Sunday, July 30, 2006

"The standoff stunned Israel, whose offensive came in response to a Hezbollah cross-border raid that resulted in the death of eight Israeli soldiers and the capture of two others. Central to the embattled nation’s sense of survivability is the idea of its invincibility. Its intelligence knows everything, the mythology goes, and no army dare stand against it. In truth, Israel has, in part, been lucky in its enemies, mostly Arab regimes with armies suitable mainly for keeping their own populace in check. Although the Israelis announced within days that they had destroyed 50 percent of Hezbollah’s munitions, the guerrillas have continued to rain more than a hundred rockets a day on Israel. And on Wednesday, in Bint Jbail, a town the Israelis said they controlled, a well-laid Hezbollah ambush pinned down infantrymen from the elite Golani Brigade for hours. At times the firing was so heavy the brigade’s soldiers could not return it; eight Israelis were killed. The highly advanced Merkava tanks were reduced to ambulances and several were destroyed."