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Will Hezbollah — Backed By Iran — Open a Second Front Against Israel?

Rockets fall on a retirement home in northern Israel. Who was responsible? (Also read Richard Fernandez: Calling UNIFIL)

by
P. David Hornik

Bio

January 8, 2009 - 5:34 am
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At about 7:30 Thursday morning Israel time, while Israeli warplanes, tanks, and artillery were pounding the smuggling tunnels at the Gaza-Sinai border, at least two rockets fired from Lebanon hit the area of Nahariya near the northern end of the Israeli coast.

The Jerusalem Post reported that “one of the rockets went through the roof of a Nahariya retirement home and exploded in the kitchen where about 25 elderly residents were eating breakfast in the adjacent dining hall. One resident suffered a broken leg, another bruises.” The two were rushed to a local hospital and five others were treated for shock.

The Israeli army responded with artillery fire at the launching sites in southern Lebanon. The automatic suspect for the attack was, of course, Hezbollah. Later in the morning Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri announced that Hezbollah had denied any connection to the rockets. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora condemned the attack — as well as Israel’s retaliation, showing that he was well schooled in the moral-equivalency tenets that now bedevil almost all public verbiage about Israel.

Israel’s Northern Command said the attack was indeed “carried out by Palestinian elements in Lebanon” rather than Hezbollah. But that hardly absolve the Iranian-backed terror group, with one defense official pointing out that “Nothing happens in Lebanon without a green light from Hezbollah. Even if it was a Palestinian group … Hezbollah would at least have had to turn a blind eye.”

In keeping with its policy since Hezbollah gained veto power in the Lebanese cabinet last May and became a central — arguably the dominant — component of its government, Israel cast blame for the attack on Lebanon itself and said it “holds the government of Lebanon and the Lebanese armed forces responsible for preventing rocket fire into Israel.” The Israeli cabinet had formally announced last August that it would hold Lebanon, as a state, answerable for any further attacks on Israel — meaning that, if it came to it, Israeli forces would have a free hand to hit Lebanese targets and not just Hezbollah itself.

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