A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

occupation at 30,000 feet: a new Israeli red line

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on August 6, 2008

I considered titling this post “things that make me gag”, which is what a recent Haaretz article made me do last night when I read it:

If Hezbollah installs advanced anti-aircraft batteries in Lebanon, the Israel Air Force will have to alter its overflights of Lebanon significantly, a senior IAF officer told Haaretz Tuesday.

However, he added that the IAF has successfully coped with similar threats elsewhere, and could do so in Lebanon as well.

Senior government and army officials have recently held feverish discussions on this scenario. Some of those involved have termed the installation of anti-aircraft batteries a “red line” to which Israel would have to respond with a “violent signal.”

There have been conflicting reports in the Arabic media as to whether Hezbollah has already smuggled in such missiles, or is merely seeking to do so. Senior General Staff officers opined recently that while Hezbollah clearly wants such missiles eventually, they doubt it is interested in heating up its conflict with Israel just now.

What? Israel considers its illegal flights over Lebanese airspace a “red line”? I mean, sure – I’d love to be able to go into the other apartments in our building and use their owners’ goods whenever I want. But guaranteeing myself access to other people’s property isn’t a “red line” – its theft. And creepy.

Declaring Lebanese airspace an Israeli “red line” suggests that its physical occupation of Lebanese soil, which ended in 2000, has been replaced by its occupation of Lebanese skies. And I don’t remember the Israelis protesting earlier this year when the Lebanese army began using its anti-aircraft missiles against the “did anyone say Resolution 1701” overflights. Of course, those missiles’ range falls well short of the Israeli jets’ altitude – it was merely a symbolic gesture. But faced with a real challenge – especially one from Hizbullah – the Israeli military seems to be turning into the Queen of Hearts.

The rest of the article, whose tone is a surprising mix of petulance and intransigence given Haaretz’ reputation as Israel’s liberal newspaper, is available here.

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3 Responses to “occupation at 30,000 feet: a new Israeli red line”

  1. The Lebanese airspace has been occupied since the late 60’s. I still rembember the overflights and the bangs before 1975…One day in 1973, I asked my father why the Lebanese army was not doing anything to stop them, he replied that they fly too high to be reached…

  2. Tantalus said

    Hezbollah and Israel are secret lovers. The Israeli army’s relationship with Hezbollah is much more sentimental and emotional than with the Lebanese Army. That’s why Israel gets hurt by Hezbollah’s actions and is not affected by the Lebanese Army’s useless weapons.

    It’s always the one you love that hurt you the most. 😉

  3. Kheireddine, argh. It sounds like its been the same problem for a very long time. As an American, I tend to think of it in terms of respect for private property. I don’t expect strangers to wander through my house whenever they please, and worse, to describe my locking the door as a “red line”. And the issue of the non-existent Lebanese Air Force only makes things worse.

    Tantalus, we (and 50,000 other people) miss you! And you are so right about the secret lovers. Israel and Hizbullah need one another desperately.

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