Anorak News | What Really Happened When Five People And One Tree Died On Israel-Lebanon Border

What Really Happened When Five People And One Tree Died On Israel-Lebanon Border

by | 4th, August 2010

ISRAEL is once more at the top of the news agenda as shots are fired and five lives lost in South Lebanon. But why is this internationl news? And what happened?

Blame The Israeli Invaders

Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Wednesday strongly condemned Israel’s attack on Lebanese territory.

Says Reuters

The U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon determined on Wednesday Israeli soldiers were operating inside Israel at the onset of deadly border clashes with Lebanese troops that have raised fears of wider conflict.

The Sydney Morning Herald Has More

Milos Struger, political adviser to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, which monitors the border, said Lebanese forces had been advised of the Israeli brush-clearing operation several hours in advance. Despite this, Lebanese troops called on the Israelis to retreat. When the Israeli commander refused, a Lebanese sniper opened fire from a house in the nearby border village of al-Adeisa.

Lieutenant-Colonel Dov Harari, 45, a father of four, was killed instantly when he was shot in the head, while another soldier received serious shrapnel wounds to the chest.

In the ensuing battle, an Israeli tank that was providing cover for the brush-clearing operation returned fire. Israeli Air Force helicopters later attacked several targets in al-Adeisa, and the village of Killa where the local Lebanese army headquarters is located, hitting several armoured personnel carriers stationed outside.

The War As Advertised

A Lebanese army official said the military had had prior notice of Israel’s planned activity but it had been agreed on condition that it took place under UNIFIL’s supervision.

The UN

UNIFIL military spokesperson Lt. Col. Naresh Bhatt said Wednesday that the tree that was the core of a deadly gunbattle between the Israeli and Lebanese armies is located inside Israeli territory.

The Nuclear Tree

Now for the Lebanese army to take on the Israelis, with their 264 nuclear missiles, was a tall order. But for the Israeli army to take on the army of one of the smallest countries in the world was surely preposterous, not least because Army Day had been attended by the president of Lebanon, Michel Sleiman, in Beirut only two days earlier – when he ordered his soldiers to defend their frontier.

At about this time, Al-Akhbar newspaper’s local correspondent Assaf Abu Rahal turned up in Addaiseh to cover the story. And a little time later, an Israeli helicopter -apparently firing from the Israeli side of the border (though that has yet to be confirmed) – fired a rocket at a Lebanese armoured vehicle, killing three soldiers and the journalist.

Lebanese troops, on orders from Beirut, fired back and killed an Israeli lieutenant-colonel…

A Hizollah- Hamas Joint Effort

Meanwhile, down south:

The deadly rocket attacks on Israel and Jordan’s Red Sea ports were carried out by the militant Palestinian Hamas group operating from Egypt, an Egyptian official said Wednesday after days of denials.

The Guardian’s Brian Whittaker Blames Israel

The underlying problem here is that in 2000 Israel withdrew from Lebanon unilaterally, without an agreement. That followed the breakdown of peace talks with Syria (which at the time held sway over Lebanon) and it had all sorts of adverse political consequences – among them, allowing Hezbollah to claim victory and, probably, contributing to the start of the second Palestinian intifada.

Regardless of whether Israel should have been occupying southern Lebanon in the first place, pulling out without an agreement was stupid. But Israel does have a propensity for this sort of unilateral action (witness the “disengagement” from Gaza).

And you thought the underlying problem was that Iran-backed Islamists in the north want to blow Israel into the sea.

Fisk Thyself

Robert Fisk’s story in the Independent was wildly slanted to the point of absurdity:

Ignoring Israel’s claims that it had been operating within its own border, and had in fact coordinated its maintenance work with UNIFIL beforehand, Fisk states simply that, ‘No one is exactly sure where the Israeli-Lebanese border is.’ UNIFIL’s statement today would be meaningless if this were the case.

The Dead Hack

Also according to AP, a Lebanese journalist with the daily Al-Akhbar newspaper, Assaf Abu Rahhal, was killed when an Israeli shell landed next to him in the border village of Adeisseh. Al-Akhbar is reportedly associated with Hezbollah and has been denounced by Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt as being funded by Syria and Iran. So what was Abu Rahhal doing in the area exposing himself to IDF counter-fire?

Says The Sheikh

Hezbollah did not take part in the latest violence, but the group’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, said Tuesday night that his forces would not stand by idly if Israeli troops ever attack Lebanese forces again.

“Can the resistance stand and watch as the army is attacked?” he asked in a speech transmitted via video link to thousands of supporters massed in Hezbollah’s stronghold in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

“From now on, if the army is attacked in any area where the resistance has a presence or a say, the resistance will not stand by idly. We will cut off the Israeli hand that reaches out to [attack] the Lebanese army,” he said, according to the English-language edition of Lebanon’s al-Naharnet website.

His Master’s Voice – Yosef Bodansky

… However, the main event in the aftermath of the clash is an anticipated major speech by Hassan Nasrallah. The speech was scheduled for 20:30 on August 3, 2010 (Lebanon time), but its exact time was being constantly changed. Senior HizbAllah officials predict that Nasrallah’s speech ‘will mark a turning point’ for Lebanon and the entire Middle East. They explained that Nasrallah would ‘focus on the national and Islamic dimension of the July [2006] war’ and its implications for the current situation in the entire region. Nasrallah’s speech, the Senior HizbAllah officials stress, ‘will mainly be devoted to talk about the meaning of victory against Israel’ in both past wars and in the historic confrontation still to come.

The Plot Thickens

On the day of the skirmish:

The leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has accused Israel of being behind the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri.
In a fiery speech, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said he would prove the claim at a press conference next week.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne says Mr Nasrallah is trying to pre-empt a UN report due to implicate Hezbollah in the killing.

Tim Marshall Of Sky News Wonders:

The small southern Lebanese village of Adeesa is not known as a place journalists hang out in in case something happens. So it’s curious that several Lebanese reporters, cameramen and photographers were there with the Lebanon Army before Tuesday’s shooting match with Israel.

The Israelis often cut down/trim the trees at that location of the border as it is high ground and gives them a clear line of sight down into the Lebanese villages. On Tuesday, the IDF Tree Surgeons Brigade, or whatever it is called, as is usual, informed the UN of plans to clear trees on their side. This was at 0600 and the job would begin at 0900. The UN requested a delay to prepare their monitoring force, told the Lebanese Army of the timings, and the clearing began at 11.00.

The United Nations has made clear that the Israelis were operating on their own side of the border, and frequently conduct brush clearing and tree felling. This has always been watched by the Lebanese Army, usually without incident.

The Israeli media were either unaware of Tuesday routine plans or didn’t deem them newsworthy – ‘IDF cuts down tree again shock!’ would have been trimmed by the editor.

But, across the border by 11.00 the Lebanese media had gathered to film this routine event. Which begs the question; Why? One of them paid with his life,killed by Israeli fire, another was shot in the leg. At least 3 Lebanese soldiers died as did a senior Israeli officer.

There is no proof that someone on the Lebanese side tipped the media off that a routine operation was about to turn into a major incident which someone wanted to be filmed. But it’s quite a coincidence.

Such are the facts…

Posted: 4th, August 2010 | In: Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink