Is Israeli Aggression on Gaza Coming?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Will Netanyahu order Israel’s fourth preemptive war on Gaza pre-or-post September 17 Knesset elections — for the fourth time since December 2008?

His political future at stake, are his war-mongering threats empty campaign rhetoric to win votes or is war imminent?

Along with vowing to (illegally) annex the Jordan Valley (30% of the West Bank) if reelected next week, he threatened war on Gaza Thursday, saying:

“There will be an operation, but I will not embark on it a moment before we are ready…(T)here apparently will be no choice but to topple Hamas,” turning truth on its head, adding:

“There is a terrorist element that wants to destroy us (sic).” The most dangerous regional real one is headquartered in Tel Aviv.

Israel has been perpetually at war on Gaza since 2007 without formally declaring it, terror-bombing the Strip at its discretion, along with cross-border incursions, and using live fire and other hostile actions against peaceful demonstrators.

On the 73rd Great March of Return Friday since March 30 2018, Israeli forces used live fire and other excessive force against nonviolent Gazans, protesting for their legitimate rights denied by a ruthless occupier.

Two children threatening no one were killed, scores more injured, including a journalist and two paramedics, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

Throughout Israeli history, the world community never held its political and military officials accountable for their Nuremberg-level high crimes. 

Nor have world leaders denounced Netanyahu’s threat to attack Gaza aggressively. Is it coming?

Late Thursday, he said it “could happen at any moment” — after returning from Sochi, Russia, holding talks with Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Shogui, the visit a pre-election campaign stunt.

Was threatening war on Gaza the same thing to gain an edge over his main rival? Polls show his Likud party and Gantz/Lapid’s Blue and White party are in a dead heat days before Tuesday elections.

Final pre-election polls released Friday showed a potential Likud-led coalition could win 59 seats, 61 needed for a Knesset majority, why Netanyahu is using every dirty trick in the book for an 11th hour edge.

Haaretz editors slammed his “weakness” and “cowardice.” They accused him of “nourishing” clashes with Gazan protesters.

They called for “ending the blockade, building industrial infrastructure that will create jobs and allowing freedom of movement for both goods and people,” adding:

“Electing him to another term of office will merely ensure more of the same weakness that has already given rise to pointless rounds of fighting.” 

He hopes that reelection as prime minister may help him avoid indictment on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges, following an October hearing, damning evidence against him.

He reportedly said if able to form a new ruling coalition post-election, he’ll seek Knesset immunity from indictment and prosecution, along with legislation to prevent Israel’s Supreme Court from removing it.

His political future and personal freedom are at stake. Is judgment day coming at last — after avoiding accountability for years?

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Gaza Fights For Freedom: Sneak Preview Of Empire Files Documentary — Rebel Voice

The story of Gaza is one that deserves to be told. Sadly, Zionism has gotten its bloodstained claws upon the western MSM and is refusing to let go. Israel and its supporters know that if the truth were to find its way into the minds of the population of this planet, then the rogue Zionist […]

via Gaza Fights For Freedom: Sneak Preview Of Empire Files Documentary — Rebel Voice

Netanyahu Does Something Stupid Again

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aa31b

With general elections coming up on September 17, Benyamin Netanyahu made a calculated gamble last week and lost.

The attempt to assassinate someone by drone in Beirut failed. Two drones were sent into the largely Shia suburb of Dahiya, where Hizbullah’s political, media and welfare offices are based. The first drone, for surveillance, crashed on to the roof of a Hizbullah media office, causing damage inside but no human casualties. This forced the Israelis to abort the entire mission. They themselves destroyed the second drone, for assassination, according to the veteran Middle East correspondent Abdul Bari Atwan. The target for murder was clearly a senior Hizbullah figure or – as some have speculated – a representative of the Iranian government.  Israel certainly did not send a drone to Beirut just to put a hole in the roof of a building.

As this was the first attack on Beirut since 2006, when Israel jets pulverized Dahiya day after day, Hizbullah threatened retaliation. It never says when, how or where it will strike back but this time it retaliated almost immediately, destroying an Israeli APC (armored personnel carrier) at a military outpost across the armistice line.

That Netanyahu would launch such an attack without taking precautions to ensure the safety of civilians and military personnel in the north would have played badly before the public had not the government covered its tracks by firing a flurry of missiles into Lebanon and claiming in a media barrage that while the APC was indeed hit by the ‘terrorists’ no-one suffered even a scratch, as Netanyahu eventually claimed.

It may be some time, it may be never, that the truth comes out but the story pitched by the Israeli government and military has all the elements of high comedy, not sophisticated, more Bud Abbott and Lou Costello than Lenny Bruce.  First the Israelis said the vehicle that was struck was a military ambulance, with no-one inside it. Then they admitted it was an APC, but again no-one was inside, as they had all gone somewhere else half an hour earlier, whether for a smoke, a meal or a pee we don’t know.

Likud minister Yoav Galllant said no-one had been hurt in the missile strike, even as footage was being shown of wounded soldiers being flown by helicopter to an army hospital but he was speaking out of turn, so the government said.

In fact, noone had been hurt.  This was no more than a decoy operation. Israel wanted Hizbullah to think it had scored some kind of victory, so it dressed up store dummies as soldiers and had them carried away on stretchers.  It turned out that Israel just wanted to fool Hizbullah.  That was the point of the whole exercise.  Ha ha, Hasan, the joke’s on you.  Noone had been hurt after all.   “The staged evacuation seems to have worked” wrote the veteran Zionist propagandist David Horowitz.

The fact that settlers in the north had been sent scurrying into their bomb shelters by the Hizbullah missile strike was soon overtaken by glowing reports of farmers back in the fields and children back in the classroom as usual now that the cross-armistice line missile fusillade had died down.

Readers will decide how much of this malarky they can believe. For most, probably none of it. Behind the propaganda smokescreen lies a core truth, which is that Netanyahu, Israel’s nincompoop-in-chief, launched a failed mission into Beirut, rather reminiscent of his failed attempt to kill the senior Hamas figure Khalid Mishael in 1997.  The would-be assassins were arrested, and the panicked, sweating Netanyahu, close to nervous collapse, saved from his own folly only by the intervention of the Jordanian king.

The drone attack in Beirut was designed to deliver an election victory but backfired badly and had to be covered up as quickly as possible with what seems on the surface to be a complete cock and bull story.

The APC held eight men.  If they had been inside when it was struck by Hizbullah’s missile, all would have died or would have been badly wounded, as Hizbullah claimed they were.  If they were killed or wounded, Netanyahu, approaching the end of an election campaign, would have had to prevent the public from knowing, even to the ludicrous extent of telling it that the wounded soldiers shown in video footage were actually store dummies dressed up as wounded men.  The truth – if there were casualties – would have doomed his re-election prospects.

The drone attacks on Beirut included a strike on a PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) base in the Bika’a valley.  Other drone attacks on the same day were launched against Hashd al Sha’abi (Popular Mobilization Forces) units and regular Iraqi army bases in north Iraq close to the Syrian border.  Iraqi intelligence believes the attacks were launched from the Kurdish region of northeastern Syria, controlled by the largely Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US puppet militia.   In the same time frame, the Zionists also attacked a military position close to Damascus.

These simultaneous attacks on three countries call to mind the rabid dog running around snapping at anyone who comes close. There was no immediate provocation for any of these missile strikes and drone attacks but in Israel’s case there never has to be.  The Israelis say Hizbullah’s missile retaliation brought the two sides to within 30 minutes of another war,  and they say another one is coming anyway.  This can hardly be news to anyone.   Hizbullah has enough precision missiles to devastate Israel and the longer the Israelis wait the more it will have, so unfortunately another war is only a matter of time and perhaps a much shorter time than people might think.

Even though Israel has been flying drones over Lebanon for decades, an attack in central Beirut is unusual.  It might not be the first, however: Lebanon’s former Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, may have been assassinated in 2005 by a missile fired from an Israeli drone, and not killed by a car bomb, the generally accepted explanation.  The UN investigation into Hariri’s death was grossly prejudicial, especially in the case of the reports filed by the first lead investigator, Detlev Mehlis, and came to nothing anyway. The charges against Lebanese suspects were dropped, at which point the UN tribunal switched its suspicions to Hizbullah, without having any prior evidence.   This investigative route has ended in a dead end as well. The one chief suspect never investigated, even though standing out above all the others because of its long track record of murder and mayhem in Lebanon,  is Israel.

In 2010 Hasan Nasrallah revealed that Hizbullah had intercepted Israel’s electronic communications and had captured images of an Israeli drone tracking Hariri across Beirut and into the mountains every day for three months. Along with an AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) plane, an Israeli drone was hovering over the precise point on the corniche road when Hariri was assassinated.

Rafik Hariri 57728

*(Lebanon’s former Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri)

Looking at the evidence, Thierry Meyssan has argued that a highly refined missile fitted with a warhead based on a ‘nano’ amount of enriched uranium may have been used rather than a  car bomb (‘Revelations on Rafik Hariri’s Assassination,’ Voltaire Network, November 29, 2010).

However, whether drone missile or car bomb, Nasrallah implicated Israel in the murder.  If the question cui bono is to be asked the answers are clear.  It was immediately assumed in the ‘west’ that Syria must have been responsible, given the often difficult relationship between Hariri and the Syrian government, but the only beneficiaries of the assassination were Israel and its rightwing proxies in Lebanon.

Israel violates Lebanon’s air space as a matter of course.  Over the years it has overflown Lebanon many thousands of time.  It frequently flies across Lebanon to attack Syria.  At the international level, no sanctions have ever been introduced to stop it, just as no sanctions have ever been introduced to stop it doing anything it wants to do. This will continue until the big war comes along, and then all those who could have done something to head it off but did nothing will be throwing up their hands in horror.

Apart from flights aimed at bombing targets in Lebanon or Syria, Israel’s aerial intrusions would have other purposes, including intimidation of the Lebanese civilian population and the unrest this might generate.

Most probably it would also want to draw Hizbullah out and, through retaliation to one of its attacks, see if it has missiles capable of bringing down its aircraft.  A lost plane and pilot would be worth the cost of knowing.  As the neutralization of Israeli air power must be a primary objective of Hizbullah and Iran, Hizbullah probably does have such weapons, but Israel is going to have to wait until the next war to find out.

STOP PRESS: Hizbullah has now released a video showing the Israeli military vehicle being hit wth a Kornet missile. It was one of several being driven along a road when it exploded in a ball of fire. No one could have come out of it unscathed. Its nonsensical lies now exposed, Israel has had to change its story yet again. The ‘medical’ vehicle was not empty after all and obviously was not stationary, as the propaganda machine had indicated. Five soldiers were inside – but thankfully the missile missed! Anyone who can believe this only has to look at the video.

Lying for Israel: Why Nearly Everyone in Washington Does It

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Reuven Rivlin Trump e8554

It is not often that one hears anything like the truth in today’s Washington, a city where the art of dissimulation has reached new heights among both Democrats and Republicans. Everyone who has not been asleep like Rip Van Winkle for the past twenty years knows that the most powerful foreign lobby operating in the United States is that of the state of Israel. Indeed, by some measures it just might be the most powerful lobby period, given the fact that it has now succeeded in extending its tentacles into state and local levels with its largely successful campaigns to punish criticism or boycotting of Israel while also infiltrating boards of education to require Holocaust education and textbooks that reflect favorably on the Jewish state.

Occasionally, however, the light does shine in darkness. The efforts by Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to challenge the power of the Israel Lobby are commendable and it is worth noting that the two women are being subjected to harassment by their own Democratic Party in an effort to make them be silent. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has attempted to make them the face of the Democrats, calling them “Jew haters” and “anti-Semites” while also further claiming that they despise the United States just as they condemn Israel. This has developed into a Trump diatribe claiming that American Jews who vote for Democrats are “disloyal.” By disloyal he meant disloyal to Israel, in a sense ironically confirming that in the president’s mind Jews have dual loyalty, which, of course, at least some of them do.

And Trump has further exercised his claim to the Jewish vote by accepting the sobriquet “King of Israel” bestowed by a demented talk radio host. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already asserted that Trump’s election victory was the result of divine intervention to “save Israel from Iran,” the kingship is presumably an inevitable progression. One can only imagine what will come next.

One Democratic congressman who has apparently become fatigued by all that bipartisan pandering to Israel is Ted Lieu of California. Last Thursday Lieu rebuked Trump’s US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman over his support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to allow Tlaib and Omar to visit the West Bank where Tlaib’s grandmother lives under Israeli occupation. Friedman had issued a statement saying that the United States “respects and supports” the Israeli action. He went on to elaborate “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is not free speech. Rather, it is no less than economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish state. [Israel] has every right to protect its borders against those activists in the same manner as it would bar entrants with more conventional weapons.”

As Friedman was describing two thirty-something nonviolent first term congresswomen as nothing less than armed attackers about to be unleashed against the Jewish state because they support a peaceful boycott movement, Lieu apparently felt compelled to courageously respond to the ambassador, tweeting “Dear @USAmbIsrael: You are an American. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign power. You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. If you don’t understand that, then you need to resign.”

Later that day, on CNN, Lieu explained his objection to Friedman’s actions, saying “Actually, I think he should resign because he doesn’t see to understand that his allegiance is to America, not to a foreign power. He should be defending the right of Americans to go abroad to other countries and to visit their relatives.”

The outrage from the mighty host of friends of Israel came immediately, with accusations that Lieu was accusing Friedman of “dual loyalty,” that greatly feared derogatory label that is somewhat akin to “anti-Semitism” or “Holocaust denial” in the battery of verbal munitions used to silence critics of the Jewish state. Indeed, Lieu was accused of employing nothing less than a “classic anti-Semitic” trope.

Under considerable pressure, Lieu deleted the tweet and then issued something of an apology, “It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to @USAmbIsrael raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community. That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet.”

But the reality is, of course, that Friedman does not have dual loyalty. He has real loyalty only to Israel, which he demonstrates repeatedly by uncritically supporting everything the kleptocratic Netanyahu regime does with nary a pause to consider actual American interests. He has supported the weekly slaughter of unarmed Gazan civilians by Israeli sharpshooters, praised the bombing of Syria, pushed for the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, applauded the recognition by Washington of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and is an active supporter of and contributor to the illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank. He has even pressured the State Department into ceasing its use of the word “occupation” when describing the situation on the West Bank. It is now “disputed.” So, it is no surprise that David Friedman, formerly a bankruptcy lawyer before he became ambassador, lines up with Netanyahu rather than with two American Congresswomen who, apart from anything else, have good reasons to travel to a country that is the largest US aid recipient in order to see conditions on the ground. To put it mildly, Friedman is a disgrace and a reflection of the character or lack thereof of the man who appointed him. If he had any decency, he would resign.

There is no benefit for the United States when an American Ambassador excuses the brutality of a foreign government, quite the contrary as it makes Washington an accomplice in what are often undeniably war crimes. Even though Congressman Lieu was clearly read the riot act and made to fly right by his own party’s leadership, it took considerable courage to speak up against both Israel and an American ambassador who clearly is more in love with the country he is posted to than the country he is supposed to represent. Of course, in never-any-accountability Washington a buffoon posing as an ambassador as Friedman does will get away with just about anything and, as the subject is Israel, there will hardly be a word of rebuke coming from anyone, to include the mainstream media. But the tweet by Lieu is nevertheless significant. Hopefully, he will be among the first of many congressmen willing to put at risk their careers at times to speak the truth.

Israel Is Hiding Its Soldiers and Hezbollah Is Winning without Firing a Shot- So Far

By Elijah Magnier

Source

Hezbollah Is Winning without Firing a Shot 7d378

The Israeli army was well able to hide its soldiers along the Lebanese-Israeli border. Hezbollah defeated the Israeli army without firing a shot by forcing the army to disappear and leave puppets behind in its military vehicles. That is to prevent any opportunity for Hezbollah to avenge the killing of its members in Syria, for sending booby-trapped drones to the southern suburb of Beirut and for attacking a Palestinian military officer in the Bekaa. Along the border with Lebanon, from the coastal city of Naqoura to the occupied town of the Shebaa Farms, for about 60 kilometers, Hezbollah is searching for Israeli military targets without finding any apparent soldier. That means Hezbollah would be obliged to target a non-visible object inland. Hezbollah’s bank of objectives is rich and selecting an Israeli target will not be very difficult. It is not forced to reveal the exact time of revenge, happy to keep Israel on its toes, spreading fear and continuous anxiety over the entire country.

Hezbollah is not in a hurry to close the account and may not really need to jump the gun. Striking a far-flung target would reveal Hezbollah’s capabilities: better to keep its special arsenal unrevealed for a more serious, wider military confrontation. Hezbollah is therefore in favor of using laser missiles, snipers or camouflaged booby-traps, or precision missiles and suicide drones that can inflict heavy casualties on Israeli soldiers as they gather together (if and when possible!).

For the first time since 2006 (the third war on Lebanon), a whole week has gone by without any Israeli ground violations. The number of these violations was up to five per week and about 167 per month (air, land, and sea), rebuffing the UN Resolution 1701. Israel continues to violate Lebanese airspace every day, dozens of times a day.

Hezbollah succeeded in its psychological warfare, according to the Israeli press. Naturally, the Israelis are closely monitoring any movement on the border, any open-source information or any intelligence material that could help thwart an attack. However, the theory that “Israel is an invincible army” has been ended: it was irrevocably subdued by a television threat from Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.

The Israeli army is on high alert, it canceled leave for a large number of combat units, and asked settlers not to approach any fields near the border. The commander of Israel’s northern front, General Amir Baram, paradoxically rejected the settlers’ request to open shelters so as not to make them even more nervous while waiting for the deadly response from Hezbollah.

For the first time, it seems that Israeli soldiers along the border would even be pleased if three or four of their comrades were killed because it would mean that death had not knocked at their own door. Israeli soldiers would breathe a sigh of relief and return to their daily work with greater peace of mind once Hezbollah’s attack were concluded.

From Israeli military and political statements, it seems that the winds of war are far from blowing that strongly: that neither side favors a wider confrontation. But it is too early to speculate because will be up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to decide whether to really drag Israel into war or not.

Israel will not be able to hide for long behind the barricades and the IDF will not be able to remain in its hideouts for long. Time is getting short:  closer and closer every day to the hit that Hezbollah promised. Then the pressure will be lifted but not on Netanyahu who knows that the psychological war has damaged him despite his public boasting about achievements in Syria and Iraq. But he certainly cannot boast of striking Lebanon or Hezbollah, precisely because he has already lost his first battle. Israel awakened the Shiite genie in the 1982 war when it invaded Lebanon and brought Sayyed Nasrallah to Hezbollah leadership in 1992 by assassinating Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi, the former Hezbollah leader. Israel apparently has once more failed to learn from history and from its previous mistakes.

Hezbollah Will Respond to Israel: But When? How? And at What Cost?

By Elijah Magnier

Source

 

Its Lebanon You Fools 0b60d

The “Axis of the Resistance” has been informed about Hezbollah’s intention to respond to Israel imminently, confirmed sources within the decision-making leadership. The main offices of militant leadership and all gathering of forces have been abandoned or forbidden, and a state of full alert has been declared in preparation for a possible Israeli decision to go to war. In Iran, Syria and Palestine, the finger is on the trigger. Is the Middle East going to war? Actually, it all depends on how far- and in which direction- the Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to go: and the degree to which he will accept, or not, the hit back from Hezbollah.

This all snowballed when, from al-Ayen in the Bekaa Valley, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah launched his threat against Israel. He swore to down drones violating Lebanese sovereignty and threatened to kill Israelis. This is would be carried out in retaliation for the Israeli killing of two Hezbollah members in Syria, and for sending suicide drones to hit Hezbollah high-value objectives and capabilities in the suburbs of Beirut. Netanyahu responded a few hours late by bombing a position of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC)- in the same Bekaa Valley, to send a clear message to Sayyed Nasrallah:  Hezbollah’s challenge is being acknowledged, and answered with another Israeli challenge. Now it is only a question of when, how, and at what cost the Hezbollah “bloody retaliation” will be, bloody because it is inevitable that Israeli soldiers will be killed.

Sayyed Nasrallah had no option but to respond to the Israeli violation of the Rule of Engagement (ROE) established since the 2006 third Israeli war on Lebanon. If he fails to hit Israel and accepts the ongoing international mediation and politico-financial temptations offered to the Lebanese government to persuade him to renounce his promised attack, he loses his credibility, which is substantial right now. Moreover, Israel would then be encouraged to hit more targets in Lebanon as it is doing in Iraq and in Syria for some years now, against hundreds of objectives. If Hezbollah refrains from responding as promised,  Netanyahu will “get away with it”: this boosts his chances in the forthcoming election.

Sayyed Nasrallah committed himself before the whole world to hit back at Israel. All eyes in the Arab world – in particular among the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Yemeni and his own Lebanese society that is embracing Hezbollah – are focussed on what the target will be and when the attack will take place. In Israel, Sayyed Nasrallah has high credibility, and people believe him, as indeed most Israeli newspapers write today. Hezbollah is expected to halt Israel’s violation of the Rules of Engagement and give an example to follow for all those within the “Axis of the Resistance” and put a stop to the Israeli attacks on their sovereignty.

It will not be possible to stop all Israeli drones from flying over Lebanon and prevent these from collecting intelligence information. That is considered vital to Israel to update its bank of objectives and analyse any potential threat. Sayyed Nasrallah is aware of that and for that very reason he would indeed attempt to down Israeli drones.

Since the attack against Beirut, Israeli drones continue over flying Beirut: “Israel is doing everything to provoke a reaction from Hezbollah so that it can identify our anti-air missile capability”, said a source within the “Axis of the Resistance”.

Israel is also waiting to see if it is possible to continue targeting Hezbollah warehouses or send suicide drones to target-kill specific individuals, depending on the price it needs to pay in exchange for its killing of Hezbollah operatives. Netanyahu has positioned himself at the bottleneck, unable to move in or out. He pushed his arrogance to the limit in Lebanon, knowing that he would corner Sayyed Nasrallah if Hezbollah were not to hit back (due to the critical financial situation in Lebanon) and the desire to stay away from a devastating war. Now, the Israeli Prime Minister is asking Hezbollah to “calm down”. But it looks like it is too late to turn back the hands of the clock.

Because Iraq did not reply to the Israeli targeting of its warehouses (five destroyed so far) and the assassination of an Iraqi commander (killed by a drone on the Iraqi-Syrian border), Israel obviously concludes that the Iraqi stage is open to its military activities. Hezbollah is aware of the Israeli modus operandi so it cannot permit replication in Lebanon, even at the cost of going to war.

Actually, in Israel, many leaders are blaming Netanyahu for gossiping and bragging about Israel’s responsibility in attacks outside Israel’s borders. Israel generally prefers to be quiet about this practice, one used by Israel for decades but now exploited by Netanyahu for electoral purposes.

So, what is the “cost” Hezbollah is looking for? According to sources within the “Axis of the Resistance”, Hezbollah is looking for a target- to kill two or three Israelis or send a suicide drone against an Israeli military gathering or other more deadly and spectacular options. “Israel is only a few meters from the Lebanese borders. Killing Israeli soldiers is so simple when a Rule of Engagement is violated. Netanyahu will have to justify for his people what advantage he gained in breaking the cessation of hostility since 2006 despite repeated warnings of the consequences. He is either looking for war – in which case both belligerents have to be ready – or he will have caused unnecessary killing on both sides. He will have to pay the price for this,” said the source.

Obviously, Hezbollah is not looking to push Israeli too far outside its comfort zone, with an “acceptable” number of casualties: a hit in exchange for another hit. It will depend on Netanyahu to take it further into war if he wishes to, or to nurse his wounds. Although the Israeli Prime Minister holds the initiative and was respecting to the “rules of the game” as long as he honored the undeclared agreement, it is time now for him to understand that Lebanon, despite its small size, is not Yemen or Syria or Iraq.

Sayyed Nasrallah’s disposition to attack Israel was boosted by the Lebanese President Michel Aoun who described the Israeli aggression as “an act of war”. Prime Minister Saad Hariri considered the aggression “a threat to regional stability”. Hezbollah has enough domestic support to stand against Israel and retaliate even if the situation goes out of control. Sayyed Nasrallah is no longer constrained by the Lebanese officials who asked him months ago to take into consideration the tourist season, and to share their positive view of the highly tense situation in the Middle East. Indeed, the Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese fronts are all on the verge of explosion, depending on how Israel and the US are willing to be “guided.”

During the last Israeli elections, Hezbollah decided to keep at a distance. This time it seems the situation is different. There is an opportunity for Hezbollah to damage Netanyahu who is facing elections during the third week of September. In this case, Hezbollah’s reply to Israel must be before the 19thof September. If Netanyahu decides to go to war regardless of the outcome, he will certainly lose his possibility of re-election. Most probably, if he does not respond to Hezbollah, he will look weak but will come out of it with less damage.

This takes us to the date of the attack. First, and indeed above all, it depends on the opportunity and on identifying a selective target. That depends on the military decision and findings on the Lebanese-Israeli borders and most probably in the next 72 hours. Second, there are possibilities for allowing the 31stof August to go by, the date the “Amal” movement is planning a large gathering in Beirut to start celebrating the first day of Muharram. This is the first night that marks the beginning of Ashura, a solemn day of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Hussein Bin Ali Bin Abi Taleb, Mohammad’s grandson, at Karbalaa, Iraq.

The first 10 days of Ashura bring most of the Shia in Lebanon and in particular Hezbollah supporters, to the utmost level of sacrifice. Netanyahu could not have chosen a worse timing for his violation of the Rules of Engagement.

Sayyed Nasrallah is not obliged to provide a date of attack to Israel. It is common for an organisation to first exhaust a country’s resources by forcing it to mobilize its forces on all fronts and abroad to protect its embassies. Therefore, the exact date will be kept in the hands of Hezbollah to evaluate. It could be that allowing the Israeli soldiers to relax on the borders after several weeks of lack of action would create the best opportunity, but I doubt Hezbollah would wait that long. As we have said, Hezbollah as a matter of precaution has abandoned its offices and known gathering places: this is standard practice when war (an Israeli hit or attack) is expected. Netanyahu has really no alternative but to wait and decide if war is really going to be his next best option.

Settlers attack Palestinians across the West Bank after Israeli soldier death — International Solidarity Movement

Rebel Voice

August 9 | International Solidarity Movement | West Bank, occupied Palestine Israeli settlers launched a series of violent attacks against Palestinians across the West Bank last night, smashing car windows and assaulting an elderly man. Attacks took place simultaneously in multiple locations between 22:00 and 24:00 on the night of August 8, near the illegal…

via Settlers attack Palestinians across the West Bank after Israeli soldier death — International Solidarity Movement

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