4 Aug 2010

Middle East on the Brink of Another War

What was first billed as a mere border skirmish took on a darker cast late Tuesday when Israel revealed that its sole fatality along the Lebanon blue line was its most senior officer on the scene. "It was a planned ambush by a sniper unit," Major General Gadi Eisenkot, chief of Israel's northern command, told reporters at an afternoon briefing. "This was a provocation by the Lebanese army."

lebanese soldier
Civil defense workers and Lebanese soldiers (below) carry an injured soldier in the village of Adaisseh on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

For a regional military superpower, Israel has demonstrated a considerable talent for casting itself as the victim. When its navy commandos killed nine activists on a boat looking to break the sea blockade on Gaza two months back, Israelis blamed the dead civilians for setting upon the underprepared boarders with cudgels, kitchen knives and broken handrails. But the death by gunshot of Lieutenant Colonel Dov Harari appears to support the Israeli version of events that brought on the most serious clash on the Lebanon border since a 34-day war erupted four years ago out of a more serious skirmish initiated by Hizballah, the guerrilla army some suspect was behind Tuesday's episode.

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