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2006-07-14-Iran-puppet master

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Muriel Goldhammer


Iran, seeking to divert U.N. nuclear vote,
is puppet master of Hezbollah and Hamas
, July 14, 2006

By Muriel Goldhammer

KFAR SABA, Israel When you watch CNN or read your favorite news-site on the Internet I ask you to look at the total picture of the Middle East and not only what is happening in this tiny strip of land bordering the Eastern Mediterranean which constitutes Lebanon, Israel and Gaza.  There is a lot going on that you will not see.

Several years ago, when Ehud Barak was prime minister, Israel withdrew all its troops from
South Lebanon to the international border recognized by the United Nations, hoping to
establish security on its border and stability for Lebanon.  Hezbollah militias quickly entered
the area, claimed victory, and began a harassment campaign of Northern Israel and the Lebanese
government could not or would not send its regular army to the border.

Last summer, Israel evacuated the Jewish settlements in the Gaza strip, and withdrew its
troops, hoping for economic development of the strip and peace with the Palestinians.  Hamas
claimed victory and began lobbing Katusha rockets at Israeli development town of Sderot near the Gaza border, and more recently at Ashkelon, a southern Israeli city with a history that goes back to Biblical days.

In both situations the international community sympathized with Israel but said "Don't overreact."

A week and a half ago, Hamas irregulars tunneled under the border fence from Gaza into Israel,
attacked Israeli patrols, killed several soldiers and kidnapped one, now being held for the release
of prisoners in Israeli jails.

Two days ago Hezbollah militants broke through the fence between Israel and Lebanon, attacked
and killed Israeli patrols and kidnapped two soldiers, again demanding release of prisoners.  Yesterday over eighty rockets werefired into towns and villages in Northern Israel reaching as far as Haifa, Israel's third largest city and resulting in death and injury

These are acts of war.  Israel has responded accordingly.  The international community
sympathizes with Israel but admonishes, "Don't overreact."

Who's responsible?  And why now?

Attempts at mediation in the Gaza kidnapping by various international groups led particularly by
Egypt have failed because Khalid Meshal, head of Hamas in Syria, has overridden the government of Hamas in the Palestinian Authority.  In South Lebanon, the rockets and missiles and the training in their use have been supplied to Hezbollah by Iran via Syria.  It is common
knowledge in the international community that Iran finances both Hamas and Hezbollah.

During the past two years, the European Union, recently joined by the United States, has been
trying to negotiate with Iran offering many economic benefits to encourage it to discontinue
its nuclear enrichment program.  Iran has stonewalled all attempts.  The issue is now headed for the UN Security Council.

What better time to stir up trouble for Israel through Iran's proxies in Syria and Lebanon and
Gaza.   Any Israel reactions will be considered overreaction on the Arab street.  The Arab
countries Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt who are all concerned about a potential Iranian bomb,
will need to direct their attention to anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations, effectively sidetracking debate about Iran's nuclear research.

My granddaughter is to be married on August 30.  My youngest grandson enters the army on
August 15.  .  We live in Israel always on the cusp of joy and anxiety, and too often real worry.
Yesterday, the chairperson of our house committee gave me a key to our house bomb shelter I hadn't had one in my ten years here.  My Hadassah chapter is now collecting crayons, and beads, andplay-dough to provide children in the North for something to do while they live in bomb shelters.

Israel is responding to the acts of war by Hamas and Hezbollah in the only way it can and it will
not be pretty on your evening news, because the militias hide out in civilian populations.  This
is our real war and we will probably overreact.  But it is also a proxy war where the
important battlefield is the United Nations.