Law student held over assassination plot

An Arab law student who belonged to the same health club as the Israeli armed forces chief, has been accused of helping a plot to assassinate him.

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 1, 2009

Rawi Sultani, 23, passed on information about Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazy's movements. His arrest is probably the nipping in the bud of Hizbullah's plan to assassinate Israel's most senior soldier. It also serves as a reminder of the Lebanese organisation's true motives.

Last week, the IDF released surveillance footage of Lebanese citizens repelling Hizbollah members from their village near the border with Israel. Their intention had been to rebuild fortified positions and replenish arm caches that had been used to shell the Galilee during the Second Lebanese War.

Three years after that war ended, the process of regaining its military capabilities against Israel is still ongoing for Hizbullah and eighteen months since the assassination of its military chief, Imad Mughniye, in Damascus, his blood has yet to be avenged. A number of attempts to launch attacks on Israeli targets abroad were also foiled in the planning stage and for now, it doesn't seem as if Hizbullah is ready for operations on the border quite yet.

Two months ago, before the Lebanese elections, there was speculation that Hizbollah was gradually transforming into a non-military political organisation. In the event, they lost the elections and the current operations prove exactly the opposite.

Hizbollah is still an Iranian proxy with two overall objectives, establishing radical Shia control in Lebanon and destabilising Israel.

Had Hizbollah succeeded in assassinating the IDF Chief of Staff, they would have almost certainly have kept silent, just as no-one has taken credit to this day for taking out Mughniye.

The Israeli leadership would have an almost unbearable dilemma over how and where to retaliate and whether to risk another Lebanon War. Meanwhile the hard work of three years of restoring the public's confidence in the IDF, severely eroded in that war, would have been for nothing.

Last updated: 5:07pm, September 2 2009