(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hizbullah was involved in January’s bombing attack on the convoy of Ambassador
to Jordan Jacob Rosenne, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told a
top UN official, according to a US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks on
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This was the first cable that mentioned a meeting with
No one was wounded in the attack, which took place not far
from the Allenby Bridge. Israeli intelligence at the time assessed the attack
was likely the handiwork of Hizbullah, which was seeking to avenge the 2008
assassination of its military commander Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus, attributed
to the Mossad.
The cable summarized a meeting with UN envoy to Lebanon
Michael Williams at the US Embassy in Beirut during which he briefed American
officials on talks he had held recently in Israel.
Williams said that in
his talks with Ashkenazi and other Israeli officials he heard “repeated worries”
about the possibility that Hizbullah would obtain anti-aircraft missiles or act
on its threat to retaliate for the assassination of Mughniyeh. Williams
expressed concern that if another rocket was fired at Israel from Lebanon –
whether by Palestinian terrorists or Hizbullah – Israel would respond in force
and “everything we’ve worked for could go away in as little as 12
In a cable from half a year earlier in June 2009, a top Israeli
official told Fred Hof, special adviser for regional affairs in the office of US
special envoy Mitchell, that Israel had already thwarted two attacks by
Hizbullah designed to avenge Mughniyeh’s death and had obtained “sensitive
intelligence” that the Shi’ite group had completed operational planning for a
third attack outside Israel.
According to Nimrod Barkan, director of the
Foreign Ministry’s Political Research Division at the time, Hizbullah chief
Hassan Nasrallah had not yet decided whether to order the attack carried out,
despite Iranian pressure to do so.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, head of
the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, told Hof that the Israeli
defense establishment assessed that Syria might be serious about detaching
itself from Iran and withdrawing support for Hizbullah in exchange for
reconciliation with the West, especially the US, as well as the return of the
Golan Heights, Gilad said, because Iran was a marriage of convenience for Syria.
“He believes Syria would much rather be close to their fellow Arabs and the rest
of the international community, if given the chance,” the cable
Gilad warned, however, that even if it wanted to, Syria would find
difficulty in extricating itself from its alliance with Iran and Hizbullah.
“Hizbullah is now an integral part of Syria’s defense concept, and is a more
effective fighting force than the Syrian army,” Gilad was quoted as saying in