DIARY OF RESISTANCE OPERATIONS - OCTOBER 2000
The following are the Islamic-Resistance operations that took place during the month of October in 2000...
On October 7, 2000, the Islamic Resistance struck the occupation forces in the occupied Shebaa Farms. Performing a double military operation, the Resistance fighters captured 3 Zionist soldiers and wounded 4 others.
As such are the operation details:
A group of fighters got positioned at 8 points along the border fence (called "the Good Fence" by "Israel"; extending from the surroundings of Sedona Pond in the east until the surroundings of al-Majidiyeh in the west). Approximately at 1:00 p.m., the group of fighters progressed until 200 m from the entrance to Rweisset as-Semmaka Site (south of Kfarchouba).
There, the group divided into two; the first lay in ambush at the site entrance, and the second broke into the site. Arriving in the operation zone fifteen minutes later, a Zionist patrol was ambushed. The fighters fired their machineguns and rocket shells, clashing with the patrollers.
For now, the other group reached the soil rampart of Rweisset as-Semmaka, breaking into it. At different instances, the "Islamic-Resistance Artillery" provided backup for both groups, firing a barrage against Rweisset as-Semmaka and all other sites in Shebaa Farms, Kfarchouba Hills, and their surroundings; the artillerists bombarded the "Israeli" monitoring center on Mount Hermon (Jabal al-Sheikh), Rweisset el-Alam, "the Ski Center", Ramta, Kafwa, and al-Jal el-Ahmar.
The artillerists maintained an hour-long fire cover, allowing the fighters to capture 3 Zionist patrollers. The fighters then made the patrollers walk until the surroundings of Bethel Pond, where several vehicles had been covertly waiting for them.
The captives and a number of fighters were driven to the liberated regions, escorted by security forces. Approximately half an hour later, all reached the required destination; no casualties were made.
Thirty minutes after the attack, the "Israeli" occupation forces' middle and heavy artillery began to shell the Islamic Resistance's watch points in the surroundings of Kfarchouba and Shebaa. Along 30 minutes, the occupation forces launched 300 shells against the watch points that the Resistance fighters had evacuated earlier.
Meanwhile, 8 Zionist military helicopters flew in the airspace of the towns of Kfarchouba, Shebaa, Kfarhamam, al-Hebbarieh, Rashaya el-Fokhar, and Hasbaya. The helicopters' missiles now struck the civil vehicles driven on the roads of these towns.
Consequently, the Lebanese-Army sites in Hasbaya region opened the fire of their antiaircraft artillery.
Around 3:00 p.m., the occupation military thronged a force of 40 Merkava tanks and 400 troops in the region extending from Sedona Pond all the way to the surroundings of Ramta-Qafweh.
The reinforcements were assigned to carry out a large ground operation: encompassing all exits the fighters could use to carry the soldiers away, Zionist military commentators pointed out.
A number of tanks got positioned near the barbed wired fence, and soon a force of Zionist soldiers crossed Bethel Pond, going 400 m through the Lebanese territories. The force now combed the place.
In the meantime, the Zionist helicopter continued shelling civil vehicles driven on Shebaa-Hasbaya Route in order to prevent the Resistance fighters from carrying the soldiers away from that region. The missiles hit 20 vehicles on Shebaa-Hasbaya Route, wounding around 20 civilians. Among the casualties was Hussein Muhieddine Shahrour (aged 13), who was wounded while trying to escape the bombardment against Kfarhamam Town.
As the occupation forces shelled the entrance to the occupied Shebaa Town, they destroyed a center of the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon). Having escaped from their vehicles and sought shelter at the UNIFIL center, 2 civilians were wounded.
Issuing a statement, the UNIFIL media office declared that the shrapnel of mortar shells wounded the commander of "the Indian Brigade's" Shebaa Site. The brigade had been rescuing civilians besieged by the shelling against Shebaa region.
The enemy sources acknowledged the three soldiers were captured. The occupation military issued a statement, declaring, "Apparently, Lebanese members of Hizbullah abducted the three enginery soldiers... The military are going to do their best to locate the abducted soldiers and bring them back home safely."
Later, a Zionist military spokesman declared, "Four "Israeli" soldiers were wounded during clashes with Hizbullah. The soldiers were then transported to "Safed Hospital"."
The enemy's "Channel 2" reported that a group of Hizbullah, driving a civil vehicle by the border fence, opened fire on the vehicle of an "Israeli" patrol on a parallel route. Hizbullah fighters made the patrollers stop before blocking the fence. Then they moved the soldiers away through the Lebanese side.
As the soldiers' families were informed of the incident, tens of settlers thronged near a soldier's house, requesting that the "Israeli" government "deal with" Hizbullah. Alarm was announced in the northern settlements, and the so-called "local councils" were asked to open shelters and get ready for potential outcomes. Yet, the settlers were not asked to hide in shelters.
On October 8, 2000, the UNIFIL drove back 2 vehicles the fighters had used in the capture operation: a black "Range Rover" and a white "Nissan Path Finder" parked near Kfarchouba Town.
On October 12, 2000, the occupation forces disassembled the establishments of as-Semmaka Site on Kfarchouba Hills, which the fighters' missiles had directly hit. The Zionist teams then moved the equipment into the occupied Shebaa Farms.
For his part, (former) "Israeli" Prime Minister Ehud Barak warned the Lebanese and Syrian governments they had better cease any "aggressive act" on the borders instantly, also that they had better control the organizations functioning in Lebanon. Barak added, ""Israel" seriously considers any "violation" against the peace prevailing along the borders since the "Israeli" military's withdrawal from Lebanon. "Israel" is willing to act so as to ensure the security of the northern towns."
Making another statement, Barak said, "We demand that the captives be freed at once. Now that we've withdrawn from Lebanon, their abduction clearly "violates" the international law. It is the responsibility of Hizbullah, the Lebanese government, and more particularly Syria that maintains an influential role in Lebanon, to resolve this case as soon as possible. Certainly, we maintain the right to counteract in the right time and place and through any means we find appropriate."
Having quickly moved to occupied Palestine, (foremer) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan supported Barak's stances in a common press conference. Though Annan declared the capture operation "breached" UN Resolution 425, he declared, "The soldiers are healthy, and they're being treated well. But so far we can't confirm so, and we will see they get treated well."
(Former) "Israeli" acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Bin Ami, calling (former) US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, (former) US National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, and (former) US ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke, asked them to "communicate clear messages to the Lebanese and Syrian governments on the necessity of maintaining peace along the northern borders." Bin Ami added, "The US is making diplomatic efforts in the Middle East on behalf of "Israel" to see that the three soldiers get released."
As news was declared on the three soldiers' capture, a series of US and Western calls was made. (Former) Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Edward Walker warned the Lebanese ambassador to Washington Farid Abboud that the Resistance had better release the three soldiers instantly or "Israel" would counterstrike harshly.
For his part, Abboud reminded the US official that "Israel" held Lebanese hostages, warning that no civil targets could be stricken and no Lebanese civilians could be assailed. To hold talks on the same issue, Walker as well called the Syrian Chargé d'Affaires in Washington Rustom az-Zoghbi and the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington Bandar Bin Sultan.
Furthermore, (former) Lebanese President Emile Lahoud received a call from (former) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and (former) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. (Former) Prime Minister Salim el-Hoss also received a call from the (former) Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa, (former) Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, (former) US ambassador to Beirut David Satterfield and (former) French ambassador to Lebanon Philippe Le Courtier.
Lebanese sources confirmed, ""Israel" must instantly release the Lebanese abductees imprisoned in the "Israeli" prisons to reclaim the three soldiers. "Israel" must not threaten it would counteract; that would only complicate things, and only "Israel" would bear the consequences in case of any escalation," "the National Media Agency" reported.
Moreover, (former) President Emile Lahoud officially declared, ""Israel" is responsible for the recent escalation along the Lebanese borders (with occupied Palestine). "Israel" as well holds full responsibility for any reaction against Lebanon."
Addressing visitors at "the Baabda Palace", President Lahoud said, "Lebanon refuses the threats and sees they are not cannot at all resolve the current situation." Lahoud as well declared, "Had "Israel" responded to the UN's pursuits and the calls made on "Resistance and Liberation Day" in May, had "Israel" also released the Lebanese civilian abductees imprisoned in "Israeli" prisons, the recent developments wouldn't have taken place."
Lahoud now confirmed, "Lebanon sees the recent "Israeli" threats reveal "Israel's" attempt to escape the military and political mess, which the "Israeli" government has been facing as a result of the escalating developments on the occupied lands."
President Lahoud as well said that after the capture operation, the US ambassador to Beirut David Satterfield reported "Israel's" warning it would "bombard many places in Lebanon and turn it into hell" in case the Resistance did not release the three soldiers within 4 hours. Yet, President Lahoud said the warning was useless and informed Satterfield that 19 Lebanese were captured in "Israeli" prisons, adding, "So let "Israel" release them first. We're not afraid of any "Israeli" threats or warnings."
Four hours were gone now, but nothing serious happened, and President Lahoud received a call from the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who "ignored the stormy phone call" previously made in consequence with "Israel's" withdrawal from Lebanon (in May 2000). Until this time, Lahoud maintained no calls with Albright. The latter had hinted at "reconsidering the US relations with Lebanon and warning the American citizens not to travel to Beirut" since the Lebanese authorities refused to approve of the UN secretary general's report, which declared "Israel" had "fulfilled" UN Resolution 425. "Israel" continued making breaches and maintained occupation troops in the Lebanese Shebaa Farms after the resolution was issued, however.
In her new phone call, Albright wished that Lahoud control the borders and prevent the Palestinians from performing any acts there. Albright did not mention the "Israeli" soldiers, however. Lahoud, in turn, iterated the Lebanese authorities adhered to maintaining security and stability in the region by the borders. Lahoud as well declared it was the "Israeli" occupation soldiers who opened fire on the Palestinians and killed three.
For his part, House Speaker Nabih Berri confirmed, "Neither Lebanon nor Syria, but only "Israel" is responsible for the three soldiers' safety. At the end of the day, "Israeli" troops are present where they do not belong. They've threatened, tortured, dislodged, and massacred the Lebanese people."
Berri then said, "When "Israel" withdrew from parts of our lands in the South and West Beqaa, we were the first to warn that kind of withdrawal did not mean peace. And we said that as long as "Israel" occupied the Shebaa Farms and detained tens of Lebanese in prisons, we had the right to maintain our legitimate resistance against the "Israeli" occupation. We also said we would reclaim the Lebanese captives, especially Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, brother Mustafa ad-Dirani, Samir el-Qintar, and Jawad Qasfi.
So does the Islamic Resistance's recent, unique operation emphasize; "Israel" must realize that we shall keep doing all we can to resist it and reclaim every single particle of land, whether in Shebaa or any other region. We shall also get all Lebanese captives in "Israel" released."
Furthermore, the Roman Orthodox Archbishop of Sour (Tyr), Saida, Marjeeyoun, and Rashaya el-Wadi Elias Kfouri commended Hizbullah's capture operation: "I do appreciate those guys who abducted the "Israeli" soldiers in the occupied Shebaa Farms. This operation has made it clear to the world that "Israel", occupying the Lebanese Shebaa Farms, still violates all international resolutions." Archbishop Kfouri as well greeted the Palestinian people that had so far struggled over half a century."
For his part, the Captives' Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, (then) imprisoned in occupied Palestine, wrote a letter to praise the Resistance fighters' efforts in capturing the three Zionist soldiers:
May Allah bestow His peace, mercy, and blessings on you,
I ask you, particularly Saajed and Mujahid (Sheikh Obeid's sons) to kiss, on behalf of me, the pure hands of the fighters who did a great job capturing three enemy soldiers. Hopefully, their praised effort will soon be cultivated, and I can meet you and all the beloved ones soon. I wish that you greet every single fighter of them in case you learn who they are..."
For now, the US ambassador to Lebanon David Satterfield communicated the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's message to President Lahoud and the Lebanese government. The US stance called them to "put an end to "violence and the provocative acts" along the borders and to try to resolve the three soldiers' issue."
Satterfield also declared, "The international community, the UN Security Council (UNSC), and the UN secretary general see the Lebanese government must bear enough responsibility to ensure security and stability along the Lebanese borders."
In contrast, (former) Premier Salim el-Hoss emphasized, "It convicts "Israel" that it still occupies the Lebanese Shebaa Farms, holds Lebanese captives, and opens fire on unarmed civilians. As for the cause of al-Quds (Jerusalem), all know this will continue to be a source of regional instability until right is fulfilled and until this sacred city reclaims its Arab identity. We've said again and again that not only the Palestinians are concerned with the cause of al-Quds; it rather is an Arab cause, with which all Muslim and Christian Arabs are concerned."
Additionally, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stressed during a call with his (former) Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak, ""Israel" has provoked a regional emergency. The "Israeli" aggressions can be- by no means- justified."
During another call, al-Assad told his (former) US counterpart Bill Clinton, "We believe "Israel" is responsible for the escalation and the consequent unrest. So there has to be a comprehensive resolution rather than a partial one."
President al-Assad as well confirmed the Lebanese people had the right to resist the occupation. Meeting t (former) Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Kamal Kharazi in Damascus, al-Assad received a letter from (former) President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Sayyed Muhammad Khatami. The letter addressed the regional developments and supported Tehran's support to Damascus:
"Self defense against foreign occupation is the right international conventions promise every people. The Shebaa Farms are Lebanese lands "Israel" occupies. So it's the Lebanese people's right to struggle against the occupiers."
Moreover, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa confirmed, "All acts the national resistance is doing in the occupied Lebanese lands of Shebaa to get the captives released are legitimate." Sharaa also informed his US counterpart Madeleine Albright and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in calls, "We see "Israel" is responsible for the critical situation in Lebanon."
In further talks Albright held with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Riyadh on October 18, 2000, Washington continued creating pressure. The talks were made in al-Assad's first meeting with a high-ranking US official after being assigned to office (following his gone father, President Hafez al-Assad).
In the ninety-minute-long meeting, Albright focused on the Lebanese issue and said it was necessary that Damascus restrict "the provocative acts" Hizbullah was doing. Albright saw that "such acts only increase the potential for a wider range of "violence", which will include "Israel" and the Palestinian Authority (PA)."
Albright then said ""Israel" "fulfilled" UN Resolution 425 by withdrawing its forces from Lebanon, so Washington would like to see Syria fulfill this resolution, too."
President al-Assad, in turn, confirmed Damascus sought seeing a resolution for the main cause represented by the "Israeli" occupation, as well as an equal and comprehensive peace rather than mere details.
Al-Assad also emphasized, "As "Israel" maintains its current policies, the regional peoples will not enjoy the equal, comprehensive peace they seek. Thus, any solutions or proposals must consider the requirements of the equal, comprehensive peace and the ambitions of the Palestinian Arab people and the other Arabs as to reclaiming their legitimate rights."
In further Arab and Islamic reactions, (former) Prince of Saudi Arabia Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz iterated Saudi Arabia "will react in case Barak accomplishes his threats against Damascus and Beirut. As the Saudi Arabian prince visited a number of the Palestinian Intifada at a hospital in Riyadh, he said, "Barak must think before he makes any irrational move. None must think that Saudi Arabia and the Arab and Islamic World will keep quiet."
For his part, the Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi warned in a call with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, ""Israel" must not make any military adventure in Lebanon; the Lebanese Islamic Resistance has declared they would conduct a very fierce counteraction in case "Israel" violated the Lebanese territories."
Paris, in turn, called Lebanon, Syria, and "Israel" to "maintain self-discipline". (Former) French spokeswoman Catherine Colona also said (former) French President Jacque Chirac and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had expressed their "concern as to the developments in the Middle East."
In contrast, Hizbullah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared stances that further overwhelmed the Zionist officials.
His Eminence stressed, "The Islamic Resistance will not release the soldiers unless "Israel" releases the Lebanese detainees. Besides, Hizbullah won't offer any information on the soldiers' lives or health for free. Let them not waste their time because we've taken the soldiers somewhere the "Israelis" can never reach." Sayyed Nasrallah also confirmed, "In case of any aggression- whether comprehensive or incomprehensive, we shall strike fiercely, and we're going to make them understand we're not weak!"
In fact, the capture operation aroused dispute among the occupation commanders. (Former) Chief of "the "Israeli" General Staff" Shaul Mofaz supported Barak's call for "maintaining self-discipline". So did (former) Chief of "the "Israeli" Military Intelligence Department" Amos Malka and other officers of "the "Israeli" General Staff", who suggested concentrating on negotiations.
In contrast, (former) Chief of "the "Israeli" Northern Command" Gabi Ashkenazi opposed this policy, particularly since he had earlier warned from "the dangerous outcomes of Hizbullah's military structure spread along the borders."
According to Ashkenazi, it was not the "Israeli" militants' inattention that made the capture operation successful, but it was Hizbullah's ability to conduct operations easily now that the human barrier represented by the so-called "South Lebanon Army" (the Lahd Militia) and "the security border" were gone.
Ashkenazi said the capture operation only confirmed the previous expectations for Hizbullah's ability. Supporting Ashkenazi's viewpoint were the "Israeli" commanders in charge of the other regions. The commanders even believed there had to be a stricter policy.
Apparently, the Zionist militants were deeply confused as "the "Israeli" Ground Forces (IGF)" could not prevent the capture operation. Accordingly, the "Israeli" command declared "the conditions prevailing along the borders with Lebanon are "unbearable", and Hizbullah must no further be allowed to deploy their fighters along the borders."
The military correspondent of the "Israeli" "Channel 1" reported, "We must understand that if the "Israeli" military engages in a fight along the borders, it's going to be a different story than the one we used to know when the military was in South Lebanon. Hizbullah's sites are very close to the "Israeli" settlements, and combat in such circumstances can be quite controversial..."
The correspondent said "Israeli" military's scenarios for the capture operation were "a nightmare", adding, "The members of the Hizbullah cell worked fast and professionally. The military had always been afraid of such an incident. In "Israel", it is believed that Hizbullah will try to manipulate "Israel" by extending time for negotiations over the captives."
In this regard, Hizbullah media reported several international officials made a series of calls to negotiate the captives' swap deal. The officials suggested to Lebanese officials and Hizbullah command that the captives be released in return for 19 Lebanese of the detained in "Israeli" prisons.
Hizbullah media said it was yet unclear what the deal would be like, however. The media also said there was not much chance for any settlement or swap soon and pointed out several mediators like "the Red Cross International Committee" and (former) UN Secretary General Personal Representative Rolf Knutson were holding the negotiations for Hizbullah and "Israel".
Furthermore, Hizbullah media highlighted several important points as to the capture operation:
●After the Zionists withdrew from most of the occupied Lebanese lands, Hizbullah called different officials to declare the enemy still held Lebanese hostages. Hizbullah said the enemy was using them to bargain; therefore it was demanded that a quick, humanitarian solution be made. But none of the organizations and committees involved moved, and the Islamic Resistance had to conduct a capture operation. The Resistance would capture "Israeli" soldiers to force "Israel" to make a swap deal and get the Lebanese detainees released.
●Performing the operation in that particular location, the Islamic Resistance reiterated the stance they had declared after liberating most of the occupied Lebanese lands: The Shebaa Farms were Lebanese, so the Islamic Resistance had to conduct further military operations to free them. The stance matched with the official Lebanese stance and the Syrian one, which refused the presence of any more occupation forces in the Shebaa Farms. The stances as well rejected any claims as to "Israel" having fulfilled UN Resolution 425.
●The operation concurred with the Palestinian people's confrontations with the Zionist occupation forces that massacred so many disarmed civilians. Thereupon, the operation reiterated the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples were resistance mates. The operation as well expressed that Lebanon supported and consolidated with the Palestinian people's Intifada.
With respect to the Zionist officials, the capture operation seemed rather intense. "Israeli" occupation commanders posed a group of questions on the reasons allowing the operation success. Some months earlier, "the "Israeli" Military Intelligence Department" had repeatedly warned that Hizbullah intended to abduct "Israeli" soldiers. Hizbullah sought to pressure "Israel" into releasing Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid and Haj Mustapha Dirani, the intelligence officers said.
Thereupon, it w-as strictly demanded that the ground military units deployed foil any potential operation. The soldiers were clearly given orders as to their regional movement, also as to the supposed reaction in case they got attacked. It was stressed that Hizbullah fighters positioned close to the soldiers might attack. So it was thought the patrol attacked had disobeyed the orders given.
The so-called ""Israeli" Northern Command", along with the chiefs of the other "Israeli" commands, launched an investigation into the operation. The investigation eventually pointed out, "The patrol had to keep going on rather than stopping after getting attacked; especially when there might be evidences the soldiers were "not hurt" at first."
The "Israeli" chiefs as well criticized the presence of 3 soldiers on the vehicle attacked; orders had been made that every 4 soldiers be on patrol. "A fourth soldier could have offered help," an "Israeli" officer said, "and he could have "foiled" the abduction."
More criticism was made over the lateness of the rescue force involved; approximately 25 minutes had passed until the rescue force reached the place and realized the patrollers had been abducted. Therefore, the abductors had enough time to disappear with the captured soldiers.
"The Hermon Brigade" of "the Hermon Sector" bears responsibility for this fault. This brigade seriously screwed up coordinating and supervising their forces...," the officer aforementioned said, "Apparently, the brigade was too busy seeking shelter while Hizbullah fighters bombarded the sites; the soldiers did not realize things were meant to camouflage a more serious operation."
Additionally, "Israeli" Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz commented, "It is about a very serious fault... This operation shouldn't have happened. We trained the forces, and the soldiers were quite alert. But we could not foil the abduction."
For its part, "Maarif" published some articles on the investigation outcomes. The newspaper said the "Israeli" patrols were clearly instructed as to avoiding any potential abduction. "It was supposed that every patrol consist of two vehicles headed by an advanced surveillance team. The instructions were not applied, however."
"The reason that made the patrol attacked keep moving until reaching the gate was yet unclear," Maarif added, "The investigations revealed Hizbullah members did not launch rockets against the Jeep but rather set it afire to hide any evidence. A soldier's pistol and traces of blood were found, which indicates the patrollers might have suffered casualties."
The "Israeli" officers said the soldiers acted badly though they had been trained for months for such operations. Now it was clear they were still unready for that, "Maarif" also reported.
As a matter of fact, the fighters' success to capture the three soldiers highlighted the reality of "the Enginery Brigade" the soldiers belonged to. The information stated the brigade soldiers had gone too wild that it was considered a brigade of "thieves, drug addicts, and mischievous soldiers." Therefore, assigning the mission of "protecting the borders" to this brigade was questioned.
The brigade aforementioned was moved to the northern borders of occupied Palestine to do some drills. The three soldiers were not supposed to be where they were captured, however. And that was the main focus of the investigations taking place.
Information stated a number of the brigade soldiers plundered the stuff of Zionist officers and soldiers when two military helicopters heading to southern Lebanon collided in 1997. The brigade, positioned on the borders, was urgently called to rescue 75 officers and soldiers. But as the brigade soldiers discovered all 75 were killed, they plundered all military bags. Though they bragged about that later on, they were not seriously trialed; and "the Northern Command" even tried to cover up what they did.
Also in June 1997, two soldiers of the brigade quarreled over using the phone. Thus, one of them, Sergeant Alfred Cohen, was killed. In summer in 1998, many soldiers of the brigade were arrested and trialed for drug possession. The trials revealed they had actually been on drugs.
In 1998 a conflagration started at an encampment on the occupied Golan Hill, where the brigade was on drills; so happened in 1999. Both conflagrations destroyed large quantities of ordnance and equipment. Even though "the Northern Command" did not put anyone on trial, it was obvious intended carelessness had started both conflagrations on.
"Maarif" reported the parents of the three enginery soldiers requested that an investigation committee be formed to look into the information the "Israeli" military provided concerning the abduction. The parents said the information seemed wrong.
In a letter addressing Chief of "the Northern Command" Gabi Ashkenazi, the soldiers' parents said the soldiers had received clear instructions on getting to the point where they were abducted: the border gate leading to Shebaa Village. The "Israeli" military, in contrast, claimed the patrol was supposed to stop at another point.
The soldiers' parents said the military was lying, and they pointed out the team was assigned to many missions like maintaining "security" over 12 hours a day- even during break time. The parents also accused the sector commanders to have misinformed "the "Israeli" General Staff" as they claimed the soldiers shouldn't have reached the point where they were abducted. The claims spread rumors the soldiers could have been smuggling drugs.
In fact, the operation the fighters successfully performed in the battle field made the occupation command apply exceptional military procedures, particularly in the occupied Shebaa Farms. "Haaretz's" military commentator Amos Harrell pointed out the "Israeli" military had begun establishing more sites and boosted up patrols and night watches; the military was afraid that Hizbullah fighters might attack along a new frontline.
"The Northern Command" as well decided not to replace the soldiers of "the Givati Brigade" and "the Paratroopers Brigade" deployed in the Shebaa Farms, where tension was increasing.
"Since the three soldiers were abducted, everything has been different. Now convoys must depend on armored vehicles, and all soldiers must be enlisted in combat units. Besides, every convoy must attain the approval of the supreme military authorities before moving."
Furthermore, the occupation military set an electronic fence separating the Shebaa Farms from the Zionist settlements.
Also on October 7, 2000, "Israeli" work teams raised the level of the route near the wired fence of "Meskaf Aam Settlement". The route, which separated the settlement from the Lebanese Odeisseh Town, now obstructed vision, and the vehicles moving in the settlement could no longer be seen.
In further measures, the occupation military constructed 70-cm-reinforced-concrete chambers to provide fortified sites for the soldiers. The Zionist enginery work teams also fenced "Keryat Shemona Settlement". The fence ran all the way from "al-Motelleh Settlement" through Mount Hermon (Jabal al-Saheikh).
On October 9, 2000, the occupation military evacuated al-Ballaneh Site, north of al-Hammereh Site. The vehicles and troops were moved to al-Hammereh Site instead. Military sources said the security circumstances prevailing regionally aroused "Israel's" fears Hizbullah might perform another operation to abduct more soldiers.
On October 15, 2000, the Zionist entity began to establish a 10-km security fence round "Keryat Shemona Settlement", in addition to a military route for vehicles.
"This is the first time a settlement is fenced with a military fence," "Maarif" reported. Only little settlements directly by the borders with Lebanon would earlier be fenced." "Maarif" also pointed out officers of "the Northern Command" requested that the occupation military set this fence after the "Israeli" forces withdrew from Lebanon.
Another security fence was set round "al-Motelleh Settlement", too. On the side of the borders with Lebanon, a net of circular routes encompassed the settlement. The enemy reconstructed three parallel routes, setting a rampart of wired fence behind each route. Every 20 meters, a system of lighting and alarm was set. A 15-km-long net of watch towers was constructed, too. A maximum of 50 m separated each one from the other. Several watch video cameras were set on the heights overlooking the settlement.
Moreover, the occupation installed a series of new radars at large sites established on the long "ar-Rayak Hill". The sites were equipped with wire-tapping devices, Merkava tanks, a rocket and direct artillery launcher, and a helicopter runway.
In further news on this issue, "Maarif" quoted a high-ranking military source, "Because of the prevailing situation, "the Northern Command" has decided to move the "Egoz" soldiers to the northern borders. We believe Hizbullah is going to maintain combat there, and the "Egoz" soldiers are the most qualified for this mission."
(Notably, "Egoz" had harshly been hit by the Islamic Resistance.)
The newspaper also reported Hizbullah deployed sets of the "Sagger" anti-tank missiles round the Shebaa Farms, only tens of meters away from the "Israeli" sites. "Maarif" then pointed out the "Israeli" surveillance sites monitored on October 17, 2000 noticeable action in Hizbullah's sites; fighters were setting rocket launchers near al-Ghagar Village and "Tulip Site" (near "Kibbutz Dan" ("The Dan Region")).
"Maarif" added, "Until a recent time, Hizbullah had only been boosting patrols and watching. But now the "residents" of "al-Motelleh Settlement" can see Hizbullah men with their Kalashnikovs moving only tens of meters from the settlement."
The enemy's radio declared the occupation command formed a second investigation committee, which was headed by the retired officer Yossi Beilin. The command demanded that the committee reinvestigate into the abduction operation and the reasons that made it a success, especially when strict military measures were applied in air and on ground.
The occupation forces were still doing their aftermath when the Islamic Resistance struck again. After the Resistance fighters captured three Zionist soldiers in the Lebanese Shebaa Farms, it was time to conduct another unique operation as part of Hizbullah's open intelligence war against the Zionist entity.
Hizbullah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared on October 15, 2000 that the Islamic Resistance captured a Zionist colonel. His Eminence made his statement during the opening session of the urgent assembly of "the Arab National Conference" and "the Islamic National Conference" in "the Carlton Hotel" in Beirut.
The astonished attendees applauded in the conference hall as they heard His Eminence's declaration on the Islamic Resistance's unique accomplishment. Sayyed Nasrallah declared, "In a complicated security operation, the Islamic Resistance has successfully captured an "Israeli" colonel. We shall provide the details later." Asked to offer the operation details, His Eminence replied, "Let's give the "Israelis" some confusion time!"
Very soon the enemy government denied that the capture had occurred. Then they declared a security team was sent to the occupied region in southern Lebanon to investigate into the issue.
Later, they made a statement, "Hizbullah might have abducted a former militiaman." Only hours after Hizbullah declared news on the capture did (former) "Israeli" Prime Minister Ehud Barak declare, "It is possible that one of the tens of thousands of "Israelis" in the world might have been abducted somewhere. And it's possible he might be a deputy colonel."
"Apparently," Barak added, "He was seduced into some place in Europe, where he was abducted in a mafia-like style." Barak also claimed, "It is absolutely untrue that the abduction took place on the borders. And it's absolutely not about a security officer currently in service."
Likewise, the "Israeli" War Ministry tried to show the incident as insignificant, declaring in a statement, "Apparently, it's about an "Israeli" civilian who disappeared from sight in Europe last week. He had personal motives to do so, and he did it very willingly... It's about an employee on an official mission."
For his part, (former) "Israeli" acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Bin Ami confirmed, ""Israel" does not assert Hizbullah now detains another "Israeli"... But generally Hizbullah leader does not lie."
Before long, the "Israeli" War Ministry acknowledged that the capture occurred, declaring in a statement, "The missing man belongs to the deputy troops of the "Israeli" military. He has been abducted in a terrorist operation performed abroad... He had traveled abroad willingly, and he did it for personal motives." The ministry as well said the operation was "so alarming that it breached all international conventions."
(Former) Deputy War Minister Efraim Sneh accused Syria of the capture, "We believe Syria is responsible for the actions conducted in Lebanon, where Syria reigns."
In a press conference, (former) Chief of "the "Israeli" General Staff" Shaul Mofaz declared, "No military incident has taken place on the borders; perhaps this has happened somewhere else... Neither can I refute the news, nor can I confirm it now. First we need to investigate fully into the incident."
The enemy radio declared the officer captured was Elhanan Tannenbaum (aged 54), a deputy colonel serving the air forces and working for a consultation firm corresponding to "Tadiran" and "Rafael"- two of the major "Israeli" armament and electronic devices firms. He was abducted in the Swiss City of Lausanne around ten days ago."
The "Israeli" "Channel 2" reported, "Apparently Tannenbaum was abducted 12 days ago by anonymous Arabs, whom he had contacted earlier to settle a financial conflict." The channel pointed out the Arabs handed Tannenbaum over to Hizbullah after Hizbullah had captured three "Israeli" soldiers by the Lebanese borders.
As ordered by the "Israeli" Internal Security System ("Shin Bet"), the Zionist Court of occupied al-Quds (Jerusalem) demanded that no information on the Zionist colonel's action abroad and abduction be published. "In case such information is published, other people's lives might be endangered," said the court.
In fact, the Zionist colonel's capture further overwhelmed the occupation commanders, particularly the military and security ones. Sources said the operation did assert the Resistance fighters were able to strike the "Israeli" enemy anywhere appropriate; also that Hizbullah was able to infiltrate the Zionist security.
The sources added that "Israel" did not launch any campaign similar to the one launched after the three soldiers' capture. Tannenbaum's capture was so overwhelming that the occupation commanders now considered the situation quite seriously. The Zionist commanders avoided making any threats; they realized they could not pressure Lebanon and the Resistance into releasing the three soldiers.
Furthermore, the operation revealed the Zionist officials were mishandling the situation, particularly when the Zionist security systems were late to determine or declare the identity of the officer captured or the zone where he was captured.
The Lebanese "as-Safir Newspaper" reported the colonel worked for the "Israeli" "Mossad"- one of the most powerful foreign intelligence systems in the world. Tannenbaum had been on certain missions against the Resistance's movement in Lebanon and their foreign affairs.
Tannenbaum was entrapped by the Islamic Resistance that similarly entrapped an "Israeli" marine commando unit in the southern Ansariyeh Town some years before. Then, the Resistance exterminated the entire commando force before they accomplished their mission, added the newspaper.
The "Israeli" military sources acknowledged the operation and the officer's identity, telling that the operation was performed in an "underdeveloped" state. Earlier, it had been said that Tannenbaum was captured in the European State, Switzerland, where Deputy Colonel Tannenbaum headed after leaving occupied Palestine.
"Israeli" sources said Hizbullah might have made great camouflage to perform the operation, pointing out, "He might have surrendered to certain Arab teams because of financial troubles, or those Arab teams might have handed him over to Hizbullah."
Notably, news on Tannenbaum's capture paralyzed the public activity in the Zionist settlements in the north of occupied Palestine. The settlements' local councils checked on the officers living round. Farmers stopped their work as they feared they might be captured. Likewise, the occupation forces deployed strict guard teams, in addition to watch patrols along the border fence.
Holding a press conference on October 16, 2000, Hizbullah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah refuted some of the speculations made by different parties on the operation performance. His Eminence revealed the operation was conducted on the Lebanese territories, adding, "Some time earlier, certain foreign intelligence groups made a mediator contact a Hizbullah officer in tight correspondence with a Hizbullah politician. This was not the first time we learned that an intelligence group, covered up by a foreign group contacting Lebanese to recruit them in intelligence affairs, was "Israeli".
Consequently, our brother, the Hizbullah officer, reported the incident to the security system of the Islamic Resistance. Thereupon, the system commenced devising the right plan that would uncover the identity of the intelligence group and entrap it. Having made efforts for some time, the Resistance's security system was now getting closer to the truth. Eventually, they believed the group was "Israeli" in regard to the questions and information the group required.
So as to "tighten" the "correlation" of our brother, the Hizbullah officer and the mediator with that group, we provided them with critical information that couldn't harm the Resistance anyway. Thereupon, the intelligence group sought to meet the Hizbullah officer face to face abroad- in a European country not so far. But the Hizbullah officer refused so and threatened to end the "correlation" with the mediator if he wouldn't directly meet the foreign group.
Yet, the Hizbullah officer provided the foreign group with more critical information. A series of attempts eventually convinced the deputy of the foreign group to come to Lebanon as long as he claimed he was not "Israeli" and coming to Lebanon didn't trouble him. It was arranged for him to meet the Hizbullah brother face to face.
Indeed, the deputy arrived from Brussels in Lebanon. Though his foreign passport seemed legal, he later acknowledged it was forged. A series of procedures eventually confirmed our reckoning: He was a colonel of the "Israeli" military working for "the "Israeli" Intelligence System" ("the Mossad"). Thus, he was captured and detained in Lebanon. His name is Elhanan Tannenbaum, and he served earlier as the brigadier general of "al-Maydan Artillery Brigade". He took part in invading Lebanon in 1982 and shelling Beirut and Beirut Southern Suburb. And he lives with his family in Tel Aviv, not in Europe."
Sayyed Nasrallah now said, "It is not a matter of "abduction", and it didn't happen "just anywhere" in the world. This colonel of the "Israeli" military had been long working for "the Mossad" and making efforts to infiltrate high-ranking Hizbullah commands. So our security system kept an eye on him and devised a careful plan, eventually entrapping him. We made him willingly come to Lebanon. Now that we were certain an "Israeli"-military officer was right on our Lebanese territories, it was our legitimate and legal right to hold him captive."
His Eminence further declared, "Our purpose beyond capturing this "Israeli" officer was to make "Israel" release the detainees in the "Israeli" prisons. Now we had three soldiers and an officer to make a swap deal. What exactly do we want? Well, that's something we're discussing through negotiation mediators, not through media."
His Eminence pointed out, "The actual negotiation mediators are the United Nations secretary general and Russia. Other mediators are just beginning to communicate with us, too.
By the way, I'd like to make use of the event to address the three soldiers' mothers:
Your government hasn't so far been working seriously to reclaim your sons or even learn in what condition they are. Your government is still fooling around and betting on international and political pressures on Hizbullah, thinking this will eventually make Hizbullah offer information about the soldiers' destiny for free. So I tell you- the soldiers' mothers, as well as the soldiers' families and the enemy government, you're losing this bet and wasting your time!
We don't mind waiting for years and years, but we're not ready to offer any information on the soldiers' destiny for free. We demand that the swap deal include prisoners alive, not only martyrs' bodies; martyrs' bodies are absolutely going to be part of any swap deal.
So in return for the information, we want prisoners- whatever their number is. The enemy government is still wasting time and making losing bets. I, very clearly, repeat what I told the mediators publicly contacting us since the very beginning:
Hizbullah is not offering any information for free to any parties- no matter whom they represent and no matter whether they are friendly, loving, or dear. In return for information on the soldiers' destiny, we want prisoners alive."
(Former) Zionist Telecoms Minister Benjamin Bin Eleazar told the "Israeli" "Channel 2" Colonel Tannenbaum might have been abducted in Lebanon. Eleazar denied Tannenbaum corresponded to the intelligence systems, however, adding, "It is usual for businessmen with two nationalities to travel to some Arab state using a foreign passport."
Eleazar then said the details reported by Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah were "absolutely imaginary". In contrast, (former) Advisor of the "Israeli" Prime Minister, Colonel Audi Levi called for "accurately reflecting upon (Sayyed) Nasrallah's statement because he doesn't lie. He's truly honest."
For his part, the spokesman for Barak declared the latter informed the UN secretary general that ""Abducting" citizens on the territories of a sovereign state is unacceptable." The spokesman added that Barak requested that "the UN strictly act in order to bring Colonel Tannenbaum back to his "country" and family and deprecate the presidents of the UN member states supporting "terrorist organizations"."
Confirming the information Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Nasrallah had declared, the electronic "Daily Telegraph" wrote, "A man called Elhanan Tannenbaum was one of 5 "Israeli" agents arrested in the Swiss City of Lausanne in 1998. The men were arrested for trying to spy on a person thought to have belonged to Hizbullah.
The group had earlier placed a wiretapping device in the phone of a Swiss citizen of Lebanese origins. As the enemy government made the US administration pressure the Swiss government, four of them were released, and the fifth was sentenced to prison, but the verdict was ceased."