Northern Lights: Hizballah Attack Opens Israeli Front
Hizballah captured two IDF soldiers and killed up to seven in an attack under a heavy Katyusha rocket and mortar barrage into Israel that targeted both IDF units and Israeli civilian communities near Zarit in the Israeli-Lebanese border. The IDF immediately launched counter-attacks and began a systematic search for the captured soldiers.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the attacks an “act of war” and did not distinguish between the Hizballah terrorists and the government of Lebanon. Calling an emergency cabinet meeting as the IDF called up a reserve infantry battalion to deploy along the northern border, Olmert held the Lebanese government responsible for allowing Hizballah to roam freely and heavily armed in its territory. A senior IDF officer was quoted by Haaretz as saying “if the abducted soldiers are not returned we’ll turn Lebanon’s clock back 20 years.”
With Operation Summer Rains ongoing in the Gaza Strip and counterterrorism raids increased in the West Bank, a new hot front has opened in the Israeli conflict.
Former Knesset speaker and current Minister of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin of the Likud party said that “We must come to grips with the fact that we are at war and act accordingly.”
Israel is indeed at war. The war to the south in Gaza and the war to the north on the Lebanese border should not be distinguished as distinct and separate conflicts, as there is a cohesion of common cause among the terrorists in both directions: The destruction of Israel. Osama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman in Lebanon made this abundantly clear in his statement of solidarity with Hizballah. “We have proven to this enemy (Israel) that the one option is the release of Palestinian, Lebanese and Arab captives. All captives, without exception. Now Israel has to decide on its choices.”
Hizballah released a statement on the abductions of the two IDF soldiers that indicates that, not unlike the motive of Hamas in the Gaza abduction of Gilad Shalit, the plan is for a prisoner swap. “Fulfilling its pledge to liberate the (Arab) prisoners and detainees, the Islamic Resistance … captured two Israeli soldiers at the border with occupied Palestine.”
The common strategies and tactics are no mistake. Hizballah has been coordinating attacks with Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Islamic Jihad as well as Hamas in the Palestinian territories. The Hamas and Hizballah headquarters are practically across the street from one another, sharing common safe haven in Damascus, Syria and a common hated enemy in Israel.