John O' Dreams

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Israel-Lebanon tensions flare after skirmish leaves four dead
Can a tree start a war in the Middle East? It almost did yesterday.

"It was a miserable, scrawny thing, probably a spruce and – after a 46-degree heatwave in Lebanon – its foliage blocked the Israeli security cameras on the Israeli-Lebanese border near Addaiseh. The Israelis decided to use a crane to rip it out. But there's a problem. No one is exactly sure where the Israeli-Lebanese border is.
In 2000, the UN drew a "Blue Line" along what was – in those long ago, post-Balfour days – the frontier between the French mandate of Lebanon and the British mandate of Palestine. Behind it, from the Lebanese point of view, stands the Israeli "technical fence", a mass of barbed wire, electrified wires and sandy roads (to look for footprints). So when the Lebanese army saw the Israelis manoeuvre a crane up to the fence yesterday morning, they began to shout at the Israelis to move back.
The moment the crane's arm crossed the "technical fence" – and here one must explain that the "Blue Line" does not necessarily run along the "fence" – Lebanese soldiers opened fire into the air. The Israelis, according to the Lebanese, did not shoot in the air. They shot at the Lebanese soldiers.
Now for the Lebanese army to take on the Israelis, with their 264 nuclear missiles, was a tall order. But for the Israeli army to take on the army of one of the smallest countries in the world was surely preposterous, not least because Army Day had been attended by the president of Lebanon, Michel Sleiman, in Beirut only two days earlier – when he ordered his soldiers to defend their frontier.
At about this time, Al-Akhbar newspaper's local correspondent Assaf Abu Rahal turned up in Addaiseh to cover the story. And a little time later, an Israeli helicopter –apparently firing from the Israeli side of the border (though that has yet to be confirmed) – fired a rocket at a Lebanese armoured vehicle, killing three soldiers and the journalist.
Lebanese troops, on orders from Beirut, fired back and killed an Israeli lieutenant-colonel. Hizbollah, the Iranian-paid Shia militia, which was not involved in the battle, announced his death five hours before the Israelis confirmed it; their information apparently came from an Israeli soldier using a mobile phone. It was top of the headline news on Hizballah's Al-Manar television station.
All afternoon, the Israelis and Lebanese abused each other as aggressors. Israel said the whole thing was a misunderstanding. Saad Hariri, Lebanon's prime minister and Rafiq's son, was on the phone to President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, denouncing "Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty", while Israel said it was taking the whole affair to the UN Security Council. "Israel views the Lebanese government as responsible for this serious incident and is warning of ramifications if the violations continue," a spokesman said. Because of a tree? Of course, the Israelis would like to have a file of "incidents" before the next Hizbollah-Israel war, when they have promised to smash up Lebanon's infrastructure for the sixth time in 32 years – on the grounds that Hizbollah is now represented (as it is) in the Lebanese cabinet."

Read article at: Israel-Lebanon tensions flare after skirmish leaves four dead - Robert Fisk, Columnists - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk
 

mrkeith

Member
Israel-Lebanon tensions flare after skirmish leaves four dead
I read this too John and if it wasn't the fact that people died you would only laugh at the idea.
Obviously no-one is going to find out the truth of the matter, but it also comes on the back of a warming of relations between lebannon and Syria.
The lebanese goverment have put this country back on it's feet with a good infastructure and ever expanding trade links so it would not suprise me if Isreal were not spoiling for a fight but who really knows.
 
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