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October 13, 2014 Special Dispatch No. 5857

Daily Close To Hizbullah: In Violation Of UNSCR 1701, Hizbullah Has Resumed Operations South Of The Litani River

October 13, 2014
Lebanon | Special Dispatch No. 5857

On October 2, 2014, Hizbullah published an announcement taking responsibility for detonating an explosive charge near an IDF patrol operating in Mount Dov (Sheba'a Farms) wounding two Israeli soldiers. The organization's deputy secretary-general Naim Qassem, while referring to the incident, admitted in an interview with Hizbullah's Al-Manar channel that "Hizbullah fighters moved over from the liberated lands to the occupied lands and buried the charges in a region under [Israel's] tight surveillance".[1]

With this statement, Hizbullah effectively confirmed that it is operating in violation of UNSCR resolution 1701 prohibiting the presence of the organization's armed militants south of the Litani River. Furthermore, on October 8, 2014, the day after the incident, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar that is close to Hizbullah published an article on the attack stating explicitly that Hizbullah fighters had recently resumed operations in the region south of the Litani river in contravention of Resolution 1701 that prohibits this. The article even said that the organization's activity in the region resembles the activity that it maintained there between the years 2000-2006 prior to the war.

The Al-Akhbar article accused Israel of collaborating with Sunni terror activists operating in the Israel-Syria border region and of seeking to assist them in moving from Syrian to Lebanese territories as well in order to fight Hizbullah. The article also claims that in the next stage, Israel was scheming to invade Lebanese territory and take control of several villages there under the pretext of rescuing the Druze population from the Sunni terrorist organizations. The article claimed that if Israel carried out these plans this would mean "the cancellation of resolution 1701", "changing the rules of the game" and "entering a major confrontation with Hizbullah", and therefore the attack sought to transmit a warning to Israel not to carry out its plans and a message emphasizing Hizbullah's readiness for every potential conflict.

Below is a translation of the article's main points:[2]


Naim Qassem (Image: Presstv.ir)

"It is impossible to talk further about the recent changes in south Lebanon, and especially at the foot of Mount Hermon [in Lebanese territory] and the Sheba'a Farms, without closely tying them to the progression of events at the foot of Syrian [Mount] Hermon. This supplements the information and data that the security apparatuses of Syria, Lebanon and the resistance [i.e. Hizbullah] have accumulated in recent months, on the possibility that Israel will expand the armed Syrian opposition's activity on Mount Hermon to Wadi Taym and Al-'Arqoub [in Lebanese territory].

"Last year, the close cooperation between the terrorist groups [operating] in Quneitra ,West Dara'a, Al-Gidor and the Israeli occupation army led to the creation of a 'good fence' for the terrorists and their diverse organizations, including Jabhat Al-Nusra, on the border of the occupied Golan together with liberated Golan. The terrorist controlled fence begins with the towns of Sahm Al-Joulan and Al-Rafid in the southern Quneitra region along the border with Jordan and passes through the towns Jubata Al-Khashab, Juba Ufamaya and Al-Hurriya in the center of the governorate.

"Aside from the towns of Al-Ba'ath, Khan 'Arnaba at the district's center, and the towns Bayt Jan, Mazra'a Bayt Jan, Bayt Saber, Beytima, in northern Quneitra, the towns Khadhr, 'Arane, Harfa, Buqa'sem and Qal'at Jandal with a Druze majority at the foot of Hermon are still controlled by the Syrian army and its allies in the popular committees[3], and other resistance factions, some with close ties to Hizbullah.

"It is no secret that Israel intends to advance towards the Druze towns under the pretext of defending them against massacres that the terrorists from [Jabhat] Al-Nusra may carry out should the towns of Al-Ba'ath and Khan Arnabah, which are undergoing fierce attacks by Israel supported terrorists, succumb. This will allow Israel to control all the Hermon peaks that survey both Syrian and Lebanese soil.

"This [Israeli] intention is reinforced by calls for Israeli intervention by [Druze] who are connected with the official Israeli defense establishment whose origins are from the occupied Galilee and Golan, together with retired [Druze] officers in the Israeli army. They advocate preparing the groundwork for every Israeli advance towards the Hermon. This can be combined with the promises made by the Israeli Chief of Staff Benny Gantz 'to defend the Druze villages' from the terrorist danger during his visit two days ago to the leader of the Druze community Mouafak Tarif, to greet him on the occasion of Id Al-Adha.

"In the event of direct Israeli involvement in the Syrian arena-the developments will not be confined purely to [Israeli] attempts to remove the Syrian army and the resistance [i.e. Hizbullah] from the Golan and threaten the capital of Damascus, but according to sources close to Hizbullah [they will include] also an Israeli attempt to surround Hizbullah from Mount Hermon and outflank it in any future conflict that could compel Hizbullah to enter the Galilee (similar to the encirclement of the [Egyptian] Third Army in the battle of Deversoir during the 1973 war). [4]

"It is no secret that since the July 2006 war and [UN] Security Council Resolution 1701, Hizbullah abandoned its public presence in the regions south of the Litani and particularly in Hasbaya and Al-'Arqoub [in southeast Lebanon]. However information arriving from villages in the vicinity of the town of Sheba'a shows that the status quo ante preceding Resolution 1701 has been restored. Several shepherds and fishermen recently discerned that Hizbullah activists had resumed operating in the outskirts of the Hermon region's towns in a very similar manner to what obtained during the six years following the South's liberation in the year 2000.

"The sources involved referred to these new measures as part of the reassurance messages to the residents [of South Lebanon] that due to the situation's gravity, the resistance [i.e. Hizbullah] was prepared to defend these villages even more than they. The sources note that 'the passage of [Jabhat] Al-Nusra terror operatives and others from Quneitra to Lebanese Mount Hermon and to the 'Arqoub doesn't occur without a clear Israeli decision to change the rules of the game –meaning that resolution 1701 will [effectively] cease to apply, and this will impose a major burden on Israel, and it is implausible that Israel will now bury [Resolution] 1701 and enter a major conflict with Hizbullah.'

"In light of the aforesaid, the sources note that 'the attack upon an enemy tank in the Sheba'a farms is a right awarded the resistance due to the occupation, and this event confirms that the incidents in Syria did not distract the resistance from the southern boundaries'. '[The sources] indicate that the damage [to the Israeli tank] is within the framework of messages warning Israel about the repercussions of using terrorists in South Lebanon and that 'Israel will bear the consequences of any change in the rules of the game.' Other sources close to Hizbullah say that 'the resistance's taking responsibility for the action emphasizes that the resistance axis still retains the initiative and deterrence and it is prepared for any future possibility and has no difficulty with operating on multiple fronts'. The sources doubt that Israel intends 'to risk entry into a general conflict.'"

Endnotes:

[1] He claimed that this was intended to signal the enemy that despite Hizbullah's involvement in the Syrian and East Lebanese fighting its eyes were open and it was prepared for the Israeli enemy. Al-Manar, October 7, 2014.

[2] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 7, 2014

[3] Popular committees – militias established by the Syrian regime during the Civil War.

[4] Deversoir is the estuary of Suez Canal waters to the Great Bitter Lake in Egypt. The reference is to the canal crossing operation during the 1973 war in this region which actually constituted a gap that facilitated the canal crossing and the encirclement of the Egyptian Third Army.

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