Thursday, September 07, 2006

Israelis ending the Lebanon/Hezbollah blockade as the Olmert Government ducks out of its responsibilities

The Israeli government is ending the air and sea blockade of Lebanon today at the behest of Kofi Annan and the UN.

Prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Amir Peretz consented to this move without the UN, Lebanon or Hezbollah meeting so much as a single one of Israel’s conditions for ending the embargo and accepting the August ceasefire...which should give any interested observer an idea of its validity and longevity.

There is no sign of life or Red Cross access to Israelihostages Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose kidnapping by Hezbollah triggered the Lebanon war.

Hezbollah is not being evacuated from South Lebanon or disarmed.

While Olmert said that Annan and the UN had assured Israel that UN forces are prepared to begin `executing their mission' under UN Resolution 1701, nothing could be farther from the truth, and the UN and the European contingents have made it clear that they consider disarming Hezbollah to `Lebanon's mission.' which of course, is never going to happen.

UNIFIL-2 has also not lifted a finger to halt Iranian and Syrian weapons shipments to Hezbollah and enforce the embargo mandated by UN Resolution 1701.

As a matter of fact, one of my sources reports that the weapons flow to Hezbollah is so unimpeded that they have begun shipping arms to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

This week alone, the Palestinians reportedly received 400 RPG anti-tank rockets and 15 Grad missiles from their allies in Hezbollah via Iran. if that's accurate, look for Gaza to heat up again soon.

Many Israeli observers are aghast at the Olmert government's negligence and confusion in light of what is going on, and have been critical of the Olmert government's put it mildly.

"Israel should only have agreed to lift the Lebanon blockade in return for information on the fate of our two soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah," said Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, a member of Olmert's Kadima party who is a former defence minister and chief of staff.

Relatives of the missing hostages, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were livid on hearing this decision.

"We are losing an important means of pressure on the government and the Lebanese," Benny Regev, brother of Eldad, told army radio.

"As far as we know the two kidnapped soldiers are currently in Lebanon," he said. "Tomorrow, with the blockade lifted, they can find themselves in Tehran and face the same fate as Ron Arad."

Ron Arad is the Israeli air force navigator who's been missing in action since he ejected from his plane over Lebanon in 1986, and who was sold - literally- by Hezbollah to Iran. His fate remains mostly unknown.

Shlomo Goldwasser, father of Ehud, told the Maariv daily: "Last week the foreign minister said the blockade would be lifted when a sign of life is received, or when our sons are released and brought home, and as far as I know no sign of life has been received from them."

Yes, Mr. Goldwasser, you were blatantly lied to.

The IDF was also angry about the decision, which was taken against their advice. IDF Chief of Staff General Dan Halutz and other generals were not informed by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Defense Ministry and found out about the decision to end the blockade through the media.

I also doubt that this cynical abandonment of the two captives sits well with the IDF rank and file, already upset at the mismanagement of the Lebanon War.

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