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December 27, 1991 - Image 124

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-12-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

NEWS

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Israeli Defense And IDF
Disagree On Arrest Raid

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11.

100 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 27, 1991

-4\

968-NOSH

Local & Nationwide Delivery

Tel Aviv (JTA) — An
Israeli raid into southern
Lebanon, in which comman-
dos kidnapped three
Lebanese security suspects
last week, has been
criticized in defense estab-
lishment circles here for its
faulty execution and poor
timing.
But the Israel Defense
Force, rejecting such conclu-
sions, hailed the operation
as a deterrent to future
guerrilla attacks on the IDF
and its allies in the region.
Nevertheless, the three
suspects, who were seized by
an IDF elite unit in southern
Lebanon and transported to
Israel for questioning, were
returned unharmed to Leb-
anon through the Interna-
tional Red Cross.
The Israeli interrogation
apparently failed to link the
three to Hezbollah or any
other radical group harass-
ing the IDF and its allied
South Lebanon Army.
Two of the prisoners were
identified as working jour-
nalists and the third is a
butcher.
The Israeli raid was de-
nounced by Lebanese au-
thorities as an aggressive
act and a massive intel-
ligence failure that led to
snatching the "wrong men"
from Lebanon.
But an official statement
issued by the IDF said, "The
chief of staff rejects outright
the claim that there might
have been an intelligence
error in the context of the
IDF's activity in Lebanon
last week."
The statement said the
commando raid was one of
varied tactics employed by
the IDF "to thwart and
disrupt terrorist activity
from Lebanon and makes
clear to the terrorists that
the IDF operates in the
areas outside the security
zone where they organize."
But defense establishment
officials, expressing fear of
an intelligence foul-up,
questioned the wisdom of
kidnapping Lebanese from
their own soil at a time when
Israel is engaged in bilateral
peace negotiations with
Lebanon.
According to media
reports, a crack commando
unit was helicoptered to the
northern edge of the security
zone.
The unit proceeded on foot
to Jibchit village, 7.5 miles
north of the zone, where it
set up a roadblock to
intercept passersby heading

toward Nabatiya, where
Hezbollah is known to have
a headquarters.
The road was said to be
frequented by Hezbollah of-
ficials.
The commandos reportedly
stopped about 12 men at the
roadblock, releasing all but
three after brief questioning.
The three were questioned
intensively in Israel but ap-
parently could not be con-
nected to guerrilla activity.
According to reports from
Lebanon, two of the men
worked for a cable television
station in Nabatiya and one
of them, Shawki Fahs, was
also a part-time reporter for
the Reuters news agency.
The third man was a local
Jibchit butcher, Kamal
Abed Nahal. He collapsed on
returning home to learn that
his two young sons had been
killed, along with a third
boy, when one of them pick-
ed up a booby-trapped
flashlight they found in
Nahal's car after he was
kidnapped.
Lebanese security officials
charged the device had been
planted by the Israelis. The
IDF denied any connection,
saying it was not its practice
to leave booby-traps in the
reach of children.
The Israeli daily Ha'aretz,
quoting a senior military of-
ficial, said the debriefing of
the commando unit confirm-
ed that the IDF special
forces operated according to
the high standards govern-
ing such activities and no
mishap resulted from their
operation.
The newspaper also quoted
military sources as saying
unofficially that there must
have been an intelligence
failure because the people
detained were of no impor-
tance to security.
Another daily newspaper,
Yediot Achronot, noted that
the IDF has a problem in-
filtrating Hezbollah
strongholds because the pro-
Iranian Shi'ite fundamenta-
list organization, whose
name means "Party of God,"
is composed largely of re-
ligious zealots.
An IDF spokesman de-
scribed the commando
operation as routine within
the context of preventing
terrorist acts against the
IDF in southern Lebanon.
Military correspondents
were told at a briefing that
the raid made clear to ter-
rorists that they do not enjoy
immunity and that the IDF
is capable of reaching

anywhere and seizing any-
one.
Ha'aretz military analyst
Ze'ev Schiff said the opera-
tion signaled an impasse in
negotiations to exchange
Sheik Obeid for airman
Arad and predicted that the
sheik would be joined in con-
finement by other leading
Shi'ite fundamentalists.
Mr. Schiff said Israel was
also sending a message to
Western countries that
pressured it to free Arab
prisoners to facilitate the
release of their own
hostages.
Once all of the Western
hostages were free, those
countries promptly forgot
the Israeli prisoners left
behind, Mr. Schiff wrote.
Finally, Mr. Schiff said,
the commando raid demon-
strated to the various radical
groups in southern Lebanon
that it was no problem for
the IDF to capture senior
figures of Hezbollah or the
Iranian Revolutionary
Guard.
Yediot Achronot agreed
that the operation taught a
lesson. "The Hezbollah,
operating under the auspices
of the Lebanese army,
believed the IDF would not
dare confront the Lebanese
army. In that, they were
proven mistaken," the
newspaper said.

Holland Rejects
Asylum Bid

Tel Aviv (JTA) — Pro-
testing loudly, 43 Soviet
emigres who sought asylum
in Holland after im-
migrating to Israel were
returned to Ben-Gurion Air-
port in the custody of 20
Dutch policemen.
All had left Israel during
the past year complaining
that they could not adjust to
life here.
But the Netherlands
government rejected their
appeal for refugee status on
grounds they did not "fulfill
the criteria for asylum,"
which is persecution in their
country of origin.
"Maybe the situation in
Israel is bad, but they are
not suffering any persecu-
tion," said Netherlands
Justice Ministry spokesman
Gert Ribhagen.
Nearly 100 Soviet olim
departed for Holland this
year. Most of those who were
returned are families of
mixed marriages. Several
ohm admitted they were
non-Jews.

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