Ynet reports that the Sunday Times reports today that on the first day of the war against Hizbullah, Dan Halutz called Olmert after the IAF successfully destroyed Hizbullah’s Zalzal rockets – these were the long range rockets that could reach Tel Aviv – and informed him that “We won the war.” The remainder of the article goes on to explain how Israel’s vaunted army found itself ill prepared for Hizbullah’s surprises. Read all of this with a grain of salt until verified by another source. Still, some of these details have already appeared in other publications
Even as Halutz was declaring victory, 12 Israeli soldiers from the Maglan reconnaissance unit were already running into an ambush just over the border inside Lebanon near the village of Maroun a-Ras.
â€œWe didn’t know what hit us,â€ said one of the soldiers, who asked to be named only as Gad. â€œIn seconds we had two dead.â€
With several others wounded and retreating under heavy fire the Maglans, one of the finest units in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), were astonished by the firepower and perseverance of Hezbollah.
â€œEvidently they had never heard that an Arab soldier is supposed to run away after a short engagement with the Israelis,â€ said Gad.
â€œWe expected a tent and three Kalashnikovs â€” that was the intelligence we were given. Instead, we found a hydraulic steel door leading to a well-equipped network of tunnels.â€
â€œThey monitored our secure radio communications in the most professional way,â€ one Israeli officer admitted. â€œWhen we lose a man, the fighting unit immediately gives the location and the number back to headquarters. What Hezbollah did was to monitor our radio and immediately send it to their Al-Manar TV, which broadcast it almost live, long before the official Israeli radio.â€
Hezbollah appears to have divided a three mile-wide strip along the Israeli-Lebanese border into numerous â€œkilling boxesâ€. Each box was protected in classic guerrilla fashion with booby-traps, land mines, and even CCTV cameras to watch every step of the advancing Israeli army.
â€œOur brass stupidly fell into the Hezbollah traps,â€ said Raphael, an infantry battalion reserve major. â€œThe generals wanted us to attack as many villages as possible for no obvious reason. This was exactly what Hezbollah wanted us to do â€” they wanted to bog us down in as many small battles as possible and bleed us this way.â€
â€œConquer Bint Jbail,â€ Halutz told Adam, the northern sector commander. Adam is said to have replied: â€œHold on, Halutz. Do you know what that means? Do you realise that the casbah [old quarter] of Bint Jbail alone contains more than 5,000 houses? And you want me to send in one battalion?â€
Adam nevertheless did as he was told and sent the 51st battalion of the Golani brigade to fight a heroic but hopeless, battle.
As the Israeli soldiers approached the town from the east they fell straight into yet another ambush. Hand grenades killed battalion commanders. Then a rescue operation was mounted, which took all night
Read all of it if you want to be truly disgusted. If these reports are true, the idea that these leaders and the IDF leadership have still not offered to resign is nothing short of outrageous. If they have some information they would like to share that might alleviate the justified concerns of most Israelis and their supporters, they should simply put it out there. That they haven’t suggests they have little or nothing to offer but also refuse to take the fall. The time now is not for cover-your-ass-and-save-your-political-career machinations. The time now is critical for learning what happened, rebuilding confidence through training, restocking supplies, preparing the country for another war, and bringing in some of the older IDF leadership who had been in retirement since at least 2000.
This team shattered too many sacred and important elements of faith to be allowed to lead the recovery. They are simply unqualified to lead a military campaign, as we have seen. This government has to go and some of the top officers in the IDF need to go. Hizbullah is reportedly already re-arming and re-grouping, the tunnels are mostly still there, the IDF’s communications policies have been breached and remain so, weapons systems are still no better than they were last week, nobody has come up with a strategy for defeating what Hizbullah put into place in Southern Lebanon, the UNIFIL force seems useless and the UN is now tacitly accepting that 1701 will be violated by the Arabs, but expects to prevent further war by applying the standards of 1701 to Israel. This is the final and worst outcome that Israel could have achieved in this war, with insult added to injury that they still have to negotiate to release the soldiers – an action that would have prevented this war.