On August 13, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to bomb Israel’s Dimona nuclear research facility in the event of war between Israel and Hezbollah. Nasrallah made the threat via video linkup from an undisclosed hidden location while addressing a crowd of Shia supporters in the southern Lebanese village of Khiam. For all of his bravado, Nasrallah still finds it necessary to hide, and scurry from location to location for fear of being targeted by Israel.
This isn’t the first time that the terrorist leader issued such a threat. In February, he issued similar sinister pronouncements during a speech commemorating the 9th anniversary of the liquidation of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s chief special operations commander, who was eliminated in 2008 in a joint Mossad-CIA operation.
Nasrallah frequently issues threats to bomb civilian targets and other critical infrastructure in Israel. These threats are generally for internal public consumption but they are also directed at Israel as a form of psychological warfare. Nasrallah’s threats to target an ammonia storage plant in Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, likely factored into the decision by Israeli authorities to relocate the facility to a safer location further south, away from densely populated areas.
Despite Nasrallah’s bluster, Israel takes the terrorist leader’s threats seriously. Like Hamas, ISIS and other terrorist groups, Hezbollah does not feel constrained by the laws of war. That means that in any future engagement with Israel, Hezbollah will violate the legal principles of “Distinction” and “Shielding” in that it will fire its guided and unguided missiles and rockets at Israel in indiscriminate fashion and will also deliberately utilize Lebanon’s civilian population as cover in an effort to shield itself from retaliation.
These nefarious tactics were employed by Hezbollah in 2006 and by Hamas in 2009, 2012 and 2014, without legal consequence to either organization. For example, during the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah fired rockets from the rooftop of a building housing a number of civilians in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. That rocket fire invariably drew Israeli counter fire, resulting in the deaths of some 60 civilians and an unknown number of terrorists. International outcry prompted a temporary halt of Israeli airstrikes which naturally benefitted Hezbollah. During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas utilized the basement of Al-Shifa hospital as a command and control center. Israel could have cut off the head of the snake with a couple of 1-ton bombs but that would have invariably led to enormous collateral damage – perhaps hundreds of civilian dead. Hamas was well aware of Israel’s weakness in this regard and its leadership continued to prosecute the war from Al-Shifa hospital, immune from aerial attack.
By contrast, despite the fact that Israel went above and beyond the requirements of international humanitarian law, often at risk to its own soldiers, the Jewish State was forced to contend with a plethora of legal complaints – including legal filings at the International Criminal Court – as a result of defensive actions undertaken by its armed forces. Western armies are often constrained by the laws of war and this is particularly true in the context of asymmetrical warfare where terrorist groups, operating under an immoral code, often utilize these known Western limitations to their advantage.
Nevertheless, in light of Hezbollah’s military build-up, its formidable rocket arsenal, genocidal threats and cynical exploitation of the civilian population, Israel may be compelled to relax the laws of war or at least argue that it is confronting a unique situation unparalleled in modern warfare, which dictates a reassessment of the doctrine of proportionality. That doctrine permits military action only if the military benefit derived from that specific action outweighs the collateral damage that would result therefrom.
Hezbollah possesses missiles that are within reach of all of Israel’s major population centers. The M-600/Fateh-110 for example, has a range of 300 km and can carry a conventional payload of between 500-650 kg. The missile is relatively accurate and has a 50-50 chance of landing within 100 meters of its intended target. Hezbollah is said to possess hundreds of these missiles, which can be fired from either fixed positions or from mobile platforms. Hezbollah is also said to possess the ability to manufacture surface -to-surface missiles, and with Iran’s assistance has constructed missile-building factories in fortified facilities 50 meters beneath the ground. Hezbollah is believed to possess at least two such factories in Lebanon.
Moreover, Hezbollah has constructed several missile launching facilities in and around the Syrian province of Qusair. Hezbollah took control of the region in 2013 and will likely use the area, which it treats as its own turf, as a platform to strike at Israel in any future conflict. Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal is believed to be 15 times greater than it was in 2006, dwarfing the collective inventories of all NATO countries, save for the United States.
The combination of such a lethal arsenal, cynically deployed amidst Lebanese civilian infrastructure, for use against Israeli civilian infrastructure, means that in the next war, Israel must respond with massive and overwhelming force. Israel’s terror-sponsoring enemies, chiefly Syria and Iran, should be on notice that the target bank will not be limited to Lebanon, and the world should be on notice that Hezbollah, and not Israel will bear full responsibility for all civilian casualties that ensue. The days where Israel is forced to fight with one hand tied behind its back due to the pernicious nature of its genocidal enemies, and overzealous application of the rules of war exclusively to one side but not the other, are over.
Trump hails ‘big week’ for historic move; ‘Congratulations to all,’ he tweets ahead of May 14 opening
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman gives a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on May 11, 2018, ahead of its opening on May 14 (Screenshot)
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Friday gave a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, showing off workers erecting the official seal on the building and preparing for the opening ceremony.
“We are so excited,” Friedman said in a video posted on the embassy’s Facebook page. “We have the official seal of the United States embassy. We have the dedication plaque. They are covered right now, but on Monday they are going to be unveiled.”
‘Next time in Jerusalem,’ jubilant Barzilai yells after victory; ‘Toy’ marks Israel’s 4th win; hundreds jump in Rabin Square fountain to celebrate; PM calls her ‘best ambassador’
Netta Barzilai after winning the final of the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, on May 12, 2018. (AFP/ Francisco LEONG)
Israel won the Eurovision song contest for the first time in two decades Saturday as singer Netta Barzilai clucked and bucked her way to the top of the international song contest with women’s empowerment anthem “Toy.”
Backed up by three dancers, her trademark side buns featuring stripes of pink dyed hair to match her pink-and-black outfit, Barzilai busted her way through “Toy” on stage in Lisbon, Portugal, punctuating her singing with her trademark eye rolls and chicken dance moves
Quoted by US president one day, hosted by Russia’s president the next, PM is on a high, including in the polls. But will this encourage his more divisive tendencies?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the Victory Parade marking the 73th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
JTA — On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu began his week by meeting his Cypriot and Greek counterparts to finalize the commercial export to Europe of Israeli gas that he has pushed to exploit for about a decade.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from nuclear deal with Iran was widely seen as a coup for Israel’s prime minister, a fierce opponent of the deal.
The same day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel seized Iran’s archive of its military nuclear program in Tehran and spirited it to Israel, a video was posted of IDF soldiers singing Soltane Ghalbha, a traditional Persian love song – in Persian.
Taken together, the two events demonstrate the purpose of Netanyahu’s presentation.
Netanyahu’s detractors in the US and Israel called his presentation as a dog and pony show. “He didn’t tell us anything we haven’t known for years,” they sniffed.
Moreover, they insisted, Netanyahu’s presentation was actually counterproductive because he couldn’t show evidence that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal it concluded in 2015 and so did nothing to persuade the Europeans to abandon the deal.
While US policy-makers are trying desperately to stabilize Afghanistan, a shift is being orchestrated by China.
The Chinese evidently see their role in Afghanistan as the “good cop” versus the U.S. role as “bad cop.” Like Pakistan, China seems to view the Taliban as the political opposition, not as a terrorist organization, and has offered itself as an intermediary to negotiate the departure of the U.S. and, thereby, be in a position to reap the economic and geopolitical benefits of Afghanistan as a client state of the China-Pakistan alliance.
Reuters/Ipsos set a new standard this week when it condemned its own polling as unreliably favorable to the president.
“This week’s Reuters/Ipsos Core Political release presents something of an outlier of our trend,” stated a paragraph that appeared before the press release on its latest polling even began.
“Every series of polls has the occasional outlier, and in our opinion, this is one. So, while we are reporting the findings in the interest of transparency, we will not be announcing the start of a new trend until we have more data to validate this pattern.”
For the sixth Friday in a row, protestors from Gaza came to Israel’s border with intentions to penetrate it. They come with scissors to cut through the fence, with burning tires, Molotov cocktails, slingshots with rocks, and kites with firebombs attached to them to destroy Israeli farmlands and villages.
This is not some peaceful demonstration akin to Selma in the 1960s when blacks were simply trying to sit together with whites at a lunch counter. The usage of the word “demonstrators” is a misnomer; these are “rioters.”
What would happen if the world took Pope Francis’ advice (via a tweet)? “Do we really want peace? Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war,” said the pontiff.
While on the surface, the disappearance of all weapons might suggest the inability to do violence, in reality, it would mean the certain annihilation of the West as a civilization.
When a Philadelphia Starbucks manager called the police after two black men refused to leave, the chain of events ended with the burnt taste of the overpriced coffee chain colluding with anti-Semitism.
Starbucks reacted to the brief arrest by blaming the police, but Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who is African-American, initially said that his officers, “did absolutely nothing wrong”. But then he was forced to offer a bewildering apology to the arrested men, the officers and the entire city.
“It is me who in large part made most of the situation worse than it was,” he announced.
“Your threshing season will last until your grape harvest, and your grape harvest will last until the time you plant. You will have your fill of food, and you will dwell securely in your land” (Vayikra 26:5).
This blessing is promised to the People of Israel on condition that, as a unified nation, they observe the laws of the Torah and live by its spirit. Its promise is quite surprising. Not only will the Israelites have plenty to eat but, as the verse clearly indicates, the Jews will experience an overflow of food. The first season, when produce is brought to the threshing floor, will last until the days of the grape harvest, which in turn will continue into the planting season.