Breaking: IDF reaches Litani; ceasefire set for 7 a.m. Monday (Update: Withdrawal in “a week or two”)

posted at 1:36 pm on August 12, 2006 by Allahpundit

IDF officials said yesterday, before the ceasefire, that it would take them a week to get to the river. Less than 24 hours later, with time now of the essence, some units are already there. According to their top commander in the field, they could have been there 10 days ago.

It sounded before like they were going to take Hezbollah out in the course of pushing north. Now it sounds like they’re going to bypass them, grab as much land as they can, and then engage the pockets of jihadis they missed on the way. Encircling, in other words. Follow that link for a broad strategic picture from Debka, which, as usual, may or may not be talking out of its ass. They’re certainly right, though, that the clock is ticking.

More updates coming.

Update: Andy McCarthy has it exactly right:

Hezbollah wins this big just by being legitmized. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, not a country. The resolution we are signing on to, however, addresses it as if it were a country. The resolution doesn’t purport to direct any UN member nation to make Hezbollah cease firing — least of all Lebanon, the purported sovereign of this territory. Instead, it appeals to Hezbollah directly — in the same paragraph in which it addresses Israel, as if there were no difference in status between the two — and “calls on” it to stand down.

Precisely. Hence the surreal spectacle this morning of a terrorist leader formally accepting the terms of a UN resolution.

What you’re seeing here is the elevation of a genocidal, irredentist jihadi organization to the status of nationhood, and not for the first time, either. Want a seat at the international table? Fight the Jews.

Update: Bush equates Hezbollah with the UK terror plotters — then phones Lebanon’s gutless pig of a prime minister to discuss their “common efforts” to end the hostilities. I wonder, did the phone call come before or after this?

With a government vote on the UN cease-fire resolution hours away, Lebanon’s prime minister Saturday said the plan to end fighting between Israel and Hizbullah served his country’s interests…

Praising Hizbullah guerrillas, the prime minister said, “The steadfastness of the resistance fighters in the field was very important, as was the steadfastness and unity of the people,” he said.

Update: The op-eds are already going up on Israeli news websites, and they do not make for enjoyable reading. Elan Journo puts Andy McCarthy’s point into historical perspective; Avi Shavit, via Dean Barnett, says Olmert must go; and Ronny Sofer calls Olmert “sharp,” but not smart: “the smart man wouldn’t have gotten into situations that the sharp man knows how to get out of.”

Update: In case there was any doubt, which there wasn’t, the French have made clear that UN peacekeepers won’t be doing any peacekeeping.

Update: Barnett and Moran are neck and neck in a race to the bottom of the depths of despair. Goldstein was in contention early on, but his last update holds out hope that Nasrallah will foolishly ignore the ceasefire, thereby giving the IDF the opportunity to wipe out the remaining jihadis in the field. I do think the fighting will continue for a few days after the ceasefire deadline, but both sides will simply point to the resolution and blame the other: Nasrallah will claim that Israel is continuing offensive operations, which justifies continued hostilities, and Israel will claim that Hezbollah is continuing hostilities, which justifies continued operations. Kofi Annan will express grave concern in due course, and by the end of next week the supreme soviet will have persuaded Olmert to be the bigger man and start withdrawing. Israel can be reasoned with, you see; terrorists can’t, Which is why pressure is brought to bear on the former and not the latter. Barbarism has its advantages.

Update: Today’s must-read is Julie Burchill on British media:

All across the board, Lebanese civilians are referred to as “civilians” where Israeli civilians are referred to as “Israelis” – an eerie and sinister difference pointed out by the non-Jewish stand-up comic genius Natalie Haynes, and one which very few people appear to have noticed – even me, until then…

When Mel Gibson was picked up for drunk-driving recently, he was reported to have screamed at the police officer, whom he believed to be Jewish, “Fucking Jews! The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” His subsequent excuse was that he has “battled the disease of alcoholism for all my adult life.” The British media are notorious for our love of the hard stuff; is that going to be our excuse too, I wonder, when large numbers of us are finally bang to rights for peddling the same loathsome lie?

Update: An IDF chopper has been shot down — apparently by a new type of missile.

Update: The ceasefire starts Monday but the withdrawal itself might take a while.

Like I said last night, besides Nasrallah, the only guy whose prestige is higher now than before this began is Kofi:

A series of discussions was held in Jerusalem over the weekend, in which the possible scenarios for a ceasefire were discussed. The ceasefire will come into force by Monday morning. The instruction on the exact time for the start of the ceasefire will be apparently given to both sides simultaneously by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Update: Yeah, I had a feeling Caroline Glick wouldn’t be thrilled with the outcome here.

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It’s good to see the Israelis taking advantage of what little time they have until the cease-fire to decimate Hizbollah. I hope they get a lot done!

gmoonster on August 12, 2006 at 1:52 PM

Don’t I remember something about a general getting replaced? Sounds like they just fired Montgomery and gave Patton the job. About damned time.

bdfaith on August 12, 2006 at 2:59 PM

In hindsight, it seems as though Israel and its soldiers were let down, severely I might add, by politicians and/or generals who were too weak-willed to commit to what needed to be done weeks ago. Our experiences should have shown that you cannot take out troops on the ground with air power alone.

Bellicose Muse on August 12, 2006 at 3:08 PM

I really don’t know what to think about the “cease fire.” Reading the ‘pundits’ provides contrasting projections using the same fact set.

Either Olmert is a craven fool who has sentenced his people to more bloodshed the moment Hezbollah can re-arm, or he has trapped Hezbollah and it’s master, Iran, in a realpolitik form of amber.

I can imagine scenarios that devolve from the “cease fire” and Israel’s acceptance of it that result as either a masterstroke or an utter disaster for Isreal.

It’s quite possible that Israel is simply pausing momentarily, regrouping, knowing that it won’t be long before Hezbollah violates the terms of the cease fire allowing Israel to continue. The first time they catch Hezbollah with any weapons; or the first time Hezbollah launches one of their remaining rockets; or the moment that Hezbollah tells the UNIFIL or Lebanese army to go stuff it could be the excuse Israel needs to continue the war.

It would also “raise the bar” for a subsequent attempt for a “cease fire,” resulting in better terms for Israel.

Or, it’s possible that Israel has reason to believe that it can crush the remains of Hezbollah in another 48 hours.

Or, maybe the situation with Hezbollah will take care of itself after Israel strikes Iran’s nuclear capacity (a likely scenario, IMHO). I would assume that any direct conflict with Iran would result in Hezbollah breaking the cease fire, giving Israel the excuse to complete what it started.

Or, it’s equally possible that the Olmert government is too incompetent or cowardly to tell the world to “stuff it,” and this action could lead to Israel’s destruction as a country.

It appears, despite our MSM being Hezbollah’s cheerleaders, that they are on the ropes right now. And there will be a period of time for Israel to search out and destroy weapons that are illegal for Hezbollah to possess as it will take time for UNIFIL to deploy and for Israel to protectively withdraw.

In any event, I am convinced that Israel does not want to sit in Lebonon indefinitely and “administer” it — and repeat their experiences there. Staying in Lebanon is a guarantee of “Intifada Part III,” and I’m pretty sure that the Israeli “man in the street” wants nothing to do with that!

Time will tell whether Olmert is a genius or a fool. For the Israelis, I hope it is the former.

georgej on August 12, 2006 at 4:07 PM

What you’re seeing here is the elevation of a genocidal, irredentist jihadi organization to the status of nationhood

Good god Allahpundit! That is way over the top, and I’m sorry, but I just have to call you on it. Point me to the evidence that shows them to be “genocidal”. I can find such accusations nowhere outside of Israeli invective.

If you mean muslim when you say “jihadi”, then you take liberties that I wouldn’t.

You use irrendentist like it was a four letter word. Could you tell me why that is, or did I just misunderstand?

I will agree with the main premise of the sentence however, that Hezbollah has been elevated to a status of equals at the negociating table. It’s why I’ve been saying, here and elsewhere, that Israel has lost this war.

THeDRiFTeR on August 12, 2006 at 5:12 PM

Someone might want to tell the IDF commanders that the fighting stops at 0700 on Monday. I was listening to NPR (insert joke here) a short time ago and a reporter from the Beeb said that the generals stated that their offensive would continue for another week or so, until an international force was in place. The reporter did also mention that the Israeli government intended the cease fire to begin on Monday morning.

Bellicose Muse on August 12, 2006 at 5:38 PM

Point me to the evidence that shows them to be “genocidal”. I can find such accusations nowhere outside of Israeli invective.

How hard did you look, TD? Or did you bother to look?


Never before or since in world history has a tyrannical regime sought to murder all of the members of a particular racial, religious, ethnic or cultural group, regardless of where they live–not until now. Hezbollah’s aim is not to “end the occupation of Palestine,” or even to “liberate all of Palestine.” Its goal is to kill the world’s Jews. Listen to the words of its leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah: “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” (NY Times, May 23, 2004, p. 15, section 2, column 1.)

Hezbollah’s also a proxy of Iran, of course, whose president has vowed to wipe Israel off the map. “Ah!” but you say, “Israel isn’t a race!” True enough — although if his plan ever comes to fruition, it’ll be interesting to see if he spares Israeli Arabs from the sword. I have a crazy hunch that he will — just like how Nasrallah apologized last week for one of his rockets having killed two Arab boys in Israel. Suggests a certain racial component to their thinking, no?

I don’t mean Muslim when I say “jihadi,” and frankly I’m puzzled that you suggest that I do. If I’d meant “Muslim,” I’d have said “Muslim.” I deliberately chose the word “jihadi” because it describes a subset of Muslims, not the entire group. Riddle me this: if you’re capable of making such fine distinctions between Israel and Jews as a whole, why aren’t you able to distinguish between my use of “jihadi” and “Muslim”?

And finally, as for “irredentist,” it’s true: there’s nothing pejorative per se about the word. It all has to do with means and motives. I’ve just given you evidence of genocidal intent; and the past few weeks have made the methods clear enough. Irredentism tends to go hand in hand with fascist movements, including/especially in the 1930s, so I do think it’s worth noting when strains of it appear in the enemy.

Although perhaps “revanchist” would have been better.

You know, I genuinely don’t mind criticism of Israel, which you seem to relish. But I must tell you — it goes down a lot smoother when it doesn’t come packaged with apologies for Hezbollah.

Allahpundit on August 12, 2006 at 5:48 PM

We will never know how many Hez were killed because the media won’t make the effort to find out.

tomas on August 12, 2006 at 6:04 PM

I’ve just given you evidence of genocidal intent

You’ve just given me a link to an opinion penned by Alan Dershowitz, hardly evidence. But anyhow.

As far as critcism for Israel, well, I never attempt to defend the indefensible, and their air campaign in Lebanon was just that, in my opinion.

I try to be careful before labelling anyone a terrorist. That word seems to have lost all of its meaning in the past few years. Its become synomimous with the words “our enemies”, and that just seems unwise to me.

In passing, I love these discussions, and look forward to reading your stuff everyday. Makes for good debate with the wife, who also reads your posts.

THeDRiFTeR on August 12, 2006 at 6:26 PM

You’ve just given me a link to an opinion penned by Alan Dershowitz, hardly evidence. But anyhow.

He gave you a citation for the quote, down to which column it appeared in.

Allahpundit on August 12, 2006 at 6:28 PM

Today’s “must-read” was fantastic. Already shared with those who’d enjoy or need.

Here my favorites:

and Yvonne Ridley (kidnapped by Islamists, then became one) getting their chadors in a twist about big swarthy men with tea-towels on their heads

I always thought those ‘tea-towels’ were diapers.

All across the board, Lebanese civilians are referred to as “civilians” where Israeli civilians are referred to as “Israelis” – an eerie and sinister difference pointed out by the non-Jewish stand-up comic genius Natalie Haynes, and one which very few people appear to have noticed – even me, until then.

A surprising number of British people – especially the super-creepy British Jews who recently signed a treacherous letter to the press distancing themselves from Israel’s actions – seem to think Israel should exist not as a real, imperfect country full of real, imperfect people led by real, imperfect leaders, but as some sort of collective kosher Mater Dolorosa, there to provide a selfless, suffering example to the rest of us.

I wonder if we could use the term ‘creepy American Jews’ here in the U.S., even though I can think of a few qualifying specimens?

Just heard on the “Beltway Boys” that a new poll shows that Republicans at a rate of 2/1 support Israel. What happened to the other half of this country?

Entelechy on August 12, 2006 at 6:40 PM

Also from today’s “must-read”:

Personally, I’d far prefer the Jews to be angry, aggressive and alive than meek, mild and dead.

This is a stern message for all the ‘non-super-creepy Jews’ and their friends everywhere!

Nothing has depressed me more in the last few days, than the depression displayed by my Jewish friends and their friends, many also on this board.

This war will be long and will be fought on many fronts, and in many ways, Lebanon being a tiny part of it. Setbacks will also happen. It will also be fought on many fields, the media and the field of ideas being two very large ones.

We must all remain ‘angry, aggressive and alive’ and do our part, no matter our expertise, capability, or medium. Depressed people are mostly not alive enough to be effective at much. Our times are too serious and much is, or should be, asked of all of us.

Entelechy on August 12, 2006 at 7:17 PM

In 1983 Hezbollah murdered 241 American soldiers in cold blood in Beirut, and now 23 years later we are asking them pretty please to ‘stand down’!?

Pathetic dhimmitude. We should have wiped them out then when we had the chance. What the hell was Reagan thinking?

speed647 on August 12, 2006 at 9:05 PM

It wasn’t President Reagan’s doing but the DhimmicRAT congress-critters and state department.

Death to Islam, and
their mediot stooges!
Duty, Honor, Country
(in THAT order)

Rowane on August 13, 2006 at 12:08 AM

As far as critcism for Israel, well, I never attempt to defend the indefensible, and their air campaign in Lebanon was just that, in my opinion.

THeDRiFTeR on August 12, 2006 at 6:26 PM

And, of course, you’re welcome to your opinion, uninformed though it may be.

Left-wing pundits also said that the US air bombardment of Iraq in 1991 and again in 2003 were both indefensible. The latter of those precise to the point of virtually eliminating collateral casualties. Our forces bent over backwards to limit civilian casualties. Saddam had violated international law of war by positioning military assets in population centers, using civilians as shields. Had we chosen to use more conventional bombardment, the civilian casualties would have been much higher. We decided to go far beyond the requirements of international law and use precision weapons, at much greater expense, in hopes that we could spare the people, who had already been victims of Saddam’s special brand of horror, from any more than absolutely necessary.

Hizbullah has done precisely the same thing as Saddam, launching rockets at Israel from populated areas, and trapping civilians in those areas precisely to expand the civilian casualties. Israel has, wisely, moved as many of their civilians out of range as they could. Even worse, they are holed up in apartments, religious facilities, hospitals, and schools. Sometimes they dart out to fire their rockets, other times fire right from the civilian locations. How does Israel target the terrorists without also targeting the civilians which have been trapped there with and by the terrorists? Not possible.

So, should Israel, which has been at war with these terrorists longer than we have, go in first with ground troops and be criticized for “occupying” Lebanon again? That seems to be, short of just absorbing the constant rocket barrage, the only alternative to the aerial bombardment you deem indefensible. Or should they attempt to strike at Hizbullah with the best information they can get, recognizing that sometimes they will hit civilians (as opposed to hitting military targets hidden inside or under civilians), and attempt to minimize their own military losses by not going in on the ground until after sufficient disruption of Hizbullah forces? I would choose the latter, as did they.

This is not to say that Israel has been perfect in all this. Anything but. Unfortunately, Olmert is a lawyer, not a warrior. The generals had a very different plan that would have ended this with far fewer civilian and Israeli military casualties. The politicians did not allow the military to proceed until after first proving that lawyers don’t know squat about conducting military operations. With that proof now firmly documented, the military is going in and will try to make up for lost time.

It remains to be seen just how well this “cease fire” is likely to work. If Hizbullah will quit attacking Israel, I suspect it will hold. That’s a big “if” and not likely, especially after the comments today by Nasrallah. The cease fire allows Israel to remain in Lebanon until they are relieved by the Lebanese army and UN forces. Nasrallah has said that his forces (which he commands with great cowardice from Iran and Syria) will continue to attack Israel as long as they remain in Lebanon. The cease fire plan allows Israeli forces to defend themselves and attack any force which attacks them. Israel is using this last day or so before the cease fire takes effect to prepare to do just that, and is taking up positions they can defend successfully. With any luck at all, Hizbullah will give them plenty of opportunity to do that and be eliminated in the process.

Hizbullah started this latest mess by firing rockets from Lebanon into Israel. The Lebanese government and military, aided by the UN, did nothing to stop them from doing so, making them just as much at fault as Hizbullah.

You call Israel’s response “indefensible.” The world media seems to be on your side. I call it “inescapable.” I guess it will be interesting to see how many are on my side when this is all over.

on the Mark... on August 13, 2006 at 12:45 AM

To those who try to put a smiley face on Israel’s defeat by calling it an actual “brilliant” victory, I certainly hope you are right, but, i fear, you are not. A last minute dash to a river barrier yields tactical advantages but cannot, in my estimation, undo a month of inaction and fumbled opportunites which have catapulted, ironically, the Hezbollah into the Bibical role of David stopping the Israeli Goliath. This is what 95% of the world sees.

The only immediate hope is that Hezbollah doesn’t honor the ceasefire thus giving the Israelis the excuse for annihilating them. Other than that who will actually disarm the Hezbollah? The miserable Lebanese Army? The equally miserable UN “Peacekeeping” Force?


MaiDee on August 13, 2006 at 1:15 AM

So, should Israel, which has been at war with these terrorists longer than we have, go in first with ground troops and be criticized for “occupying” Lebanon again?

on the Mark… on August 13, 2006 at 12:45 AM

They should indeed have. Indiscriminate bombing and punishing civilian population are not only indefensible, they’re war crimes. Their was nothing “precise” about the air campaign.

I could point out that I do believe that Israel has the right to defend itself using whatever legal means at its disposal. If that mean invading Lebanon, from which a barrage of rockets have been launched, then so be it, and to hell with being “criticized”. But then I’d have to say also that Israel should be doing everything in its power to make peace with its neighbours, which of course would include the withdrawal from all occupied territories and a viable 2 state solution with Palestine. This land grab has just got to stop. Fair is fair, and if there’s one thing I like to believe, it’s that we are fair.

Trying to get me to buy into that biblical holy land shit shuts me down. That nonsense is as valid as the bin Laden bullshit. The other face of the same extremist coin.

Where are the days of James Baker III as Secretary of State, and Brent Snowcroft as Security Advisor? You may find this an interesting read, I certainly did.

THeDRiFTeR on August 13, 2006 at 3:27 AM

How do we negotiate with a bully, a knife wielding thug out to steal from us, dope gangsters committed to their trade using murder? The West has been taught in the past 30-50 years that they have more “rights” than we do. They must be coddled and whatever dodge their defense attorneys use to get them off is fine. Now think of people committed in their hearts and minds to the destruction of everything, literally everything we think is right. How do you negotiate with people that want what they want, right now, and that includes your death? Do we give it to them and watch their “laws” become our laws? Do we hide in our homes, stay away from our churches while our children are indoctrinated in the schools we pay for?

We need to “see” and “hear” what they are saying every minute of every hour of every day. The Ahmadinejads or Nasrallahs are not the least little bit interested in what is right. They are using our own humanity as their weapon to achieve their goals. We will either stand up or be forced to bend our necks for decapitation but only after we watch our babies and children suffer that fate.

I truly fear the fate of my great grandchildren who are yet to be born. I am afraid that the liberal/socialist thinking rampant throughout the world is creating a future where the scenario outlined above will come to pass.

sharinlite on August 13, 2006 at 2:46 PM

Indiscriminate bombing and punishing civilian population are not only indefensible, they’re war crimes. Their [sic] was nothing “precise” about the air campaign.

THeDRiFTeR on August 13, 2006 at 3:27 AM

Again, you’re entitled to your uninformed opinion.

Indiscriminate accurately describes firing rockets into non-military civilian residential areas. It does not accurately describe destroying Hizbullah military targets, even though those targets are located in, around, and under civilian residental areas.

You can’t possibly be arguing that Hizbullah was anything other than indiscriminate, so I have to assume you take exception to my description of the Israeli targets in Lebanon. For that issue, time will tell. We have now finally started seeing Hizbullah funerals, even though they categorically denied they had suffered any losses, that all the “victims” were innocent civilians.

You won’t see pictures from Israel that include dead children exhumed from their graves to be paraded around for the leftmedia’s cameras. You only see that behavior where the truth of the situation, i.e. that Hizbullah intentionally committed war crimes agains Lebanon by positioning military targets in the middle of the civilian population, doesn’t serve their agenda. And the fact that such staged events are deemed necessary lends confirmation to my original description of the Israeli bombing. If Israel had been indiscriminate, no staged shots would be needed.

Before you again accuse Israel of war crimes, perhaps you should first read the rules…

Yes, I know that’s a Canadian document. I figured you might be more swayed by the version from our generally more pacifist neighbors to the north. Be sure not to miss paragraphs 406 and 407.

on the Mark... on August 21, 2006 at 6:07 PM