"It's ours!" – More Israeli imprecision about status of "border" from Haaretz

Here is another example of Israeli extreme imprecision about the nature of the demarcation between its territory and Lebanese, in a Haaretz editorial whose sub-headline says: “The government and IDF must understand that not every time is right for demonstrating Israeli sovereignty right up to the last millimeter, certainly not when tension is rising on both sides of the northern border“.

It would have been better to write: “The government and IDF must understand that not every time is right for demonstrating Israeli sovereignty right up to the last millimeter … especially when those last millimeters are not yet rightfully attributed”.

Instead, this Israeli practice of insisting that “it’s ours” — never mind the small details — leads to what is at the very least an extremely tense and dangerous atmosphere.

In fact, the “it’s ours” phenomena led, exactly, to what Israel has come to call its “Second Lebanon War” in the summer of 2006, when Hizballah fighters ambushed several Israeli soldiers along the Blue Line (in an area for which Lebanese reservations had been recorded during the demarcation process) in an operation conducted in sympathy (if not in actual coordination) with the cross-border raid from Gaza that resulted in the capture of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit in late June 2006. [Shalit is still being held captive, reportedly somewhere in Gaza.]

In any case, the Haaretz editorial itself, published yesterday (Thursday 5 August) noted that “the incident had threatening potential of widespread deterioration, and even war”. The editorial also acknowledged that “the government and the IDF have for several months been preparing the Israeli public for the possibility of a war in the north”.

Israeli friends, who get all their news from Israel Television reports — and who have total faith in every last word of those reports — have been shrieking at me for over a year that Israeli Television reports show that the entire population of southern Lebanon is being held hostage, in terror, to Hizballah, which sends troops into homes at will to fire rockets (from inside the houses) onto Israeli territory… Any question, or expressions of the slightest reserve, provoke accusations of naivete.A

The Haaretz editorial then states: “There’s no dispute, even according to the United Nations, that Israel was operating on its own territory [!!!] If Lebanon disagreed with the way the area was marked, or opposed Israel Defense Forces operations there, it could have contacted UN liaison officers”…

And, the Haaretz editorial continues: “This awareness should have led the government and the IDF to consider more carefully when to cut down a tree near the border. Operation Exposure, as the army is calling the tree cutting, may be necessary to give IDF troops a good view of what is happening in Lebanese territory, but when such an operation can trigger a war, the benefits must be weighed against the risks … The government and the IDF must understand that not every time is right for demonstrating Israeli sovereignty right up to the last millimeter, certainly not when tension is rising on both sides of the border. Employing restraint and waiting at such a time are not an expression of weakness, but of wisdom and political sensitivity”. This can be read in full here.

17 thoughts on “"It's ours!" – More Israeli imprecision about status of "border" from Haaretz”

  1. Marian,
    Why wouldn’t you write similar analysis for a Lebanese side about exercising their sovereignty in this clash?

  2. The first and most simple answer is that I am not in Lebanon, so I can’t tell you what the Lebanese news says, or what my Lebanese friends say after watching the news — though I am prepared to bet that they are considerably more sceptical, and less conditioned or “obedient” … But isn’t it at the very least completely clear from what I’ve written that the border between Israel and Lebanon is not yet agreed, or finaliized?

  3. I can read Lebanon media by myself (and I can tell you, they are completely ecstatic about their “glories victory” on “Zionists aggressors”), what is really interesting that’s your point of view on their action.

  4. Here, I admit, is one example of where I have a problem in reading:

    Yaakov Katz wrote this week in the Jerusalem Post that “One of the first lessons the IDF learned from its failed war against Hizbullah in 2006 was the need to operate within all of the so-called “enclaves” along the Lebanese border. Enclaves refer to land that is in sovereign Israeli territory but is on the other side of the border fence, which does not always run directly parallel to the internationally recognized border known as the Blue Line. On Tuesday, an IDF entrance into one of these enclaves, near the Israeli community of Misgav Am, was what likely triggered the clashes that ended with one dead IDF senior officer and three dead Lebanese soldiers. This, however, does not mean that Israel is wrong in entering the enclaves, some of which are hundreds of meters south of the actual border. The IDF’s Northern Command is of the opinion that it is crucial to operate within the enclaves to show the Lebanese that Israel is present in all of its territory, a so-called declaration of sovereignty. There are also security benefits to operating within the enclaves. On July 12, 2006, Hizbullah guerrillas launched an attack against an IDF patrol from within one of these enclaves and abducted reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, in the incident that sparked the Second Lebanon War. Since the war, the IDF has entered these enclaves almost every day. In some cases it coordinates with UNIFIL to prevent misunderstandings like that which happened on Tuesday – if in fact the Lebanese Armed Forces’ attack was the result of a misunderstanding, and was not premeditated as some IDF sources have speculated. In these cases, it even crosses the fence with tanks and jeeps.
    Other times, though, the IDF enters the enclaves covertly and often remains inside for full days. “If we are not there, Hizbullah will be there,” a top officer stationed along the Lebanese border said recently, explaining that by operating within the enclaves, the IDF was making it difficult for Hizbullah to launch attacks along the border like it did in 2006. “This way, Hizbullah will have to start its next attack further from the border, meaning that we will hopefully have more of a warning that something is happening,” he said”…

    This Yaakov Katz reportage is posted at http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=183569

    In other words, the IDF believes “It’s ours”, no matter what…

    And, although the 2006 war was triggered by the IDF operating in one of these enclaves, it is now a security measure for the IDF to operate in these enclaves on an almost daily basis…

    Does this make sense?

    Katz’s article continues: “The Northern Command is also working with UNIFIL to complete the marking of the Israeli-Lebanese border. This is done with blue-and-white barrels that are placed every few hundred meters and form a clear line of where the border runs, in the absence of a fence along the Blue Line“.

    There is not the slightest bit of concern to know, here, whether or not the Lebanese Army is also working with UNIFIL on this continued marking process. [Part of the lack of concern may, of course, be UNIFIL’s…]

    There even a hint in this story that there is still, actually, an absence of agreement about where the border might actually run.

  5. Marian wrote”
    “And, although the 2006 war was triggered by the IDF operating in one of these enclaves, ”

    This is first time I hear such thing.
    Can you prove it?

  6. Also, his statement: “if in fact the Lebanese Armed Forces’ attack was the result of a misunderstanding, and was not premeditated as some IDF sources have speculated.”
    is the same “speculatuion”- at least till we will see official report from UNIFIL

  7. Also from Haaretz (Amos Harel in the MESS report) — more “It’s ours“, no matter what:

    According to the first reports from Lebanon, the confrontation broke out around an enclave. These are areas that are between the “Blue Line” (the international border) and the border security fence, which, according to international law [!!!], is located on the Israeli side of the border [!!!].

    Since the end of the Second Lebanon War, the IDF has changed its policy toward the enclaves, and it insists on maintaining a presence there, in order to exercise Israeli sovereignty there.

    Entering an enclave is a military operation in every way, meaning that it takes place with the approval and supervision of high ranking officers. Although UNIFIL, and to some extent the government of Lebanon, acknowledge in principle Israeli control over the enclaves [!!!], these operations increase the friction between the two sides, and sometimes lead to tensions.

    In these cases, there is always the danger that an altercation will break out over which side of the border the IDF forces are located, since each state has a different interpretation of the exact location of the border [!!!].



    If it’s not my problem in reading, then it must be something else…

  8. Marian, you have had succeeded totally confuse me: you brought several articles from different authors, but I didn’t sow your opinion about the issue.
    Can you please clear state what you think about it.

  9. Did you ever notice that the only readily-available sources of information about how the “Second Lebanon War” started are the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or the Israeli media — and that these sources assert that the incident that sparked the war was in an area that, they describe this way: “It’s ours”.

    Didn’t you ever wonder about that, or ask yourself the slightest question? Or are you satisfied simply to assert that anything anyone says is propaganda, and wrong?

    Take a look at the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Lebanon_War

    It says, among other things, that
    The conflict began when Hezbollah militants fired rockets at Israeli border towns as a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence.[29] The ambush left three soldiers dead. Two additional soldiers, believed to have been killed outright or mortally wounded, were snatched by Hezbollah to Lebanon.[30][31][29] Five more were killed in a failed rescue attempt. Israel responded with massive airstrikes and artillery fire on targets in Lebanon that damaged Lebanese civilian infrastructure, including Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport (which Israel said that Hezbollah used to import weapons and supplies),[32] an air and naval blockade,[33] and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon.

    The source for footnote [29] is … The New York Times, which simply reported without examination the Israeli claim that the incident happened on the “Israeli side of the border fence”.

    Now, take a look at the incident map supplied by Wikipedia (and said to be the work of the Central Intelligence Agency) at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/Zarit_incident_map.png … Can you tell me where, exactly, among all those unidentified lines, the 12 July 2006 “incident” took place, exactly?

    Then, can you please tell me the Israeli claim on that exact bit of territory, and compare it to the Lebanese claim on that same spot of earth, and maybe also the analysis of the UN cartographer who worked on the demarcation of the Blue Line?

    After that, we might be able to hold an intelligent conversation…

    This “It’s ours” business just doesn’t do it.

  10. Marian

    You should kick out that FREELOADER HASBARA shill who is polluting your blog with his PROPAGANDA and TAUNTS ( cowardice action behind a computer)

  11. OK. My position on this is … that there has been no agreement on the border, and that the UN has made a “demarcation” — a line, south of which is where Israeli troops are supposed to have been withdrawn.

    I was rather surprised at the UN determination, in 2000, that the disputed area of the Shebaa Farms was Syrian — despite a Syrian letter saying that this territory was Lebanese — apparently on the grounds that UN bureaucrats with their highly refined political sensitivities decided that Syria didn’t really mean it. They they said that resolution of the matter depended on full finalized Israeli-Syrian peace deal. The upshot of this UN decision is, of course, Syria, too, will have to be involved in the eventual decision about whatever the border is to be. That should be fun.

    I was also surprised by the IDF admission, reported by two Israeli journalists (one from the Jerusalem Post, one from Haaretz), who I both quoted, that since the 2006 war the Israeli military has decided to make assertive demonstrations on a nearly daily basis of Israeli sovereignty in “enclaves” whose final disposition remains to be determined.

    It is no longer a surprise that the Israeli military believes its assertions are simply to be obeyed without any question.

  12. O.K., I see the discussion have moved forward, but I want to reply to Marian on her post from August 7th, 2010 at 6:11 am.

    Here is the link to certainly not Israeli site with maps related to the Second Lebanon War.


    Please click on the link at lower part of the page, named “20060712-WE”.
    The google map page will open, look at the left the list of “points of interest”, click on last one in the list: POWs-20060712.
    Now, go to the upper right side, to the satellite label and check “show labels” window, this will add “Blue Line” to the map.
    O.K., if you perform all these properly, you will see exactly position where the Hezbollah kidnapper two Israeli soldiers and killed three other soldiers in the same attack.
    The place of the incident is on the Israeli side of the Blue Line.

    Let’s cross check this point of view (any serious inquiry should never base on single source, unfortunately, not all journalists adhere to this practice).
    what is UN position on this issue?

    The UNIFIL site wrote here (http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/unifil/background.shtml):

    “New hostilities on the Israeli-Lebanese border started on 12 July 2006 when Hezbollah launched several rockets from Lebanese territory across the Blue Line towards IDF positions and in the area of the Israeli town of Zarit. In parallel, Hezbollah fighters crossed the Blue Line into Israel, attacked an Israeli patrol and captured two Israeli soldiers, killed three others and wounded two more.”

    That’s pretty clear UN position about Hezbollah action in the Israeli territory on July 12 2006 that started the second Lebanon War.

    I have no intent to argue with you about every blue painted 200 liter barrels buried by UN along Blue Line, it’s fruitless (you can not be moved from your anti-Israeli
    beliefs). I can only bring the facts, and your readers will judge by themselves.

    To Yul:

    just how predictable to hear this from “useful idiot”


  13. To the latest Nikkor1: interesting links you provide…

    But, why do you say here, as you and your other Nikkor1 colleagues so often do, that “you can not be moved from your anti-Israeli beliefs)”?

    Can’t you have a normal discussion without resorting to this sort of smear tactic?

    If someone questions, criticizes, or disagrees, you have to see it as some “anti-Israeli belief”?

    No one here is arguing about “every blue painted 200 liter barrels buried by UN along Blue Line” — which anyone who knows how to read can clearly see for themselves.

    There is no agreed border, there is only some kind of demarcation, and this quite clearly causes tension that can easily and quickly escalate into fighting, with casualties and deaths.

    Just bring the facts.

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