January 30/15

Bible Quotation For Today/Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Compassion
Jonah 04/01-11: "But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.  He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.  Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.  Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant.  But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” 

Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on January 29-30/15
IDF publishes initial investigation into Hezbollah attack on convoy/Yoav Zitun, Itamar Eichner/Ynetnews/
January 29/15
Livni: Netanyahu hurt Israel's deterrence capability/Atilla Somfalvi/Ynetnews/
January 29/15
Dr. Walid Phares/Israel and Hezbollah aren't in a position to enter war, unless compelled/January 29/15
Hezbollah and Israel: Redefining rules of engagement/Joyce Karam/Al Arabiya/January 29/15

Lebanese Related News published on January 29-30/15
Hezbollah does not represent Lebanon’s government: Information Minister
Security Council Condemns Death of Peacekeeper, Spain Blames Israel
Lebanese Cabinet condemns Israeli response to Hezbollah revenge attack
Lebanon-Israel border quiet after Hezbollah attack
Israel: Hezbollah not interested in escalation
World urges restraint after Hezbollah revenge
Kaag meets Salam over Lebanon border violence
UNIFIL honors soldier killed by Israeli shelling
Hospital performs first non-invasive valve repair
Lebanon's instability leads to human rights abuses
Judge orders pub closed after Yves Nawfal murder
Casino employees vow to escalate fight
Hospital performs first non-invasive valve repair
Jumblatt: Lebanon cannot endure consequences of war
Salam Assured that Hizbullah-Israel Clash Would not Lead to War

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on January 29-30/15
Democrats in Congress suggest postponing Netanyahu's address
Liberman: Israel must respond to Hezbollah attack to maintain deterrence capability
Thousands attend funerals for 2 soldiers killed in Hezbollah attack
Peres on Netanyahu speech: When the US president tells you not to come to US, you don't go
Al-Qaeda in Syria attacks Western-backed rebels
Syria government airstrikes kill at least 8 in ISIS-held city
Moscow-hosted Syria talks end, sides agree to meet again
ISIS captive Goto's wife urges Jordan, Japan to work for his release
Mosul may need new tactics after Ain al-Arab win
Double suicide attack on Iraq militia base kills 6
Egyptian women rally to denounce killing of female protester
Jordan says won't free jihadi without proof pilot alive
Britain Summons Russian Ambassador after Bombers Intercepted
Iraqi cabinet moves forward on National Guard project

Jordan seeks proof captive pilot alive before any ISIS trade
Moscow talks only chance for Syria settlement: Russian official

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Security Council Condemns Death of Peacekeeper, Spain Blames Israel
Naharnet /The U.N. Security Council condemned on Wednesday the death of a Spanish U.N. peacekeeper during the Israeli military's exchange of fire with Hizbullah in a disputed border area. The Council condemned his death in the strongest terms and offered its deepest sympathies.Spain's ambassador to the U.N. blamed Israel for his death. "It was because of this escalation of violence, and it came from the Israeli side," Spanish Ambassador Roman Oyarzun Marchesi told reporters. The U.N. peacekeeper has been identified as Cpl. Francisco Javier Soria Toledo, 36, and U.N. officials have said only that the cause of his death is under investigation. The Spanish envoy said he had asked for a full investigation during an emergency meeting of the council called by France to discuss ways to defuse tensions between Israel and Lebanon. The violence raised fears of another all-out conflict between Israel and Hizbullah, who fought a month-long war in 2006. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for "maximum calm and restraint," urging all sides to "act responsibly to prevent any escalation in an already tense regional environment," a U.N. statement said. Tension in the area has been building, especially after an Israeli air strike on the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights killed six Hizbullah fighters and an Iranian general on January 18.
"Our objective is to engage toward de-escalation and to prevent further escalation of the situation," French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters. France presented a draft statement to council members but after meeting for over an hour, the council issued a terse condemnation of the peacekeeper's death and made no mention of de-escalation efforts. Discussions on the council statement were continuing.

Israel and Hezbollah aren't in a position to enter war, unless compelled
Dr. Walid Phares/January 29/15
In an interview with France 24 Dr Walid Phares said "the cycle of violence between Hezbollah and Israel is locked in an equation whereby each side has to strike back if hit by the opponent. Though it could spiral into a full blow war, as were the cases in 1996 and 2006, the present geopolitical conditions on both sides, particularly Hezbollah, do not encourage decision-makers to trigger that wider confrontation. Hezbollah is deployed on various battlefields inside Syria and on the Lebanese Syrian borders locked in tough military confrontations with ISIS and al Nusra and is also involved in Iraq. Opening another front with Israel, at a time the Iranian-backed organization has lost a large segment of Lebanese and Arab support, may present risks for Hezbollah. Iran is tempted to produce skirmishes with Israel for propaganda purposes but it has discovered that ISIS and Nusra aren't moved by Iranian and Hezbollah attempts to claim a main role in 'fighting Zionism.' Plus geopolitical reality may force Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria in the case of a war with Israel, a matter the Iranians refuse to execute." Phares added that Israel's Government also doesn't seem to want a full scale confrontation on Lebanese or Syrian soil mainly because they aren't sure of the Obama Administration's response to such a potential war. Israel's Prime Minister has a greater interest in addressing the US public via the US Congress on Iran than getting bogged down by a Hezbollah cycle of clashes. Hence each side will continue what they have been doing at this point. Hezbollah will continue its war in Syria and Israel will continue to target Iranian shipments to Hezbollah crossing Syria. Odd but real...

UNIFIL honors Spanish soldier killed by Israeli shelling
The Daily Star/Jan. 29, 2015/NAQOURA, Lebanon: The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) held a memorial service Thursday to honor the Spanish soldier who was killed by Israeli shelling in south Lebanon Wednesday. The soldier, Cpl Francisco Javier Soria Toledo, had been serving in the UNIFIL force since November 2014. He was killed by an Israeli shell that hit his post near the Ghajar village, in the Israeli army’s response to a Hezbollah attack that killed two soldiers and wounded seven others in the occupied Shebaa Farms. The service was held at Beirut International Airport, in the presence of UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Luciano Portolano, Spanish Ambassador to Beirut Milagros Hernando Echevarria and a representative of the Lebanese Army.  “This tragic incident reminds us of the tasks undertaken by United Nations personnel who are serving far from home, under difficult conditions, to bring peace and prosperity to the people we serve,” Portolano said, standing near the soldier’s coffin wrapped in the blue U.N. flag. “This is a brave and noble choice.”UNIFIL denounced the shelling as a “serious violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701," and said it had launched an investigation into the incident.

Israel says Hezbollah not interested in escalating violence
Reuters/Jan. 29, 2015/OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel said Thursday it received a message from Hezbollah that it was backing away from further violence, a day after the worst deadly clashes in years erupted along the border. The Israel-Lebanon frontier, where two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish peacekeeper were killed in an exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel, appeared quiet early Thursday. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel had received a message from a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon that Hezbollah was not interested in further escalation. "Indeed, a message was received," he said. "There are lines of coordination between us and Lebanon via UNIFIL and such a message was indeed received from Lebanon." In Beirut, Hezbollah officials could not immediately be reached for comment. "I can't say whether the events are behind us," Yaalon added in a separate radio interview. "Until the area completely calms down, the Israel Defense Forces will remain prepared and ready." The Israeli soldiers were killed when Hezbollah fired five missiles at a convoy of Israeli military vehicles. The attack was in retaliation for a Jan. 18 Israeli airstrike in southern Syria that killed several Hezbollah members and an Iranian general. The peacekeeper in southern Lebanon was killed as Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery fire, a U.N. spokesman and Spanish officials said.

Hezbollah does not represent Lebanon’s government: Information Minister
Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Lebanon’s government is seeking to “minimize” the repercussions of the latest standoff between Israel and Hezbollah along Lebanon’s southern borders, Lebanese Information Minister Ramzi Jarih told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday.
Jarih did not rule out a strong Israeli military response along the lines of the 2006 Lebanon War but called for both Israel and Hezbollah to demonstrate “self-restraint” in the wake of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, resulting in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish peacekeeper on Wednesday after Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at an Israeli military convoy in a disputed border zone. The attack was in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on Hezbollah fighters inside Syria earlier this month, the group said.
The border was calm on Thursday, but Israeli forces remain on high alert following the deadliest escalation of tensions since the brief war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.
The state-owned Lebanese National News Agency reported that Israeli warplanes were flying low over border villages on Thursday, while Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon cautioned that Israel’s military is “ready for any development” despite receiving an anti-escalation message from Hezbollah.
Yaalon said that Tel Aviv had received a message from Hezbollah, via the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, that it did not want further escalation following Wednesday’s retaliatory attack. Speaking on Thursday, Yaalon said: “I can’t say whether the events are behind us. Until the area completely calms down, the Israel Defense Force will remain prepared and ready.” Israeli troops also resumed a search for possible Hezbollah tunnels in the border region, local media reported. In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Lebanon’s information minister acknowledged that Hezbollah is part of the Beirut government, but stressed that its latest military action in the border region was not endorsed by the government. He added that Lebanon’s government, which remains without a president following a protracted political standoff, will meet later on Thursday to discuss the issue. “Yes, Hezbollah is part of the government and so we will listen to the viewpoint of its minister in Thursday’s meeting, while confirming that Hezbollah’s positions do not represent the official position of Lebanon as represented by the prime minister and government,” Jarih said.

Lebanese Cabinet condemns Israeli response to Hezbollah revenge attack
Hasan Lakkis/The Daily Star/Jan. 29, 2015/BEIRIUT: The latest wave of violence along the Lebanon-Israel border was Cabinet's main topic of discussion Thursday, as it called on parties to prevent any escalation that would implicate Lebanon in a new war with its southern neighbor. After the session, Information Minister Ramzi Joreige said that Prime Minister Tammam Salam had voiced his desire to preserve the security and stability in south Lebanon after Israel responded Wednesday to a revenge attack by Hezbollah that killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven.  The attack, with a salvo of anti-tank missiles on an Israeli military convoy in the occupied Shebaa Farms area, was answered by artillery fire from the Israelis.
According to Joreige, Salam condemned the Israeli response and urged all parties to avoid any escalation. “Don’t give Israel any chance to drag us in to war,” the information minister quoted Salam as saying. On Wednesday Salam had voiced Lebanon’s commitment to U.N. resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel, as well as the presence of UNIFIL peacekeepers along its southern border.
The prime minister Thursday called on the United Nations to assume its responsibility by condemning Israel’s attack. Salam also extended Lebanon’s condolences over the death of a Spanish peacekeeper that was killed by Israel during the cross border violence.
The U.N. peacekeeper has identified as Cpl. Francisco Javier Soria Toledo, aged 36. The peacekeeper was killed “because of this escalation of violence, and it came from the Israeli side," Spanish Ambassador to the U.N. Roman Oyarzun Marchesi told reporters earlier Thursday.
Salam also expressed his condolences over the death of Saudi King Abdullah, who passed away last week, and wished the best of luck to his half-brother Salman who succeeded his rule.
According to Joreige, Salam reiterated his call for the election of a president, almost nine months after former President Michel Sleiman left office.
Cabinet then proceeded to discuss a 51-item agenda and approved a decree calling for raising the number of policemen in the Internal Security Forces from 29,000 to 35,000.
Before the session started, police guarding government headquarters in Downtown Beirut prevented journalists from approaching ministers who arrived for the 10 a.m. meeting.
The police were working under strict orders from Salam not to allow reporters to get remarks from ministers that could distract attention during the talks.
Journalists were told that Salam wanted the meeting to pass off peacefully.

Lebanon-Israel border quiet after Hezbollah attack
Mohammed Zaatari/The Daily Star/Jan. 29, 2015
ABBASIEH, Lebanon: U.N. peacekeepers and Lebanese soldiers were patrolling the border with Israel Thursday, a day after Hezbollah launched a revenge attack on Israel for the recent killing of six party members and an Iranian general in Syria's Golan Heights.
The patrols came after Israel responded to the Hezbollah attack with artillery shelling on several areas of south Lebanon. Guns fell silent Wednesday after calls for restraint at around 2 p.m. Dozens of 82 mm shells, exploded and unexploded, were found by shepherds Thursday after being fired by Israel in the wake of Hezbollah’s attack. “I had lost some of my sheep after the Israeli shelling yesterday prompted me to run for my life,” shepherd Rifaat Ahmad said in Wazzani. “But thank God I just found them.”Despite the calm, Israel remains on high alert with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday blaming Iran for Hezbollah's attack. "It is Iran that is responsible for yesterday's attack against us from Lebanon," Netanyahu said. "We will continue to defend ourselves against all threats, near and far alike."
At least five Israeli reconnaissance jets Thursday flew over the Marjayoun-Shebaa Farms area where Hezbollah chose to launch its attack. Meanwhile, the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), together with the Lebanese Army, was inspecting the sites of the shelling and the surrounding area. Sources told The Daily Star Wednesday at least eight shells landed in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms, and several others crashed into nearby Majidieh, a town comprised primarily of agricultural land along the Wazzani River and opposite occupied Ghajar. Spanish troops operating with UNIFIL carried out routine patrols in their area of operations in Abbasieh. A Spanish peacekeeper was killed in south Lebanon during the border violence. Spain held Israel responsible for his death. Israel said Thursday it received a message from Hezbollah that it did not want an escalation in violence. Prime Minister Tammam Salam has also received assurances that the latest wave of violence won’t lead to war. Sources close to the prime minister told The Daily Star that the assurances came after Salam carried out urgent calls to Lebanon’s allies in the West and the Middle East as well as with local officials. A Cabinet meeting underway now at the Grand Serail will focus on developments in south Lebanon. - with Reuters.

Kaag meets Salam over Lebanon border violence

The Daily Star/Jan. 29, 2015/BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam met Thursday with U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag to discuss the latest wave of violence along the Lebanon-Israel border. According to a statement released by Kaag’s news office, the U.N. special coordinator expressed appreciation for Salam's “commitment to [U.N.] Security Council Resolution 1701 and the importance of safeguarding Lebanon’s security and stability.” After the meeting, Kaag told reporters that the U.N. was still calling “on all parties to continue to exercise caution and restraint to avoid any action which could destabilize the situation.”The special coordinator also reiterated the U.N. secretary general's deep concern over the security situation and violations of Resolution 1701.

Lebanon's instability leads to human rights abuses
The Daily Star/Jan. 29, 2015
BEIRUT: The precarious security situation in Lebanon has led to widespread human rights abuses, with broad restrictions imposed on Syrian refugees and violations committed by security forces during operations, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.“The deteriorating security situation is having a negative effect on human rights protections in Lebanon,” HRW said, also using its World Report 2015 to warn about several cases where freedom of expression was abused. In the 25th edition of its world report HRW alleged various human rights violations in Lebanon with regard to discrimination, violence, government regulations and judicial decisions. “As security challenges in Lebanon mount, so do concerns about the government failing to adequately protect human rights,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at HRW. “Protecting the rights of both the Lebanese and of Syrian refugees is not only the right thing to do, it is the best way to ease the tensions in the country.” The report stated that during the clashes between Army and militants in the northeastern town of Arsal last August, many residents said they were prevented from leaving danger zones. Residents also reported that indiscriminate firing, including from the Army, hit civilian targets. HRW’s Lebanon chapter also touched on alleged abuses by Lebanese security forces against detainees.
“Over two dozen people the Army detained in security raids told Human Rights Watch that security forces had tortured them including with whips, batons, sticks, and electricity,” the report stated.
HRW referenced a previous report, released by the U.N. Committee Against Torture last October, which concluded that torture in Lebanon is a “pervasive practice that is routinely used by the armed forces and law enforcement agencies.”
“Lebanon should establish a national preventive mechanism to visit and monitor detention facilities, as required under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), which it ratified in 2008,” the report continued. “Reports of abuse should be investigated and those responsible held to account.”HRW also detailed various charges and prosecutions against news outlets, journalists and bloggers that threatened freedom of expression in Lebanon last year. The report mentioned the two-month sentence given to blogger Jean Assi for defaming and insulting former President Michel Sleiman on Twitter, and the police interrogation of blogger Imad Bazzi over his criticism of former State Minister Panos Manjenian for abuse of power. “Ambiguous definitions of defamation and slander open the door for silencing legitimate criticism of public officials,” HRW warned, saying that the Publications Court also fined two Al-Akhbar journalists for investigative reports on corruption. Mohammed Nazzal was fined LL27,000,000 (US$18,000) for an article on judicial corruption, and Rasha Abou Zaki was fined LL4,000,000 ($2,667) for defaming former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, after she alleged corruption and embezzlement in the Finance Ministry, the report stated.

Jumblatt: Lebanon cannot endure consequences of war
The Daily Star/Jan. 29, 2015/BEIRUT: Lebanon cannot endure the consequences of another war with Israel, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt said Thursday, a day after Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers in a revenge attack. “Lebanon cannot bear the consequences of going to war,” Jumblatt told local daily Al-Mustaqbal. He also said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not “bear to go to war at this stage, seeing as he is engaged in elections.”Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven wounded Wednesday when Hezbollah fired a salvo of anti-tank missiles at an Israeli military convoy in the occupied Shebaa Farms area of southern Lebanon. The attack was in response to a Jan. 18 Israeli airstrike that killed six Hezbollah members and an Iranian general in Qunaitra in Syria’s Golan Heights. Jumblatt said that the Shebaa Farms border area, where Hezbollah chose to launch its revenge attack, still needed to be demarcated between Lebanon and Syria, making Hezbollah’s response “smart.”

IDF publishes initial investigation into Hezbollah attack on convoy
Yoav Zitun, Itamar Eichner/Ynetnews
Published: 01.29.15 / Israel News
Convoy carried reinforcement soldiers who were on a tour to familiarize unit with local terrain; civilian vehicle caused convoy to halt at military checkpoint, and Hezbollah identified opportunity to attack.
An initial investigation into the fatal Hezbollah attack on an IDF convoy near the Lebanese border on Wednesday has revealed that an unarmored IDF convoy carrying soldiers unfamiliar with the local terrain were allowed into an area with known exposure to enemy fire.
Half an hour passed from the moment five unarmored IDF vehicles carrying a group of IDF officers from the Givati brigade drove up to Mount Dov near the border with Lebanon until the moment anti-tank missiles sent by Hezbollah were launched towards them.
3D attack simulation
There was no prior intelligence pointing to an impending attack and the incident resulted in the deaths of two IDF soldiers and, later on, the death of a UN peacekeeper in IDF cross-fire.
The Investigation: Step by step
11:00 am: Five military vehicles, including two Jeeps and three unarmored Isuzu D-MAX pick up trucks, began the drive up to posts positioned at the top of Mount Dov. After turning left at the tank intersection, the convoy drove 400 meters towards the direction of Mount Dov's military back road. The vehicles managed to drive another 300 meters, ascending the mountain, but turned around after receiving an order from the commander of the Hiram brigade to head back.
11:30 am: A Hezbollah cell launched six anti-tank missiles towards the convoy. Three of the missiles hit the convoy of unarmored vehicles and one hit a house in the nearby village of Ghajar. The first missile directly hit one of the unarmored vehicles, instantly killing Captain Yohai Kalangel, 25, and Sergeant Dor Nini, 20.
According to the initial military investigation into Wednesday's Hezbollah attack, the IDF convoy of five cars was carrying officers of the Givati Brigade's Tzabar unit which arrived in the north on Wednesday morning to reinforce units in the area.
The goal of the convoy that morning was to become familiar with the local terrain which is usually managed by the Harav unit.
After the convoy made a left turn at the tank intersection on route 99, which stretches from the Hermon to Kiryat Shmona, on to a civilian road that leads to Ghajar, the convoy continued for another 400 meters northward bound.
Mount Dov's military back road is considered to be less vulnerable to anti-tank missiles – it was paved after the IDF withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. As stated, the convoy began its ascent of the mountain but was told to turn around after 300 meters – the order was given by the commander of the unit which manages the area, Colonel Dan Goldfus. Preliminary investigations reveal that the order give by Colonel Goldfus was most likely made because of technical considerations or because of a schedule relating to operational discussions and not because the convoy included unarmored vehicles. As ordered by the commander, the convoy descended Mount Dov and began returning to the intersection which connects the local road leading to Ghajar and the military back road at Mount Dov. A military checkpoint had been established in the area 10 days earlier, including armored personnel carrier (APC), after the Israel attributed attack in Quneitra which killed several Hezbollah members and an Iranian general.
The checkpoint was created in order to prevent citizens who are not residents of Ghajar to drive towards the village, and by doing so, to limit the threat of missiles hitting civilian vehicles – a direct threat as Ghajar is close to the Lebanese town of Marjayoun.
On its way back from the Mount Dov back road, the convoy stopped at the checkpoint but was delayed by a civilian car whose driver spoke with the soldiers at the checkpoint. It is at this point that the IDF investigation believes that Hezbollah operatives, most likely from the nearby Lebanese town of Khiam, had noticed that the convoy had stopped. According to the investigation, the Hezbollah operatives had likely been tracking the convoy's drive up Mount Dov and were waiting for it to return to the road leading to Ghajar.
The Hezbollah officers took advantage of the stopped convoy and launched the first anti-tank missile at the group of IDF vehicles. The missile hit one of the Isuzu D-Max pickups which carried Captain Kalangel and Sergeant Nini – instantly killing them.
The rest of the commanders within the convoy immediately understood they were under fire and, in adherence with operational guidelines, evacuated their vehicles. A military jeep was then hit by a second missile and erupted in flames but it had already been evacuated. Seven soldiers were lightly wounded from shrapnel – avoiding a more dangerous fate by evacuating their vehicles. The Hezbollah operatives continued launching Cornet missiles at the convoy, which have a 5 kilometer range. Three of the missiles missed the convoy and another missile hit a house in Ghajar – no individuals were wounded. The IDF did not know at that point if the house had been targeted or if the hit was a misfire. The major forces in the Galilee division, trained and prepared to deal with kidnapping situations, began bombing in the area in order to prevent the possibility of a combined attack that could lead to a kidnapping. At the same time, the IDF fired about 100 artillery shells from tanks towards Hezbollah positions in the town of Marjayoun. One IDF shell hit UNIFIL forces and killed a Spanish peacekeeper. The IDF offered its regret for the hit and was in communication with UN representatives during the incident. An hour later, Hezbollah fired a single mortar shell at Mount Dov. The shell fell in an open area and did not cause damage or injury.
Meanwhile, IAF aircraft hit deeper Hezbollah targets within Lebanon.
Regarding the fact that the convoy included unarmed vehicles, the IDF said in response that there is a 10 kilometer stretch along the border with Lebanon, reaching from Rosh HaNikra to the Hermon, that is vulnerable to Hezbollah fire – including civilian roads and security areas close to the fence. "It is not possible to take the entire northern area close to the border and 50 kilometers south. Cars driving in Metula can be shot at using automatic weapons from the Lebanese side," the IDF said in a response. "Along with that, many considerations were taken into account in order to allow the free movement of citizens and daily life along side high readiness and deployment of forces that saved many potential Hezbollah targets. Regarding the incident, lessons will be learned after a full investigation."

Livni: Netanyahu hurt Israel's deterrence capability
Atilla Somfalvi/Ynetnews/Zionist Camp deputy chief Livni criticizes Netanyahu for hurting Israel's international standing by alienating Arab world. After a tense night on the northern front following Hezbollah's deadly attack on an IDF convoy, Zionist Camp's deputy chief Tzipi Livni criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday for hurting Israel's international standing by alienating the Arab world. "Netanyahu has hurt Israel's deterrence capability," she told Ynet. "I asked to recruit the world to the cause and to send a message to the moderate Arab world – the one that does not want Hezbollah to rear its head – to join the coalition against the Islamists. The option was available during Operation Protective Edge as well, but Netanyahu hesitated, stuttered, and spurned the opportunity to end the mission in a way that the whole world would agree to demilitarize Gaza," Livni said during a Ynet panel discussion.
Livni said that the heads of the newly named Zionist Camp visited the Golan Heights on Wednesday to send a message to its opponents. "We did it (visited the Golan Heights) to send a message to the other side. So that they do not think that they can divide us. When Islamic terror must be fought – we will fight with a firm hand," said Livni. The large reinforcement forces called up to the northern front were expected to remain in the area for several days, and the military units in the sector also remained on high alert. The road leading to the village of Ghajar, where the incident occurred, will continue to be blocked to civilians who are not residents of Ghajar. The IDF increased protective measures in the area and added concrete barriers near Ghahar. Lebanese sources said Thursday morning that the attack was intended to hit a high-ranking IDF officer. According to the sources, the size of the convoy moving alongside the road gave the appearance that it included a senior officer and therefore the Hezbollah cell – which had about five members – decided to open fire.
The Lebanese sources said that the operation was planned to be carried out earlier but was delayed because the Hezbollah militants did not find a target.  Yesh Atid member Ofer Shelah said during the panel discussion: "Because both sides do not have an interest for escalation right now, (we) should hope that this round – if we refer to it this way – stops. But nothing has really calmed down. Israel must choose its means because the threat has not ended today. You deal with the capabilities of the enemy when you reach the conclusion that they have become an unbearable threat, you do not deal with it every time the enemy shows its ability. Israel has nothing to gain from the deterioration of the situation and an all-out escalation." Likud member Gila Gamliel also joined in on the panel discussion surrounding Wednesday's attack and said: "There was no choice but to take action. Hezbollah ran straight towards a tactical operation and hit two IDF soldiers unfortunately…Even if we were on the eve of elections, this move would have been necessary."
**Ahiya Raved, Yoav Zitun and Elior Levy contributed to this report.

Thousands attend funerals for 2 soldiers killed in Hezbollah attack

Gilad Morag/Ynetnews/01.29.15/ Israel News
Maj. Yochai Kalangel buried on Mount Herzl, while Staff-Sgt. Dor Nini is being laid to rest in Moshav Shtulim.
Thousands of relatives, friends and comrades turned out for the funerals of Major Yochai Kalangel and Staff-Sgt. Dor Nini, who were killed a day earlier in a Hezbollah attack on Israel's border with Lebanon. Staff Sergeant Dor Nini is being laid to rest Thursday afternoon in the cemetery at Shtulim, the moshav near Ashdod where he lived. Some 1,500 came to accompany him on his final journey. Nini was the first soldier to be buried in the moshav's cemetery, and his grave was prepared in a military plot that did not exist before that.
His girlfriend, Sahar, eulogized him: "My life, it's not true. Tell me it's not true. We were together for six years and wanted to get married. I only now found out you were supposed to propose to me in two months. Please open my house's door and come in. You always told me that it didn't matter who was in our way, you'd chase them away. So come now and chase away this nightmare. "I won't have anyone to go home to for the weekend anymore. I won't have phone calls from you. I just want one more message from you: 'I love you.' Who is going to tell me every morning that he loves me? No one can take your place. Please, come and tell me it's only a nightmare."Dor's mother Sima also spoke at the funeral. "My dear Dor, I'm sorry if I hurt you. My beloved child. You are lost to me. You went to the army and returned in a coffin."His aunt Limor said: "We cry for a young man who didn't get to make his dream come true and get married and live a long life. My Dor, you're a hero of Israel. You gave us strength and the feeling that everything will be okay.
"You loved action even as a boy, and wanted to be a combat soldier. You were your father's right hand man, always helping him. I want us to all stand here and salute you."
Reuben, a close relative, called Dor "a child full of love. He was always helpful and cared for his family."Dor’s parents received a visit from Givati Brigade Commander Colonel Ofer Winter following his death. The family criticized the army’s conduct, in particular the fact that the soldiers were traveling in unprotected vehicles.
"We have a lot of questions,” said Dor’s mother Sima. “Why not make sure there was an armored vehicle when you know what was happening there? It does not interest the government. Dor loved the army and loved his regiment and he wanted to move ahead.
"I talked to him the day before yesterday. He said he was going north, and that there was a problem. He said, 'Mom, don’t worry, everything is okay.'"His father, Nehemiah, added: "My son is gone, just like that. You do not know what a son he was. He said, 'Dad, I am only staying in the army. He was never afraid."Major Yochai Kalangel was buried at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Thursday morning Eulogizing the officer, Lt. Col. Kobi Barel paid tribute to the strong relationship he had with the troops under his command."Your soldiers say that to them you were always a revered leader and commander. I saw how they followed you. You bore their pain and treated them like sons."
Kalangel, a company commander in the Givati brigade, lived in Har Gilo with his wife, Tali, and their two-year-old daughter. Tali is due to give birth to their second child in the coming months.
Yochai’s father also eulogized his son: "Was it possible to prevent incidents like the one involving Yochai? At the moment, I say no. We are devout believers. Just as we bless the good, we also bless ‘baruch dayan emet’. Creator of the Universe, thank you for giving us (Yochai) for 25 years and seven months. After Protective Edge you came home and told us that the most important thing to you was that you managed to return the entire company home safely." His mother, Malka, said: "Only God knows how much I was afraid of hearing that soft knock on the door. The moment when your life is turned upside down. A wonderful boy, a model husband and father, a hero of Israel. You said, 'Don’t worry mom, everything will be fine’, but I worry. It was all over in one moment. I still hear in my ear: 'Mom, you look after Tali, my soul’. How can you say goodbye to your child? It's inhuman."

Liberman: Israel must respond to Hezbollah attack to maintain deterrence capability
By TOVAH LAZAROFF/J.Post/01/29/2015 /FM warns that ignoring strike that killed 2 soldiers Wednesday would support a situation in which the Shi'ite terror group can strengthen arms capacity.
If Israel fails to respond to the Hezbollah attack that killed two IDF soldiers on its side of the Lebanese border, it deterrence capability will be harmed, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said. Those who argue that Israel should ignore the incident, Liberman said, are supporting a situation in which Hezbollah can strengthen its arms capacity and hold on Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria, so they can attack when ever they want. “This would be a serious blow to Israel’s deterrence capability,” he said. Liberman posted his words of warning on his Facebook page, after Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel had received a message from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) that Hezbollah was not interested in further escalation. "Indeed, a message was received," he said. "There are lines of coordination between us and Lebanon via UNIFIL and such a message was indeed received from Lebanon,” Ya’alon. Liberman, however, urged Israel to respond harshly and noted that even a proportionate response sent the wrong message. “The terrorists [Hezbolalh] want a proportionate response, because it would lead to a war of attrition and perpetuate the conflict,” Liberman said. Quiet follow the Second Lebanon War in 2006, because it dealt Hezbollah a harsh blow. But Israel’s failure to deal harshly enough this summer with Hamas during Operation Protective Edge has embolden Hezbollah to act against Israel, Liberman said. If Israel does not act now, he said, this perception that it is safe to attack Israel will only grow among terrorist organizations. What is needed now “is a disproportionate response that defeats terrorism,” Liberman said. “Yesterday Israel was forced to close airports again, this time in Haifa and Rosh Pina,” Liberman said. Roads and tourist sites were closed and the routine life of Israeli citizens was disrupted, he said.
Residents of the north and south can not be held hostage in this way, he said. “It’s time to take the glove off when dealing with terrorism,” Liberman said.

Democrats in Congress suggest postponing Netanyahu's address
By MICHAEL WILNER/01/29/2015
WASHINGTON -- Democrats in the House of Representatives are suggesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postpone his speech to a joint session of Congress until after the Israeli election on March 17. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said it was "not appropriate" for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to invite Netanyahu without first notifying the White House-- a move that angered the Obama administration. Netanyahu is expected to advocate for a different policy on Iran that the president has thus far pursued.
"Such a presentation could send the wrong message in terms of giving diplomacy a chance," Pelosi said. She spoke with Netanyahu by phone on Wednesday. Other Democrats on the Hill began circulating a letter for co-signers on Wednesday suggesting the speech be postponed. The March 3 address is "harmful for three reasons," the letter reads: "It undermines the president’s foreign policy; it puts a close ally in the middle of a domestic political debate, and it elevates a candidate in a foreign election.” Netanyahu says he will speak anywhere, at any time, to drive home his message on the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran. World powers seek to clinch a political framework agreement by March 31. Ten Democrats in the Senate joined their Republican colleagues this week declaring support for a new "trigger" sanctions bill on Iran. In a letter to the president sent on Wednesday, they agreed to hold off on a vote on the legislation until March 24. US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry have said they will decline to receive Netanyahu during his visit, citing its proximity to the Israeli election. "I'm declining to meet with him simply because our general policy is, we don't meet with any world leader two weeks before their election," Obama told Fareed Zakaria in India this week. "I think that's inappropriate, and that's true with some of our closest allies."

Peres on Netanyahu speech: When the US president tells you not to come to US, you don't go
By JPOST.COM STAFF/01/29/2015/Former president Shimon Peres on Thursday criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his upcoming speech before the US Congress that was arranged without the knowledge of US President Barack Obama. Speaking at a memorial ceremony for former prime minister Ariel Sharon in the Negev, Peres said, "Bibi [Netanyahu] can make speeches at any place or date, but when the President of the United States asks him not to come before elections, he must respect that request." Peres also addressed the tension between Israel and Hezbollah after an attack that killed two IDF soldiers on Wednesday, saying that "both sides understand that there is no choice but to cease their fire." "The main consideration now must be to lower the flames and not to make speeches," he said. Netanyahu said at the same ceremony for Sharon that Iran was behind yesterday's attack on IDF vehicles traveling close to the Lebanese border. "This is the same Iran that is trying to reach an agreement whereby it will be allowed to maintain the ability to develop nuclear weapons. We are resolutely opposed to such an agreement," Netanyahu said. "We will continue to defend ourselves from all threats both near and far," the prime minister said.  Referring to Sharon by his informal moniker "Arik," Netanyahu said the late former prime minister understood very well the nature of the Iranian regime, and that what Sharon said is still valid today. Hezbollah and Israel: Redefining rules of engagement

Hezbollah and Israel: Redefining rules of engagement
Joyce Karam/Al Arabiya
Thursday, 29 January 2015
Ten days after the Quneitra airstrike which left six of its members dead, among them Jihad Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah responded in a limited but precise attack yesterday on the Lebanese-Israeli border killing two and injuring six Israeli soldiers. This round of escalation between Israel and Hezbollah is more about redefining their rules of engagement rather than plunging into a full blown war as was the case in 2006.
For Hezbollah, the attack was a show of strength to both Israel and the party’s support base whom the Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah will address today. Hezbollah’s desired message from the operation is to prove that its role in Syria is not rendering it incapable to responding to its archenemy Israel. The validity of such a proposition can only be tested in an open war, however, which both sides are seeking to avoid at the moment.
Why Hezbollah chose Shebaa
By ruling out an escalation that neither Hezbollah nor the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu want - for Hezbollah is being stretched thin and fighting multiple fronts in Syria and Netanyahu is in the middle of a ferocious election campaign - one of the goals of the Quneitra and Shebaa operations is to reinforce what each side believes to be the rules of engagement.
“With Hezbollah’s expanded role in Syria, Israel is gradually ignoring the 2006 rules of engagement and adjusting itself to a new threat.”
In choosing to strike in Shebaa farms which Lebanon claims as a disputed territory under the control of Israel, Hezbollah wanted to confine the battle with the Israeli army in the Lebanese domain. This gives it the ability to justify it legally as the government of Lebanon recognizes the right of Hezbollah’s “resistance” in those territories. Hezbollah’s other option was to strike from Syria where it reportedly has more than 5,000 fighters expanding foothold and presence and gaining combat skills. But responding in the Golan Heights would risk inviting Israeli action against the Assad regime in a way that could threaten its survival and strengthen the rebels that Hezbollah has been fighting since April, 2013.
The Shebaa attack allowed Hezbollah to show some muscle internally, and display its skill in using the Kornet-4 anti-tank missiles and surprise Israel who had been in a state of alert since the Quneitra attack.
In Quneitra, Israel wanted to tell both Hezbollah and Iran that operating on the Syrian front is a redline. By responding through Lebanon, Hezbollah tacitly acknowledged that redline but went further in setting up one of its own. The equation of deterrence that the 2006 war enforced between Hezbollah and Israel is quickly being replaced by readiness of both sides to strike outside of the traditional scope yet without risking escalation into full war.
New rules of engagement
With Hezbollah’s expanded role in Syria, Israel is gradually ignoring the 2006 rules of engagement and adjusting itself to a new threat. Since 2013, Israel has twice struck arms deliveries for Hezbollah on the Lebanese-Syrian border and in a louder statement hit Hezbollah and Iranian personnel who were present in Quneitra on January 18. While Israel welcomes the fact that Hezbollah is bleeding men power and resources in Syria, a strengthened regional hand for the party outside Lebanon appears to be worrying the Israelis.
Benefitting from the help of Iran and a weakened central state in Damascus, Hezbollah’s stature and reach is on the rise in Syria. On the one hand, this limits the party from engaging in a full blown war inside Lebanon, but on the other it poses new fronts and risks for Israel in its areas of operation. The new Israeli rules of engagement are centered around Hezbollah’s and Iran’s role in Syria. This makes strikes against convoys or armed shipments more likely in the future, while measured retaliation is expected.
Regarding Hezbollah, the party has grown more confident and has grander regional aspirations following its combat successes in Syria. While Hezbollah wants to keep the public display of force against Israel limited to Lebanon, it will not relinquish the gains and strategic assets it acquired in Syria. This sense of confidence and ascendance to the regional stage is behind Nasrallah’s recent threat to Israel to think twice before striking inside Syria.
Between Quneitra and Shebaa, Israel and Hezbollah are redrawing their new rules of engagement. The 2006 era of mutual deterrence is being washed away by the new realities in Syria, a battle that Hezbollah is trying to own while Israel is increasingly marking its new redlines.