Archive for the ‘Defense of Israel’ category

Has the IDF hit the Basij forces commander General Naghdi?

July 30, 2016

Has the IDF hit the Basij forces commander General Naghdi? DEBKAfile, July 30, 2016

EinZivan2 (1)

Gen. Naghdi’s visit to Quneitra undoubtedly presaged some decisions in Tehran with regard to direct Hizballah-Syrian-Iranian action against Israel.

The Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah agencies accuse Israel of the attack because the say it was executed by two Nimrod anti-tank long-range missiles, manufactured by the Israeli Aerospace Industry, for use by the IDF against armored vehicles, ships, bunkers and troop concentrations.

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Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah sources are intimating that the “Syrian officer” injured on July 26 in Quneitra by Israel’s double Nimrod’ missile shot was none other than Revolutionary Guards Gen. Muhammad Resa Naghdi, head of the paramilitary Organization for the Mobilization of the Oppressed, also known as the Basij, which falls under the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The victim was earlier described officially as a Syrian officer.

If he was indeed hurt or killed by an Israeli rocket, Naghdi would become the highest-ranking IRGC general ever hit by the IDF.

On July 27, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that a top Iranian general recently visited the Israeli-Syrian border to tour Quneitra and the Golan demarcation lines between Syria and Israel – the first time the Tehran government had publicized a visit by a senior regime official to the area.

It may be presumed, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources say, that someone at the IDF lookout posts spotted and reported on Gen. Naghdi’s arrival with an entourage in Quneitra on July 26 and saw him inspecting through binoculars the IDF defense positions. He was then quickly identified.

Any decision to go after a high-ranking Iranian would not have been left to local IDF commanders or even OC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, but passed straight to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot – especially in this case.

General Naghdi is not just another Iranian general. He heads the more than a million-strong Basij militia, which is a pillar of the ayatollahs regime in Tehran, and the backbone of the Iranian internal security forces which maintain the regime’s total control in every corner of the Islamic Republic.

Gen. Naghdi’s visit to Quneitra undoubtedly presaged some decisions in Tehran with regard to direct Hizballah-Syrian-Iranian action against Israel.

The IDF is holding its silence on reports of his injury, declining as usual to comment on reports by foreign publications.

The Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah agencies accuse Israel of the attack because the say it was executed by two Nimrod anti-tank long-range missiles, manufactured by the Israeli Aerospace Industry, for use by the IDF against armored vehicles, ships, bunkers and troop concentrations..

The missile has a semi-active laser guidance system, and is able to operate day and night. Its flight path can be below the clouds, while its operators far behind use a laser to guide it to target.

The launcher platform, with four missiles, can be installed on a Jeep, weapon-bearing vehicle, Abir, or armored vehicles. In addition, it is possible to send it from CH-53 ‘Yasur’ helicopter.

Israel has acted in the past against the establishment of an Iranian and/or Hizballah military presence on its Golan doorstep. On Jan. 19, 2015, an IDF air strike killed the Iranian Brig. Gen, Mohammad Ali Allahdadi and six Hizballah officers while they were on a tour of inspection near Quneitra.

Thursday, July 28, DEBKAfile ran an exclusive report on rising Israel-Russia tensions centering on southern Syria and the Golan.

For four days since July 25, the Syrian army has been continuously firing artillery batteries – moved close to Israel’s defense lines on the Golan border – in a manner that comes dangerously close to provoking an Israeli response. This carefully orchestrated Syrian campaign goes on around the clock.

It is the first time in the six years of the Syrian war that Bashar Assad has ventured to come near to provoking Israel. But now he appears to be emboldened by his Russian ally.

The IDF is holding its fire for the moment. But Israeli military and government leaders know that the time is near for the IDF to be forced to hit back, especially since it is becoming evident that the Syrian army’s steps ae backed by Russia.

DEBKAfile’s military sources provide details of the Syrian steps:

  • The Syrian army’s 90th and 121nd battalions have been firing their artillery batteries non-stop across a 10km band along the Golan border from Hamadia, north of Quneitra, up to a point facing the Israeli village of Eyn Zivan. (See attacked map).
    This means that the Syrian army has seized the center of buffer zone between Israel and Syria and made it a firing zone.
  • This artillery fire fans out across a radius that comes a few meters short of the Israeli border and the IDF troops stationed there. It then recedes to a distance of 500 to 600 meters and sweeps across the outposts and bases of the Syrian rebel forces believed to be in touch with Israel or in receipt of Israeli medical aid.
  • The new Syrian attack appears to hold a message for Jerusalem: For six years, you supported the rebels against the Assad regime in southern Syria. That’s now over. If you continue, you will come face to face with Syrian fire.
  • Damascus is also cautioning those rebels:  For years, you fought us with Israel at your backs. But no longer. Watch us bring you under direct artillery fire, while the IDF sits on its hands.
  • On July 26, Russian media published an article revealing that Russia had delivered to the Syrian Air Force, advanced SU-24M2 front-line bombers, which is designed for attack on frontlines of battle. Israeli officials were unpleasantly taken aback by the news. Up until now, the Russians and Syrians refrained from deploying air strength in South Syria near the Israeli border. Now the Syrian air force has the means to do so.
  • DEBKAfile military sources report that the SU-24M2, following recent upgrades and modifications in Russian factories, is now capable of dropping smart bombs – ballistic bombs with a guidance system on their tails that enable them to hit targets with precision.This guidance system does not rely on US GPS satellites but rather the equivalent Russian GLONASS system which is linked to a network of 21 Russian satellites and partially encrypted for military usages.
    In addition, the SU-24M2 is equipped with a system that projects the information the pilot needs (flight details and battle details) on the plane’s windshield (head-up display) and on the pilot’s visor.
  • The Russians delivered to the Syrians two of these sophisticated airplanes this week, out of 10 that they will supply soon.

The IDF has concluded that it is only a matter of time before these planes appear in Southern Syria and so generate a new and highly combustible situation on Israel’s northern and northeastern borders.

The Russians are colluding with Damascus to inform Israel that it will no longer be allowed by either to continue backing the rebel forces in southern Syria or sustain the buffer zone which they man.

Israel may pay dear if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot decide to continue to abstain from hitting back at the Syrian fire which is aimed every few hours at the vicinity of IDF posts or the impending arrival of Russian bombers. The price in store would be the weakening of the IDF’s hold on the Golan border.

Syrian-Russian Provocations Could Spark Golan Clash

July 28, 2016

Syrian-Russian Provocations Could Spark Golan Clash, DEBKAfile, July 28, 2016

EinZivan2

For four days since July 25, the Syrian army has been continuously firing artillery batteries – moved close to Israel’s defense lines on the Golan border – in a manner that comes dangerously close to provoking an Israeli response. This carefully orchestrated Syrian campaign goes on around the clock.

It is the first time in the six years of the Syrian war that Bashar Assad has ventured to come near to provoking Israel. But now he appears to be emboldened by his Russian ally.

The IDF is holding its fire for the moment. But Israeli military and government leaders know that the time is near for the IDF to be forced to hit back, especially since it is becoming evident that the Syrian army’s steps ae backed by Russia.

DEBKAfile’s military sources provide details of the Syrian steps:

  • The Syrian army’s 90th and 121nd battalions have been firing their artillery batteries non-stop across a 10km band along the Golan border from Hamadia, north of Quneitra, up to a point facing the Israeli village of Eyn Zivan. (See attacked map).
    This means that the Syrian army has seized the center of buffer zone between Israel and Syria and made it a firing zone.
  • This artillery fire fans out across a radius that comes a few meters short of the Israeli border and the IDF troops stationed there. It then recedes to a distance of 500 to 600 meters and sweeps across the outposts and bases of the Syrian rebel forces believed to be in touch with Israel or in receipt of Israeli medical aid.
  • The new Syrian attack appears to hold a message for Jerusalem: For six years, you supported the rebels against the Assad regime in southern Syria. That’s now over. If you continue, you will come face to face with Syrian fire.
  • Damascus is also cautioning those rebels:  For years, you fought us with Israel at your backs. But no longer. Watch us bring you under direct artillery fire, while the IDF sits on its hands.
  • On July 26, Russian media published an article revealing that Russia had delivered to the Syrian Air Force, advanced SU-24M2 front-line bombers, which is designed for attack on frontlines of battle. Israeli officials were unpleasantly taken aback by the news. Up until now, the Russians and Syrians refrained from deploying air strength in South Syria near the Israeli border. Now the Syrian air force has the means to do so.
  • DEBKAfile military sources report that the SU-24M2, following recent upgrades and modifications in Russian factories, is now capable of dropping smart bombs – ballistic bombs with a guidance system on their tails that enable them to hit targets with precision.This guidance system does not rely on US GPS satellites but rather the equivalent Russian GLONASS system which is linked to a network of 21 Russian satellites and partially encrypted for military usages.
    In addition, the SU-24M2 is equipped with a system that projects the information the pilot needs (flight details and battle details) on the plane’s windshield (head-up display) and on the pilot’s visor.
  • The Russians delivered to the Syrians two of these sophisticated airplanes this week, out of 10 that they will supply soon.

The IDF has concluded that it is only a matter of time before these planes appear in Southern Syria and so generate a new and highly combustible situation on Israel’s northern and northeastern borders.

The Russians are colluding with Damascus to inform Israel that it will no longer be allowed by either to continue backing the rebel forces in southern Syria or sustain the buffer zone which they man.

Israel may pay dear if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot decide to continue to abstain from hitting back at the Syrian fire which is aimed every few hours at the vicinity of IDF posts or the impending arrival of Russian bombers. The price in store would be the weakening of the IDF’s hold on the Golan border.

Trump: “Incitement and preaching of hate by the Palestinian leadership…must end immediately”

July 3, 2016

Trump: “Incitement and preaching of hate by the Palestinian leadership…must end immediately” Jihad Watch

After seven and a half years of Obama ignoring “Palestinian” incitement and pressuring Israel to make disastrous concessions to the “Palestinian” jihadis, this is most refreshing. The “Palestinian” airwaves are filled with genocidal incitement on a constant basis. Yet few American politicians have ever been willing to point to this as a source of the ongoing violence.

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“Trump: PA must act against ‘barbaric’ attacks on Israelis,” Times of Israel, July 2, 2016:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called Friday for the Palestinian Authority to take action against violence by Palestinian terrorists, shortly after an Israeli man was killed in a shooting attack on his family’s car in the West Bank.

“Yet another terrorist attack today in Israel — a father, shot at by a Palestinian terrorist, was killed while driving his car, and three of his children who were passengers were severely injured,” Trump wrote on Facebook.

“I condemn this latest terrorist attack and call upon the Palestinian leadership to completely end this barbaric behavior,” he wrote.

“I also call upon President Obama to recognize and condemn each and every terrorist attack against our allies in Israel. This cannot become the ‘new normal.’ It has to stop!”

A day earlier, Trump urged the PA to take steps to halt incitement to violence, in his response to the “heinous murder” of 13-year-old Israeli-American Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her home in the settlement of Kiryat Arba.

“I am shocked by the heinous murder of 13 year old Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who was attacked by a Palestinian terrorist while she was sleeping in her bedroom. I extend my deepest condolences to the Ariel family,” Trump said.

“The continuing incitement and preaching of hate by the Palestinian leadership, and the glorification of terror must end immediately. I call upon the leadership of the Palestinian Authority to condemn this murder and to take concrete steps to end this barbaric behavior.”

By Saturday afternoon, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had yet to condemn either attack, although he has condemned previous violence against Israeli civilians. The PA also came under criticism for referring to Ariel’s killer as a “martyr.”

Trump vowed Thursday that as president he would protect Israel “100 percent,” telling a supporter at his rally in New Hampshire that, “Israel is a very, very important ally of the United States and we are going to protect them 100% — 100%. It’s our true friend over there.”…

‘Uneaten birthday cakes next to pools of blood’

June 9, 2016

‘Uneaten birthday cakes next to pools of blood’, Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum, June 9, 2016

The rest of us in Israel, meanwhile, will be treated by the international community to reprimands about the need for peace, just as we are already being bombarded on local talk shows with the urgency for “an agreement with the Palestinians.” Like the terrorist attacks themselves, these pronouncements are repeated virtually without let-up.

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An Israeli parliamentarian who arrived on the scene of Wednesday night’s Palestinian terrorist attack in Tel Aviv summed up in a phrase what terrorism is all about.

“Uneaten birthday cakes next to pools of blood,” is how Likud MK Amir Ohana described what he encountered in the immediate aftermath of the shooting spree at the Max Brenner chocolate shop and cafe in the Sarona shopping complex.

No matter how precisely witnesses describe the attacks Israelis experience on a regular basis — the fear, the screams, and the killings — it is rare for words to capture carnage so well.

Yes, “uneaten birthday cakes next to pools of blood” tells us everything we need to know about the setting and its significance in the twisted, brainwashed minds of young people in the Palestinian Authority. It is precisely what the two young men, relatives from the village of Yatta near Hebron who brought makeshift assault rifles with them to an eatery on a summer’s eve, had envisioned. It was exactly their goal to slaughter Jews, some of them in casual dress and flip-flops, enjoying a respite from the oppressive heat of the day, others dressed to the nines, celebrating personal milestones.

Indeed, “uneaten birthday cakes next to pools of blood” says it all. It is a reminder of the funerals that will soon take place and the devastation entire families will feel for the rest of their lives; the months of physical rehabilitation and trauma awaiting those who were injured; and the tears of mothers, fathers, sons and daughters praying at bedsides.

“You never get used to it,” said a surgeon from the Sourasky Medical Center, where the wounded — among them one of the two terrorists — are being treated.

The rest of us in Israel, meanwhile, will be treated by the international community to reprimands about the need for peace, just as we are already being bombarded on local talk shows with the urgency for “an agreement with the Palestinians.” Like the terrorist attacks themselves, these pronouncements are repeated virtually without let-up.

The difference this time is the addition of the discussion about how Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s new defense minister, who assumed his role only last week, is going to meet the challenge, particularly as a proponent of the death penalty for terrorists, which the Jewish state does not have. Natch.

This is something the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and Gaza are keenly aware of, along with the knowledge that if they engage in particularly gruesome violence, they will be hailed as heroes by their society and leaders. Those who are killed while murdering Jews can look forward not only to paradise in the afterlife, but being martyrs after whom sports arenas, cultural events and streets are named.

Thankfully, Lieberman — whose alleged first order of business over the weekend was to strike terrorist bases in Syria — did not talk politics. Instead, he gave a brief press conference at the scene of the attack with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu had just landed in Tel Aviv from a two-and-a-half-day trip to Russia, ostensibly to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Moscow, but really to cement growing ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is the sad but necessary upshot of the Obama administration’s attitude toward Israel in particular and the Middle East in general.

Netanyahu understands that he has to have an alternative ally on whom to rely when it comes to safeguarding Israel from the dangers posed by the civil war in Syria, chief among them Iran’s presence and Palestinian proxy Hezbollah. Oh, and there’s the Islamic State group, too, which is also increasing its foothold in the Sinai, along Israel’s southern border, adjacent to Gaza. You know, where Hamas continues to build tunnels through which to smuggle weapons and kidnap and kill Israelis.

For his part, Putin is only too happy to oblige and replace the United States as the world’s superpower, a status his country lost when the Soviet Union fell 26 years ago. And the Palestinian “problem” was no more connected to that past event than it is to today’s global reality. It is simply a convenient excuse employed to hold Israel accountable and responsible for all ills. It is the politically correct contemporary anti-Semitic outlook, according to which Jews control the world.

What a hoot. We can’t even eat our birthday cakes at a chocolate shop without pools of our blood being spilled.

That Kissinger Promise and Obama’s Fulfillment

May 30, 2016

That Kissinger Promise and Obama’s Fulfillment, The Jewish PressVic Rosenthal, May 30, 2016

Obama-Kissinger-e1464550543436Pres. Obama seated with Henry Kissinger

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Abu Yehuda}

Old realpolitiker Henry Kissinger was in the news recently when he sat down with Donald Trump, to give him the benefit of his experience. It brought to mind Kissinger’s numerous attempts to get Israel out of the territories it conquered in 1967, before, during and – especially – after the Yom Kippur War.

Kissinger went to Iraq in December of 1975 to try to wean the regime away from the Soviet Union and improve relations with the US. In a discussion with Sa’dun Hammadi, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Kissinger suggested that American support for Israel was a result of Jewish political and financial power, promised that the US would work to force Israel back to pre-1967 boundaries, and indicated that while the US would not support the elimination of Israel, he believed that its existence was only temporary. Here is an excerpt (the whole thing is worth reading):

I think, when we look at history, that when Israel was created in 1948, I don’t think anyone understood it. It originated in American domestic politics. It was far away and little understood. So it was not an American design to get a bastion of imperialism in the area. It was much less complicated. And I would say that until 1973, the Jewish community had enormous influence. It is only in the last two years, as a result of the policy we are pursuing, that it has changed.

We don’t need Israel for influence in the Arab world. On the contrary, Israel does us more harm than good in the Arab world. You yourself said your objection to us is Israel. Except maybe that we are capitalists. We can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel, but we can reduce its size to historical proportions. I don’t agree that Israel is a permanent threat. How can a nation of three million be a permanent threat? They have a technical advantage now. But it is inconceivable that peoples with wealth and skill and the tradition of the Arabs won’t develop the capacity that is needed. So I think in ten to fifteen years, Israel will be like Lebanon—struggling for existence, with no influence in the Arab world.  [my emphasis] …

Kissinger also promised that aid to Israel, which he presented as a result of Jewish political influence, would be significantly reduced. He indicated that legal changes in the US – he must have been referring to the creation of the Federal Electoral Commission in 1974 to regulate campaign contributions – would attenuate Jewish power and therefore American support for Israel. Naturally, he didn’t foresee the Israel-Egypt peace agreement, which permanently established a high level of military aid to both countries.

He further promised that the US would support a PLO-run Palestinian state if the PLO would accept UNSC resolution 242 and recognize Israel. This of course is what (supposedly) happened in the Oslo accords.

Kissinger insisted that “No one is in favor of Israel’s destruction—I won’t mislead you—nor am I.” But his hint that a smaller Israel might not survive is clear. Surely he understood that a pre-1967-sized Israel (within what Eban called “Auschwitz lines”) would have no chance of surviving, simply because of the strategic geography of the area.

Kissinger was wrong about the Arabs developing the capability to challenge Israel, but their place has been taken by soon-to-be-nuclear Iran and its proxies, who are significantly more dangerous than the Arab states ever were.

US policy, however, has kept more or less the same shape, except that the hypocrisy of insisting that the US supports the existence of Israel but in a pre-1967 size is even more glaring. The substitution of the PLO for the Arab states as the desired recipient of the land to be taken from Israel has barely made a ripple either in America or among the Arabs, suggesting that the policy is more about Israel giving up land than about the Arabs getting it.

The original motivation for Kissinger’s promises was supposedly the desire of the US to replace the Soviet Union as the patron of the Arab states. After the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War in 1991, however, there was no change in policy. Although the Oslo Accords were initiated by left-wing Israelis, the US eagerly embraced them, and the so-called ‘peace process’ became a permanent stick to beat Israel with.

President Obama is especially adept at emphasizing support for Israel’s existence while at the same time demanding that Israel make concessions that would make her continued existence impossible. Apparently agreeing with Kissinger about Jewish power, Obama has worked to reduce the pro-Israel influence of American Jews in numerous ways, such as by providing access to the White House for groups like J Street and the Israel Policy Forum, while marginalizing traditional Zionist organizations like ZOA.

Kissinger’s almost anti-Semitic claim that US support for Israel is bought with Jewish money was probably untrue in 1975 and is even less so today, when a large proportion of American Jews, including wealthy ones, have chosen their liberal or progressive politics over Zionism. The coming struggle over the introduction of a pro-Palestinian plank into the Democratic platform is an indication that the party and with it, many of its Jewish supporters, is moving toward Obama’s position.

The Obama Administration’s program to extricate itself from the Middle East by empowering Iran as the new regional power has given a new impetus to the policy of shrinking Israel. Iran sees Israel as a major obstacle to its hegemony, for both geopolitical and religious/ideological reasons, and is committed to eliminating the Jewish state. Obama found it necessary to restrain Israel from bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities at least once (in 2012), and seems to be prepared to sacrifice Israel in order to achieve his goal of establishing Iranian regional dominance.

Some would go even further and say that Obama’s primary ideological goal is to eliminate Israel and the Iranian gambit is a means to this end, but that is highly speculative! Or maybe it’s a matter of two birds with one stone.

Henry Kissinger didn’t do us any favors, but I think the anti-Israel thread in American policy would have been strong enough without him, running from Truman’s Secretary of State George C. Marshall all the way to Obama’s stable of anti-Zionists like Rob Malley and Ben Rhodes.

Today Israel is long gone from the Sinai, more recently from Gaza, and probably only thanks to the disintegration of Syria, still holding the Golan Heights. I would like to believe that PM Netanyahu was correct when he said that Israel will never leave the Golan. Regarding Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, I expect that we are about to begin a very difficult time, as the Obama Administration is likely to mount a campaign in its last days to fulfill Kissinger’s promise to the Arabs at long last.

Terrorist Organizations Attempt to Smuggle Drones into Gaza,

May 30, 2016

Terrorist Organizations Attempt to Smuggle Drones into Gaza, Israel DefenseAmi Rojkes Dombe, May 30, 2016

Drones for GazaPhoto: The Israeli Crossing Points Authority in the Minisrty of Defense

Dozens of smuggling attempts by mail were foiled in recent weeks at the Erez Crossing, on the Israel-Gaza barrier. The pressure exerted by a joint task force, comprised of the Israel Security Agency (ISA), the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Customs, Israeli police and the Israeli Crossing Points Authority in the Minisrty of Defense, compels terrorist organizations to devise original smuggling methods. It seems that they are taking advantage of the postal services that Israel allows into the Gaza Strip.

In recent weeks, the Israeli Crossing Points Authority at the Erez Crossing, together with the Israel Security Agency, thwarted dozens of attempts to smuggle weapons and combat support equipment via mail. Some of the seized postal packages included drones, which were dismantled and sent to Gaza in parts.

Just this morning (Monday), 10 drone motors in postal packages were seized at the Erez crossing. The authorities also seized rifle sights, Gyro means of enhancing accuracy, magnifying ranges and increasing signal strength for the use of cell phones in areas without reception, transceiver to transmit a video signal at a frequency of 5.8GHz, which is not approved for use in the Palestinian Authority nor in Israel. The equipment was confiscated and an investigation was launched to locate those involved in stealing the weapons and combat support equipment and attempting to smuggle them into Gaza.

 

First test for Lieberman from Iran and Hizballah

May 26, 2016

First test for Lieberman from Iran and Hizballah, DEBKAfile, May 26, 2016

IranianDiplomats480_Koteret

The Middle East is full of surprises, but they are rarely disconnected from events. This applies to the speech made by Hizballah secretary Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday May 25 which dredged up the past from 1992 in an allegation that the IDF while in Beirut, kidnapped four Iranian diplomats and is secretly holding them alive till this day in a jail in Israel.

He was not the first to resuscitate this old story. Monday May 23 the Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan brought it up, suddenly and surprisingly, in a special interview he gave to the Iranian news site Defa Press News.

General Dehqan said, “We claim on the basis of proofs that they are alive and in captivity by the Zionist regime.” He went on to say that, “the Israelis are responsible for the health of the Iranian diplomats.” He was referring to: charge d’affaires of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut Seyed Mohsen Mousavi, military attaché Ahmad Motevaselian, embassy technician Taghi Rastegar Moghadam, Islamic republic news agency Kazzem Akhavan.

Two days later, on Wednesday, while saying that ‘the resistance axis’ – meaning Iran-Syria-Hizballah – has not forgotten the Palestinian problem, Nasrallah said: “We have more land under Israeli occupation.”

Nasrallah had a long orderly list of ‘occupied places’: Shaaba Farms, The Kfar Shouba Hills, meaning Har Dov, and Ghajar village. “We also have”, Nasrallah continued, “captives and missing people whose families still wait for their return.”  And, “On the legal and ethical level, there is a Lebanese responsibility towards the four Iranian diplomats who were handed over to Israel.”

According to Nasrallah, just as the occupied lands must be returned, so must the Iranian diplomats be returned, first of all to Lebanon.

Nasrallah next turned to speak about the new Israeli Defense Minister calling him “crazy”.

Seven years ago, in 2009, German mediators were invited to broker a prisoner swap between Israel and Hizballah. They arranged for the bodies of the IDF soldiers: Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whom Hizballah abducted and murdered in 2006, to be returned. The Germans established that the four Iranian diplomats had never been by held by Israel but were captured by Christian Phalangists and were apparently executed by them.

This finding was never accepted by the Iranian Foreign Ministry who insisted that their four diplomats were still in Israeli captivity.

The Iranian Defense Minister and the Hizballah leader have obviously coordinated the resuscitation of the diplomats’ fate and intended to use it as a tool to justify military or terrorist action against Israel.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources point to two reasons for the Iranian-Hizballah move:

  1. A first test for the new Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman. They want to determine his responses to aggression and establish the measure of his control of Israeli military deployments on the Syrian and Lebanese borders. His predecessor, Moshe Yaalon, was conversant with every detail of those deployments.
  2. Tehran and Hizballah, have publically admitted that Israel had no hand in the assassination of the Hizballah military leader in Syria, Mustafa Badr Al Din, near Damascus on May 13. But as a morale booster for Shiite forces in Syria they may resort to a strike against Israel, Saudi Arabia or Jordan, whom they believe complicit in the killing.

They estimate that Israel, with its new defense minister, is the most vulnerable target.