Four years ago today, Israel waged war on Lebanon. It was not the kind of wars Israel had engaged in and triumphed in a just a couple of days.On the 12 July, 2006 Hezbollah conducted an extremely complicated operation to capture Israeli soldiers to trade them for Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails, and the remains of resistance fighters held in the so called cemetery of numbers for decades.
It was called “Operation Sincere Promise”.
Israel made an unprecedented response to Hezbollahâ€™s operation; it was also a costly response for the zionist entity at every level.
Operation sincere promised forced Israel to unveil a secret scheme it had prepared with the US administration of George W. Bush to deal decisive blow to Hezbollah on the last Friday of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in October of the same year. On that day Hezbollah used to mark Al-Quds day with a parade regularly attended by the Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and senior Hezbollah officials.
Fouad Sanioraâ€™s then unconstitutional government distanced itself from Hezbollahâ€™s operation and called it a â€œventure.â€ An emergency meeting of the Lebanese government reaffirmed this position.
Israel announced its objective: To crush Hezbollah once and for all.
When Israel lost its element of surprise it resorted to its element of destruction, now that the resistance does not have the support of the Lebanese government. It bombed the country for 33 days. Israelâ€™s arms depots ran out of missiles, south Lebanon was destroyed and so was Beirutâ€™s southern suburb (Dahiyeh). Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. With an absent government, and with Israeli shelling targeting a few spots in Beirut, Sayyed Nasrallah warned Israel against hitting Beirut and promised retaliation against Tel Aviv.
By the first week of August, Israel was exhausted. It committed several massacres in Al-Qaa, Marwahin, Qana and other places to pressure the international community to interfere and save rescue Israel.
By August 11, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved UN Security Council Resolution 1701, in an effort to end the hostilities. It was accepted by Lebanon and Israel and took effect at 8:00 AM (5:00 AM GMT) on 14 August 2006.
Lebanon emerged triumphant.
It was the first time in history that a group of few hundred fighters fight Israelâ€™s mighty war machine for 33 days and win. It was the first time in Israel history that its pride, the Merkava, melted on the plains of Wadi el-Hojeir and Khiyam (38 Merkava tanks were destroyed and another 82 were damaged). It was the first time that a navy vessel, Saar 5, was sunk by a land-to-sea missile fired by resistance fighters.
On September12 of that same year, former defense minister Moshe Arens spoke of “the defeat of Israel” in calling for a state committee of inquiry. He said that Israel had lost “to a very small group of people, , which should have been no match at all for the (invincible) IDF”.
After the end of July war, Israel’s Winograd Commission issued its final report which investigated the Israeli government’s conduct during the war in Lebanon.
The commission found that “Israel initiated a long war, which ended without a defined military victory”. Its report added that “a semi-military organization of a few thousand men resisted, for a few weeks, the strongest army in the Middle East, which enjoyed full air superiority and size and technology advantages.â€
Two years after the war, Israel was forced to go for the swap with Hezbollah. Samir Qintar, who had been in Israeli jails for 30 years, was released along with Islamic resistance fighters captured during the war. Israel stated on many occasions that all captives are one case and Qintar was another nonnegotiable separate one. The remains of 200 Arab martyrs were also handed to Lebanon. The swap operation was dubbed â€œOperation Al-Redwanâ€ after martyr Imad Moghniyeh (Hajj Redwan) who was assassinated in Syria by the Israeli Mossad. Moghniyeh was the commander of the Islamic resistance whose jihad and perseverance since the early 1980s forced Israel out of Lebanon in 2000, and then defeated the zionist entity in 2006.
In his speech on the 12th of July, Sayyed Nasrallah warned the Israeli leadership against taking any foolish move against Lebanon and said â€œthe whole world will fail to return the captured soldiers back. They can only return through indirect negotiations and exchange.â€
Israeli authorities only knew that its two soldiers who were captured on the 12th of July 2006 were dead, when their coffins were taken out of a Hezbollah ambulance and handed to the International Red Cross.
Never had Israel’s deterrent capability and reputation suffer such a blow. Never had Israel fought an Arab army for less than a week before overcoming it. But it was the first time in the Zionist entityâ€™s history that it engaged in a 33-day war, the fiercest ever, and gets defeated. Israel is still concerned about Hezbollah’s growing power as well as Sayyed Nasrallah’s pledge to deal Israel the deadly blow in case it wages another war on Lebanon.