-- Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert resigns
-- Jews arrested for reclaiming Jewish Jerusalem property
-- Hero was rejected from military for protesting Gaza retreat
-- Ad Urges Boycott UN Anti-Racism Conference 4/3/08
-- Jihad Coming to Jerusalem After US Leaves Iraq, Al Qaeda Says 4/3/08
-- Israelis Encouraged to Move to Negev Desert
-- Gaza Border Closure Slows Down Rocket Fire
-- Intel failure led to Israeli deaths
Israeli prime minister
Ehud Olmert resigns
Olmert's move could precipitate Israeli confrontation with Iran
July 30, 2008 By Aaron Klein WorldNetDaily
JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert today announced he will resign from office after his Kadima party holds internal elections in September to choose a new leader.
Olmert said he is stepping down due to a criminal investigation described by police officials as "serious" in which he is accused of corruption and financial improprieties.
The move could have far reaching consequences, including establishing a more hawkish Israeli leadership that favors tough action against Iran.
"I have decided I won't run in the Kadima movement primaries, nor do I intend to intervene in the elections," Olmert said in a televised address from his official Jerusalem residence. "When a new (Kadima party) chairman is chosen, I will resign as prime minister to permit them to put together a new government swiftly and effectively," he said.
Olmert's resignation immediately sent political shock waves throughout the country, as it could result in his Kadima party retaining power or the election of a prime minister from a different party.
When Kadima elects a new leader in September, that person will work to form a coalition government consisting of more than half the Knesset's 120 seats. If a Knesset plurality is established, Kadima can retain its control over the prime minister's seat.
But if the Kadima party cannot establish a ruling coalition, new elections will be held in which the leader of the party with the most seats becomes prime minister. Currently, opposition leader and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the favorite to win.
Olmert had little choice but to resign. He stood no chance of winning his party's September leadership primaries, which he agreed to hold as a condition for retaining his major coalition partner, the leftist Labor party. Labor had threatened to bolt in June unless Olmert agreed to early Kadima primaries.
Now top Kadima figures will battle for the party's leadership and possibly the prime minister's seat. The fight looks ready to be launched between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister. Mofaz seems to be Olmert's favored candidate.
Mofaz has made strong statements in support of military action against Iran. If he wins the Kadima primaries, he could form an alliance with Netanyahu's Likud party, which also favors strong action against Iran.
If a new Kadima head cannot form a government, Netayahu looks likely to become Israel's next leader, although Labor chairman Ehud Barak, another former prime minister, also eyes the top position.
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Jews arrested for reclaiming Jewish Jerusalem property
Arabs were illegally squatting on area Palestinians want for a state
July 30, 2008 By Aaron Klein © 2008 WorldNetDaily
JERUSALEM – Israeli forces today arrested a group of Jewish activists who attempted to reclaim ownership of a Jewish-owned Jerusalem property that had been illegally settled by local Arabs.
The incident ensued in an area widely expected to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority as a result of Israeli-PA negotiations aimed at forming a Palestinian state. Much of the land in question, however, is legally owned by a Jewish nonprofit organization that purchases property for the stated purpose of Jewish settlement.
Tens of thousands of Arabs moved into the neighborhood, known as Shoafat, the past 15 years and constructed there illegally.
Earlier today, a group of about 160 Jewish activists entered the five-acre Jewish property in Shoafat to reclaim it on behalf of the site's owner, identified as Israeli citizen Eliyahu Cohanim, who had given the group power of attorney over the site.
Cohanim said he had been dismayed that Arabs were constructing illegally on his land and that the PA was planning to build in the area, including on Cohanim's land.
The Israeli government over the years has done little to stop rampant illegal Arab construction in northern and eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, which now have Arab majorities.
Aryeh King, chairman of the Jerusalem Forum, which promotes Jewish construction in Jerusalem, said he informed the Israeli Border Police of the Jewish group's intention to enter the property today with permission of the owner.
A Border Police force arrived on the scene and asked the group to leave the home, claiming they were disturbing the peace.
When the group refused, many members were arrested and taken in for questioning.
A video taken by Israel National News shows Arabs looting the property just after the Jewish activists were removed from the site.
King said his group decided to act today due to the illegal Arab construction:
"We did this after the Arabs started this week to build an illegal structure on the spot; this is after the municipality has already demolished a structure on this property once before," King said.
While the property in question is owned by an individual Jew, the Jewish National Fund, a U.S.-based nonprofit that purchases land in Israel for the stated purpose of Jewish settlement, owns large swaths of the Shoafat neighborhood, in which tens of thousands of Arabs now illegally reside.
A WND investigation last year found Shoafat was purchased legally on behalf of JNF using Jewish donations in the early 1900s. The Israeli government manages the land on behalf of the JNF.
Much of the illegal Arab construction in Shoafat took place in the past 15 years, with some apartment complexes built as late as 2004.
Internal JNF documents obtained by WND outline illegal Arab construction on the Jewish-owned land. A survey summarized on JNF stationery conducted in December 2000 and signed by a JNF worker states, "In a lot of the plots I find Arabs are living and building illegally and also working the JNF land without permission."
King last year released a study detailing how while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003, the Jerusalem city hall deleted files documenting hundreds of illegal Arab building projects throughout eastern sections of Jerusalem. King said he forwarded his findings to Israel's state comptroller for investigation.
King charged Olmert told senior municipal workers not to enforce a ban on illegal Arab buildings.
The Jerusalem municipality released a statement in response to the allegations claiming the threat of Arab violence kept it from bulldozing illegal Arab homes.
"During the years of the intifada, the municipality had difficulty carrying out the necessary level of enforcement in the neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem due to security constraints," the statement read.
Today's incident comes amid a flurry of rhetoric from senior Israeli officials suggesting largely Arab sections of Jerusalem should be severed from the rest of the city for a future Palestinian state.
"Whoever thinks it's possible to live with 270,000 Arabs in (eastern) Jerusalem must take into account that there will be more bulldozers, more tractors, and more cars carrying out [terror] attacks," Olmert said earlier this week, referring to two incidents this month in which Palestinian residents of eastern Jerusalem deliberately plowed bulldozers into pedestrians, buses and passenger vehicles, leaving three dead in the case of the first attack.
Vice Premier Chaim Ramon, a top Olmert deputy, told the Knesset this past weekend:
"Whoever thinks the problem of Jerusalem and terror are specific, and that destroying one house or another will help, is burying his head in the sand. The main question is, does the government want [Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods of] Jebl Mukaber or Sur Bahir as part of Israel or not."
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Hero was rejected from military for protesting Gaza retreat
20-year-old Moshe Klessner shot dead terrorist on murderous bulldozer rampage
July 03, 2008 By Aaron Klein © 2008 WorldNetDaily
Moshe Klessner, 18, shoots bulldozer terrorist in image from Haaretz.com video
JERUSALEM – A heroic off-duty soldier who yesterday shot dead a terrorist on a murderous rampage was initially rejected from the Israeli military because he protested Israel's 2005 retreat from the Gaza Strip, it emerged today.
The soldier, 20-year old Moshe Klessner, was forced to fight in court to get accepted into the military due to his activism against the Gaza evacuation.
Shocking video footage obtained by Israel's Haaretz newspaper shows Klessner climbing onto a bulldozer driven by a terrorist against traffic and that was plowing into cars, buses and shocked crowds.
Klessner can be seen shooting the terrorist several times in the head, halting an attack that had already killed three – including two female teachers – and injured 57 others. Klessner had grabbed the gun of a nearby police officer.
In yesterday's rampage, Jabr Duwait, a 30-year-old Palestinian Arab resident of eastern Jerusalem, drove the bulldozer on Jerusalem's popular Jaffa Street. His attack sent pedestrians and bus passengers fleeing the scene. According to witness accounts, two women tossed their infants out of a bus window seconds before the bus was overturned. One of the women was killed in the attack.
Israeli media reports today revealed Klessner, who has thus far avoided the limelight, recently enlisted in an elite Israel Defense Forces commando unit after spending two years in court overturning an IDF decision against drafting him. Klessner had been refused, because he took part in the protests against Israel's Gaza evacuation.
Klessner is a yeshiva graduate. He has turned down media requests for interviews but released a statement explaining he interceded in yesterday's attack "in accordance with the (biblical) precept of 'don't stand by your brother's blood,' even at the risk of getting hurt."
Apparently heroism runs close to Klessner. His brother-in-law, David Shapira, a civilian and former soldier, was the man who finally killed a terrorist gunman in March during a yeshiva massacre in Jerusalem in which eight students were murdered in cold blood. Shapira had run into the school while other police officers refused to engage the terrorist during the gunman's rampage.
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Urges Boycott UN Anti-Racism Conference 4/3/08
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Pressure is building on the United States to skip a United Nations conference on racism to be held next year in Durban, South Africa. A full-page advertisement appearing in four U.S. newspapers this week says the U.S. should avoid Durban II because it "seeks not to combat racism, but to promote and fuel hatred toward Israel and America." The ad reminds the Bush administration that it promised "to take a strong stand against growing anti-Semitism around the world." Saying no to the Durban II conference would be an "immediate way" to fulfill that promise, it says. The U.S. and Israel walked out of the first Durban conference in 2001, after it turned into an Israel-bashing forum. The planning committee for Durban II includes of Lybia's Muamar Gadaffi, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Cuba -- a signal that Durban II will pick up where Durban I left off. "Declare that the United States will not participate in a dialogue that promotes prejudice," the ad urges. Canada already has announced its decision to boycott the conference. State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said earlier this week that no decision has been made, but according to "past experience," it is not likely that the U.S. will attend. The ad, which is appearing in the Washington Times, New York Sun, Politico.com and Roll Call, is signed by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, law professor Alan Dershowitz and former CIA Director James Woolsey.
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Jihad Coming to Jerusalem After US Leaves Iraq, Al Qaeda Says
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Israel's next, after the U.S. pulls its troops out of Iraq, al Qaeda's number-two leader Ayman al-Zawahri said. "I expect the Jihadi influence to spread after the Americans' exit from Iraq and to move towards Jerusalem," al-Zawahri said in a 90-minute audio recording. "We promise our Muslim brothers that we will do our utmost to strike Jews in Israel and abroad with help and guidance from God," he said in response to questions asking when the group would attack Israel. (The questions were submitted to al Qaeda in December through Islamist Web sites.) Al-Zawahri rejected criticism that followers of al Qaeda had killed thousands of people, saying that his group does not kill those who are innocent. "We haven't killed the innocents, not in Baghdad, nor in Morocco, nor in Algeria, nor anywhere else," he said. "If there is any innocent who was killed in the mujahedeen's operations, then it was either an unintentional error or out of necessity," he said, accusing the group's enemies of intentionally taking up "positions in the midst of the Muslims for them to be human shields for him."
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Israelis Encouraged to Move to Negev Desert
By Julie Stahl
CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief
February 08, 2008
Negev Desert, Israel (CNSNews.com) - The recent Egypt-Gaza border breach, the continuing rocket fire on southern Israel, and Monday's suicide bombing in Dimona make it imperative for Israel to develop the Negev Desert, say people who already live there.
The Negev Desert comprises about 60 percent of Israel, but only eight percent of the Israeli population lives there, said Adva Lloyd, spokeswoman for a Negev regional council and the quasi-governmental Negev Development Authority (NDA).
The Negev includes a 140-mile open border with Egypt. Dimona, home of Israel's nuclear reactor is located there; and parts of the Negev have come under rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, which borders the Negev.
"The main goal of the NDA is to enlarge the population of the Negev from 600,000 to one million people," Lloyd told Cybercast News Service.
Although the Negev Desert in the south and the Galilee region in the north are well within Israel's borders, some Israelis believe they could actually lose control of those regions, either because the demographic balance tilts in favor of Arabs or because those regions are poorer and less developed.
A growing movement to develop those regions aims to attract young, energetic and enterprising Jewish families - both religious and secular.
Many who are moving to the Negev Desert say they are following in the footsteps of the early Zionists -- pioneer forefathers who returned to settle the Land of Israel in the last century.
Because Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip unilaterally in the summer of 2005 and is still being bombarded by rockets, Negev resident Ronen Brami said he is even more determined now that the Negev Desert must be developed.
"It's good for the Israeli media to know and the world media to know what's happening [in Gaza] right now that [the Palestinians] don't want only the Gaza Strip or only the West Bank. They want all of the country, and if we want to be here we have to make a strong community," said Brami, 35, of the northern Negev community of Givot Bar.
The minarets of nearby Rahat, the largest Bedouin city in Israel, are visible from Givot Bar, and it is very hot in the summer.
But the community has its attractions. An 800-square-meter lot - very large by Israeli standards -- costs only $35,000. The same size lot, very scarce in the center of the country -- might cost $1 million, Brami estimated.
Brami, who has lived in Givot Bar since August, said he can build a five-bedroom, freestanding house (most Israelis live in apartments or duplexes), with two separate guesthouses out back on the lot for $200,000. But that is not the only reason he wants to raise his family here.
Most of the 28 families of Givot Bar - many of whom are still living in mobile homes while their permanent houses are being built -have come to the Negev to take control of this part of the country, said Brami. "As you can see around us, there are a lot of Arab citizens."
Brami said it's important for his two daughters, ages four and six, to grow up here so they will understand their responsibility to this part of the country. They love it, he said. "[It's like] they're in Club Med everyday."
Ofir Fisher is founder of the Or Movement, which established Givot Bar four years ago. It is one of two organizations that is working to settle families in the Negev and Galilee regions.
"The biggest problem we have today in Israel is a lack a vision and a lack of goals," Fisher told Cybercast News Service. "When people came here in the beginning of the State of Israel, they knew that they [were] coming to establish Israel. We lost that in the last 20-30 years, we lost this vision. Developing and dealing with the Negev and the Galilee is actually bringing this back," he said.
The Or Movement, founded in 2000, wants to bring 100,000 people to live in the Negev (and Galilee) over the next five to 10 years. So far, the group has established five new communities in the Negev, among them Givot Bar, and it is in the process of establishing four more, including Carmit.
Carmit, in hilly area, will border the southernmost end of Israel's West Bank security barrier. Planners have designated 470 of the 2,700 lots there to be sold to immigrants from English-speaking countries.
The mixed secular/religious community is slated to include a golf course. (There are only two golf courses in Israel right now.) A couple of families from Chicago have expressed interest in moving to Carmit, Fisher said.
David Gliksberg, 28, is deputy director of Ayalim, a group that was started five years ago to encourage some of the 80,000 university students who study in the Negev and Galilee regions to remain there after they graduate.
So far, about 80 have stayed on, said Glicksberg, who was born and raised in Jerusalem, and describes himself as a "Negev addict."
Ayalim - named after a couple murdered in terror attack in the West Bank in 2002 -- built student villages in "tough places" and offered very cheap rent on the condition that residents perform 500 hours of community service each year.
So far, the group has established eight villages housing some 500 students, Glicksberg said.
Two of the villages are in Dimona. One of them is in Sderot and is being hit by Kassam rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. The students there work with the children of Sderot who have been traumatized by the ongoing rocket attacks, he said.
"It's a good answer for Hamas," said Glicksberg.
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Gaza Border Closure Slows Down Rocket Fire
By Julie Stahl
CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief
January 21, 2008
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Complaints from the Palestinians aside, Israel's closure of Gaza Strip appears to be working. The rocket attacks on Israel are way down since Israel sealed off the Gaza Strip on Friday.
As of midday Monday, three mortars and rockets had been launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip. On Sunday, there were seven launches, the army said.
That compares with the 240 Kassam rockets and mortar shells launched at Israel last week alone. So far in January, 590 rockets and mortars have rained down on Israel, following 341 that hit Israel in all of December, the army said.
Israel is watching to see if this is a policy shift in the Gaza Strip or a temporary response to Israel's crackdown, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aryeh Mekel said by telephone.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged on Monday that Israel would not allow the situation in the Gaza Strip to reach crisis proportions, as aid groups claimed was happening.
Israel closed all border crossings into the Gaza Strip, stopping shipments of fuel and other goods, on Friday in an effort to stop the daily rocket barrages.
"We will provide the population with everything needed to prevent a crisis, but we will not supply luxuries that would make life more comfortable," Olmert said.
Olmert told the visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen that many Israeli children living in communities around the Gaza Strip suffer from anxiety as a result of the ongoing rocket attacks.
Israel does not want to do the same thing in Gaza, he said. Israel is trying to target the terrorists, but it also wants to show Gaza's population "that it cannot shed itself of responsibility for the situation," he was quoted as saying.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal called on Arab leaders and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to "exercise real pressure" on Israel in an interview on Al Jazeera satellite television.
He said he was not asking for them to "wage a military war against Israel" but to stand with the Palestinians "in pride and honor."
Abbas was quoted by the Egyptian newspaper Al Gomhuriya as saying that he would suspend peace talks with Israel and disband the Palestinian negotiating team in response to Israel's actions.
But P.A. Information Minister Riyad Al Malki blamed Hamas for "the negative developments in the Gaza Strip, a result of the continuing Hamas stubbornness in pursuing its plan to set up an Islamic emirate in Gaza," the radio reported.
Richard Miron, spokesman for the United Nations' special Middle East envoy, said U.N. agencies were "greatly concerned" about the "deepening humanitarian crisis" in the Gaza Strip, where the power problems are said to be interfering with medical treatment, transportation, factory operations and even daily bread-baking.
"Israel must refrain from actions that punish [the civilian population]," Miron told Cybercast News Service. He also condemned Palestinian rocket fire on the Israeli civilian population but said U.N. had urged Israel to exercise "maximum restraint" in its response.
Miron pointed to reports saying that Gaza City was suffering because of the lack of electricity, and he noted that the International Committee of the Red Cross reported there were only two to three days of certain drug supplies left in the Gaza Strip.
Children and other residents of the Gaza Strip captured media attention when they took to the dark Gaza streets with candles on Sunday evening to protest the Israeli border closure that cut fuel supplies to the Palestinian power plant in Gaza, forcing an electricity shutoff.
But Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mekel charged that the power outage was a "fabrication, ploy and a production of Hamas."
Israel supplies 70 percent of the electricity to the Gaza Strip and Egypt supplies another five percent, Mekel said. So even if the Gaza-run power plant has no diesel fuel to operate, Gaza still is receiving 75 percent of its power supply, he said.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Hamas is responsible for diverting fuel from domestic power generators to other uses.
"Noteworthy is the fact that while the Gaza population remains in the dark, the fuel generating power to the Hamas rocket manufacturing industry continues to flow unabated," Al Jazeera quoted the Israeli Foreign Ministry as saying.
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Intel failure led to Israeli deaths
Army mistakenly labeled Hezbollah rocket bunkers as 'nature preserves'
January 1, 2008 By Aaron Klein © 2008 WorldNetDaily.com
JERUSALEM – The Israeli army command falsely labeled dozens of Hezbollah rocket launching zones as "nature preserves," contributing to the failure of the Jewish state to stop thousands of rockets fired by the terror group during last summer's war in Lebanon, according to a Knesset report released yesterday.
During the 2006 confrontation, Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, killing 43 Israeli civilians and injuring 4,262 more, including 33 who were seriously wounded, 68 who were moderately wounded, 1,388 Israelis lightly wounded, and another 2,773 who were treated for shock and anxiety.
A Human Rights Watch report credited Israeli bomb shelters for saving lives and said civilian casualties from Hezbollah's rockets would have been much higher if Israel had not evacuated 350,000 residents from northern towns.
Israel launched a 34-day offensive against Hezbollah July 12, 2006, after the Lebanese militia stormed the Israeli border and kidnapped two soldiers. Hezbollah had for years been accused by Israel of amassing stockpiles of rockets near the border aimed at the Jewish state.
In spite of massive Israeli military activity, Hezbollah was able to fire rockets into Israel at a rate of hundreds per day. The number of rockets fired per day increased toward the end of the conflict.
In an explosive development, a Knesset report released yesterday blamed the Israeli Defense Forces command for wrongly labeling dozens of important Hezbollah rocket bunkers and launch zones as "nature preserves." The report said the IDF command explicitly instructed Israeli forces not to take out the "preserves."
The report, penned by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, stated it was from these "nature preserves" that Hezbollah launched the majority of its deadly rocket onslaught into Israel.
According to the report, IDF searches of 33 "nature preserves" after the war revealed extensive complexes of Hezbollah bunkers and underground tunnels built following Israel's 2000 withdrawal from south Lebanon.
The report said the IDF leadership's decisions "played into Hezbollah's hands, were seized by blindness, and lent strength to the enemy's [strategic and tactical] logic."
The Knesset report, signed by all 17 members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, also slammed an Israeli decision against launching a major ground operation in southern Lebanon until days before the end of the war.
The report was criticized by military leaders and reserve soldiers here because the probe almost exclusively focused on the IDF and not on Israeli government leaders, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters yesterday the "onus for the conduct of the war" lies with the government and not the IDF.
Knesset Defense Committee Chair Tzachi Hanegbi wrote in the introduction to the report his committee specifically refrained from blaming the Israeli leadership since another probe, termed the Winograd Commission, is investigating those circumstances.
The Winograd report, delayed repeatedly, is scheduled to be released later this week, pending any further delays.
According to sources familiar with the report who spoke to WND, the Winograd Commission will blame Olmert and top government and IDF leaders for waiting until the final 60 hours of the war to finally launch a massive ground invasion that many IDF officials had petitioned for from the start of the conflict. Thirty-three Israeli soldiers died in the last-minute ground operation, which was canceled after Olmert agreed to a cease fire.
WND first reported in August 2006, two days after the Lebanon War ended, the Israeli military began its own quiet inquiry blaming Olmert for the deaths of the 33 soldiers.
In 2006, WND quoted IDF sources questioning whether Olmert knew a cease-fire would be imposed when, after a month of fighting in Lebanon, he green-lighted the large-scale ground operation for which IDF leaders allegedly had been petitioning since the beginning of hostilities.
"It's possible Olmert knew a cease-fire was coming. If so, our stepped-up operation that he approved two days earlier was a pointless exercise in which troops were killed. This is a very serious situation," said a senior military official in August 2006, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
Olmert ordered the massive battle in question on Aug. 11 reportedly after four weeks of refusing a larger ground offensive to reach Lebanon's Litani River – about 18 miles from the Israeli border, encompassing the swath of territory from which Hezbollah fired most of its rockets into northern Israel.
Troop advances were halted some 60 hours later in line with a cease-fire proposal accepted by Israel to end the conflict.
Immediately after the war, Israeli military officials told WND that from the start of the Jewish state's campaign in Lebanon, IDF commanders petitioned for the deployment of up to 40,000 ground troops to advance immediately to the Litani River and from there work their way back to the Israeli border while surrounding and then cleaning out Hezbollah strongholds under heavy aerial cover.
But Olmert at first only approved aerial assaults, they say. After Hezbollah retaliated in July by firing large numbers of rockets into Israel, the Olmert government about two weeks later approved a smaller ground offensive of up to 8,000 soldiers that, according to military officials, were not directed to advance to the Litani. The IDF was charged with cleaning out Hezbollah's bases within about three miles of the Israeli border.
IDF leaders told WND they suffered in "very specific" ways on the battlefield because of a lack of sufficient ground troops. They cited instances in which they claimed there were not enough soldiers to surround key villages, such as Bint JBail in southern Lebanon, allowing Hezbollah fighters to infiltrate cities after the IDF began combat inside the areas.
After nearly four weeks of fighting, Olmert's cabinet Aug. 11 approved the larger assault for which the IDF had petitioned, authorizing about 40,000 troops to enter Lebanon and advance to the Latani River. The IDF estimated it would need three days to reach central Lebanon and another four to six weeks to successfully wipe out the Hezbollah infrastructure in the areas leading back to the Israeli border.
But three days after the Israeli army was given a green light to advance – a cease-fire was imposed and the Jewish state suspended operations.
"If Olmert did not know a cease-fire was coming, then our reaching the Litani would have been crucial for the continued battle. We needed to clean out those areas to defeat Hezbollah. If he did know, Olmert sent our troops to their deaths for nothing other than to prove we can reach the Litani," a top IDF official said.
The official charged that whether the IDF reached the Litani or not, the cease-fire agreement would still call for the Lebanese army and an international force to deploy in the area.
Other military officials told WND of other instances they claimed Olmert was directly responsible for the deaths of soldiers. During several occasions of the war, while heavy diplomacy looked to be gaining momentum, such as during Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visits to the region, the IDF was asked by the political echelon to halt most operations and troop advances for up to 36 hours while negotiations ran their course. Military leaders charge some troop battalions, instructed to hold positions outside villages but not to advance, became sitting ducks for Hezbollah antitank fire, which killed at least 20 Israeli soldiers. After the diplomacy failed, the military officials say, soldiers were ordered to carry on.
The military officials at the time demanded the government's management of the war be probed.
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