Eitan Haber

Tell me it's not true

Eitan Haber stunned to hear Baalbek operation was 'morale-boosting show'

This writer has been waiting for more than 48 hours for an official notice by either the prime minister, the defense minister or the chief of staff that the report published in the Maariv newspaper over the weekend stating that the IDF raid on Baalbek was meant for show - was just a hoax, that it wasn't true, it can't be.


According to the report, the night raid by an elite unit in the Beka Valley was carried out in a bid to lift morale (whose? the government's? the army's? the civilian population's?) In other words, some 200 Israeli soldiers' lives were put at risk in the blackness of the night, at a great distance from home just to "lift morale."


No, it can't be true, and what would have happened had the choppers been brought down and some 200 troops, our own children, had been killed? How would that have affected national morale?


Personally, I don’t believe that there is anyone in Israel, from the prime minister to a "Givati" military squad commander, who would have proposed, decided and approved such a move. It cannot be.


And if heaven forbid there is a grain of truth in this report, the current government doesn't deserve to remain in office for another second, and it should resign, immediately, as of yesterday.


The main concern of every prime minister, defense minister, chief of staff and each cabinet minister individually, should be the security of the nation – but also the safety of human beings.


Every prime minister and every minister should regard every soldier, male and female, in the standing and reserve army as though they were his own sons and daughters, and to ask whether the assignment at hand is that crucial that they would have sent their own children to face the imminent danger.


Rabin's deliberations

I can only give a personal example: While Yitzhak Rabin served as defense and prime minister, for six whole months he deliberated over the preparations for the abduction of Mustafa Dirani, who had been holding kidnapped airman Ron Arad.


Some 82 soldiers, if my memory doesn't fail me, were sent deep inside Lebanese territory to the heart of the danger, in order to collect information on Ron Arad.


What would have happened, heaven forbid, if the two choppers had been brought down with the soldiers (this incidentally happened a few years later)? How would have Rabin explained his decision to the country? Would he have explained how he prepared, deliberated and agonized until finally giving the order for the helicopters to take off?


Military man in every sense of the word

Here are a few lines from the book written by the head of the intelligence unit at the time, Major General Uri Saguy: "During the planning phase, we asked ourselves whether we had the ability to execute such a complex mission…


I didn't envy him for a moment (Rabin), that he would be the one who would ultimately have to approve the operation. Rabin, in his way, probed and demanded and asked endless questions before arriving at his decisions…Rabin turned every stone as to be sure that the risk he was taking was a calculated risk.


He was a military man in every sense of the word – and was fully aware of the meaning and dangers involved in such a mission…


"I understood where his (Rabin's) behavior stemmed from…he fully understood the military and political implications of such a mission… he was there completely alone, just with himself…just he and the decision…


"About half an hour before the planned takeoff I was urgently summoned to his home (Rabin's)…the engines are running so what is there to discuss at such a time?... (Rabin) began going over the same questions involved in the operation, as though we had not met over the past six months during which the plans were drawn up. .. Again he asked about the modus operandi of the mission…Rabin didn't let up and continued raising the problems that troubled him…"


Please tell me this is how it was before the 200 soldiers were sent to Baalbek. Could it really have happened any other way?


פרסום ראשון: 09.17.06, 15:46
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