Hezbollah Imad Mughniyeh 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
Three Azerbaijani Hezbollah mercenaries were recently arrested by Azeri security
forces for conspiring to attack a Chabad center in Baku and Israel’s ambassador
there, Michael Lotem.
This didn’t make headlines overseas. Even
exceptionally gruesome atrocities eventually fade – at least somewhat – from
collective consciousness, to say nothing of thwarted acts of terror. What was
preempted, and didn’t transpire, isn’t necessarily news everywhere.
said, the fact that Hezbollah, in its role as Iran’s terror proxy, plotted to
hit Jews in far-off Azerbaijan speaks volumes about the nature of Israel’s
enemies. Similar deadly designs were uncovered in Thailand and
Bulgaria. Greece is also regarded as a likely venue for such sinister
There is, sadly, nothing new in the callous cowardice to which
these attempts attest. When Hezbollah fears to face Israeli wrath head-on, it
seeks “soft,” relatively risk-free targets in distant settings, where hostilities
are naturally less expected.
Nonetheless, such attacks – by assorted
terror groups, spearheaded initially by Fatah – proliferated since the late
1960s and through the ’70s and ’80s. Hezbollah/Iran adopted the tactic with
relish in the ’90s.
On March 17, 1992, Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires
was car-bombed, killing 29 and wounding 242. This became Argentina’s worst
terror attack until July 18, 1994, when a van loaded with 275 kg. of explosives
was detonated in front of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA)
Jewish Community Center, located in a densely-packed section of Buenos Aires.
The lives of 85 innocents were claimed and many hundreds more were
Argentine investigations were marred by gross ill-will and/or
incompetence (former president Nestor Kirchner branded them a “national
disgrace” in 2005). However, even the lethargic investigators agreed that
Hezbollah/Iran masterminded the outrages. Indeed, in 1999 an arrest warrant was
issued against Hezbollah senior military commander Imad Mughniyeh, who himself
died in a 2008 car-bombing in Damascus.
Both Hezbollah and Iran blame
Israel – which never admitted to anything – for Mughniyeh’s demise and have
vowed furious vengeance.
Some four years ago Hezbollah and Iranian agents
reportedly planned to set off a car bomb outside the Israeli embassy in Baku
shortly after Mughniyeh’s assassination, but the attack was foiled. Their latest
Baku plot was scheduled for implementation three weeks before the anniversary of
If so, that in itself exposes a warped sense of
justice, which denies Israel the right to punish Mughniyeh for the mass murders
he instigated, but instead agitates for retaliating against whoever is presumed
to have done away with the mass-murderer.
Still, this may be no more than
a pretext, since terrorists are never short of meaningful dates or excuses to
spill blood in the name of what they aver is justice. For instance, Iran may
well hunger for reprisal for the assassinations of top scientists instrumental
in its nuclear projects. These too are blamed on Israel (which has
admitted to nothing in this case as well).
But the plain fact of the
matter is that it does not really matter what Israel does or does not do. The
craving for carnage is essentially unconnected with specific Israeli actions but
instead stems from the fact that Israel exists at all.
During the years
of Israeli presence in the south Lebanon security zone, Hezbollah argued that
its sole aim was to drive Israelis off Lebanese land. Once this occurred, Israel
was assured, Hezbollah would have no more bones to pick with the Jewish
Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Lebanese territory
almost a dozen years ago, yet Hezbollah has only escalated its aggression –
kidnapping Israelis, attacking Israelis within the country’s legitimate borders
and heavily rocketing the entire North.
Despite UN Security Council
Resolution 1701 that ended the Second Lebanon War sparked by Hezbollah, the
organization has regrouped and is now armed to the teeth as never
Much of the responsibility for this sorry state of affairs
resides with the international community, which tolerates Hezbollah’s
reinforcement, despite declarations to the contrary and the useless deployment
of the the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
scant attention is paid to Iran’s role as a worldwide sponsor of terror. But
when Israel is forced to protect its people, a chorus of condemnation resounds.