Shifting Gears: Israel Prepares for Push
In its race against the ticking clock of UN patience, Israel is looking to expand the ground war in southern Lebanon in an increasingly urgent fight to destroy Hizballah’s military capabilities before an externally instituted cease-fire is implemented. CBS reports that “key ministers [are] arguing that the military must deal more blows to Hezbollah and score quick battlefield victories before a Mideast cease-fire is imposed.”
This coming change in operational pace may have much to do with why Dan Halutz has sent his deputy chief of staff, Major General Moshe Kaplinsky, to the Lebanese front to oversee operations. The move created some conflict with Major General Udi Adam, commander of the IDF’s Northern Command, and some of his subordinates. But the IDF is likely looking to transition from slow, cautious probing missions toward an all-out blitz.
Hizballah has been banking on such a move as its defenses have been long established to defeat it with ambushes from tunnels and fortified positions with new and effective anti-tank weapons, among other equipment. Thus far, Israel has been cautious on the ground while choking off Hizballah re-supply in the south in an effort to minimize this tactic’s effectiveness.
Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz chided Russia for its arms shipments to the Middle East, much of which have found their way into Hizballah’s deadly hands. Said Peretz bluntly, “We are fighting against the Iranian commando, which is armed with sophisticated, modern weaponry. This includes Russian-made anti-tank missiles, which in the past it was promised would not fall into the hands of Hizballah. This weapon is used today against IDF soldiers in Lebanon.”
Each day Israel waits increases the re-supply ‘starvation’ effect. But the UN clock ticks on as the world looks to impose a ceasefire, seemingly at any long-term cost. So the IDF must increase the pace soon to beat that clock, including far more risk to their troops. Overwhelming ground force remains the only way to effectively eliminate Hizballah - and their rockets - from southern Lebanon. The level of troop risk and the amount of time allowed for choking Hizballah re-supply are inversely related, but Israel has little choice as time evaporates.
Many at the UN seem more set on pushing the hands of the UN clock forward with each passing day, as evidenced by the UN’s Human Rights Council’s decision to consider a session to condemn Israel for international human rights violations, largely centered on the Qana incident even though it has been largely debunked as initially presented.
That no such session has been considered regarding Hizballah terrorist rocket attacks upon Israeli cities and obvious civilian targeting exposes the bias of the UN council. For Israel, the bar is perfection while eyes remain averted from terrorism by Hizballah.
Yet, while the world’s principal diplomatic forum, the United Nations, allows itself to largely dismiss Hizballah transgressions in pursuit of cornering the Israelis, Israel appears increasingly determined to forge ahead and fight an enemy no one else seems willing to fight, a terrorist enemy that openly seeks its destruction.