I'm not sure I understand the power plant thing either, but there have been a steady stream of trucks with humanitarian aid ever since, and I believe there are generators or backups so that the grid they hit can function on a partial basis. In other words, it's not exactly the crisis they will play it out to be (unless being cut off from the World Cup is a crisis, and since Hamas h

The plant was built by a UAE commpany to replace a grid originally provided to them by Israel. Prior to that, there was no running water or electricity in Gaza, at all. I believe the statement is "if you attack the people who provide you with your resources, then it hurts you too". The kicker is the power plant was insured by the USA, for 50 mil., even aganst acts of terrorism.

They really are all nuts out there, but I think you're confusing the hip terminology like "collective punishment" with outright war tactics. When you go to war, you do hit your enemies bridges, and power, and airports, and air strips. [/i]
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 12:55 PM       
I'll share the money with all of you when I win the Nobel Peace Prize.
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 02:02 PM       
how very noble of you!
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 04:04 PM       
Rockets just hit an Israeli Arab village in Haifa - others hit and damaged a a Kibbutz. They're not even being subtle in trying to provoke a war at this point.

Edit: attacks from border to border - over 70 rockets with heavy targeting of Arab Israeli citizens.
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 03:46 AM       
looks like another wave of airstrikes targeted Hezbollah's headquarters.

I like the idea of Israel projecting a little power.
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 06:24 AM       
Easy...

Who benefits from the kidnappings?

"by way of deception thou shalt do war..."
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 06:34 AM       
US is the only one defending Israel's actions...obviously
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 06:36 AM       
http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/p...icle_662.shtml

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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 08:49 AM       
Hezbollah needs you, Geggy! Don't let the Zionist Imperialists do this! GO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, GEGSTER!
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 09:03 AM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geggy
US is the only one defending Israel's actions...obviously
Yeah, I mean, it makes good sense for the U.S. to support a UN resolution that was sponsored by Qatar and probably drafted by Iran. Idiot.

NY Times

Israel Extends Strikes Deeper Into Lebanon
By HASSAN M. FATTAH and STEVEN ERLANGER

Published: July 14, 2006
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Friday, July 14 — Israel extended punishing airstrikes deeper inside Lebanon today, hitting areas in Beirut’s suburbs linked to the militant group Hezbollah and cutting the main highway between the capital and Damascus in Syria.
--

Yikes.
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 10:10 AM       
The big argument is not whether Israel has the right to react. That's a moot point. The argument seems to be whether or not they're overreacting.

I'm curious what will be said at G8 of all this, and if anything remotely useful will come of it.
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 10:18 AM       
I wouldn't count on a damn thing coming out of the G8, or the UN for that matter, God bless their hearts.

I think there is an argument to be had over the measures Israel is taking, however a lot of the people I hear raising that issue are the same knee-jerk, ignorant idiots who wait in the high grass for the right moment to attack Israel. Like last night, a talk radio host was talking about how Israel creates this kind of Arab reaction, and of course, they've been doing it "since a bunch of European Jews decided they were entitled to Arab land."

I think we need to try to get France involved in this, and some kind of diplomatic emergency envoy needs to take place. Israel needs to be in the room, Lebanon needs to be in the room, and perhaps even Syria.

Lebanon MUST disarm Hezbollah, and control their soutrhern borders. If they can't do this b/c of Syria, or iran, then Israel has every right to secure the Lebanese border and cut off transfer to Syria/Iran.

I would like to see Israel stand down a bit, but I don't think that can happen unless these other things can be guaranteed.
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 01:17 PM       
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/07/14/D8IRSFG0A.html

Palestinians Stream Into Gaza From Egypt
Jul 14 12:34 PM US/Eastern

By DIAA HADID
Associated Press Writer


RAFAH, Gaza Strip

Militants forced open a border gate between Egypt and Gaza on Friday, wounding an Egyptian officer and letting hundreds of Palestinians who had been trapped on the Egyptian side of the border to get into Gaza.

Armed militants stood by as people carrying suitcases crossed into Gaza. Some walked through on crutches while others walked or ran through the gate.

Egyptian police Capt. Mohammed Abdel Hadi said masked Palestinian militants firing guns broke into the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, clearing the way for the trapped Gazans.

One Egyptian border policeman was wounded when the militants stormed the frontier, said Abdel Hadi, who heads police on the Egyptian side of Rafah.

The crossing, Gaza's main gateway to the outside world, has largely been closed since June 25, when Palestinian militants carried out a raid on a military outpost, killing two Israeli soldiers and capturing one.

Hundreds of people have been stranded on the Egyptian side, unable to get to their homes in Gaza.

Rafah's closure left hundreds of Palestinians who work and study in Egypt stranded, while preventing hundreds of others from leaving the coastal area to receive medical treatment abroad.

Last week, a 26-year-old Palestinian woman suffering from cancer died at the border while waiting to be allowed into Gaza.
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 01:55 PM       
Geggy- Canada has publicly supported Israel, and initial statements have Saudi Arabia placing full blame on Hezballah.

Ziggy - half the country is living in bomb shelters, and Iran's President has announced this will be the demise of Israel. There was an Arab League style meeting only a week ago where it was voted to take action against Israel, and here we see the results. This isn't about a few kidnapped soldiers. Unilateral gestures for peace are what got Israel in this predicament. They need to hit harder, because if they stumble, Iran will cut Israel's pipelines...and if Israel falls, you can expect a third front on this war with Iran heading into Iraq. They have their eyes on a map with a map where the Mid-East is Islamic from Iran all the way to Egypt. Maybe you're not aware what kind of attacks ISrael withstood in the past 24 hours?

Kevin - that's Egypt's version of an "Apparthaid wall", only nobody mentions it. Palestinians have to go through checkpoints to work in Egypt, so whenever things get tense, Egypt cuts them off, and inevitably, the Palestinians blow a hole through the wall and start running backand forth like loons. It's easier then tunnels. So when Israel went into Gaza, Egypt just cut off the Palestinians, which meant the day laborers were sleeping in the streets waiting for them to reopen.

About Lebanon - you've probably read, theres a strange amoung of support within Lebanon for Israel to finally take care of their Hizzbalah problem. I think most ideals would be to see Lebanon fight back against Syria and join up with Israel, rather then take the brunt of these attacks.
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