Military activity of the Israeli army (IDF) in the north of the country and in Gaza suggests that the Israeli generals are still haunted by the ghost of the Intifada and the Second Lebanon War. However, they have very serious grounds for concern.
It must be said that the growing power of the radical Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah in fact threatens not only the northern Israel, as it was several years ago, but its central part as well. Another question is how consistent and appropriate the actions of IDF are under these conditions.
The most recent significant incident took place on August 3 of 2010. Then, the Lebanese army opened fire at the Israeli military that tried to cut down a tree on the disputed territory. The act of aggression has been committed, without a doubt, by the Lebanese side. These irresponsible actions have no justification, and can hardly qualify as a valiant defense of the sovereignty, as Lebanese President General Michel Suleiman tried to portray the situation.
What is the role played in this incident by the Israeli army? It would be naive to think that the incident was triggered by the orders "from above," i.e. the highest military leadership or the government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu. Some Israeli officers get so involved in the planned activities designed to promote safety and teachings that they forget their real purpose. The commander of the Border District passing along the dividing line must have decided to make the border more "transparent" in the literal and figurative sense, and gave the order to cut down excess trees and shrubs. We are all aware of the results.
Multiple flights of Israeli aircraft in the skies over Lebanon are a completely different thing. Such maneuvers fully meet the containment policy pursued by the government of Netanyahu. One may strongly argue about the first steps to be taken. Should it be forcing Israel to abandon the flights over the territory of a neighboring sovereign state or disarm Hezbollah? It is worth remembering that it is the militants of the extremist group who attacked the army patrol and started the Second Lebanon War.
The IDF also constantly conducts local operations in the Gaza Strip. The classic example is the terrorist attack on January 10, 2011. The problem does not have a military solution because a homemade rocket can be launched even from a donkey. The IDF is spending millions of dollars on the flights of fighters and bombers, but it does not stop Palestinian missiles.
While the Arab-Israeli conflict involves such major players as U.S. and NATO on the one side and Iran and Syria on the other, the hope for peace remains elusive. While the UN leadership is holding meetings, and Iran's leadership is sending new curses against Israel, the IDF is engaged in routine work. A few days ago additional tanks and infantry formations were sent to the northern border.
Analysts argue that the reason for such relocation is the collapse of the government coalition in Lebanon. On January 13, 2011, many news agencies, citing Israel Radio, reprinted the information that due to the release of the representatives of Hezbollah from the Lebanese cabinet, some parts of the Israeli Defense Forces in the north of the country have been transferred to the state of high alert.
The situation in Lebanon is certainly complicated, and the political crisis has not erupted today, it has been ongoing for over five years. However, for the generals it is only a good reason to hold regular exercises on the Lebanese border. Back on January 12 some Israeli and Western media reported that an Israeli military patrol had crossed the Lebanese border, invaded a village of Remeysh and kidnapped a Lebanese citizen whose name remains unknown. However, there is no confirmation of this information.
IDF's actions pose no threat to the neighboring states and are not directed at inciting a war. Nevertheless, it would be intelligent to avoid hasty steps not to provoke a new escalation of the conflict.